An Interview with Joey Kent,
Owner of the Louisiana Hayride Archives.
Interview by Fabris Giovanni Luca
Transcribed by Kevan Budd for
Forward by Kevan Budd.
Joey taped the interview in reply to questions sent to him by Fabris Giovanni Luca, therefore all dialogue
transcribed will be from Joey reading the questions then answering them.
First before I present this interview with Joey Kent I'd like to thank my friend Fabris Giovanni Luca for
sharing this with myself and allowing it to be read by a wider audience.
Although this is a long interview I feel there are many interesting points made, such as a clue to how the Southern Maid Doughnuts ad may sound and a hint at what BMG have in its vaults. Please read on and I hope you enjoy this fascinating interview.
Kevan Budd, September 4th 2002
I am the owner of the Louisiana archives; I live in Shreveport, Louisiana. I'm 41 years old, single,
with no children and I will answer your questions, in the order that you sent them, well go by question
number and I'll tell you everything that I can.
Question number one,
You know who I am.
Question number two,
When and how did the Hayride get started?
The Louisiana Hayride was started in April of 1948, it was man by the name of Dean Upson who had
worked for WSM the Grand Ole Opry station and he came to work in Shreveport for KWKH radio and he along
with the station manager Henry Clay decided they wanted to do a country music show similar the barn
dance programs of WLS and the Grand Ole Opry and a few other stations that were popular at that time.
Really all they wanted to do was to create a show that they could put on Saturday nights to fill a
time slot, they didn't have any big expectations of starting a talent show or really discovering any famous
artists. They just wanted to do a little country music programming to fill a time slot.
The first show featured Tex Grimsly and his Texas Playboys, The Bales Brothers, Johnny and Jack featuring
female singer Kitty Wells and a handful of other people.
They put on twelve shows throughout 1948, kind of got off to a kind of rocky start, actually they put on
20 shows through 1948 and then they got things rolling.
They started it in August of 1948 is when Hank Williams showed up on August the seventh and that's
when the Hayride show really got in full swing and Hank was off course the first star to graduate from
the show and then came Kitty Wells and after that Webb Pierce and Slim Whitman and before too long the
show was being called the cradle of the stars, because people like Jim Reeves and Elvis Presley
were coming from the show and they continued to produce the talent that filled the country
music airways at the time. In fact many people who went on to become performers on the Grand
Ole Opry said for a time that if you took all of the people off the opry stage that had started on
the Louisiana Hayride the grand ole opry wouldn't have a radio program.
Question number three,
How do I happen to own the archives of the Louisiana Hayride?
My father along with some Shreveport business men in the early 1970s wanted to revive the Louisiana Hayride
Country Music Show. The Hayride had its primary run from 1948 to august of 1960 and then throughout the '60s
they put on another hundred shows, once a month or once every couple of months but they were mainly
touring package shows of people like Roy Acuff and Johnny Cash and by the early 70s the Hayride had pretty
much stopped. So my father along with some Shreveport businessmen started a country music show in
August of 1974 that he called Hayride U.S.A.
After about six months or so he went to KWKH the owners of the Louisiana Hayride name and asked them if
he could by the name from them and they told him that they had never copyrighted the name and they
weren't going to use it any more so if he wanted it he could just have it and they signed some
contracts in the spring of 1975 and my father changed the name of his show to Louisiana Hayride.
At that time KWKH was moving to a new location out on the interstate highway and they were boxing
up a lot of things and throwing away all kinds of stuff and they asked my father if he wanted this
old box of tapes that they had. They had a couple of boxes of reel to reel tapes and he said yes.
