Saturday, November 14, 2009

(by Bob DiPiero, Tommy Douglas )

Hank Williams sang it
Number 3 drove it
Chuck Berry twanged it
Will Faulkner wrote it
Aretha Franklin souled it
Dolly Parton graced it
Rosa Parks rode it
Scarlett O’ chased it

Smooth as the hickory wind
That blows from Memphis down to Apalachicola
It’s, “Hi y’all! Did ya eat? Well?”
Come on in child
Sure glad to know ya
Don’t let this old gold cross
An’ this Allman Brothers t-shirt throw ya
It’s cicadas making noise
With a southern voice

Hank Aaron smacked it
Michael Jordan dunked it
Pocahontas tracked it
Jack Daniels drunk it
Tom Petty rocked it
Dr. King paved it
Bear Bryant won it
Billy Graham saved it

Smooth as the hickory wind
That blows from Memphis down to Apalachicola
It’s, “Hi y’all! Did ya eat well?”
Come on in I’m sure glad to know ya
Don’t let this old gold cross
An’ this Crimson Tide t-shirt throw ya
It’s cicadas making noise
With a southern voice

Jesus is my friend
America is my home
Sweet iced tea and Jerry Lee
Daytona Beach
That’s what gets to me
I can feel it in my bones

Smooth as the hickory wind
That blows from Memphis down to Apalachicola
It’s, “Hi y’all! Did ya eat well?”
Come on in child I’m sure glad to know ya
Don’t let this old gold cross
An’ this Charlie Daniels t-shirt throw ya
We’re just boys making noise
With a southern voice

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Southern Voice
I got a southern voice
A southern voice

Friday, November 13, 2009

Colonel John McKee (image courtesy of
The following text courtesy of
Recent correspondence from Patty Knapke, great great great (great?) granddaughter of William Houston McKee, brother of Col. John McKee, prompted my cousin Mia to research and write about Col. McKee, who was dear to our family:

Mia writes (to Ms. Knapke): The Hill of Howth, I am sad to say, is no longer standing, having been dismantled by the heir in the 1960s I believe(ed. note: pretty sure it was demolished in 1944), claiming that it had termites, to the grief and outrage of his whole generation, all of whom had gone there as children in the summer to visit their grandmother and grandfather. However, his sister built a house in Boligee with the logs(ed. note: this is the Bayer House outside of Eutaw on the Eutaw to Greensboro Road). Some in the family suspected that he had boasted about a plantation house and was ashamed of what was in fact a rambling (and much loved) log house.

Though I suspect that you have researched Col. John McKee's public life, your letter has prompted me to do some internet research this morning using some parameters I have not used before, and have found for the first time an account of Col. McKee's part in the dealings with the eastern native people, specifically the Choctaw of which only remains survive in my family, and of his activities with Andrew Jackson in Florida. I am grateful to you for the opportunity. These appear in the attachment to this letter with the other things that I have found. buried somewhere in the last entry (accounts of Alabama specifically) is the information that Col. John McKee was a native of Virginia. This would link him with something I did not copy (not being sure that it was relevant) about Indian raids and massacres in Virginia in the period before the Revolution written by or involving a McKee family. I'm so sorry I didn't save the reference. If you choose to research it, I used the parameters "John McKee Andrew Jackson Indian," and the article in question came up with a green background, presumably from a site relating to your family.

To return to the Hill of Howth: It was obviously named for the Hill of Howth in Ireland, and I gather from my wanderings on the internet that the McKees are an Irish family. The original house was built on a hill (where there was at least one artesian spring) at a place, as family history has it, shown to Col. McKee by the local Native people when he first came to what became Greene County, Alabama as federal agent to the Chickasaw Indians. It was the first house in the area (which fact appears somewhere in the attachments). The original part of the house was built by Indian labor.

Our ancestor, William Proctor Gould (grandfather of the second WPGould who was born shortly after the Civil War) was originally from Salem, Massachusetts. He came to Alabama in 1822 from several years working in France at Marseilles, and was was appointed postmaster and register of the Land Office at Tuscaloosa. In 1828 he became a member of a commission to settle the affairs of the Alabama State Bank. At some time--perhaps immediately upon his arrival and as part of that commission, he became secretary to Col. John McKee.

A warm friendship grew up between the older man, an Indian fighter who had ridden with Andrew Jackson in the (incursions, actually) against the Indians in Spanish Florida (see atached document) and younger man, apparently a charming, urbane and educated man and with his equally charming wife Mary Eliza Chotard Gould who had been raised in New Orleans and whose brother (Henri de Chotard) had been aide de camp to Andrew Jackson at the time of the Battle of New Orleans. In time Col. McKee apparently came to regard them much as his children and named WPGould as his heir. (It was his journals, now in microfilm form at the University of Alabama, from which Jim Sturges quoted in his response to you.)

