Category Archives: SCOTTY MOORE

Paul McCartney Sings Elvis

Elvis and Paul McCartney

Recently, the official Elvis Presley website presented their selections for The Top 12 Moments for Elvis Presley’s Graceland in 2013.

Top 12 Moments for Elvis Presley's Graceland in 2013

Some of the selections had nothing to do with Graceland, such as Encore Presents the Elvis Movie Collection in May, that came in #6. But there were also notable events that actually occurred at Graceland last year. Top of the list was the voting by USA Today picking Graceland the #1 Iconic Tourist Attraction. Coming in at #5 was Lisa Marie Performs in the Jungle Room.

But, my favorite was #4 – Sir Paul McCartney Visits Graceland for the First Time.

 Paul McCartney Visits Elvis' Graceland

 

Paul had an interesting visit. He left behind his personal guitar pick, “So Elvis could play his guitar in heaven.” I guess Paul thinks someone there at Graceland has a way to get the guitar pick up to Elvis in heaven. Paul also received a rare special private tour of the Graceland archives. That must have been really cool. Finally, he played Elvis’ famous 1956 Gibson 1200 guitar while humming the “Loving You.”

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered once seeing a YouTube video of Paul McCartney singing “Loving You,” so I searched it out. I found it – plus eight other videos of him doing Elvis songs. Here they are, for you to enjoy, too.

 

Loving You: I guess you still call it a video, even if there is nothing shown but a photo of Paul and Linda McCartney. However, we can hear Paul do a simple version of the song with acoustic guitar.

Paul and Linda McCartneyClick Here

 

Lawdy Miss Clawdy: This is quite different. Paul is wearing a black leather jacket and he rocks out with a full band. Great piano work, similar to the way Elvis’ song sounded on This Is Elvis.

Paul McCartney Singing Lawdy Miss Clawdy

Click Here

 

Let’s Have A Party: I have to admit this performance mirrors Wanda Jackson’s version of the song more than it does Elvis’. The footage is from some sort of BBC program. Joining Paul on stage are David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and Ian Paice (Deep Purple, Whitesnake). Can you imagine Elvis singing with that kind of back-up crew? I love you Scotty, but Gilmour is just an incredible guitarist.

Paul McCartney and David Gilmour Sing Lets Have A PartyClick Here

 

That’s Alright Mama: I like this one because someone has spliced footage of Paul singing the song into Elvis’ ’68 Comeback Special performance. What tickles me is that Scotty and DJ are on both clips. Well done.

Elvis doing Thats Allright Mama

Scotty Playing That's Alright Mama

Click Here

 

Heartbreak Hotel: We’ve all seen singers do an acoustic versions of songs, accompanying themselves on guitar. But for this video, Paul does it on bass. In fact, it is Bill Black’s original upright bass. Paul tells a story about it and then sings a far too short version of “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Paul McCartney Playing Heartbreak Hotel

Click Here

 

Blue Moon of Kentucky: This is another too-short video, but it is a treat to see and hear George Harrison and Ringo Starr join Paul on an Elvis song.

Paul and George Playing Blue Moon of Kentucky

Click Here

 

Blue Suede Shoes: You will note that Paul properly dedicates this song to Carl Perkins. However he does mention Elvis’ version of the song. The video was filmed in 1999, and the caption credits it to the RockHall Jam Band. You can enjoy Eric Clapton and Robby Robertson (The Band) do their guitar solos. Look closely and you can spot Bonnie Raitt, Paul Shaffer (David Letterman bandleader) and other people you may recognize.

Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton Singing Blue Suede Shoes

Click Here

 

All Shook Up: We will end with another BBC screamer featuring Paul McCartney and David Gilmour. Rock on.

Paul McCartney and David Gilmour Singing All Shook Up

Click Here

 

© 2013 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

ElvisBlog Thumbnail Icon

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Loving You — Starring Scotty, DJ, and Bill (Plus Elvis, of Course)

I recently found something interesting on the website for a Rock and Roll memorabilia auction.  It was a movie theater lobby card from Elvis’ 1957 film Loving You.  Most Elvis movie cards and posters show pictures of him with one or more of his lovely female co-stars, but this one included Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana, his original guitarist and drummer.  I would guess neither man ever knew this lobby card existed, so I am sending copies to their webmasters.