I was sent down to pick up these tapes and while I was there one of the man in charge of
cleaning out the storage room where these things were kept asked me if I had time to help him
move a desk. So I did, I helped him move it across the room and when we moved the desk and from
behind it there was a tape reel wedged between the desk and the wall and it fell to the ground and
started unravelling across the floor. I stopped it with my foot and noticed it had Elvis's name on
it and when I got it back to my father we listened to it and it turned out to be Elvis's first night
on the Louisiana Hayride. So that shows you what they thought about the tapes at that time,
you have to remember in the mid 1970s country music was not enjoying a very popular period in
its history and no one really cared about the older artists and Elvis wasn't that big of a
deal at that particular time. So much of the paperwork like the contracts the call sheets the
lists of performers and what they sang on the show KWKH just threw in the trash when they made
there move because nobody really wanted them and nobody and they didn't bother to check with my family.
So that's how I came to acquire the archives of the Louisiana Hayride.
My father died in January of 1992 and he left all of the recordings to me.
In his collection were about 600 songs from the Louisiana Hayride and several years ago I located a
local family that I told you about that had another collection of another 1500 songs.
There was a man by the name of Glen Graham who was a photographer here in town and he loved country
music and asked the folks of the Hayride if he could come to the show and tape record it on his reel to
reel tape machine and they said yes if he wanted to do that it was alright but the would appreciate
it if he would take pictures of the Hayride performers, as many of the performers needed head
shots that they could send out in publicity packages and try to promote themselves.
So he agreed to be the unofficial photographer of the Hayride and he began taping the shows almost
from the very beginning in 1948. In 1960 during the summer of 1960 his photography studio here in
town was broken into and the thieves backed up a pickup truck and carted off everything in the building
which included his boxes of reel-to-reel tapes.
The reason they broke into his place was to steal the photography equipment an I'm sure they had no
interest in the country music recordings. So I'm sure they were thrown in the trash, none of the
recordings have ever surfaced and its believed that some of the camera equipment was porned and
they made some money off that but the recordings were destroyed.
Mr. Graham had run out of room at his recording studio to store all of these tapes and had
begun keeping some at his garage at his home and those were the recordings that survive today.
He had tapes from 1958 to about 1962 that he kept in his garage and his grand children now have
those tapes and there's about 1500 songs in the collection, some Johnny Cash some George
Jones, Bob Lumen, Warren Smith, A lot of the early rockabilly people because the Hayride towards
the end of its first run had begun to feature quite a number of the rockabilly performers.
Question number four,
How big is the archive?
Mine is 600 songs and the Graham collection is about 1500 songs.
Question number five,
Have I catalogued and listened to all the material that I have and which method am I using?
Yes I have catalogued all of my 600 songs and ive listened to all of them and the Graham collection,
the granddaughter Marie Graham she catalogued and listened to all of the recordings in that collection.
I'm not sure by what you mean by which method we used, we just listened to the tapes, Marie's grandfather
kept sheets where he listed the date and who sang what when, so she had a very detailed listing of exactly
what was on her tapes. As for my tapes, during my fathers Louisiana Hayride from 1975 to 1987 he
featured in the middle of his radio program a segment called almanac time and that was where he
would go back and play some of the old recordings from the early Hayride.
Being a former radio disc jockey himself he would often get the historical reels and spin them into
the middle wherever he found a song that he liked and using a razor blade he would cut the tape
and remove the song and patch it into another reel. So by doing this over a period of years
we ended up with a whole bunch more little bitty reels where my father had chopped up the tapes
and there never really was a list of his collection so when I acquired the set it took me several
years to reconstruct the dates of when the recordings were done and who was singing what.
Fortunately on most of the tapes we have the announcers talking and they say something which
tells you what date it is or they introduce the act and the and the act mentions the song
they are singing, so it wasn't very hard to me to put back together the listing on the archives.
Question number six,
How much unreleased material still exists on Elvis, Scotty and bill at the
Louisiana Hayride we haven't already heard of?
I do not have any material on Elvis that has not been released to the public; it's all out there.
I have spoken with Ernst Jorgensen at RCA and on a few occasions he's given me indications that
they may have some live performances in the RCA archives that they have not released yet and some
of that may be from the Louisiana Hayride and then there are collections out there such as Mr. Serif
Hanna, he has a few songs I understand but I've never heard those. I don't know of any other
collections except you mention Mr. Paul Dowling had an encounter with Everlyn Cramer up in Pine Bluff
Arkansas and I'm making every effort to track down Mrs. Cramer and see if she has any recordings with
Elvis or anyone else.
