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Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:33 am

OK, here’s a question for the true Elvis experts…

As some of you know, I am producing ‘The Original Elvis Tribute’, which is certainly unique amongst Elvis shows, partly because it includes various Elvis-related backing vocalists and musicians, including Ginger & Mary Holladay and Duke Bardwell.

The fact that it includes an afro-American leadsinger, Robert Washington, always seems to generate interest in the media too, as well as the fact that we avoid the jumpsuits.

You can see a clip from the show here:
http://youtu.be/qZB3utkCBmA

We will be touring again this May*:

May 11 – Grønnegade Kaserne, Næstved, Denmark
May 14 – Savonlinnasali, Savonlinna, Finland
May 15 – Savoy Theater, Helsinki, Finland
May 16 – Savoy Theater, Helsinki, Finland
May 17 – New Morning, Paris, France
May 18 – De Melkweg, Amsterdam, Holland
May 19 – 013, Tilburg, Holland

Anyway, on to the question:

Who is the lady in the dark dress that you see in the attached photo working in the studio together with Buzz Cason, Mary Holladay and Bergen White? The photo was taken in 1970/’71, but she does not remember whether this particular photo was taken at a session for Elvis.

She will be joining us on the May tour. You won’t find her name in any tour publicity, because I haven’t announced it yet.
This tour will mark the first time in 40 years that she will be singing together with Mary and Ginger Holladay again.

The first person to guess who this is will get my spare copy of ‘Hot Love in a Long, Cold Winter’ (2CD). Offer ends in 24 hours from now. One guess per person.

*More info: http://www.elvisnews.dk
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Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:24 am

I'm not sure, but I guess June Page.

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:19 am

Jeannie Greene

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:39 am

Sandy Posey.

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:44 am

Sherrill Neilsen

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:21 am

Temple Riser. She sang a duet with Elvis on The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face song.

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:48 am

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Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:38 am

Is Robert not wearing any of his jumpsuits for this tour then? What's the format?

Wish him luck - he's a cool guy. I'll be working with him in Nashville in August all being well. We recorded together in Studio B last year which was great fun - doing it again this year with the Sweet Inspirations (thankfully Estelle is still with us).

Which singers/musicians have you got on board so far? Jeff Lewis in Nashville (Robert knows him) may be able to help you - he has some great contacts and was the one who got us in the Ryman Auditorium last year.

Good luck with it!

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:51 am

NumberEight wrote:Sandy Posey.


That's my guess too.

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:10 pm

Just a quick response to the Jeanie Greene suggestion. Since both the Holladays praised her very soulful voice and her crucial role in arranging the backing vocals at sessions, I wanted to bring her over for the shows. As it turns out, Jeannie has suffered several strokes and is no longer able to do shows.

A real pity, because she was a fantastic singer. Check this out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TAy_LdC ... 1F295FBC68

The interview that mjsantafe posted is very moving. I first watched it a couple of months ago, and I was struck by how her spirit shines through despite her health problems. Just look at the way she reacts to ‘How Great Thou Art’ (is this by Mahalia Jackson?). The song starts at 14’56. Powerful stuff.

You can also see her comment on Elvis’ versions of ‘If The Lord Wasn’t Walking By My Side’ and ‘Suspicious Minds’.
Last edited by Rock Legend on Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:31 pm

Thank you for asking that, Swingin-Little-Guitar-Man. No, we don’t use jumpsuits – personally I can’t stand to see the impersonators. It’s one of the reasons why I started to do this show: to give Elvis the kind of tribute that he deserves, by a guy that can really sing and a band that has drive & commitment. When I first told Robert 'no jumpsuits' five years ago, he said "Fine with me, I don’t like to wear them anyway. But back home people kind of expect it when you’re doing an Elvis show".

When I started booking these shows, some of the European fanclubs told me that Elvis fans would never accept a back guy singing Elvis. I thought that was nonsense, because where does Elvis’ music come from? There’s no doubt that people like Roy Brown and Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup were a major influence on him, and indeed Elvis cited the latter as an inspiration: “Down in Tupelo, Mississippi, I used to hear old Arthur Crudup bang on his box the way I do now, and I said if I ever got to the place I could feel all old Arthur felt, I‘d be a music man like nobody ever saw” (1956).

