Friday, December 01, 2006

Nora and I will be staying at the Sheraton near the Campus and near Chuck's Fish. I am not sure you know about Bennie Deer. He's in chapter 22 of the book. Ironically, he is playing drums in the band at the restuarant tomorrow night. According to sources, Bennie was one of the best drummers of the era and played with some of R&B's greats. I'll call you on your cell when we get close to Tuscaloosa. Can't wait to meet Tiger Jack as well.


I don't think I've ever met Bennie Deer but I'm a big fan of The Crowd Pleasers.
I really enjoyed your interview with Bennie in the book.

The following is an extraordinary email I received from wwwwwwwwwwyker describing the work he did with George Byrd, sax player with The Crowd Pleasers.

I was putting up a teaser "For Rent" sign on Wednesday at the corner of 30th Avenue & 15th Street when up walked George Byrd. I gave him a flyer for the book signing and showed him the book. He immediately wanted to see The Pieces of Eight so I turned to that section of the book and ,by God, there I was standing in the middle of the parking lot of Thomas's Rib Shack listening to George Byrd sing "Lonely Drifter".

That's something money can't buy.


Robert !
I recorded a 45 rpm record on GEORGE BYRD and DORETTA EPPS in 1967 or 68'...and I leased it to SHELBY SINGLETON at SSS INTERNATIONAL in NASHVILLE...met JEANIE C. RILEY that same was when HARPER VALLEY PTA was a hit...

I recorded GEORGE and DORETTA at The STUDIO that would later become MUSCLE SHOALS SOUND...The Cat that owned the studio would let me come in after hours and cut stuff for free,,,,BILL CONNELL was my drummer on that session ..he's the only one that I can remember as a session man.

If you see GEORGE BYRD ask him if he remembers this old record...he was just a young kid from T-Town...I think the song was called JUST AS LONG AS I HAVE YOUR LOVE.

ALSO PLEASE tell all of your readers to checkout our videos of DONNIE FRITTS, DAVID HOOD, SCOTT BOYER, PATTERSON HOOD and JASON ISABEL from THe DRIVE by TRUCKERS...They TAG WORD is MFV RADIO and it will bring all of our videos up....

WE had a great MFV Party and Raffle the FRIDAY after Thanksgiving..... PETE CARR won the grand prize which was a RED 4gig Ipod with MIGHTY FIELD of VISION inspribed on the back.

Maybe you can make the next party Ka$H Register...we'd love to have you !
Thanks !

Here's a Jerry Henry interview with the sax player for The Crowd Pleasers, George Byrd.

George how did you take up the saxophone?
I got my first saxophone when I was getting ready to go into the 7th grade. Which was back in 1955. I've been playing saxophone ever since.

Why the saxophone?
I saw people playing the sax on TV. I liked the sound and that is what I decided I wanted to play. I played in the school band. I started off with the beginners band in the 7th grade. I played with them for 1 year. Then I played in the main band until I graduated from Druid high school in 1961.

When did you start playing in rock and roll bands?
1956! My older brother, Earnest Hawkins, had a band called the Aces. He's still living and he lives up in Washington D.C. He was a trumpet player. The Aces played at the high school and the Elks Club. That was about the only black place you could play back in those days. The Elks Club was over on short 19th street.

After the Aces, what was your next band?
I had a high school group of my own called the Dominoes. It was actually a band and a singing group. When we were the singing group we called ourselves the Flamingos. Those two groups lasted about 30 years around here in one form or another.

How did you get from Tuscaloosa to Motown?
I decided to take a chance. I had some good friends in Detroit that told me to go talk to Barry Gordy. Mary Wells was a cousin of mine. He came down to visit and had Mary Wells with him one Christmas. We got together and that is when we recorded "Lonely Teardrops" with Jackie Wilson. At that time he was a independent record producer before Motown. I wanted a bicycle for Christmas and he wanted "Lonely Teardrops" so I traded him that song for a bicycle.

You wrote "Lonely Teardrops"?
Yes Sir I did! After that I went to Detroit and Barry started his own label, Motown, with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and all those other famous people you've heard about. The Funk Brothers played behind all those songs. You know James Jamerson, the bass player, and that bunch. I worked with them. Martha Reeves gave me my first audition. I worked with all of them like Stevie Wonder. Everybody pitched in. Sometimes they would need back up singers. They didn't care who you were, if your voice fit in, they would use you. The Temptations sang back up on my sessions that I recorded for Motown.

Where did you go after Motown?
I came back to Stillman. I was still in college when I did Motown. I was only about 19 or 20 years old. I had a music major and a music minor. I've got a music minor in saxophone from Stillman.