Question number seven,
If it's not in the vaults are there lists of all appearances that Elvis made at the Louisiana Hayride
with the list of songs he really performed?
I have listing of a good bit of the songs that Elvis performed. There was a woman by the name of
Joyce Nichols who was a teenager in big spring Texas and she loved the Louisiana Hayride and listened to it
every Saturday night, until her parents came in her room and told her to go to bed.
She would often write down diaries where she listed who was on the show, what they were singing, what
the announcers were saying, her diaries were very detailed. She started keeping her diaries the week before
Elvis got to the Hayride and kept them until the summer of 1957 when she graduated high school and I
guess moved on to other things.
I do have copies of 49 of her diaries and they give a nice indication of the songs that Elvis sang.
I provided that information to Ernst Jorgensen and all of that information appears in the Elvis day
by day book that he did with Peter guralnick, so that's a pretty good listing of that but Joyce kept
about 49 diaries and a lot of them had Elvis on there but unfortunately the show started at 8 o'clock and
she would usually go to bed at 9:30 and the show kept going till 11 o'clock so we didn't get a complete
listing of everything that Elvis sang but a pretty good indication of some of the titles.
Question number eight,
How much unreleased material still exists on other performer such as Hank Williams, Johnny Horton etc?
The majority I would say of my archives, ive only released about 70 songs from the Louisiana archives in
a collection that Music Mill Entertainment has done of assorted artists. I haven't begun releasing the
single artist albums, I have probably 40 songs on Johnny Horton, I only have one song from Hank Williams
when hank was fired from the opry in the summer of 1952 he came back to the Louisiana Hayride and
showed up on the show during Slim Whitman appreciation night, it was September 13th 1952 and Horace
Logan introduced hank, he came out on stage and told the folks that he would be back on the Hayride as
a regular starting the following week and he sang a few songs and they had the tape recorder going and
recorded the song Jambalaya, that's the only song that I've got on Hank Williams from the Louisiana Hayride,
I do have some recordings of Hank from his KWKH morning show but nothing else from the Hayride.
As is typical with most of the Louisiana Hayride recordings, back in those days the federal communications
commission did not require that radio stations keep copies of their programs the way that they do today,
so Louisiana Hayride owners didn't tape the show as a general rule and the reason that the tapes that
I have were even made were for a couple of reasons. Number one Henry Clay KWKHs general manager quite
often had a fight with ASCAP the licensing authority like BMI. ASCAP would often accuse Henry Clay of not
reporting correctly the songs that were sung on the Louisiana Hayride and not paying all of the performance
royalties due for those songs, so every once in a while Henry Clay would tell his engineers to record the
Louisiana Hayride shows and keep them on file for a week or two in case ASCAP asked a question,
they could prove that they didn't play any of their songs but these tapes were only kept for a week or two
if they were even made at all and they were recorded over and few survived. The majority of the tapes
that I have were made, typically the engineers told me that they would get requests from a sponsor
like Southern Made Doughnuts to have prove that their commercial ran during the program.
So the engineer would reach in a box of old tapes, he'd pick out one, it might be a 15-minute tape it
might be a 30-minute tape and he would stick it on the reel-to-reel machine and turn it on. Then he
would go back to the business of engineering the show and forget about the tape, so if the tape was
15 minutes it would run for 15 minutes get the commercial and just keep going, if it was a 30 minute
tape it would run for 30 minutes and so that's how the majority of the songs that I have were
captured, either they were trying to record the commercial and just happened to leave the tape running.
On some occasions when an artist started to become famous the engineers might record a song or two.
As far Elvis's first night on the Hayride the situation was they were recording a sponsor and they
turned on the tape about 10 minutes before Elvis came out on stage and the tape ran out about
20 minutes after he was finished, So that's the way most of that came about.