At some point in their relationship, the Goulds moved to the Hill of Howth. I suspect that this may have been during the time when John McKee (according to one item in the attached document) served as Senator from Alabama, when the plantation at the Hill of Howth would have required oversight; this would be a natural responsibility of Co. McKee's secretary, if that was still WPG's post. I don't know whether WPG was named his heir by this time or not. In any case he and his wife (and children by then, I believe) lived with Col. John McKee in his age and cared for him until his death.

Their eldest son, John McKee Gould, (my great grandfather, Jim Sturges's gg-grandfather), was his namesake. His eldest son, (our direct ancestor's William P. Gould II's 's older brother), whom Jim Sturges mentioned in his reply to you, was the second of that name. It was the heir of that second John McKee Gould who tore down the house. Which cousin he was, I am not sure.

My mother has a black and white copy of a portrait of Col. John McKee which once hung in the State House in Alabama, but was destroyed in a fire there. He is a craggy looking man with a long face and serious mein, rather what you would expect of a man who had spent a good deal of time on the frontier.

So far as I know, John McKee never married. There is a story in the family, however, that he had a "common-law Indian wife," whom he could never have married of course, under the miscegenation laws of the time, whatever his regard for her. Three facts-- that this story made it to later generations through the verbal delicacy of the Victorian Civil War era, and that my own mother , who is still living, knew her grandfather John McKee Gould who probably knew Col. McKee when he was a boy, and that front porch family stories were part of the fabric of their summer lives--lead me to assume that the story is accurate, if sadly sketchy. Also the use of the relatively respectful term "common-law wife" indicates a certain regard for the relationship and both parties to it.

One other possible clue--some years ago, searching in the genealogical records in North Carolina's genealogy lists I came across a thread in the Cherokee section from someone searching the name McKee who said that there was a tradition in her family that there was some Indian blood several generations back. I wrote to her with this story, but her email address was no longer active and my letter came back. Though that the native peoples of that area of Alabama is Chickasaw and (at least now) Creek, there is just some possibility that this is a trace of children of that relationship.

There is no question that your gggg-uncle John McKee was much loved and admired by our family, which has made him one of its own, as he made our grandparents part of his.

I hope that the attached documents are not all just duplicates of things in your possession. I would love to know more about your ancestor, John McKee's brother, and about their family,and would be delighted to hear from you if I can be of any further help. If I should come across any other enlightening facts, I will send them to you. thank you for giving me the occasion to check my facts and do some more digging.

With warm regards,
Mia Shargel (Millicent Doll Shargel)

1. Historic American Buildings Survey W. N. Manning, Photographer, April 3, 1934, FRONT VIEW of Hill of Howth, built near Boligee with Indian labor in 1816.

4. Historic American Buildings Survey Alex Bush, Photographer, June 15, 1935 VIEW ON BACK PORCH, SHOWING STAIRS
HABS ALA,32-BOLI.V,1-4 (check out how well the logs are joined)

9. Historic American Buildings Survey Alex Bush, Photographer, June 15, 1935 OLD SMOKE HOUSE

k you very much Robert, I appreciate your attention to detail and look forward to hearing from you again soon.

Not far from Boligee we have the "Hill of
Howth,the pioneer house of Colonel John McKee - Indian agent
to the Choctaw and Cherokee, and later member of the House of

This structure is the oldest
known to exist in West Central Alabama, constructed
in 1816. Its Charm lies largely in the fact that it is
a log structure, the logs still showing the marks of the whip
saw, the house is in a splendid state of preservation and has
been continually occupied for three generations by Goulds.

The home is reminiscent of the pioneer;
Carefully preserves records and books of John McKee and particularly as concerns correspondence with
Lafayette's visit to Alabama. Accompanying illustrations
show the excellent preservation and character of this home,
Interior view showing the whip saw with which the timbers
were cut.

Source of Materials E. Walter Burkhardt, District Officer, HA£S.
' Auburn, Alabama.

Colonel John McKee
was an Indian agent and was the first U.S. Representative from Tuscaloosa serving in the 18th Congress (1823-1825), the 19th Congress (1825-1827) and the 20th Congress (1827-1829).

Colonel McKee devoted his entire adult life to the grand American design of kicking the Spanish out of Florida, paying off the extensive Indian debts to traders with the money the tribes got from the treaties that extinguished their land title and then moving them all to Oklahoma.

As you read the following chronology, please ask yourself, "Why hasn't anyone ever written anything of importance about this man?"

I have NEVER found an extensive biographical essay, much less a book, on the incredible life of this Alabama pioneer. That is hard to believe.

