Sam and Jud Phillips in Memphis
Before you get into the detailed stuff on other pages, see below a few words and pictures about some of my books and CD productions - and some people who crossed my path along the way.
Just checking something on a 78 rpm disc while the maestro of my music looks on
Published September 2016
Why would someone from the musical and technological stone age have a site like this?
I barely use a mobile phone let alone engage in the worlds of chat and apps, but when the publisher of my book about blues singer Slim Harpo wondered what I would be doing to promote it, well ... we agreed I might think about having a website. So, here it is.
With Johnny Vincent at Ace Records in Jackson, Mississippi, 1975
It's not all been research and writing down the years. I have live music memories to inspire me. Things like....
Seeing and hearing ....
... Bill Haley and his Comets in a small club in Folkestone a few years after their heyday, and marvelling at the sound
... Fats Domino and his classic New Orleans R&B band in London a few years after their hit days, and marvelling at the sound
... Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup in a folk club in Wales, marvelling at his solo performance, and his even being there
... Gene Vincent, who we booked into Swansea University for virtually his last live performance, and who as always was a marvel
... Furry Lewis, Memphis blues pioneer, in Bristol, Charlie Feathers, Memphis rockabilly pioneer, in Memphis, Billy Emerson, Memphis R&B pioneer in Camden
... George Jones, Melba Montgomery and the Jones Boys, marvelling at their Texas honky tonk sound
... Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, and Ike Turner, different but really memorable revue shows
... Linda Hargrove and Dr Hook at the Exit/Inn
... John Prine, and the Flatlanders, among the very few with their own country route
Interviewing and meeting....
... Sam Phillips, and marvelling at why he'd tell me all this stuff for hours on end
... Bill Haley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Lefty Frizzell, and Jack Clement both sober and not
... Shelby Singleton, one of the real characters of the independent record business, and Johnny Vincent, ditto
... Jim Bulleit, Bill Beasley, Murray Nash and other Nashville record label pioneers
... Colin Escott and Hank Davis on Sun projects
... Richard Weize on Bear Family projects
... Bill Millar, Charlie Gillett, Tony Russell, John Broven, Simon Napier, Mike Leadbitter, and other mighty researchers
Published in 2006
Meteor Records rockabilly singers Charlie Feathers, left, and Wayne McGinnis, right, with my friend from Swansea University, the ever-enthusiastic and highly-knowledgeable John Pearson
With Sam Phillips of Sun Records, in London, 2001
With Lou Ann Barton and Jimmie Vaughan, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 2015
Sonny Burgess outside his clothing store in Newport, Arkansas 1973, after his wild days on Sun and before his rediscovery
Somewhere in Holland with singer Sleepy LaBeef, Joop Visser of Charly Records, and Robert Loers, 1970s
With the Hopson Family gospel group recording at Tom Phillips' studio in Memphis, 1974
SEE NEWS PAGE for UPCOMING EVENTS
August 14 2017 - BBC radio 2 Paul Jones Show
helping promote this book about Slim Harpo.
With hair and pre-beard, 1973, in Nashville, with singers Billy Lee Riley, right, and Paul Martin
Research into rock music history -
Rock 'n ' roll and roots - books and CDs about country, blues, R&B and the like.
In Nashville at the Country Music Foundation collecting the Tennessee History Book Award 2006 for A Shot In The Dark
With Colin Escott and Richard Weize in Memphis in 2014 celebrating the success of the Sun Blues Box on Bear Family Records
Published 1975, 1980, 1991
... to this site about my kind of music, my research, and my writing.
I'm into my fifth decade writing about American roots music history from the days of the 78 rpm disc and the 45 rpm single. I'm interested mainly in people who performed and recorded before and during the rock'n'roll era in styles including hillbilly, country, rockabilly, blues, R&B, Cajun, early jazz, and western-swing. I focus on the 1940s and 1950s - though I sometimes follow earlier roots and later routes. I am not a musician, but I know what I like - if not always why.
Two recent CD projects