Question number nine,
Is it true that at a certain point after Elvis signed for RCA, RCA people came and took all the tapes
and acetates containing all Elvis's appearance at the Louisiana Hayride and if so who are these
people an who owns the material now?
No that's not true RCA did not come to the Hayride and take any tapes and acetates, they do have a
collection, for instance Ernst Jorgensen told me himself that they have 4 different acetates of Elvis's
first night on the Hayride. Various people over the years when they find these acetates or tape
recordings in their attics or in their collections the first thing they do is call up RCA
and start asking them for a bunch of money and RCA would often buy these tapes and
acetates but then they would find they were unable to use them because my family owns
the rights to the Louisiana Hayride name and the recordings and during Elvis's popularity with
RCA they would use all of his recorded material and its only now that RCA are starting run
out of fresh material are they considering releasing some of these recordings. Ernst Jorgensen
told me when they put out the Sunrise Collection that he would wait a couple of years and probably
put out another collection of these live recordings, I haven't heard from him lately as to if he
still plans to still do that or when he might want to do that.
Question number ten,
Have I found the second appearance of Elvis Scotty and bill did on November the 6th 1954,
that night the song "Sitting on Top of the World" is said to have been performed?
The information that that song Sitting on Top of the World was done, Ernst Jorgensen published that in
one of his books and his source was Joyce Nichols diary, because she wrote down there that he actually
sang that song. I do not have the second appearance of Elvis Scotty and bill from November the 6th.
I have no reason to believe that a tape exists from that evening. That would be the night that the
famous Southern Made Doughnut commercial was done by Elvis and I think what probably happened there
was Scotty or somebody like that may have mentioned in an interview or Elvis may have mentioned in an
interview that he did later that the only time he did a commercial was on that particular night. So that's
probably where the whole story started about the Southern Made Doughnut commercial and the recording,
then again it may exist, I believe Serif Hannah or somebody like that told me that they had actually heard
the recording of the Southern Made Doughnut commercial.
I will go ahead and talk about the doughnut
commercial at this time, I have a recording of Johnny Cash doing a Southern Made Doughnut commercial
and you have to understand this was not something like a modern commercial where they come out and
pitch a particular product, Elvis did not walk out on stage holding a box of doughnuts and start doing a
scripted commercial. What happened with Southern Made Doughnuts, they were a long time sponsor of the
Louisiana Hayride and they would supply the announcers of the show with boxes of fresh hot doughnuts
from the Southern Made Doughnuts shop just down the street from the Hayride and the announcers would
walk out on stage, Frank Page told me this and announcer Norm Bale told me as well, that they would open
up the box and start eating doughnuts in front of the audience and you could see the steam coming
off them and everybody would get hungry and want to have some Southern Made Doughnuts. In the
case of the Johnny Cash commercial Frank and Norm were talking about Southern Made Doughnuts and they
would just look over at the next act that was setting on stage and getting ready to sing, in this case they
said Johnny Cash knows about Southern Made Doughnuts don't you Johnny? And he stepped up to the
microphone and said "Yeah man, there the best in the world, you just dunk 'em and slurp 'em, man they're fine,
I think they're just the best".
And this was something like this commercial that Elvis would have done. He would have been on stage
already, either probably between songs or just about to start a song and the announcer started
talking about the doughnuts and just basically asked Elvis for his opinion and he would have
said something like yes you know I love Southern Made Doughnuts - I eat them all the time and that
would have been the extent of the commercial, because as you'll notice in Elvis' later career he never did a
commercial endorsement. He didn't really believe in that so this is how he ended up doing the Southern Made
commercial, it just sort off happened around him and it was his second night on the Louisiana Hayride,
he'd been there October the 16th and came back and November the 6th was the night he was actually
made a member of the Hayride so he was already nervous and excited and I'm sure just went with the
flow of the evening.
Question number eleven.
Is about Bob Sullivan and if there's any surviving recordings of "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" or any of
the other sessions from the Hayride?