Colonel John McKee

1771: born in Rockbridge County, Virginia to John and Ester (Houston) McKee. Ester was Sam Houston's aunt so Sam was McKee's first cousin.
Educated at Liberty Hall Academy, now Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

1792: Tennessee Governor Blount appointed McKee commissioner to the Cherokees to run the survey of the Holston Treaty Line.

1793: Appointed subagent to the Cherokees.

1794: escorted a group of Chickamauga Cherokee chiefs to the national capitol in Philadelphia & helped negotiate the Treaty of Tellico Blockhouse with the Cherokees.

1797: During the Ellicott survey of the first U.S. boundary and the Blount Conspiracy, he was appointed a special agent of the War Department to go to Mobile and suggest Indian land cessions which could be used to pay Indian debts to Indian traders in Spanish Florida.

1799: Replaced Mitchell as agent to the Choctaws.

1801: Negotiated and signed the Treaty of Ft. Adams with the Choctaws.

1802- 1813: Served as agent to the Chickasaws.

1805: Signed the Treaty of Mount Dexter with the Choctaws.

1807: Aaron Burr attempted to contact him in order to find out how many Indians McKee could raise for the army needed for Burr's Conspiracy.

1810: Appointed by President Madison to go to Florida and begin a revolution to overthrow the Spanish government.

: McKee was in Nashville when the messenger arrived with the news of Ft. Mims. General Andrew Jackson ordered McKee to raise an army of Choctaws & Chickasaws and to go and burn Black Warrior's Town.

1814: Led an army of Choctaw & Chickasaw to the Falls of the Black Warrior & burned the village of Black Warrior's Town.

1816: Negotiated the Treaty of the Choctaw Indian Trading House which extinguished all Indian title to the land that became the City of Tuscaloosa.

1816: Built HILL OF HOWTH plantation near Boligee.

smokehouse at Hill of Howth

HILL OF HOWTH image courtesy

1818: Appointed to a commission to convince the Choctaws to move west of the Mississippi River.

1821: Resigned as Choctaw Indian agent and was then appointed by the President to be the first Register of the Land Office in Tuscaloosa.

1822: Resigned as Register of the Land Office and got his "adopted son", William Proctor Gould, appointed Register and Post Master of Tuscaloosa.
McKee ran for Congress and won.

1823-1829: Served as U.S. Representative from the Tuscaloosa District during the 18th Congress, the 19th Congress and the 20th Congress.

1830: Attended the negotiations for the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek which extinguished title to all Choctaw land east of the Mississippi River.

1832: Died at Hill of Howth. Left his estate to William Proctor Gould and provided a quarterly payment of gold to a half-breed son.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I have Bob Weston's mural painted on the pine paneling of The Brothers Motorcycle Club.

image by Michael Palmer

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hey knucklehead!

Really good images of jo' Eagle Scout.

Great Perkins post too might I add.

I bivouacked with my Webelos Grandson Burke at Alaflo several weeks ago. If I had known then what I know now I would have continued Scouting when I moved here in 63' just to go to Alaflo. What a great ole' camp.



Hey y'all~

I came up with my latest
MASTER PLAN today so the next two years are set in stone. Can't wait to see what happens on November 11, 2011 !!!!

Session Man
article courtesy of
How many people do you know who almost joined The Rolling Stones? That experience is just one of many that comprise the unusual musical odyssey of Birmingham guitarist Wayne Perkins.
October 29, 2009

In 1973, Island Records released Catch a Fire, the major-label debut of Jamaican band The Wailers, featuring a then-unknown Bob Marley. The album includes the reggae classics "Concrete Jungle" and "Stir It Up." Few music fans are aware, however, that those songs' memorable guitar parts (on one of the first albums that helped turn reggae into a worldwide sensation) were played by Birmingham guitar virtuoso Wayne Perkins. Decades later, on a recent afternoon at his Center Point home, Perkins recalls his memory of the session.

The Wailers had recorded the album's basic tracks in Jamaica a year earlier. Marley took the tapes to London where he supervised overdubs suggested by Island Records president Chris Blackwell to flesh out the Wailers' barebones sound into something more palatable for American and European audiences. Blackwell brought in Perkins and John "Rabbit" Bundrick, veteran session player and current keyboardist for The Who, to add riffs that went officially uncredited until the album was re-released in a "deluxe edition" in 2001 (the set features both the widely known mix as well as the original Wailers version).

"Chris Blackwell came to Muscle Shoals to record Jim Capaldi's Oh How We Danced. Paul Kossoff, Free's guitar player, was there. [Steve] Winwood was there, and all of us became buddies," says Perkins, who was doing session work at Muscle Shoals Sound at the time. While at the studio, Blackwell heard the band Smith Perkins Smith that Perkins had formed with brothers Tim and Steve Smith, from Homewood. Impressed, Blackwell signed the group and took them to Europe to launch the band's career. "The first date we ever played was at the Cavern Club in Liverpool," recalls Perkins. "We were living out our rock 'n' roll dream a little bit." Smith Perkins Smith were soon touring Europe opening for Free, Uriah Heep, Fairport Convention, and Mott the Hoople, among other groups.

