Off Topic Messages

Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Records

Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:32 pm

Hi all,

Lately I have gotten very interested in learning more about Rick Nelson's final album, recorded between August and December 1985. At the time of Rick's death on December 31, 1985, a record contract was being finalized with Curb Records. He was working again with longtime arranger/producer Jimmie Haskell (FYI... he played accordion during GI Blues, Flaming Star, and Wild In The Country soundtrack sessions) at Baby-O Recorders and Conway Studios in Hollywood. Featuring his road band led by the great Bobby Neal, the Jordanaires were also featured on the project. To backtrack a bit, in early 1985 Rick regrouped in the studio with Haskell & the Jordanaires for the first time in over 15 years to re-record 22 of his greatest hits for a set called "All My Best."

Below you will find the info that I have obtained so far on the 10 tracks intended for Rick's final album. Apparently, the album did not have a title. Elvis fans take note: Rick recorded a cover of Elvis' "As Long As I Have You" from the King Creole soundtrack.

None of the tracks have been released officially. However, at least three versions of "Do You Know What I Mean" were tracked in 1985. The first version was released on "All My Best" and as Rick's final single. There is also quite a bit of confusion on his final recording -- "True Love Ways", recorded on December 26, 1985. The version that is available on YouTube, digitally, and on CD is actually the November 8, 1978 version recorded in Memphis with producer Larry Rogers. When the Legacy box set came out in 2000, there was a lot of misleading publicity stating that fans were finally going to hear the last song Rick recorded. While True Love Ways is indeed the last song, the producers decided to use the original 1978 version at the last minute.

Rock 'N' Roll Fool, Singing The Blues, and You Got Me Gone are the only songs that have appeared on bootlegs. The latter was written by rockabilly pianist Bobby Mizzell, who played on Rick's recording, and actually is available on an obscure compilation released in the UK (checked Amazon's UK site and the track is available for download). There are two live versions of One After 909 on YouTube, too.

I would appreciate anyone's help if they have additional details about the track notes below. Feel free to chime in about the sessions. If some of my information is incorrect, don't hesitate to say so. I would love to hear your comments on whether the songs should be released officially. There is a ton of confusion/controversy over who owns the rights and the fact that Rick's vocals were not finished.


• “Rock ‘N’ Roll Fool” [written by Bill Rowe; not recorded by any other artists]
• “Ain't Gonna Do You No Good” [Jerry Fuller; not recorded by any other artists]
• “Do You Know What I Mean” [Mickey Jupp]
• “One After 909” [John Lennon / Paul McCartney]
• “You Got Me Gone” [Bobby Mizzell]
• “Singing the Blues” [Melvin Endsley; hit for Marty Robbins and others]
• “As Long as I Have You” [Ben Weisman / Fred Wise; recorded by Elvis Presley on the King Creole 1958 soundtrack]
• “Moon Enough” [Jack Wesley Routh / Randy Sharp; not recorded by any other artists]
• “Lucky Boy” [Johnny and Dorsey Burnette; obscure 1959 demo by Johnny]
• “True Love Ways” [Buddy Holly / Norman Petty]
Last edited by jeremylr on Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:42 am, edited 4 times in total.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:40 pm

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You Got Me Gone (2:30 minutes of the song, featuring the piano of Bobby Mizzell; best sound of the bunch on this one)


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One After 909: live version (Rick confirms before starting the song that it was recorded for the album)


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One After 909: 2nd live version recorded shortly before Rick's death; sadly, it's only one minute of a performance in Australia; better sound than above



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Do You Know What I Mean



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True Love Ways, the original November 1978 version eventually released on Epic Records' The Memphis Sessions

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:58 pm

Since there are several versions of Do You Know What I Mean floating around (and they supposedly sound very similar), if anyone can post links to both versions and explain the differences, that would be a big help.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:02 pm

Here are the lyrics to "Rock 'N' Roll Fool", written by an obscure songwriter named Bill Rowe. It had an especially murky back-story until Nelson biographer Sheree Homer (Rick Nelson: Rock 'N' Roll Pioneer") verified in March 2013 that it was composed by Rowe, an occasional songwriter. The latter had aided Nelson financially, so the singer graciously returned the favor in the recording studio. Regardless, "Rock 'N' Roll Fool" is a driving up-tempo track that could have had chart potential if released as a single.


