Monday, March 11, 2013


>>>Several years ago I found Tommy Roe's e mail address and asked him what could he tell me about Studio B in Nashville, as I am very interested in finding out all I could about it. Not only an interest in the stars but I wanted to know about the musicians who backed them as well as the back room staff, (I still do but have to say thanks to people like Tommy I now know a lot more now than I did then) It was from Tommy that I found out the awesome drumming on Sheila was committed to tape by Buddy Harman. (Rockin’ Lord Geoff in England)

>>>I enjoy Tommy Roe's records. That being said, he benefited from having the great Hal Blaine on drums as well as other great session musicians. (Mark)
It wasn't just Tommy Roe ... every recording artist that had Hal Blaine play drums on their session benefited from Hal's musical genius - The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, The Mamas & The Papas, The Carpenters, Nancy Sinatra, all of Phil Spector's groups, The Byrds, Jan & Dean, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Vee, Glen Campbell, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Sonny & Cher, The Monkees and of course, Tommy Roe, among hundreds, if not thousands of others. I've interviewed Hal many times over the years (one night after one of those interviews, he brought me along to a recording session at Bell Sound in LA with producer Joe Saraceno, the man who produced Dorsey Burnette ("Tall Oak Tree") and The Ventures as well as creating The Marketts ("Balboa Blue", "Out Of Limits") and The Routers ("Let's Go"). Both of those 'groups' weren't actual groups at all, they were the usual LA session musicians that became known as the 'Wrecking Crew', which besides Hal Blaine also included drummer Earl Palmer). That was one amazing night.
Doug Thompson 

Interestingly enough, we received some conflicting information on this topic. In the midst of all of our Tommy Roe talk of late here in Forgotten Hits, one of the first comments we received was regarding Tommy using Nashville's Studio B and Buddy Harman on his first #1 Hit "Sheila" ... so this connection may have predated some of his other recording experiences if, in fact, he later hooked up with The Wrecking Crew. ("Sheila", if you recall, was first released on the small Judd label a couple of years before he re-recorded it for ABC-Paramount in 1962. Judd Records was founded by the legendary Sam Phillips' brother, Jud Phillips, and based out of Memphis ... they apparently misspelled Jud's name on an early pressing of the label and Judd ... with two d's ... stuck.  As such, most of their recordings were done in Memphis and Nashville.) 
Tommy Roe first cut "Sheila", albeit in a different arrangement, for Judd in 1960. Being a southern boy himself (Tommy was born in Atlanta), it made sense to me that he would have recorded his earlier sides down south ... and not in Los Angeles with The Wrecking Crew. However, since a couple of you seemed so adamant about this connection, I couldn't help but wonder if maybe Tommy teamed up with the members of The Wrecking Crew later in his career.  

I asked him for some clarification ...  

Hi Kent ... 
No problem!   

The 1962 hit version of "Sheila" was recorded in Nashville, produced by Felton Jarvis and recorded at RCA studio.   
The musicians on that session were: Drums - Buddy Harman, Guitars - Wayne Moss & Jerry Reed, Bass - Bob Moore, and Piano, which you don't really hear on the record, was performed by Floyd Cramer. The Jordanaires are singing background. My follow up release to "Sheila" was "Susie Darling." and the same musicians were on that record except for guitar, and that was Jerry Kennedy. 

I recorded "Everybody," and "Carol," at Fame studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and that, too, was produced by Felton Jarvis, with Rick Hall working as the engineer.  The musicians on these sessions were:  Drums - Jerry Carrigan, bass - Norbert Putnam, piano - David Briggs, and guitar - Bobby West, and The Muscle Shoals singers.  

After Muscle Shoals I went back to Nashville and recorded "The Folk Singer" with Buddy Harmon on drums, Henry Strzelecki on bass, Joe South and Jerry Kennedy on guitar, and Ray Stevens on the keyboards, produced by Felton Jarvis and engineered by Billy Sherrill.  

The musicians on "Sweet Pea," Hooray For Hazel," and "It's Now Winters Day" were:  Drums - Jim Troxel and Toxie French, Bass - Jerry Scheff, Guitar - Ben Benay and Mike Deasy, Keyboards - Butch Parker and Mike Henderson. Recorded at Gary Paxtons, and CBS studio in Hollywood.  

The musicians on "Dizzy," "Heather Honey," "Jam Up And Jelly Tight," and "Stagger Lee" were The Wrecking Crew:  Drums - Hal Blaine, Bass - Joe Osborn, Guitar - Ben Benay and Richard Laws, Keyboards - Don Randi and Larry Knechtel, and saxophone - Plas Johnson and Jim Horne. String arrangements were done by Jimmy Haskel and Horn arrangements were courtesy of Mike Henderson.  Background vocals on these records were Ginger Blake, Maxine Willard and Julia Tillman.  The sessions were produced by Steve Barri and engineered Phil Kaye and Roger Nichols. 

Kent this should clear it up. 

So, as you can see, The Wrecking Crew DID have a hand in Tommy's records ... but this happened much later in his career.  Prior to hooking up with Hal Blaine and company, Tommy had already scored seven Top 40 Hits.  Those Wrecking Crew sessions launched a string of eight more!  Pretty impressive indeed!  

And, speaking of Buddy Harman ...   

In today's comments, a reader mentioned that Buddy Harman did the drum work on Tommy Roe's SHEILA. That drew a memory from me in that Buddy Harman had a record that made our weekly top 40 radio survey back in 1960. The song was DRUM TWIST on Warner Brothers records.
He wrote the tune and it was b/w an instrumental version of BYE BYE LOVE.
Larry Neal
Buddy Harman was one of those Nashville session whiz-kids who seemed to play on EVERYBODY's records back in the day.  His recording credits include working with  Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Connie Francis, Kenny Rogers, Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Roger Miller, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Marty Robbins, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Eddy Arnold, Merle Haggard and countless others. In fact, Wikipedia says Buddy drummed on over 18,000 sessions, making him the Hal Blaine of the South!  (kk) 

(National Peak in parentheses):
1962 - Sheila  (#1)
1962 - Susie Darlin' (#34)
1962 - Piddle De Pat  (#79)
1963- Gonna Take A Chance  (#94)
1963 - The Folk Singer  (#84)
1963 - Everybody  (#3)
1964 - Come On   (#27) 
1964 - Carol  (#52)
1964 - Party Girl  (#85)
1966 - Sweet Pea  (#5)
1966 - Hooray For Hazel (#4)
1967 - It's Now Winter's Day  (#21)
1967 - Sing Along With Me  (#91)  
1967 - Little Miss Sunshine  (#90)
1968 - Dottie, I like It  (#69)
1969 - Dizzy  (#1)
1969- Heather Honey  (#12)
1969 - Jack And Jill  (#31)
1970 - Jam Up And Jelly Tight  (#4)
1970 - Stir It Up And Serve It  (#27)
1970 - Pearl  (#30)
1970 - We Can Make Music  (#35)
1970 - Brush A Little Sunshine  (#63) 
1971 - Little Miss Goodie Two Shoes  (#104)
1971 - Pistol Legged Mama  (#124)
1971 - Stagger Lee  (#19)
1972 - Mean Little Woman, Rosalie  (#91)
1973 - Working Class Hero  (#67) 

Tommy's original Judd Recording of "Sheila"

Some classic Tommy Roe BubbleGum Music!

I always liked Tommy's version of "Stagger Lee", a rock and roll classic.  (For the complete, true story behind this song, be sure to check out the other Forgotten Hits Website!)