A few of the well-known albums Wayne Perkins has performed on. (click for larger version)

In the documentary Bob Marley & the Wailers: Catch a Fire (one in a series covering classic albums), Chris Blackwell says that the Wailers' record was "enhanced [with overdubs and other elements atypical of reggae] to try and reach a rock market. What I was trying to merge [reggae] into was more of a sort of hypnotic-type feel with a kind of wah-wah [guitar] feel and different sorts of guitar going all the way through, and make it much less a reggae rhythm and more of a sort of drifting feel. . . . It's particularly distinctive because of Wayne Perkins' playing . . . this is the sound that started the album. 'Concrete Jungle' introduced Bob Marley and the Wailers to the world."

Perkins continues: "We were in the middle of working on a Smith Perkins Smith album in London, and I ran into Blackwell on the spiral staircase at Island Records. He said that he had some reggae music that he wanted me to try to play on. I really wasn't familiar with hardcore reggae. He wanted me to 'do that Southern rock guitar thing, or whatever you do.' So I met Marley, but just briefly. I didn't know any of these guys. And the first thing I noticed when I walked downstairs was that the basement was in a fog. Lots of [marijuana] smoke. It was too funny. I tried to get down to business."

With guitar in hand, waiting to begin recording his part, Perkins requested an explanation of how to approach this music with which he was unfamiliar. "Blackwell explained that the bass drum, sock cymbal, and the snare [drum] are on the one and three [beats]. He told me to ignore the bass guitar because it was more of a lead instrument [as opposed to a bass's typical role as a rhythm instrument]. It's great music, but it's kinda weird in that everything feels like it's being played backwards. 'Concrete Jungle' was the very first thing that I was handed. That was the most out-of-character bass part I'd ever heard. But because the keyboards and the guitars stay locked together doing what they're doing all through the song, that was sorta my saving grace. I thought I could follow the song, but I still didn't know what I was going to do on guitar. So I started doodling on the front of it, and I told the sound engineer to start over about halfway through it. Then I started picking up a little something here and there. I nailed that guitar solo down on the second or third take, I think. It was a gift from God, because I really didn't know what the hell I was doing. And then Marley came into the recording room. He was cartwheeling, man, he couldn't get over what had just happened to his song, he was so excited. I couldn't understand a damn thing he was saying. And he was cramming this huge joint down my throat and wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. He got me real, real high."

Meeting the Muscle Shoals Sound
Though Perkins was only 21 when he played on Catch a Fire, he already had several years of professional studio experience under his belt. He was 15 when he recorded with producer Emory Gordy in Atlanta in the mid-1960s. By age 16, Perkins had dropped out of high school to play music for a living. In 1969, the 18-year-old Perkins moved to Muscle Shoals to work at a studio called Quinvy's for $100 a week. A year later, he took over lead guitar chores at Muscle Shoals Sound (MSS) when session guitarist, songwriter, and soul singer Eddie Hinton quit to pursue a career as a recording artist. "Eddie told me, 'I'm leaving here. You want this gig? Duane's gone and he ain't coming back. He's busy,'" Perkins recalls. (Duane Allman played lead guitar on sessions in Muscle Shoals in the late 1960s before forming the Allman Brothers Band.)

Perkins says he will never forget his "job interview" at Muscle Shoals Sound. "I went in to talk to Jimmy Johnson [Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section guitarist and MSS sound engineer]. He handed me a stack of records about two feet tall, and it's albums of all these different players, all the greatest guitar players," says Perkins. "Johnson said, 'I tell you what. You want this job? You want to be one of us? I don't want to be sitting in the control room with [Atlantic Records executives] Ahmet Ertegun or Jerry Wexler and ask you to give me a little something more like a Cornell Dupree lick or a little more 'Duane Allman kind of blues' in style, and you not be able to do so. Any kind of guitar lick I ask you for, I don't want to see any kind of doubt on your face. You just nod your head and go on with it. Don't embarrass me in front of Ahmet or Wexler because these guys are our bread and butter.' So I went home and took about two weeks and consumed that stack of records. And I got the gig."



Wayne Perkins, left, chatting with Eddie Hinton in Muscle Shoals in the 1970s. Perkins would soon inherit Hinton's job as lead guitarist for the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios' house band. (click for larger version)

Perkins recalls an after-hours Joe Cocker session at MSS when the studio's regular musicians and staff had gone home. "I walked into the recording room with my bass, I'm thumping around. It was me and [drummer] Jim Keltner and Cocker. Everybody's sitting around high as a kite, didn't know what to do. They'd been that way all week, hadn't gotten anything done. And Cocker's sitting back there rolling these long joints with hash and grass, and apparently something else that I wasn't aware of. They're sitting back there in the recording room not doing anything, and then I go back there to check on them and they handed me this joint and I took a couple of hits off of it. I started thumping on my bass and both of my hands started going numb. I went over and laid down on the couch, and I woke up the next morning with the bass still strapped on me. And it's almost time for a Ronnie Milsap session. Somebody said to me, 'You better get some coffee.'"