After college did you go on the road to make your living playing music?
Yes I did. I went on the road with Joe Simon. The guy that had the hits "Chokein Kind" and "You Keep Me Hangin On". We played all over the country. I had a chance to go to Europe with him but I turned him down. I told him I didn't want to go across the water. I don't regret it and I still don't have a desire to go. That's when I went to Muscle Shoals and did session work up there. I worded with Percy Sledge, Clarence Carter, all those folks that were recording in Muscle Shoals back then. I got to play with the Swappers, Jimmy Johnson, David Hood, Roger Hawkins, Clayton Ivey, Barry Beckett, all those guys.

Didn't you do "When a Man Loves a Woman"?
Yeah, that and "Slip Away". Lots of those songs.

Was "When a Man Loves a Woman" recorded in the little studio in downtown Sheffield or when they moved out on Jackson Hwy?
In that little studio in downtown Sheffield. That was for Fame, Rick Hall's studio with Quin Ivey.
What came after Muscle Shoals?
I went back on the road with my own bands, The Everyday People, Salt and Peppa, and today it's The Crowd Pleasers. Salt and Peppa was the house band at the Citizens Club for a long time.

Wasn't that when Jimmy Montgomery owned the Citizens Club?
That's right Jimmy Montgomery and Shorty Wilson owned it. There was a lot of fights there. When the fights started I would go the other way. (laughter) We played those places over in Northport, The Red Ox, The Shiloh, all of them. I played the VFW for a long time with Don Holt and that group.

You did some work up at Stax Records in Memphis, didn't you?
Yea, we played with Issac Hayes and all them. One of the musicians, Ray Thomas, was a band director. He was from Memphis and he knew all the musicians in Memphis. Some of them would come down here with him in the summer and we got to play with them. They would take our material back to Stax. I got to play with great musicians at Stax like Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Booker T. Jones, all those guys.

Which of your peers do you look up to as far as saxophone players?
Junior Walker and Hank Crawford are the people I looked up to when I was learning how to play.

You've been on the road through the good and the bad. Any regrets?
I don't have any regrets. I'm relieved to know that I wouldn't try some of the things now that I tried back when because now I know better. But I never did get on the drugs. I stayed away from the drug scene. I stayed clean.
George there's only one time in my life that I have seen you without that saxophone. You must truly love it.
All my girlfriends tell me it stays around my neck more than they do. (laughter) I call it my wife. I tell them why it stays around my neck. Because it feeds me, takes care of me, don't fuss, don't fight, and I don't have to pay it any alimony. (laughter)

George, any advice to anyone taking up the saxophone today?
Yes, I started out on alto, which is a small sax because I was so small. They thought the tenor and the baritone would be too big for me. I played alto for 12 years. I got my audition at Motown on alto instead of tenor. After I was there awhile they need a baritone sax player for the Supremes and that's how I started playing the baritone sax. I played on Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle, and Roll" with a baritone sax. I recommend the alto for anyone starting out.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Charlie Sealy Put A CANNON & A CHURCH BELL In Julia Chabannes Front Yard

robert register
to rarereads, juliarchabannes


You probably don't know me from Adam's housecat but I know a whole lot of folks who know you.

I work for Lee Pake Realty at 2609 University Boulevard and I'm helping Greg and Charles Morgan put this book signing together Saturday night. I graduated from Dothan High in '68 and came here and really never left.

I've traveled a lot & from '85 until '88.
I traveled between Canada and Ecuador for three years but I subleased my apartment in Tuscaloosa.

If you send me any of your reminiscences I WILL publish them on my blogs.


Tomorrow I plan on posting this on
BUT later I might publish it at
or maybe
& then again

but I guarantee you that you'll
PROBABLY never end up at

Hope you show up at Chuck's Saturday night.

Didn't you go to a lot of BUTTERMILK shows?

Robert Register

I never knew about the Allman Joys practicing in your house; I could have added at least another chapter and gotten this thing up to an even 13 pounds.

I do think our book distribution problems in Alabama may soon be resolved coutesy of Books-A-Million.

If there is a Volume II, you are going to be my first interview. I had no idea how famous you were; and you were certainly not my model for Charlena although you're cute enough.
Tell Jimmy, Hey for me.

Re: [Fwd: Greg Haynes, author of THE HEEEY BABY DAYS OF BEACH MUSIC, Will Be ...> > Hi Greg and Robert:

I'm a friend of Greg's in Atlanta, and I grew up in Tuscaloosa.

I kinda liked Joe Rudd when I was in high school and thought he was real cute. I went to his home in Northport a couple of times and listened to him practice.

Greg, I know that you are probably thinking that I was a band groupie and upon reflection, it seems that way to me, too !!

Robert, I had a big crush on Johnny Townsend, and I used to listen to the Allman Joys practice at Bill Connell's house on Hargrove Road. They also set up their equipment in my antebellum home on Greensboro Avenue and practiced when they were no longer welcome at the Connell home.