To tell you a little bit about it, the Louisiana Hayride show was typically over around 11:30 or 12 0'clock on a
Saturday night and the station would sign of the air at one o'clock in the morning on Sunday and wouldn't go
back on the air until 5 am on Sunday morning, so that left 4 hours that the studio was not being used and
typically the artists were already up for the Louisiana Hayride and they were wired after the performance
and they wanted to do some recordings. Slim Whitman, Jim Reeves, Hank Williams several artists recorded
many of their hit songs at KWKH studios on Texas Street during those odd hours of the morning.
I do not know for a fact that Elvis ever recorded there, I don't doubt it though, it was kind of like a
friendly thing, everyone at the Hayride was family and they were buddies and after the show it would be
like going out and getting a cup of coffee and a piece of pie after the show. This might be something
they would do if they couldn't sleep or they just wanted to keep hanging out with their friends,
you know they'd say lets go down to them studio and watch so and so record their next song and
so its possible that Elvis may have done that but I don't know of any surviving acetates of that.
Some of the acetates that survived on Hank Williams' morning show for instance, this was before
reel to reel tape recorders were really that popular and radio stations used acetates as their way of
pre recording material. Frank Page told me that Hank Williams would often come in and record
several of his radio programs in a row so that he could go out on the road or do other things and
not have to come into the studio every day at the crack of dawn to do his radio program
and that the announcers would keep the record in its sleeve and then once the show was done,
they had no use for these acetates any more, the acetates weren't able to re record over
them so once they were recorded on they were finished. So Frank told me that the announcers
would take the acetates and just throw it over in the corner of the room, where there was
a stack of records and that once a year a man would come in with a truck and he would pick
up the acetates and haul them away where he would melt them down because the middle of
the acetates was aluminium and the metal was needed for the war effort or for the army or
he could recycle it and get money for the aluminium, so he would melt down the acetates and
the only reason that some of the Hank Williams acetates survived was that right after he died
there was an announcer named Ray Bartlet who worked at the station and Ray got into stack of acetates
and got out the Hank Williams recordings and sold them to Leonard Chess of Chess Records and
Leonard Chess turned around and sold them to MGM and Ray Bartlet was fired from the station for that.
Question number twelve,
Were these sessions filed or did the papers still exist?
There was some documentation because some of the Jim Reeves people have session listings
that go along with some of his recordings, but again any papers that KWKH had was thrown out
when they made there move in the mid 1970s, I went there in the 1980s and searched their building
top to bottom and found a file about the Hayride from 1949 and then I found the payroll register
for the 1960s but otherwise all documentation had be tossed away, so unless the artist or one of
their producers ended up with these fact sheets I don't know that they exist.
Question number thirteen,
Why are there in some cases tapes and in other cases acetates of Elvis's appearances?
The acetates that I have, well in one case Horace Logan was making an acetate of the recording
of the Hayride show because he wanted to make a record that he could present to a sponsor, I forget,
I think it was in this case it was Jacks Beer or somebody like that. He would record a performance so
that he could take it to a potential show sponsor and let them hear what the show sounded like, so
that would be the reason that they made acetate recordings of any Louisiana Hayride show.
Also beginning in the end 1952-1953 KWKH joined the CBS radio network and they were part of a
program called SATURDAY NIGHT COUNTRY STYLE which was broadcast on armed forces radio
every Saturday and every third week the Louisiana Hayride was the featured Country Music Show,
they would do a 25 minute portion of the Louisiana Hayride and they would record that show on acetate
and send it to the armed forces so that the armed forces could put together the show that they
would send out to the troops. So that was one of the reasons that acetates were made and the
other reason being to try to get a future sponsor. The rest of the time tape recordings were
made by the engineers and as I explained the main reason for that was to show commercial
sponsors that their commercials had actually run.