Around the World with Leon Russell
Perkins' work on the Wailers' Catch a Fire caught the ears of several prominent names in the music industry, including the Rolling Stones and Leon Russell, with whom Perkins had worked at MSS for the album Leon Russell and the Shelter People. "After Blackwell signed us and got us to England, we started on our second album and got halfway through it, then he stopped it," Perkins says. Smith Perkins Smith soon broke up. The guitarist returned to the States in 1973 and within a few weeks Leon Russell called to offer him the lead guitar spot in his legendary backing band. "There was a first-class airline ticket to Tulsa waiting for me, and the tour was starting within weeks," Perkins recalls. "Leon picked me up in this Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud in Tulsa with a couple of chicks, and we go out for steaks bigger than our heads. He told me I had less than a week to learn the Leon Live album, a three-record set. So I said, 'That ain't a hell of a lot of time, Leon.' I didn't sleep for three or four days. I listened to that album over and over. But thanks to Leon, I got to see the world. With Smith Perkins Smith I had lived in England, toured Europe, and all that. But Russell took me to Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Indonesia, Hong Kong; it was just unbelievable. Great times. I'd done more before I hit age 25 than most people will ever dream of. For my money, that was the best band I ever played with."

After a world tour, Russell disbanded the Shelter People. His next backing group was comprised of fellow Oklahomans The Gap Band. "We went out to this place called the Rose Room in Tulsa and there was The Gap Band. And they were kicking ass, the whole place was going crazy," Perkins says. "So we picked The Gap Band up, but Leon kept the Shelter People drummer—Chuck Blackwell—and me, because Chuck knew where all the changes were, and Leon was always one to throw changes and stuff at you that nobody in the band had ever heard before. We went from first-class airline tickets with the Shelter People to a bus with The Gap Band. Leon wanted to go out and get funky, put his cowboy hat on."

"Wayne picks up a guitar and does stuff with his fingers that other people can't do, and they couldn't do if they worked on it all their lives." —Boutwell Studios' Mark Harrelson

It was Russell who coined the nickname bestowed on the Muscle Shoals Sound house band. "Leon came up with the term 'The Swampers' for the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section when he recorded there. [The Swampers were immortalized in Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama."] Shortly after that, Ronnie Van Zant and them were in Muscle Shoals recording Skynyrd's first album and I had a copy of Leon's album [where he mentioned the Muscle Shoals Swampers in the liner notes]. I showed it to Ronnie. Leon had a song on there called "Home Sweet Oklahoma," which is where Ronnie got the idea for 'Sweet Home Alabama.'"

Joni Mitchell and a Pink Paisley Guitar
Perkins went to Los Angeles around 1973 to visit Jackson Browne and ended up at A&M studios, where Joni Mitchell was recording her masterpiece Court and Spark. "Yeah, that was a real special thing for me. I stopped in at A&M where Joni was cutting," recalls Perkins, who also had a romantic fling with Mitchell. Mitchell was recording in a studio across the hall from Browne. "Joni came out of her studio and I said hello and we started talking," he remembers. "She asked if I wanted to hear what she was working on. Joni and I hit it off. Oh boy, did we ever hit it off!"



Perkins met Joni Mitchell in a Hollywood studio in 1973. He ended up playing guitar on portions of her Court and Spark album. (click for larger version)

"So the next day I went to see her at the place she was sharing with David Geffen over in Beverly Hills—this big, huge mansion. Geffen lived in one half and she lived in the other. I ended up going into the studio with her a couple of nights. I was watching Tom [Scott] overdub instrumental parts on 'Car on a Hill' when Joni asked me, 'Do you hear anything on this?' I did, but all my gear was with Leon. So we got her band's equipment but the guitar wouldn't stay in tune on the bottom three strings, so I told her this wasn't going to work like I wanted it to. I pointed to this huge anvil guitar case in the studio that had 'James Burton' [Elvis Presley's guitar player in the 1970s] written on the side of it. It's 3 a.m. Joni was hesitant to mess with it. But I flipped the case open and there was that pink paisley Telecaster [Burton's signature guitar]. I told her, 'Here's what we're gonna do, we're gonna do some city sounds like you want.' So I took Burton's Telecaster and I overdubbed the slide parts on "Car on a Hill" on James Burton's guitar. When I put the guitar back in the case, I folded the damn strap different than the way I found it, so he'd know somebody had messed with it [laughs]."