Lobby Card showing DJ Fontana (far left) and Scotty Moore (far right)

 

Loving You was Elvis’ second movie, his first in color, and also the first of several (many?) where Elvis’ character was a singer.  There are elements in this film that are considered auto-biographical.  Elvis’ character, Deke Rivers, parallels Elvis’ start as a truck driver; for a beverage distributor in the movie and for an electric company in real life.  Once he starts singing in the movie, all the famous frenetic leg-gyrations and hip-swinging are there to produce loud squealing by the young girls in the audience.  There is even a female Col. Parker-like manager who gets Deke to sign a personal services contract giving her 50%.

The lobby card reminded me that all three of Elvis’ original bandmates, Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana and Bill Black, have considerable screen time in the movie, so I checked it out again to note all their appearances.  Within seconds after the opening credits finish, they are up on a town square stage, in a country band providing music for a political candidate.  DJ, unfortunately, is directly behind Scotty, and is not seen much.

Scotty Moore and a Politician – Bill Black in Background

 

After a few minutes of dialog by other characters, it’s back to the bandstand where we get a similar, but longer look at Scotty and Bill.  In fact, Scotty gets his best screen time in any of the Elvis movies — fifteen seconds in a close shot, standing beside the politician.

About seven minutes into the picture, Deke Rivers is persuaded to get up on the stage and sing a song. He chooses “Got A Lot of Livin’ To Do.”  This song is now used in Viva Elvis in the big trampoline sequence, which is generally considered one of the highlights of the Cirque du Soleil show.

Bill Black and Scotty Moore flank Elvis during “Got A Lot of Livin’ to Do”

 

At the eighteen minute point of Loving You, Elvis’ character is now a full time member of the band.  He sings “Let’s Have a Party.” Scotty again fares best with screen time, followed by Bill, and last again, DJ.

 

Bill, Scotty, Elvis, and DJ Playing “Let’s Have A Party”

 

However, DJ has a solo scene five minutes later when he comes out of a high school after a spring hop and removes the sign that announced the performance they just finished.


DJ Fontana in His Solo Scene

 

Seconds later, the band is presenting Elvis’ character a new guitar. Check out Bill Black, looking very dapper as he chomps on a long stogie. 


 
Bill Black Watching Elvis Get a New Guitar

 

About five minutes later, we see what is in essence a 1957 version of a music video. The beginning is striking, thanks to some very imaginative lighting used on Elvis.  The song, “Lonesome Cowboy,” changes mood and pace several times, and the three bandmates all get lots of screen time. The bad news is they are now a little farther back behind Elvis and in dimmed lighting. Near the end, DJ is clearly visible behind Elvis in a close shot, but you’ll never notice him, because Elvis does that incredible eye thing of his. This is where he bends his head down and looks out of the top of his eyes. Elvis’ presence in this scene is very powerful.

Elvis Singing “Lonesome Cowboy”

 

The next song in the movie is “Hot Dog.”  For a few seconds, the camera shot cuts off the actor members of the band and shows only Scotty, DJ, Elvis and Bill. It’s fun to watch Scotty, because smiles so much and seems to be having a wonderful time.  It is during this song that the manager creates a fake riot, very reminiscent of some of Col. Parker’s publicity stunts.

 

Scotty, DJ, Elvis and Bill Black Playing “Hot Dog”

 

The next appearance of Scotty, DJ, and Bill is in the scene that produced the lobby card.  The band is killing time on the road, and DJ and Scotty are at a table, playing cards with some other guys.  Bill Black is nearby in an armchair. He actually gets two lines of dialogue, including, “Hey, Deke. See the picture in the paper of the gals fighting over you?”
 

Bill Black Delivering his Speaking Part in Loving You

 

About 45 minutes into Loving You, Scotty, DJ, and Bill make their last appearance.  Elvis’ character sings “Teddy Bear.”  Although the band is visible, they are well behind him, and again the lights are dimmed until the song finishes.  In this scene, as others, the bandmates move their lips as though singing.  In truth, all the very fine vocal accompaniment in the movie came from the Jordanaires, an arrangement that would continue in many more Elvis films.
 