We're gonna rock all day, roll all night
Keep it goin' to the mornin' light
Oh baby, we'll break all the rules
'Cause I'm a walkin', talkin', rockin', rollin' fool

Well I'm a hard to catch, even harder to hold
I can line dance, but I'd love to rock & roll with you
We'll break all the rules
'Cause I'm a walkin', talkin', rockin', rollin' fool

I got this inside yearnin', burnin' in my soul
Just keeps on burnin', burnin' out of control

I got this inside yearnin', burnin' in my soul
Just keeps on burnin', burnin' out of control

She's always on my mind, workin' overtime
Baby I'm high even when I'm feeling low
With you, you know what you do
'Cause I'm you're walkin', talkin', rockin', rollin' fool
Yeah I'm a walkin', talkin', a rockin', rollin' fool
Yeah I'm a walkin', talkin', a rockin', rollin' fool
I'm a walkin', talkin', a rockin', rollin' fool
Last edited by jeremylr on Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:26 am

After nearly 30 years, it would be cool to hear these recordings. Nice post.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:56 am

Appreciate it, Dr. John. A few days ago, a friend sent me copies of Singing The Blues, Rock & Roll Fool, & the complete 3:45 minute "You Got Me Gone". Finally got to hear them. They're not on YouTube. As the songs have never been released, I'm not sure what the protocol is on FECC, but I could probably post links to Rapidshare or some similar service if folks want to hear them.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:10 am

jeremylr wrote:Appreciate it, Dr. John. A few days ago, a friend sent me copies of Singing The Blues, Rock & Roll Fool, & the complete 3:45 minute "You Got Me Gone". Finally got to hear them. They're not on YouTube. As the songs have never been released, I'm not sure what the protocol is on FECC, but I could probably post links to Rapidshare or some similar service if folks want to hear them.


There are some Nelson fans here -- but why not YouTube them? Share 'em with the world!

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:04 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
jeremylr wrote:Appreciate it, Dr. John. A few days ago, a friend sent me copies of Singing The Blues, Rock & Roll Fool, & the complete 3:45 minute "You Got Me Gone". Finally got to hear them. They're not on YouTube. As the songs have never been released, I'm not sure what the protocol is on FECC, but I could probably post links to Rapidshare or some similar service if folks want to hear them.


There are some Nelson fans here -- but why not YouTube them? Share 'em with the world!



Chuck Berry, EPE, and other men in black won't allow him to.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:34 am

jeremylr wrote:Appreciate it, Dr. John. A few days ago, a friend sent me copies of Singing The Blues, Rock & Roll Fool, & the complete 3:45 minute "You Got Me Gone". Finally got to hear them. They're not on YouTube. As the songs have never been released, I'm not sure what the protocol is on FECC, but I could probably post links to Rapidshare or some similar service if folks want to hear them.


Try dropping a line to jesmelric. She's got a great YouTube channel for Rick Nelson fans and is always searching for video's and rare recordings -

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:58 am

Jimmie Haskell says that there was an error on the drums on the first You Know What I Mean, but Nelson's manager Greg McDonald used it on the original tv version of the All My Best album sold by Silver Eagle Records - double record set, 24 songs. The album was reissued after Rick's death as a single, 17 track album on MCA, with the second version of You Know What I Mean included. That version also came out as a single. The third version has never come out. I have a "live" version of One After 909 on a cd, but I suspect it is just a tv appearance of the band playing/singing along to pre-recorded backing. The other 1985 tracks I've heard, Singing the Blues and So Long aka You Got Me Gone, are both missing Bobby Neal's lead guitar, and have only scratch vocals from Rick. They were going to complete the album after the Christmas/New Years tour. Well, we all know what happened with that. :cry:

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:30 am

Hard to believe that it was almost thirty years ago. I remember as though it was yesterday, getting ready to go out for New Years Eve and the news came over the TV. Rick Nelson was only in Australia about six weeks before. He sang "If You Know What I Mean" on a Sunday morning current affairs program. They always had a music segment where artist who may have been touring Australia at the time would make guest appearances. I remeber being blown away by his performance. A huge shock when I heard the news of his tragic passing.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:40 pm

it's weird that his last recording was a buddy holly song then he died in a plane crash..

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:41 pm

The last song he sang onstage was Rave On, making the connection even more eerie.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:49 am

Iv'e heard part of the 1985 version of True Love Ways on youtube, but something happened to it. :( It was interesting. I only got to listen to about 15 seconds, but I could tell it was the 85' version because it sounded different than the 78' version. Hopefully one day these recordings will be released on cd. :D

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:01 am

Thanks very much, everyone, for all the info. I heard that the 1985 version of True Love Ways was partially played on Rick's A&E Biography in 1998 or maybe VH1's Behind The Music in 2001. Can anyone confirm this?
Last edited by jeremylr on Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:04 am

The Jimmie Haskell remarks concerning You Know What I Mean are also most appreciated. There are various YouTube videos of Rick doing the song. If someone can delineate between Version 1 & Version 2 with specific videos so I can hear them, please drop a line here along with the links. Thanks.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:18 am

Another question...does anyone know the whereabouts of Greg McDonald, Rick's manager from 1976 thru 1985? McDonald once fixed Colonel Parker's refrigerator and somehow became friends with him. He claimed to Rick that he was related to Colonel Parker but it wasn't true. The Elvis connection sealed the deal with Rick. His father, Ozzie, had passed away in 1975 from cancer, so Rick was in a vulnerable stage.

Greg McDonald had the final 1985 masters when author Philip Bashe wrote his 1992 bio, Teenage Idol, Travelin' Man. Bashe mentioned this in his book & that McDonald let him listen to them. McDonald is a controversial character...the Nelsons and most of Rick's musicians can't stand him. Regardless, he would be an invaluable source.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:47 pm

McDonald appeared on the A&E bio of Rick, I think, but it doesn't tell what he is doing nowadays. BTW, for those of you who do use Facebook, there are several of Rick's former band members from the 1970s versions of the Stone Canyon Band on there but I can only think of one of them right now: Dennis Larden (real name Dennis Sarokin).


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Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:32 pm

I've been in touch with several Stone Canyon Band members, and they did NOT like McDonald. I can't say anything bad about him myself, he was on the Behind the Music special and seemed like a decent guy. Probably not the best businessman, but I think he did the best he could for Rick.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:32 am

http://www.examiner.com/article/true-love-ways-a-glimpse-inside-the-tangled-web-of-rick-nelson-s-final-album
"True Love Ways: A glimpse inside the tangled web of Rick Nelson's final album"


I can't say how much everyone's contributions have helped me in my research. Tonight I finally published my 2-part feature on Rick's final album. Let me know what you think. Part 2, featuring interviews with Jimmie Haskell (Rick's longtime arranger, played accordion on GI Blues soundtrack), Sam Nelson, James Burton, author Philip Bashe [Teenage Idol, Travelin' Man: The Complete Biography of Rick Nelson, 1992], author Sheree Homer [Rick Nelson: Rock 'N' Roll Pioneer, 2012], and vintage anecdotes from Curb Records honcho Mike Curb and Rick Nelson musicologist James Ritz, is below.



http://www.examiner.com/article/as-long-as-we-had-him-rick-nelson-s-friends-and-family-recall-his-last-record
"As long as we had him: Rick Nelson's friends and family recall his last record"