"The whole thing sounded real rough, too. It kinda just sucked. It was like the worst garage band I'd ever heard in my life. Then the engineer began recording and it's like somebody reached out with a magic wand and went, 'Bing!' And all of a sudden, it's the Stones!" —Wayne Perkins, describing his first recording session with the Rolling Stones

Like a Rolling Stone
Guitarist Eric Clapton, with whom Perkins had been hanging out in Jamaica while Clapton was preparing to record There's One in Every Crowd, contacted the Rolling Stones to arrange an audition for Perkins after Stones guitarist Mick Taylor quit in 1974. "I stayed in Kingston with Clapton for a month or two," Perkins says. "One morning at the breakfast table Eric said, 'Did you hear that Mick Taylor quit the Stones?' And I said, 'Naww, have they found anybody to take his place?' Eric said he didn't think they had, so I said, 'Well, hell, put in a phone call for me.' So Clapton called Jagger and told him, 'Yeah, this boy Perkins can play some guitar.' So Eric—and Leon Russell—were my references to get to the Stones." Months earlier, Perkins had played bass on Stones bassist Bill Wyman's solo debut, Monkey Grip.

Keith Richards, a reggae fanatic, was familiar with Perkins' work on Catch a Fire. "Far as I know, I was the last one to audition for the Stones job. They had rented a theater in Rotterdam. I basically got off the plane and walked into the audition room," recalls Perkins. "Keith was sitting on a couch with Bill Wyman. And there was a spotlight in the middle of the room. I set my guitars down and was just standing there, and they're all looking up at me. I had never met them before. I was standing there in that spotlight. It was kind of understood that that's where I was supposed to stand because nobody offered a chair. I was talking to Keith when suddenly Jagger and Charlie Watts came up behind me, and they both stood right next to me, really close. Mick and Charlie were looking straight ahead, they wouldn't even look at me. I looked to each side and both of them are staring straight ahead like they're posing for an album cover. Then they walked off without saying a word. They put me in the center of this portrait thing that they were doing, like a lineup. They wanted to see if I looked like a Rolling Stone, and I hadn't even played a note for 'em yet."

It is now known that Perkins was competing with Jeff Beck and Peter Frampton, among others, for the job. The Stones eventually chose Ron Wood.

Perkins' audition impressed the Stones enough that he was invited to play on the sessions that would become the Black and Blue album. "We started out cold on 'Hand of Fate' one night. We were just kind of starting from scratch with something that Keith had a musical idea about," Perkins says. "He had the basic track down, but he didn't have a bridge, or what they call 'a middle-eight.' I was playing a counter-guitar part to Keith, and I started doing this Motown lick that goes along to what he's playing. And so we're cooking along there, and Mick's walking around the room with a tambourine, and he'd go stand in the corner and shake that damn tambourine. And he's singing to himself, and he's off in his own world trying to figure out what's what. The whole thing sounded real rough, too. It kinda just sucked. [Perkins is not the first musician to comment on the Stones' lack of musical finesse.] It was like the worst garage band I'd ever heard in my life. Then the engineer turned on the red light [to begin recording] and it's like somebody reached out with a magic wand and went, 'Bing!' And all of a sudden, it's the Stones! Damnedest thing I've ever seen."

Perkins lived with Richards and his longtime girlfriend Anita Pallenberg for a month or so in a cottage behind the London home of Ron Wood (who was still a member of The Faces at the time). Richards treated Perkins as the new band member. "We started hangin' out and having a big ol' time. We got along great," says Perkins. "But when Mick came into the picture . . . If I was with Mick, it was all right. If I was with Keith, it was all right. But when the two of them got together, I seemed to automatically fall under a microscope without even trying. Keith and Mick were still going at it over me, because I was under the impression from Keith that I was already in the band. Keith was teaching me their songs and gave me two cassettes of about 60 songs that included what the Stones might play on their 1975 tour. While we were in Germany, they had these two rooms and on the walls were [designs] of different stage setups and they were asking me my opinion of which stage I liked. We cut 'Memory Motel' from scratch like we did 'Hand of Fate.' Keith was on Fender Rhodes, Mick was on grand piano, and I was in some soundbooth with an acoustic guitar and I overdubbed electric guitar later. And then I overdubbed some slide on 'Fool to Cry.' We cut like 10 tracks that were just jamming, and then later on they turned this into some stuff, and a couple of those ended up on Tattoo You." 1981's Tattoo You, though presented at the time as an album of new songs, was actually cobbled together from unreleased songs recorded from 1973 to 1975. Perkins plays the jaw-dropping guitar solo on "Worried About You."