Taking a Bow after Singing “Teddy Bear.”

 

Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana and Bill Black also had significant screen time in Elvis’ third and fourth movies, Jailhouse Rock and King Creole.  It would be so cool to find lobby cards showing them in these films as well.  I’ll keep looking.

 

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Congratulations, Bill Black

 

When I heard the news last week about DJ Fontana and Bill Black making the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I Immediately sat down and started writing about DJ Fontana.  I wasn’t disrespecting Bill Black.  I knew I would get to him next, and now it is time to give Bill Black a great big posthumous congratulation.

Scotty, Bill and DJ

It’s hard to believe he passed away forty-four years ago.  Too bad he didn’t have the durability of Scotty and DJ, who are still carrying on in their mid-seventies.  Those three guys made one heck of a band behind Elvis.  Despite his short time in the spotlight, Bill Black is an interesting story.

I told part of it five years ago in the 50th Anniversary issue of Elvis International, The Magazine.  It was a sidebar to an article about the Legends Salute, a concert promoted by Darwin Lamm at Elvis week 2004.   The concert was in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Elvis’ first song, “That’s All Right (Mama).” It was headlined by Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, Boots Randolph, and The Jordanaires.

 

A SALUTE TO BILL BLACK — The Unsung Legend

By Phil Arnold
 
From:  Elvis International, The Magazine…50th Anniversary Of Rock & Roll –  August 2004

 

The 50th anniversary of the birth of rock & roll cannot pass without giving just praise to one of the men who was there: Bill Black.  Scotty Moore and Bill were the old pros in Sun Records studio on July 5,1954, when “That’s All Right (Mama) was recorded.  They were pioneers, just like Elvis, in the unearthing of this new sound.  Their musical talents on guitar and base blended with Elvis’s powerful vocal to create history.

 


 
Scene from Jailhouse Rock reminiscent of the real thing at Sun Records

 

Scotty Moore is a headliner of the 2004 Legends Salute.  Bill Black, unfortunately, will not be on stage, as he died in 1965 of a brain tumor.  His memory should be honored, not just for his contributions in the studio, but also for the huge benefits Elvis’ early live shows got from his stage presence.  Quite often Bill’s joking around warmed up the crowd and took some heat off Elvis.  Scotty Moore states, “If it hadn’t been for Bill, there were a bunch of shows where we would have died on the vine.”

 

Bill Black riding his upright base on the Milton Berle Show, April 3, 1956

 

Bill Black’s bag of tricks included riding his stand-up bass across the stage.  In his book “That’s Alright Elvis” Scotty Moore tells of the times on stage when Bill would take off Scotty’s belt while he was doing a guitar solo, and throw it out into the audience.

 

Elvis and Bill Black on stage in Austin, TX, August 25, 1956

 
Bill parted company with Elvis in 1958.  He went on to considerable success with a string of instrumental hits by Bill Black’s Combo in the early 60’s.  He is a true trailblazer in the birth of rock & roll, and should be remembered when  “The Legends” salute the 50th anniversary of rock & roll.  Bill Black’s spirit will be up on stage with them that night, a legacy from the ‘unsung legend.’
 
© 2004  Philip R Arnold

Here are the songs on that string of instrumental hits by Bill Black’s Combo.  The first three were all million sellers.

Smokie Part 2            #17 – 1959
White Silver Sands      #9 – 1960
Josephine                  #18 – 1960
Don't Be Cruel           #11 – 1960
Blue Tango                #16 – 1960
Hearts Of Stone         #20 – 1961
Ole Buttermilk Sky     #25 - 1961
Twist-Her                   #26 – 1962

 

Almost all pictures of Bill Black show him with an upright bass, but here is one taken on September 1, 1957 at Sick's Seattle Stadium that shows him wielding a Fender electric bass.

 

Here is a 1962 shot of Bill Black’s Combo.  Did you ever see any other band on stage where the bass player is out front and the guitar player is in the back?

If you would like to read up on more about Bill Black’s Combo, here is a link to a story I wrote in 2000 for Elvis International, The Magazine titled “The Music of  Bill Black's Combo.”

 

So, that’s my tribute to Bill Black, Elvis’ original bass player.  I am so glad he will be in the Rock and Roll Hall of fame.