As for the format of the show, we try to have fun with the setlist. Obviously the major hits are there, but I always try to include lesser-known songs like ‘It Feels So Right’, ‘For The Heart’, ‘Clean Up Your Own Backyard’ and ‘Wearin’ That Loved-On Look’. Robert is not the only person singing in the show, Duke Bardwell sings too and he is really tremendous. He performs ‘Peace In The Valley’ here:

http://youtu.be/idR9Sc2kOL4

Same with the Holladays, who on the April ’12 tour did a tribute to The Sweet Inspirations:

http://youtu.be/gAdWdDJF4aM

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:40 pm

Rock Legends,

Do you have footage of your band on youtube? I love to see tributes where people do not wear jumpsuits. I also can't stand this kind of "tribute".

That's why I'm a Terry Mike Jeffrey fan.

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:51 pm

I’ll gladly post a few clips for you here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSrg8tll ... PtzGB6VJYg
(Young & Beautiful)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yap4XU2s ... PtzGB6VJYg
(All Shook Up)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dDFzWkn ... PtzGB6VJYg
(Walk A Mile In My Shoes)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqiC0guq ... PtzGB6VJYg
(Where Could I Go But To The Lord)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-4B7jtp ... PtzGB6VJYg
(For The Heart)

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:57 pm

Whoever she is, she's one hell of a looker! :smt007
Last edited by Gunter on Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:01 pm

Gunter wrote:Whoever she is, she one hell of a looker! :smt007


True, and a very interesting resumé too. She has worked with artists like Carl Perkins, Bob Dylan, Tammy Wynette, Roy Orbison, George Jones, Dolly Parton and even Clint Eastwood! (she recalls that “an independent producer did an album with Clint, so we got to work with him all week. Unfortunately, he wasn't as good a singer as he was an actor, so the producer couldn't sell it to anyone”). As for Elvis, her voice can be heard on 11 of his original albums, starting with ‘From Elvis In Memphis’ from '69 and ending with the ‘Fool’ album from ’73.

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:19 pm

Sonja Montgomery

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:23 pm

I don't really care for ETA's but I have to say I like this tribute, it's different and more natural as to say seems the man is really just being himself with no strained or faked vocals or movements . The band is tight!
This is nice. :wink:

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Lovin this too!

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Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:42 pm

elvisjock wrote:Sherrill Neilsen

Quit it.

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:50 pm

I LOL’d when I read that one, but to the best of my knowledge, Sherrill Nielsen never wore black dresses.

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:54 pm

Rob wrote:
elvisjock wrote:Sherrill Neilsen

Quit it.


Tim Baty?

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:59 pm

This is the best Elvis tribute I've ever seen. Robert Washington isn't doing an impersonation and that's what makes it so great. But he captures some of the Elvis magic. I've never felt compelled to see an Elvis impersonator before but I would definitely consider seeing Washington and his band if he/they were in my area. I don't follow the news of ETAs so I had never heard of this guy before. Thanks for posting, Rock Legend!

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:19 pm

InheritTheWind wrote: Thanks for posting, Rock Legend!


My pleasure, InheritThe Wind. That's exactly the kind of feedback that we are getting from the shows. You can read a review of last year's tour opening show by Thomas Melin here:

http://www.elvistodayblog.com/2012/04/o ... -show.html

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:21 pm

What about Donna Thacher (Donna Jean (Thatcher) Godchaux-MacKay)?

Your tribute show is just fantastic, the best :D

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:06 am

Time’s up, and we have a winner. londonflash, send me your name and address and there’ll be some ‘Hot Love’ coming your way!

The correct answer is Carol Montgomery, in some session books also referred to as Sonja Montgomery. I am very proud of the fact that she will be joining us on the next tour in May. Carol sent me her bio, and I wanted to share it with you. Definitely worth reading:

When I met Bob Montgomery in the fall of 1954, our mutual love of music drew us together. I always sang in church and school events, and he’d already recorded some songs with Buddy Holly. They were best friends and in Jr. High and Sr. High had a band that was well known in Lubbock. Bob gave me a tape of their recordings, and I loved it and played it over and over.

We married in June 1957 on a Thursday so we could drive to Nashville by Saturday night and go to the Grand Ole’ Opry! When Bob saw I loved Nashville as much as he did, he said, ”We’ll move here someday.” In the meantime, we moved to Clovis, N.M. where the Norman Petty Studios were, and when Buddy was there, he and Bob wrote some more songs together, like “Wishing”, “Love’s Made A Fool of You”, and “Heartbeat.” Bob also learned the Board from Norman, and I began singing backup on some of the sessions.