Sweet Home Alabama
In 1975, closer to home, Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King had quit the band in the middle of a tour. They continued as a two-guitar act for a year but wanted to return to a three-guitar lineup. "Lynyrd Skynyrd offered me the job, but something didn't feel right to me," says Perkins. "I turned them down in December '76 and the plane crash was in October '77. I think about that one from time to time. Ronnie [Van Zant] was one of my best friends. I knew all the guys in the band, and I would have made a ton of money. And God knows, fate could have changed and that crash might not have happened."

One day Perkins went to hear his brother Dale's band, Alabama Power. "They had a great band and no songs," he says. "They had the vehicle and I had the gasoline. I had the connections in Hollywood after all these years." Perkins says that lawyers for the Alabama Power Company were not pleased with the band's name, so the group changed it to Crimson Tide. "I much preferred the name Alabama Power to Crimson Tide because that's sacrilege, to me. Crimson Tide is a great name but [the University of Alabama] was already using it." Crimson Tide released two albums on Capitol Records, the self-titled Crimson Tide in 1978 and Reckless Love in 1979, the latter produced by Donald "Duck" Dunn, bassist for Booker T. and the MGs, with the MGs' Steve Cropper contributing guitar parts. Crimson Tide became the house band at the Crossroads Club in Roebuck for a couple of years in the late '70s, where well-known acts such as Yes, Joe Cocker, or Rick Derringer, if they had performed elsewhere in town that day, often showed up to sit in. "That's one thing about the Crossroads Club. You never knew who would show up," Perkins says. Crimson Tide split up in 1979. Perkins later released a pair of solo CDs, Mendo Hotel in 1995 and Ramblin' Heart in 2005, as well as having his songs included on soundtracks for several films and TV shows.

An Impressive Résumé
The wide range of musicians that Perkins has worked with is impressive. In addition to the aforementioned acts, his credits include work with Albert King, the Everly Brothers, Michael Bolton, Millie Jackson, John Prine, Delbert McClinton, Jerry Jeff Walker, Roger McGuinn, Levon Helm, Bobby Womack, and the Oak Ridge Boys, among others.



Perkins and his close pal Stevie Ray Vaughan (left) outside a Memphis studio in 1989. (click for larger version)

Mark Harrelson, co-owner of Birmingham's Boutwell Studios, first met Perkins in the late 1970s. "Wayne's been a part of more big time things [musically] than anybody else in Birmingham that I can think of," Harrelson says. "To be part of that Marley thing, and then to even have a shot at being part the Stones is something that nobody else around here can even come close to. Wayne is first and foremost a player, when you break it right down. He's a good singer and good songwriter, and he's had a hand at making some good decisions about production and things like that, too. But the first thing that Wayne does—to me—that is better than anything else that he does is to pick up a guitar and do stuff with his fingers that other people can't do, and they couldn't do if they worked on it all their lives. When he went to Muscle Shoals he was a kid, and yet the first time they turned him loose on a session, everybody went, 'Wow, this kid can really play.'"

"For my money, the best times I've had musically interacting with Wayne is when I told him, 'I need you to play from here to here,' and he just does something absolutely phenomenal to fill up that space. He's fabulous at it. Wayne was always fearless at coming up with new ideas and just really nailing stuff."



Wayne Perkins today.

Recent Years
In the late 1990s, Perkins began suffering from poor health. Some days, his headaches are almost unbearable, yet he remains determined to forge ahead. Several years ago, he got his I.D. card that officially recognizes his heritage as a native America Indian, and he continues to play bass on occasion with his good friend Lonnie Mack. He's also working on a new CD. "I've been one of the most blessed people you'll ever run into in your life. And fortunate," Perkins surmises with an engaging grin.

He's one of the music industry's great unheralded guitar players, often receiving no credit on records to which he has made contributions. His confidence has never waned. "I did have to work for it, and when I'm thrown in the damn shark tank [in a studio or on stage] I can swim and I can do battle, or whatever. I can hang," he admits. "It was a lot of hard work, but the stuff just kept coming. I did everything I wanted to do, including playing with the biggest rock band in the world. If I had joined [The Rolling Stones], by now I'd probably be a dead millionaire." &

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hi Robert,

I sent you this letter on a my space account, so I thought I would also try your gmail account.

My name is Walter O. and I am an ancestor once removed, of Col. John McKee. I have read with interest you blog from 1997 and believe that you may be able to give me some information about him.
I don't know much about blogs, etc, but I hope I have the right person.

I am working on a project to do a definitive biography on him. I have been researching him, getting copies of his correspondence and looking into his early years, and find it very fascinating.

I am interested in knowing where I can get more information on him. I already have letters from UNC, his diary and a journal of his, letters from the Archives of Alabama and Tennessee and have information from several books that briefly discuss him. I was wondering what there is in the Tuscaloosa area. I read that there is a mountain of documentation about his 40 years as an Indian Agent and Congressman, but I am having some trouble finding it.