Bill, you deserve it.  Congratulations.

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

DJ Fontana Gets in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

 

I just got some news that makes me very happy.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced it will induct DJ Fontana and Bill Black into the Hall on April 4.

 

Bill Black, Scotty Moore, and DJ Fontana

 

This is a long overdue recognition.  They will be inducted into the Sidemen Category, joining Scotty Moore, who was enshrined back in 2000.  Considering the many years that DJ played and recorded with Elvis, it was a surprise he didn’t go in with Scotty.  Ever since, DJ’s fans have wondered when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would correct this omission.  I was among those who championed his cause, so I would like to reprint an article I wrote for the August 2005 issue of Elvis…The Magazine.  It contains considerably more about DJ’s qualifications than the announcement on Graceland’s or the Hall’s websites.

 

DJ FONTANA BELONGS IN THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME

By Phil Arnold

 

If you were on the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, which of these drummers would you pick for the relatively new “Sidemen” category?
 
DJ Fontana: The beat behind the King.  Elvis’ original drummer, who performed and recorded with him from 1955 to 1968.
Benny Benjamin: Motown’s first drummer and the most beloved musician in Hitsville.
Hal Blaine: May well be the most prolific drummer in rock and roll history.
Earl Palmer: Probably the greatest session drummer of all time.
 
Pretty hard choice isn’t it?  Well, the selection committee has already enshrined three of these drummers, and it is time for them to add one more – DJ Fontana.
 
There can be no arguing with the merits of Benjamin, Blaine, and Palmer.  The capsule summaries above come right from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame web-site.  Benny Benjamin recorded with all the Motown greats like the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Supremes, Gladys Knight, Martha and the Vandellas, and Marvin Gaye.  Hal Blaine was a first-call session drummer in Los Angeles, recording with the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, the Mamas and Papas, the Byrds, Johnny Rivers, the Association, Sonny & Cher, the Grass Roots, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, and Herb Alpert.  Earl Palmer started in New Orleans and recorded with Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, and Little Richard.  Then he moved to Los Angeles and backed Ritchie Valens, Ray Charles, Duane Eddy, The Monkees, Neil Young, and Elvis Costello.
 
Looking at these resumes, you will note all three men were outstanding session musicians, but none was ever a sideman to one rock star for an extended period of time.  DJ Fontana, on the other hand, was a sideman in the truest sense.  He performed with Elvis on hundreds of live shows and played drums on 460 RCA Elvis cuts.  Plus, he did other session work in Nashville for over 30 years, recording with a veritable who’s who of singers.
 
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame created the Sidemen Category in 2000, and got it right when they picked Scotty Moore among the first five inductees.  But, in a move that defies logic, DJ was omitted, and two other drummers, Blaine and Palmer, were selected.  Scotty and DJ should have gone in together.
 
In 2001 the Hall enshrined the other Elvis guitar player of note, James Burton, of TCB band fame.  No drummer went into the Hall that year.  Another slight to DJ.
 
In 2002, only one musician, Chet Atkins, was added to the Sidemen list.  Why not DJ?  Who knows, but it surely wasn’t his lack of credentials.
 
In 2003, the Hall added a third drummer, Benny Benjamin.  This is when the fans of DJ Fontana started to really get upset with the selection process.  Rumblings of  ”let’s get DJ into the Hall of Fame” were heard at Elvis Week and other gatherings, and on Internet chat groups.  Hundreds of letters and petitions went to the Hall extolling the praises of DJ and cheerleading for his inclusion.
 
As reported in Elvis International magazine a year ago, four of the world’s most famous rock drummers formally approached the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Sidemen Nominating Committee about DJ Fontana’s qualifications.  Ringo Starr of the Beatles, Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones, Levon Helm of  The Band, and Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band had it right.
 
In spite of this intervention by all-star drummers with Hall of Fame credentials, the selection committee ignored DJ again in 2004.  Incredibly, they did it again in 2005. The most frustrating thing is that they selected no one to the Sidemen category in either year.  If there were no other notable musicians worthy of induction, how could they ignore DJ with such great qualifications?
 
