Articles and thoughts from the mind of Deke
I finally went and found Piano Red’s grave in Atlanta! I’ve been wanting to do this for years. This guy—what a history. He’s one of the greatest musicians and entertainers this country has ever produced, and so few people know about him.
It’s weird to me that I’ve lived long enough to see the Clermont Hotel go from being one of the most terrifying cracked-out homeless hotels to its current incarnation as a fancy boutique hotel.
Today I engaged in my favorite activities: avoiding responsibility and taking the least-traveled roads I could find. Multiple hours were spent driving rural two-lane Florida roads, looking for weird old places, historic landmarks, and other things that have survived the decades.
Sandy Nelson was part of the first wave of 1950s Hollywood session musicians. In addition to many of the hits he played on (uncredited), he also had two big hits under his own name: “Teen Beat” in 1959 and “Let There Be Drums” in 1961. What magnificent records they were!
Sad to hear the news that legendary Memphis drummer Howard Grimes has passed. What a resume this guy had!
I stopped in at the amazing Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix today to check in on an instrument I own that has been on loan there for several years: the futuristic 1960 Howard doubleneck made for Duane Eddy.
Three years ago I hung out with the oldest living Sun Records artist, Billy “The Kid” Emerson, at his place outside Tarpon Springs, Florida. When I asked him to sign my Sun Records before we left, he got real friendly and took a few pictures.
The Pavek Museum in Minneapolis has microphones, old radios and Victrolas, broadcast equipment and theremins, recording lathes and television cameras. But perhaps the most amazing artifacts they have at the museum came from the Jack Mullin collection.
If any of you guitar geeks out there have Martin and Paul Kelly’s other book, Fender, the Golden Age: 1946–1970, then you’ll know the sort of quality I was expecting with their new book about Rickenbacker.
If you’ve only heard the records, I can’t really put it into words, but Ronnie Spector was blessed with a magical voice, a voice that was distinct, clear, perfect in tone and pitch and vibrato. She didn’t sound like anyone else.