I saw that in your account about the Col. that you related the story about him and the 12 oclock high drink, a daily habit. You said you got that information from William R. Smith. I looked up WR Smith and see that he is a former representative from Alabama. My question to you is, did he write articles about Col. McKee? How would I get some information from his resources?

Let me know if you can help, I would be happy to discuss him with you, since you seem to know something about him.


Dear Robert.
My husband is an old fan of Farley Taylor. I saw him mentioned on your web side and I wondered if you knew of any way to get copies of his old show. If you do would you please let me know.
Thank you very much.
Thelma M.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Had the privilege of hangin' out this morning with two investigators analyzing the origin & cause of a fire. The equipment they brought from ATL was impressive. One cat was a former Battalion Chief w/ Metro ATL Fire Dept. with a degree in Fire Science. The other guy had his degree in Electrical Engineering. I got a bad feeling I'm gonna be seeing some more of these guys. I'm glad I don't have to do what they do everyday for a living.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I first met Ken Kesey in '98 or '99 through his website He wanted to take his bus to Cuba so we corresponded about the possibilities. Our politics couldn't have been more different yet we became friends. I'll never forget the day he died on Saturday, November 10, 2001. I had a terrible day @ work that day & then got caught up in the game day traffic trying to get home. I turned on the tube and a crawl on the TV screen informed me that Ken Kesey was dead. I ran to my computer to contact Babbs & there was an email from Babbs written to me just moments after Ken passed. What a sad day. Gaye---Let's Get It On
Written by: Marvin Gaye/Ed Townsend

I've been really tryin , baby
Tryin to hold back these feelings for so long
And if you feel, like I feel baby
Come on, oh come on,

Let's get it on
Lets get it on
Let's get it on
Let's get it on

We're all sensitive people
With so much love to give, understand me sugar
Since we got to be
Lets say, I love you

There's nothin wrong with me
Lovin you--- And givin yourself to me can never be wrong
If the love is true

Don't you know how sweet and wonderful, life can be
I'm askin you baby, to get it on with me
I aint gonna worry, I aint gonna push
So come on, come on, come on, come on baby
Stop beatin round the bush....

Let's get it on
Let's get it on
Let's get it on
Let's get it on

Monday, November 09, 2009

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Richard Pierce/Louis Boyleston and the Dickens


Haven’t sent anything in for awhile, but just read Rodney Justo’s memories of the Pensacola music scene and the mention that Louis Boyleston had passed away in 2004. As I posted previously as BP, I was a part of that 60’s Pensacola scene and played in several bands on the second tier. I was a very close friend with Richard Pierce, the keyboard player for the Dickens. We lived near each other and hung out a lot. I met him when we were like 14 or so. We went to Escambia High school together and were in the same Music Appreciation class together. He was an awesome musician. When I met him he played drums in one of the best bands in P’cola. Can’t remember the name now, but it was pre-Beatles R and B stuff. He also played baritone in the High School marching band at Escambia. We hung out together a lot. I remember when he got the electric harpsichord he played in the Dickens. He introduced me to Classical music by showing me that Procol Harum’s intro to Whiter Shade of Pale was a piece by Bach. When he was in the Dickens I used to hang out and jam with them. Ron Bowman (Singer), Louis Boyleston (Guitar), Richard Pierce (Keyboards), Jimmy Smith (Bass).

I thought it was interesting that Rodney Justo mentioned the Candymen staying at Louis’s parent’s house. I went to his parent’s house in Gulf Breeze several times and jammed with Louis and Richard. Also, a lot of the Dicken’s rehearsals were in Gulf Breeze. I was around so much because Richard never got his driver’s license and always needed a drive, so I became his main mode of transport. He used others as well, but we were close friends and lived near one another.

Louis Boyleston was a really nice guy and great guitarist for the time. I remember during the Dicken’s period he opened a boutique on 9th Avenue in P’cola that was in a renovated old Victorian house. Everybody used to go there to hang out and listen to music and maybe buy some beads or incense, but it was mostly a hippie clothes store. Kind of pricy.

Louis left the band at some point in 68 I think and was replaced by John Russell who was an older, awesome guitarist. John also was a friend and lived near Richard and I. The Dickens at that point rented a house in Warrington (a kind of suburb of P’cola), and that became the new hang out/crash pad. Spent almost all my time there. It was a very cool scene (Won’t go into details!).

Anyway,,,if anyone has particulars about Louis Boyleston’s passing I would be interested in knowing that since we were the same age.

More stories to come about the P’cola scene from me. Thanks to Rodney for the memories of the time. I lived about two miles from the Sahara club and listened to those live broadcasts under my blanket at night with my transistor radio.

Thanks Roberto for this wonderful site.