Maybe we need more people championing his cause.  How about a lot more?  This writer thinks the time has come for the citizens of Elvis World to let the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame know we are fed up.  We cannot e-mail them, because they do not publish an e-mail address.  But they do have snail mail.  Please take a few minutes to write a letter to:
 
 The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation
 1290 Avenue of the Americas
 New York, NY  10104
 
There’s no need to remind them what stupid jerks they are.  Instead, you might want to add substance to your plea by emphasizing DJ’s qualifications.  To review, they are:
• Elvis’ original drummer.
• Performed and recorded with Elvis from 1955 to 1968.
• Played drums on 460 Elvis recordings.
• Top session musician in Nashville for 30 years.
• Supported by Hall of Fame drummers Ringo Starr of the Beatles and Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones.
• Fellow Elvis sideman Scotty Moore already inducted into the Hall of Fame.

It’s time to stop the injustice to DJ Fontana.  Please send a letter and help get DJ into the Hall of Fame. 


©  2005   Philip R Arnold

 

DJ and Scotty backstage at the Legends Concert, Elvis Week 2004

 

There is no way to know what changed the mind of the selection committee, but I’d like to think my article played a small part, along with the urgings of those four famous drummers, and many other efforts, both individual and organized.  There has even been a website petition to get DJ into the Hall of Fame.  Maybe, the voice of the fans has been heard.

I have met DJ a few times at Elvis Week, thanks to Darwin Lamm, Publisher of Elvis…The Magazine.  Darwin has promoted many of his “Good Rockin’ Tonight” concerts there, and Scotty and DJ are always headliners.  I had breakfast with DJ and Darwin in 2004 and spent a lot of time backstage with DJ and his lovely wife Karen in 2007.  DJ is a terrific guy and one of the most popular people in Memphis every August.

 

DJ, me, and Karen Fontana

 

I am just as happy that Bill Black was finally recognized, too.  It had started to look like he and DJ were a lost cause.  Although James Burton was enshrined in 2001, the Hall added no new sidemen inductees from 2003 through 2008.  Now that DJ and Bill are in, we can start working on getting Jerry Scheff, Glen D. Hardin and Ronnie Tutt into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.elvisBlog.net

SCOTTY MOORE — THE LAST MAN STANDING

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  elvisint@aol.com..    See you in Memphis.

 

                                                                                  

©  2007  All Rights Reserved   Philip R Arnold   www.elvisblog.net

A TRIBUTE TO THE KING

On January 13, 2005, I posted the third article in the young life of Elvisblog.  It was titled “The Guitar That Rocked The World,” and it told of an upcoming TV special featuring Scotty Moore and a roster of British guitar heroes playing two dozen Elvis’ hits.  Well, things didn’t quite work out that way.  Here’s a little background.

 

Certain European music producers were well aware of the high esteem that top-name English guitarists had for Scotty Moore.  They were sure these musicians would jump at the chance to record with Scotty, so they conceived a three-day filmed performance at famous Abbey Road Studios in London.  The producers then sold Scotty on the idea of a tribute to him titled “The Guitar That Rocked The World.”  Naturally, he wanted to do it.  Who wouldn’t want to perform with Eric Clapton, Mark Knoffler of Dire Straights, David Gilmore of Pink Floyd, and Bill Wyman and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones?

 

Scotty was promised certain financial rewards and artistic controls over the finished product.  However, when he arrived at Abbey Road in December 2004, no contract was prepared.  Scotty (and his traveling party of three) had two choices:  turn around and go home, or go through with the deal on a promise and a handshake.  With all the British rockers already there and ready to play, Scotty decided to do the show.

 

Well, as it turned out, Scotty got taken advantage of.  The money and controls didn’t happen.  The Abbey Road sessions did not end up as a TV special; they were released as a DVD titled, “A Tribute To The King.”  In small print at the bottom of the box it says “By Scotty Moore and Friends.”  What started out as a tribute to Scotty was now being marketed as a tribute to Elvis.

 

I did not write about this earlier because of the deep disappointment it caused Scotty.  But time has mostly healed the wounds, and last week he told me it was OK to do a blog story on it.  After all, as he said, “It is some wonderful music.”  And I agree.  I’ve watched the complete DVD (27 songs) three times, and it just keeps getting better.