In 1959 we moved to Nashville. Bob had a songwriting contract with Acuff-Rose, and I continued to sing backup for his demos. Word began spreading and soon I was doing demos for other people. Around 1962 or 1963 Bob and I had a couple of records out as a duo. One of them, called “Two Of A Kind” made a little noise, and a couple of years later I had a couple of records out as a single. By then, I was working pretty steadily as a backup singer, we had our first daughter (Echo) and I decided I really didn’t want a career as a “star,” so I didn’t pursue that any more.

We lived next door to Patsy Cline in Madison, Tn., a suburb of Nashville, and of course became friends with her. I have a picture of us on Easter Sunday, 1960. Our daughter Echo was due the first part of May, so I was rather big!

When Bob wrote “Back In Baby’s Arms” he pitched it to Patsy, and she recorded it. It’s become a classic country song. I still get upset when I listen to any of her songs. She was a pretty good friend and died too young.

Another of the artists I used to do demos with before she became famous was Dottie West. We worked together quite a bit at Starday Records. I also worked with Tom Paul and the Glazer Brothers there.

Some of the hits I sang on are:
“Paper Roses” by Marie Osmond”, “Honey”, “Little Green Apples”, and “With Pen In Hand” by Bobby Goldsboro, “Everlasting Love” by Robert Knight, “Suspicious Minds”, “Kentucky Rain”, and “In The Ghetto” by Elvis Presley. I was on the Bob Dylan album “Nashville Skyline”, and also did an album with Clint Eastwood, although it never did get released. (He really couldn’t sing very well!) But he was very nice…wasn’t a “Hollywood type” at all. He later included “Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich in his movie “Every Which Way But Loose”. (That was our first hit with our publishing company, House of Gold).

Other artists with whom I sang were Dolly Parton, Bobby Vee, Jimmy Dean, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette and George Jones, Jimmy Buffett, and Jerry Lee Lewis (he had the distinction of being the only artist I refused to work with after the initial session) I could go on and on…but those are the ones that pop into my mind immediately.

I had the privilege of doing backup on the Opry a couple of times (don’t remember the artist), and I sang backup on the Country Music Association Award Shows in the early 1970’s. I also sang off-camera on several Hee Haw Shows, and did some commercial work…notably a Coke commercial with Bobby Goldsboro and a Hanes underwear commercial (I feel better all under), an Oldsmobile commercial and several beer commercials.

The first time I met Elvis was at Ft Hood, Texas when he was in basic training. Bob and Buddy had become friends with him when he’d come through Lubbock in 1955-1956, so when Bob and I went to see his parents in Oakalla, Texas one time, Bob asked me if I’d like to meet Elvis! (Oakalla was just a few miles from Ft. Hood) I could hardly believe Bob could get us on the base…but he did. We pulled up to the barracks, Bob disappeared inside, and a few minutes here came Elvis in his uniform. Just the polite Southern boy we all fell in love with!

I did the Elvis sessions in 1969-1971 at the RCA studios in Nashville. Elvis still looked so very handsome at that time, and was still with Priscilla. One night he came in and was upset because of an argument he’d had with Colonel Tom. (I found this out from Millie Kirkham later). After about an hour, the session was cancelled because he was just too upset.

As a little girl in Texas, raised in a relatively poor family, I never ever dreamed I’d have the life I’ve had. I got to have a career I loved, be with rich and famous people and “stars” and travel all over the world. But best of all, I got to stay home and be a wife and mother at the same time.

Re: Nashville 1970/'71: A question for the experts...

Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:35 am

Sorry I missed this earlier.

Carol Montgomery is one of those singers who has lived a quietly legendary life. I love the connection she has, involved from Holly to Cline to Presley to Dylan!

You should see if you can get her to sing her 1963 A-side, "Wish I Didn't Love Him." It was written by husband Bob Montgomery. It's a terrific, girl-group styled pop song that deserved to find a major label and be a hit.

But it was not to be.


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Carol Montgomery, "Wish I Didn't Love Him" (Sound 7 Stage 2512, October 5, 1963)


Billboard - Oct 16 1963 p16.JPG
Billboard - October 12, 1963
The single gets a Billboard "Pop Spotlight" pick: "Carol sings the blues on this upbeat rocker in true teen appeal style."
Note "Bossa Nova Baby" by Elvis is also a "Pop Spotlight" pick this week.
Note also Buddy Holly's "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man," redone with the Fireballs backing, is a "Regional Breakout" single!
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