1953 - 1956
privileged to record with some great older musicians who had much
experience. Piano players: Willard McDaniel, Meadlux Lewis,
Henry McDade, Jimmy Bunn, and Austin L. McCoy.
Bass Player: Buddy Woodson, Ralph "Chuck" Hamilton,
and Ted Brinson. Saxophonist:
"Bumps" Myers . Drummer: Jessie Price
. Most of these were the musicians that I would work with
at Austin L. McCoy's Studio. When I would work at
Ted Brinson's Studio on 30th Street in Los Angeles,
it would be a different group of musicians. I also would do
recording at Louis Jackson's "C" Note Recording Studio
in Culver City, CA. Louis was a great
guitar player. He turned his whole house into a studio, with each
room like a different booth separating sections of the bands. While
Ted Brinson and Austin
McCoy's studios were "garage studios", in which we would
record each section one at a time, Louis Jackson's
was set up so that the whole band could be recorded at the
same time, due to the different rooms that he would use. This was
all great "schooling" for me and I took it all in, including the
technical aspects that I learned while talking to Austin,
Ted , and Louis , about
the recording equipment that they were using. Great excitement came
when these studios went from monaural, 1track, to
stereo, 2 track machines. All used Ampex mono and 2
track machines, while Ted , also used the first
Concertone Series 90 recorders as well.
"Lucky" Hawkins , who recorded a number of vocal
groups and used my band for these. We recorded at a studio in Los
Angeles around Adams Blvd and San Pedro Street. I don't remember the
name of the studio, but we did a lot of recordings there.
"Lucky" teamed up with "Cholly" Williams
, who also engineered some of those early recordings. It
was at one of these sessions that I met my long-time friend and
colleague, Jackie Kelso, who at the time was
working with Johnny Otis' Band and Roy
Milton's "Solid Senders" Band. Little did I know that I
would one day be privileged to work with these popular bands
as a guitar player.
My first guitar was a Harmony
acoustic. I bought it at a pawn shop in Dallas, Texas.
I worked at a place in Dallas called Triangle Motors Grill
as a dish -washer. I was about 9 years old when I saw the
guitar in the pawn shop window. I told my father about it and
he got it for me. Of course, I paid for it but still he made
the deal since I was a minor.
When I got home to show it to my mother, she took it,
tuned it and played a song called Colorado. What a shock!
My parents paid for my first private lessons on guitar
starting in 1953, when I studied with Bob Bennett at the
Southern California Music Store in Downtown Los Angeles. I
later met Herman Michell, who was with a number of name
groups, including The Famous Ink Spots, The Platters, Ernie
Freeman and others. He taught me chord progressions and theory
as well as useful playing techniques. I worked in small clubs
in order to pay for my lessons and upkeep of my instruments. I
was happy to earn "five cents" ($5.00 a night.)