 

My favorites are the three songs Scotty does with Eric Clapton: “That’s All Right,” “Mystery Train,” and “Money Honey.”  Clapton got to pick the songs, and he went for the early stuff, including two Sun Records rockabilly numbers.  He and Scotty are seated and backed by a minimal band, but the sound is just wonderful.  For the first time in history, these two guitar immortals played together.  What a magic moment.

 

One other personal favorite was David Gilmore playing “Don’t.”  Scotty was not on stage for this one, and Gilmore stayed fairly true to the original Elvis version of the song, until he came to the instrumental bridge.  Then he blended the Pink Floyd sound into an Elvis classic, and literally gave me goose bumps the first time I watched it.

 

My other favorite on the DVD is a group you probably have not heard of: 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 Prichard 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 A Tribute To The King DVD, Scotty and The Grundy Pritchard Band do a superb job on six Elvis rockabilly and blues songs.  They cover “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” “A Mess of the Blues,” “ One Night,” “I Forgot To Remember To Forget,” “Reconsider Baby,” and “Ready Teddy.”  The music is tight, Ansell’s vocals are dead-on, and the end result is very impressive.

 

So, let me suggest two things.  If you want to get a great Elvis-related gift for Christmas, tell your spouse to go to Amazon.com and order the video.  If you love Elvis music and want to see how it sounds done by several famous British rockers, you will enjoy it thoroughly. 

 

And second, if you are going to Elvis Week 2007, please plan to attend the Scotty Moore tribute concert “The Last Man Standing.”  In my October 3 Elvisblog, I wrote about Scotty’s Nashville blues band that will do the first set.  After the intermission, Scotty’s English band (as his website calls them), Grundy-Pritchard, will do the second set.  This is going to be one outstanding concert.

 

©  2006   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

THE LAST MAN STANDING

I just got the details on what should be the best concert coming to Elvis Week 2007 – “The Last Man Standing.”  And that man is legendary guitarist Scotty Moore.  Scotty has been a fixture at lots of Elvis Week concerts over the years, but this year is totally different.  The concert will be split into two different sets, and Scotty will join both bands.  Two REALLY GOOD bands.

 

The first set will feature a bunch of Scotty’s Nashville buddies calling themselves “The Mighty Handful.”  That name sounds like they might do gospel; but, no, these guys play the blues.  They recorded enough songs at Scotty’s home studio to fill a self-titled CD that will be released in a few months.  Now they are going to perform all those blues songs during Elvis Week.  This is going to be great.

 

I know it will be great because of the men who make up “The Mighty Handful.”  The biggest name is sax player supreme, Boots Randolph, another legend.  I’ve seen Boots do “Reconsider Baby” at four concerts, and let me tell you, he nailed the sax solos every time.  The audiences ate it up.  Standing ovations.   Paired with Boots on two of those occasions was Billy Swan doing the vocals.  Billy will be at the mic for this blues concert, and he will thrill those in attendance.  Billy has tremendous stature among the music community in Nashville as a successful songwriter, tour manager, producer, and singer (biggest hit – “I Can Help” –  # 1, 1974).  He not only has the voice of a great bluesman, he has the attitude.  This grand performer will get a opportunity to show his stuff at “The Last Man Standing,” and he will not disappoint.

 

The only other member of the group I have seen perform is Steve Shepherd, and he is a fabulous keyboard player.  Steve has played with Scotty many times and was a long-time bandmate of Ronnie McDowell.  Steve’s keyboard playing 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 on bass, Fred Satterfield on drums, and Buddy Spicher on fiddle.  These men have to be as good as Boots, Billy and Steve, because Scotty picked them.  Any musicians who end up on a Scotty Moore CD are tops in their game.

 

If you go to Elvis Week 2007, be sure to take in “The Last Man Standing” concert on August 15.  It should be the highlight of the week, and the blues set will be only half the show.  Scotty will also join the Grundy-Pritchard Band for a concert of Elvis rockabilly music.  More news about this terrific English band in a future Elvisblog article.

 

Perhaps a few words are in order about the concert‘s title, “The Last Man Standing.”  Scotty Moore was with Elvis when rock & roll was born — that first recording session for “That’s All Right (Mama)” at Sun records on July 5, 1954.  It  was the collaboration of four unique musical talents.  Along with Elvis and Scotty were Bill Black on bass and Sam Phillips turning dials in the control room.  Bill Black left us in 1965, Elvis in 1977, and Sam Phillips in 2003.  Scotty Moore is indeed the Last Man Standing.  Don’t miss this rare chance to see him perform. 

