Learn about the music history of Memphis. Or plan your next trip to Memphis, Tennessee with this map.
Memphis’ contribution to the history of popular music is amazing. Soul, gospel, funk, blues or rock ‘n’ roll wouldn’t be the same without the musical creativity of this city.
The map shows the places where music history was made. See where the music was played and recorded. Find the homes of Aretha Franklin, Maurice White or W.C. Handy. Learn about forgotten swing legend Jimmy Lunceford.
Al Green, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, B.B. Kind, O.V. Wright, Albert King, Memphis Minnie and many more contributed to the great music of Memphis.
The rockabilly discography Rockin’ Country Style (RCS) is a hard labor of love. In 1979 Terry Gordon started working on it and it has been growing ever since.
Terry Gordon’s rockabilly discography concentrates on the years 1951 – 1964 and includes music that blends country, rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll. The meticulous discography include dates, label and numbers, label shots and sometimes music samples. It also links the original songs to compilations.
The database is very user friendly because you can access it through artists, labels, song titles, and chronological or geographical listing.
So, if you love rockabilly, check this site out. But be careful, it can be addictive.
The year was 1968. The Canadian rock band The Collectors decided to record a hit single in a former meat packing plant in Los Angeles. The psychedelic song Lydia Purple was the result. Glenn Miller, who played electric bass and sang background vocals for The Collectors, shares his memories with Lost & Sound.
“Lydia Purple was a blatant attempt at getting an AM radio hit”, admits Glenn Miller. That may explain why the song sounds like a super group consisting of The Beatles, The Bee Gees, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who and The Mamas & Papas. But compared to British productions of that era, The Collectors sounded much better. Not only, because they were more accomplished musicians than your average rock musician.
Producer David Hassinger also contributed to the polished sound: “Hassinger and his head engineer Richie Podler had a lot to do with the sound on that album. Hassinger used his trademark ‘tape delayed echo’ technique on it. I believe that album was recorded on an 8 track tape machine, a Scully, I think. The monitor speakers were modified Altec studio monitors and the playback amps were McIntosh tube amps.”
Lydia Purple was recorded at American Sound in North Hollywood. “Great little studio”, says Miller, “used to be an old cold storage meat packing plant. The walls were over a foot thick and filled with sawdust for insulation. The Greatful Dead recorded their first album there with Hassinger producing.”
While most pop and rock musicians of the sixties didn’t play their instruments on records (this was the task of professional studio musicians), The Collectors played their instruments themselves.
“We all played on that session”, Glenn Miller remembers. “I played a fretless Fender Precision bass , Ross Turney on drums, Bill Henderson on guitar and recorder, Claire Lawrence on sax and recorder and Howie Vickers on lead vocal. Bill, Claire and myself sang background harmonies.”
“We hired a string arranger and brought in some studio players who played in the symphony for the string overdubs. They did a lot of that work – three guys and a girl. They called themselves ‘The Hollywood String Quartet’. And we had Los Angeles studio musician Larry Knechtel who played piano and electric harpsichord.”
Unusual for a pop song are the dynamics of Lydia Purple. “We didn’t use much compression on any of the tracks. Bass was recorded with a mic in front of the amp. Same with guitars. The drums were Ross Turney’s personal set of Ludwigs”, explains Miller.
Lydia Purple was released as a single in both the USA and Canada. The song is on the first Collectors album, titled simply The Collectors. “It made the Billboard charts but not very high”, Miller says. “It was a regional hit in a number of cities in the USA. And a big hit in Canada. It’s the most different sounding song of any we recorded then and was where we started to develop our vocal harmony sound, which was pretty hip for the time.”
The Collectors (1968): Claire Lawrence, Glenn Miller, Bill Henderson, Howie Vickers, Ross Turney
Today it’s the birthday of rock and blues singer Janis Joplin (1943 – 1970). She was the first big female rock star. In the sixties she mesmerized the rock audiences with a voice that was raw and tender at the same time. Unfortunately, her drug abuse killed her way too early.
But let’s not mourn. Let’s watch this incredible performance of hers in Germany from 1969 instead. Pay attention to when Janis invites the audience on stage – she really tries hard to make the Germans dance. But to no avail.
Then I suggest you watch the Dick Cavett Interview. Janis complains about the stiff European audience: “Nobody rocks over there, (…) they don’t get down”. You can catch a glimpse of the real Janis, not the “rock star”. She doesn’t want to be called a star: “Call me a singer” she tells Cavett. In this interview she’s sensitive, humorous, intelligent and a little bit shy.
Before we finish, I’d like to supply you with a little bit of trivia: Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas. Interestingly this is the same place, where Lee Hazlewood (1929 – 2007) spent some of his teenage years. Hazlewood was a singer, songwriter and producer. He wrote and produced the Nancy Sinatra classic “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” and recorded some duets with Nancy Sinatra, too.
You must be logged in to post a comment.