Graceland is a National Historic Landmark. Sun Records is a National Historic Place. I think we need one other special category – National Historic Person, and I have a fine nominee: Scotty Moore.
What qualifies Scotty Moore as a National Historic Person? Well, let’s see. On July 5, 1954, when Elvis recorded his first song, there were four men in the studio. The guitar player was Scotty Moore, and he had a lot to do with creating that unique sound. Scotty Moore’s guitar work made an immeasurable contribution to the initial success of Elvis’ music.
The other three men there that historic night are all dead. Bill Black died in 1965, Elvis passed away in 1977, and Sam Phillips left us in 2003. That’s too bad, because the session when “That’s All Right” was recorded was a very special moment in history. Three men gone, only one left. Scotty Moore, the last man standing.
It is now 53 years since that magic moment, and it’s nice to know that Scotty is still alive and well. Don’t count on seeing him at many more Elvis Weeks. It might happen, it might not. But we know one thing for sure. We can see him this year. Scotty is headlining two tribute concerts at Elvis Week 2007.
Those fans that admire and cherish Scotty Moore were thrilled to hear they could catch him on Wednesday, August 15, at the Peabody Hotel. To you folks that are going to Elvis Week but haven’t yet decided what to see, I’m telling you, buy tickets to one of Scotty’s two shows. They are going to be great.
Scotty Moore – The Last Man Standingis a unique concert concept. Both the 2 PM and 5 PM shows are double concerts. Scotty has invited two groups of his favorite musician buddies to perform, and they jumped at the chance to be on stage with him during Elvis Week.
Scotty has a recording studio in his home, and he has had a blast with a group of Nashville musicians. After practicing and recording two-dozen R&B and blues songs, some from the Elvis library, they decided to call themselves “The Mighty Handful.” I’ve heard most of the songs, and these guys do a spectacular job. I hope there is a little section of the Peabody Grand Ballroom left open for dancing, because this is very danceable music.
Here’s a rundown of the men in “The Mighty Handful.” The biggest name is sax player supreme, Boots Randolph, like Scotty, another legend. He will steal the show, just like he always does. Billy Swan will do the vocals. Billy has tremendous stature among the Nashville music community as a successful songwriter, tour manager, producer, and singer (biggest hit – “I Can Help” — # 1, 1974). This grand performer will get a opportunity to show his stuff at The Last Man Standing, and he will not disappoint. Steve Shepherd has played with Scotty many times and was a long-time bandmate of Ronnie McDowell. Steve’s keyboard work will add so much to the sound of the concert. The other musicians in the band will be Bucky Barrett (Roy Orbison’s guitarist), Bob Moore (who followed Bill Black with Elvis) on bass, Fred Satterfield on drums, and Buddy Spicher on fiddle.
Just seeing these guys would be enough for me, but there is more — another group of Scotty’s buddies, this one from England: The Grundy-Pritchard Band. Scotty is much revered in England and Europe, so he has been traveling over there to perform since 1992. On every tour, he has played with Liam Grundy and Pete Pritchard and various other musicians in their group at the time. Scotty has recorded with them on the CD Western Union. In recent years, Paul Ansell, who has had a two-decade career with his own band “Number 9,” handled the lead vocals. Scotty also recorded with Ansell on the CD Live At Sun.
On the DVD, A Tribute To The King, Scotty and The Grundy-Pritchard Band did a superb job on six Elvis rockabilly and blues songs. They covered “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” “A Mess of the Blues,” “One Night,” “I Forgot To Remember To Forget,” “Reconsider Baby,” and “Ready Teddy.” The music was tight, Ansell’s vocals were dead-on, and the end result was very impressive.
So, if you want some good entertainment at Elvis Week, take in the double concert Scotty Moore – The Last Man Standing. Scotty will be appearing at no other events in Memphis that week. This is the exclusive appearance of the genuine article, the last man standing. And sadly, it’s looking more and more like a farewell performance.
Join Scotty Moore’s many fans in honoring and appreciating him while you still can. Scotty may not have official recognition as a National Historic Person, but he truly is a national treasure.
Scotty’s long-time friend Darwin Lamm, Editor of Elvis…The Magazine, is presenting these concerts. To get tickets, call 818-991-3892, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.. See you in Memphis.
© 2007 All Rights Reserved Philip R Arnold www.elvisblog.net