 

©  2006   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

SCOTTY MOORE AND THE ROLLING STONES BACKSTAGE

image

Searching through many Elvis-related websites is both prep work for Elvisblog and a lot of fun.  One site I go back to frequently is www.scottymoore.net .  That’s right, the man who helped Elvis give birth to rock & roll has a great website of his own.  It contains almost a dozen sections you can check out, but my favorite is SCRAPBOOK, a digital photo album.

 

Lovely lady Gail Pollock, who has been with Scotty for over 25 years, hosts the site and writes the commentary under each picture in the scrapbook.  Hundreds of photos tell the story of places they’ve been, people they’ve met, and shows he’s done.   There are 89 entries, mostly from 1992 to 2006, but a few go back to the 50’s. 

 

I visit Scotty’s site frequently to see the latest photos in SCRAPBOOK.  But while I’m there, I’m always drawn back to the same set of pictures I’ve seen four or five times before.  You probably will understand why, when you see the title:  “Backstage With the Rolling Stones in Memphis — December 15, 2005.”

 

Keith Richards and Ron Wood, who do the guitar fireworks for the Rolling Stones, both love and admire Scotty.  They’ve recorded with him and had him backstage at four of their concerts.  What started as admiration has grown into genuine friendship.

 

The SCRAPBOOK pictures show that Scotty and Gail and others obviously had a ball in Keith’s dressing room before the show.  Then they had concert seats in the eighth row right in front of Mick Jagger (Scotty stayed backstage and watched from there).  After the concert, there was a wrap party at the Peabody Hotel.  It was here that Scotty got to spend some time with Mick Jagger and drummer Charlie Watts.  Ron Wood spent a lot of time posing for smoochin’ pictures with Gail and the other girls.  Sure looks like it was a fun party.

 

One backstage picture is outstanding.  The dressing area at the concert venue contained a full-sized, color cutout of Elvis in his famous gold suit.  Of course, this got into several of the pictures.  I just love the photo of four musicians, Keith, Scotty, Elvis, and Ron.  Take a quick glance at the picture and see if Elvis doesn’t look real.  I liked the photo so much, I downloaded it to my hard drive and printed it out.  Very cool picture.

 

Scotty’s whole site is, too.  You can get lost for hours scrolling down through HISTORY, and connecting on all the links.  Gail does a wonderful job with SCOTTY’S UPDATES.  These periodic journal entries started in December 2003 when Scotty had some health problems.  Now the updates are long chatty letters to all of Scotty’s fans telling them what’s going on in his life.  By the way, Gail, we are long overdue for another one.

 

So check out Scotty’s excellent website.  He’s the last man standing of those who were at Sun Studios in 1954 when it all began.  He’s a gentleman who deserves all the good things going on for him now.  He’s a national treasure to be cherished. 

 

©   2006   Philip R Arnold    All Rights Reserved    www.elvisblog.net

 

THE GUITAR THAT ROCKED THE WORLD

Hopefully, most Elvis fans also have a warm spot in their hearts for his original guitar player, Scotty Moore.  For those of us who do, there is a very special treat coming up later this year.  How does this sound?  A ninety-minute TV special titled “The Guitar That Rocked The World,” featuring Scotty and a roster of British guitar heroes playing two dozen of Elvis’ biggests hits.

 

Last December, Scotty and his musical director, Steve Shepherd, traveled to London for a three-day recording session at the legendary Abbey Road Studio.  The stellar line-up of other pickers includes Eric Clapton, Mark Knoffler of Dire Straights, David Gilmore of Pink Floyd, Bill Wyman and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones, and many more.

 

The producer conducted hours of interviews with these musicians, which will be condensed down for use in the special.  The overriding theme they reveal is the admiration and respect these guitar players have for Scotty Moore, a genuine rock pioneer.  Just as Elvis was the inspiration for many singers who followed, dozens of American and British guitarists have cited Scotty as their first role model.  More news as it become available.

 

© 2005  Philip R Arnold