I saw Joe Rudd in Birmingham playing at a club that used to be called the Coal Yard and was formerly owned by Joe Namath's lawyer, Mike Bite. At the time I saw Joe in the early 1980s, the club was owned by my girl friend, Alice Salter. I am so very sorry to hear about Joe's declining health. What a very sad situation. I will keep him in my prayers. I shall look up his photos in Greg's book when I get home this evening.

Greg, I hate to hear what a hard time everyone is having getting your book.
What can be done about this ?? I never did get back to the Buckhead store to purchase any additional books, so I only have one.
I still want at least two

Thanks for sharing the information about Joe Rudd. I'll be in touch.

Julia Chabannes
Tuscaloosa High 1967
Go Bears !!!

Subject :
I Must Be Fucked In The Head To Be Helping a Left Wing S.O.B. Like You Out , But Damn!

From Strode's THE PAGEANT OF CUBA, page 203-204:

Briefly, by its more significant terms, Cuba bound herself not to incur debts inconsistent with her current revenues, to continue the sanitation administration installed by the military government, to lease to the United States lands necessary for establishing a naval base, and to grant the right of intervention. A violent and bitter struggle ensued before the Convention at length accepted the conditions of the amendment. Volumes have been written on the subject of the Platt Amendment pro and con by various Cubans and Americans. Certain American statesmen became vehemently abusive, shouting that the nation had broken faith with Cuba and made Cuba slaves. Some Cubans would have preferred to have its terms stronger.

From page 207:

So overflowing with ecstasy at the realization of liberty, on the night of Ascension Day Eve, the Cubans achieved the climax of entertaining and celebration. All day citizens of Havana had been larding their houses with flowers and hanging streamers and bolts of bright-colored silks from windows and balconies. Pastry cooks had drenched themselves in rivers of perspiration to concoct masterpieces in sugar. Chefs had tasted their own sauces until their palates were all but numb. The darkest, coolest corners of wine cellars had been raided of their most precious vintage wines. Stable boys had done their work a dozen times over, sleeking newly imported horses and making new-bought silver-studded harness dazzlingly respendent. Barbers and hairdressers had worked so continuously and feverishly that by late afternoon their razors and irons were dangerously like torture instruments, and they were squirting perfumes and slopping lotions with the prodigality of bathers pranking with seawater.
Ladies' maids were in such states of excitement and fatigue that they kept themselves going only by sniffing their mistesses' smelling salts.

When darkness fell, festival sprang full-blown like Pallas Athene from the brow of Zeus. Joy smothered Havana in a delirious embrace. The purple-tongued leopards of Bacchus ranged unleashed through every street with hypnotic yellow eyes. American soldiers got on their final drunk, and took prolonged farewell of dusky-eyed senoritas, who this night were not purse-conscious. The Cuban bourgeoisie, intoxicated with an idea rather than drink, made sudden jungle yells and kissed each other's checks resoundingly. Country families with strings of offspring gaped and gawked, marked time to the beating of the Guinea drums and maracas, and strolled throughout the night like troops of somnabulists.

Break a leg,kapn.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hey y'all:

It's confirmed!

Greg Haynes will have a book signing at Chuck's Fish {old Mezzanine on Greensboro} in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, December 2 at 6:30 P.M. Central Time.

We got to get the word out so we need all the help we can get!

Call me at Pake Realty 205-759-1906 or if you fo' real, call me on my Buie Cell: 205-239-5401


Greg Haynes' Masterpiece, HEEEY BABY DAYS, Brought More Joy To The V.A. Hospice Today!


Joe Rudd & THE DISTORTIONS at Tuscaloosa's Ft. Brandon Armory
courtesy of

I called Joe and asked him if he wanted to see the book and he told me he wanted me to come by about 5 this afternoon.

When I got to his room, Joe was alone so I opened the book on the side of the bed and showed him the picture of the Distortions, the Battle of the Bands poster with the Distortions and all the other Tuscaloosa related pictures.

About that time Joe's brother and other members of his family showed up and they were so excited that Joe got to see the book. Joe's brother really has tried to get the book. Somebody at the Tuscaloosa News told him he could get it at Books-A-Million and when he drove out there, they didn't even have it in their list of books available. His computer was down so he drove into a Holiday Inn Express and used their computer to order it from the website
He was really disappointed that he couldn't have the book Fed Ex'ed.

Everyone was so happy with the book. Joe's brother had all the family gather around Joe's hospital bed to get their picture taken while Joe was looking at the book. Then Joe's brother had me hold the book next to Joe and he took a picture of Joe and me with the book.

Joe responded the most to the picture of The Old Dutch. He said loudly,"Oh, I remember that place!"

No way to express our gratitude to you Greg for what you have accomplished and shared with us.

Joe Rudd is not long for this world but this afternoon he looked like he was feeling no pain and his mind was definitely back in the HEEEY BABY DAYS OF BEACH MUSIC!


Greg, you really made the Rudd family happy tonight.