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:56 am

jeremylr wrote:http://www.examiner.com/article/true-love-ways-a-glimpse-inside-the-tangled-web-of-rick-nelson-s-final-album
"True Love Ways: A glimpse inside the tangled web of Rick Nelson's final album"


I can't say how much everyone's contributions have helped me in my research. Tonight I finally published my 2-part feature on Rick's final album. Let me know what you think. Part 2, featuring interviews with Jimmie Haskell (Rick's longtime arranger, played accordion on GI Blues soundtrack), Sam Nelson, James Burton, author Philip Bashe [Teenage Idol, Travelin' Man: The Complete Biography of Rick Nelson, 1992], author Sheree Homer [Rick Nelson: Rock 'N' Roll Pioneer, 2012], and vintage anecdotes from Curb Records honcho Mike Curb and Rick Nelson musicologist James Ritz, is below.



http://www.examiner.com/article/as-long-as-we-had-him-rick-nelson-s-friends-and-family-recall-his-last-record
"As long as we had him: Rick Nelson's friends and family recall his last record"

It's a nice article, but there's no real hope this music is ever going to get a proper release. Thanks to the, uh, import cd industry, we got to hear One After 909, You Got Me Gone and Singin' the Blues, but so far none of the others have turned up. I wouldn't be surprised if the owners don't even know where they are now. The Nelson family has handled Rick's legacy very poorly. The only reason we got those Capitol cd's 10 years ago was because Bob Hyde at the label pushed for it.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:11 am

You never know, Lonely Summer, stranger things have happened. Hopefully both articles will get fans & folks in the know to start thinking about the album again. There hasn't been much writing on Rick's final album in quite awhile, and I wanted to remedy that.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:57 am

jeremylr wrote:You never know, Lonely Summer, stranger things have happened. Hopefully both articles will get fans & folks in the know to start thinking about the album again. There hasn't been much writing on Rick's final album in quite awhile, and I wanted to remedy that.

What people say publicly and what they say in private can differ quite dramatically. If I go by the words of those closest to Rick, these recordings will never come out officially. They don't believe they represent Rick at his best.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:59 pm

The "raw" recording of "True Love Ways" from the A&E Biography is truly a "raw and rough" listen....seeing the footage of the crash on the biography (which I bought a copy of after I saw it on A&E) was heartbreaking to see. Sheree Homer has a FB page dedicated to Rick and she's a friend of mine on there. I've also met former drummer Ty Grimes and a man named, Ian Cooke, who has a LOT of old television and concert footage of Rick. Denny Sarokin (Dennis Larden - SCB guitarist until 1978-1979 then the AWESOME John Beland stepped in (he also appeared with Rick on the night that Rick hosted "Saturday Night Live" and performed his new single, a cover of Bobby Darin's, "Dream Lover"...but, being stupid, MCA literally "sat" on the song for WEEKS - causing Rick to lose another chance at a comeback. That song, had the label been promoting Rick properly, should have been in the hands of radio DJs the following Monday morning.

Another show that Rick appeared on before his death was a show with Smokey Robinson and he performed the song, "You Know What I Mean" on the show. Rick's final television appearance was on September 13, 1985 on "Solid Gold" (with Marilyn McCoo as host).

The sad part about this is that, after his initial run of hits in the 1950s-1960s, and especially after "Garden Party" in 1972, none of the labels he wound up one knew what to do with him.

Another good (great book, IMO) to read is: "Lonesome Town - Ricky Nelson: The Story Of America's Favorite Family" by Jim Brady. It is the most in-depth biography on Rick that I have ever read. Readng about the crash and the events leading up to it had me in tears. The pilots, Brad Rank and Ken Ferguson, actually survived the accident but suffered major burns.

Re: Rick Nelson's Final, Unreleased 1985 Album for Curb Reco

Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:58 am

Thank you so much for posting the unreleased Rick songs. Incredible. I can't imagine them NOT being released!