Observations, Notes & Music History Writing from Muscle Shoals
If you want to learn more about my music history writing, contact Muscle Shoals Gold and take advantage of my writing services. I am knowledgeable about a wide range of topics, including history, tourism, professional music and the Muscle Shoals sound.
I first became aware of Elvis when he released “Hound Dog,” which had first been released by Alabama native Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton. I, as a child, would stand on the fireplace hearth and sing along with Elvis as his record played on the radio. I was lucky enough to see Elvis perform at the Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio, Texas, even though my Army buddy Jimmy Gurley and I were in the nosebleed section. Years later, I arranged a celebrity roast of Presley's first record producer, Florence, Alabama native Sam Phillips. Among the roasters were Johnny Cash, John Prine, Rufus Thomas, Billy Swan and others.
Jake Hess, a Limestone County, Alabama, native backed Elvis Presley with his group The Imperials. The emotive singer also had the distinction of singing at the funerals of Hank Williams and Elvis. I was fortunate enough to interview Jake over the years and I nominated him for induction into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
Through a tip by the late Nashville music researcher Otto Kitsinger and assistance by Country Music Hall of Fame librarian Ronnie Pugh, I found Jimmie Rodgers super fan Henry Young, formerly of northeast Alabama and then of Tyler, Texas, who had done extensive research on the “father of country music” and had even hosted a radio show about him in California. He informed me of the singer's ties to Alabama. After more research and interviews, I nominated Rodgers for induction into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame which occurred. I am working on a book about my search for his Alabama connection.
For several years in a row in the 1990s, Gold City, from Gadsden, Alabama, was the number one southern gospel group in the nation. Their public relations man persuaded me to attend one of their homecomings and I asked then if anyone had done a book on them. When the answer was no, I decided to pursue that endeavor. I even went out on the road with them. Various personal events prevented that book from being finished then, but I am still working on it with the intention of getting it published.
Muscle Shoals music, though its history, has run the course through various genres, including rhythm and blues, pop, country and contemporary Christian.