Ok next question,
As for the difference in the quality of some of the tapes and the acetates, for instance
the performances that I have in my archives on Elvis from January the 15th 1955 and January
22nd 1955 came off one acetate that were recorded by a fan of the Louisiana Hayride, I do have a
couple of other recordings in the Louisiana Hayride archives that were sent to me by fans of the
show and they told me that they owned acetate machines and would stick a microphone up to the
speaker of their radio and one man in particular lived in arkansaw and the Hayride was broadcast
on sister station KTHS in Littlerock and he recorded a acetate, in fact the recording I have of Elvis
singing "I'm Right, You're Left, She's Gone" from July of 55 came from this mans acetate, so what you're
listening to is a recording of a microphone held up to a speaker recording a radio show and back
then at night there was static on the airwaves, the signal faded in and out and that would be the
reason sometimes that the speed is off on the recordings is because the people doing the
recordings were amateurs and they didn't have their acetate machines set at the proper speed
and as for the off speed on some of the recordings that I have on my good rockin tonight collection,
I just left them the way that RCA left them because Ernst Jorgensen cleaned them up to his
satisfaction, he's a big believer in not doing much sonic work, he believes that it messes with
the ambience of the recording and he doesn't like to clean up records too much and for
whatever reason he didn't set the proper speed of the tape so neither did I.
Question number fourteen,
Talk about the first appearance of Elvis on the show?
I think I've already gone into that, I have a tape that starts about ten minute before Elvis
came out on stage that first night in October of 1954 and the tape goes on for about 20
minutes after, so it does not include any later performances that Elvis did on the show that evening.
Question number fifteen,
You're asking why a couple of the songs from January of 1955, the unreleased ones that I
included on Good Rockin' Tonight, why were they not complete?
It was because of the acetate, that's the way they were, it was some woman had recorded
them on there and there weren't any other songs on there that I couldn't use, I put everything on
the Good Rockin' Tonight cd that I have by Elvis even if its just some little piece of a song.
Question number sixteen,
Besides my songs I used some from the Eagles Hall session?
Yes I used that just to help fill up the album, we had a couple of songs and Elvis was under
contract to the Hayride at that time. It was not partically a Hayride road show but that's the reason we
put that on there.
Question number seventeen,
Does Elvis's original contract still exist?
Yes I can send you a photocopy of it, the original Frank Page put up for sale at Bonham's in
1998 and it was sold to a collector in Britain, that gentleman apparently put it up for sale
several months ago in the United States and I don't know if it sold or not.
Question number eighteen,
The Elvis concert I mentioned as being his last Hayride appearance as being about 35 to 45
minutes and if we take the songs that I published its 20 minutes, do I have another 25
minutes of unreleased material?
Again no. The tape was made only because an engineer reached behind him and saw
what Elvis was doing for his encore and just saw that the crowd was going
wild and thought he'd tape it and he just turned on the tape and got those
last few songs and the tape ran out. I can get you a list of what songs are
lacking I do have a complete performance list he did from that night and I will send that
along with this tape to you.
Question number nineteen,
Is about the Southern made doughnuts commercial.
We've already covered that about Elvis, I don't have it and if I get it I'll publish it.
Question number twenty,
Discusses Everlyn Cramer and the Paul Dowling story.
I have not been able to locate miss Cramer but I'm going to make an effort in the next
few months to locate her, she apparently had a bunch of 8mm tapes, films,
that her father made of the Hayride show but I have not seen any off these and I only know what
Mr. Dowling has shared with you in his story.
Question number twentyone,
Do I have photographs of the tapes and acetates in my collection with Elvis?
I don't have anything remaining on Elvis in my collection; I don't have photographs of
the tapes and acetates.
Question number twentytwo,
Deals with the recording of "little mama" in the hands of Mr. Serif Hannah,
I don't know about this, I don't doubt that he may have a copy but I haven't seen it or
I haven't heard it.
Question number twenythree,
What's the most interesting find I made recently and what am I looking for at this moment?
I don't know if you are referring to Elvis here or just Louisiana Hayride.
I would say the most interesting find; I come across photographs on a fairly regular
basis that people have taken of Elvis. My most recent acquisition is the original RCA model 44
microphone that was used by all the Hayride performers in those after hours recording
sessions at KWKH and I'm looking for anything Hayride related and KWKH related that I can find,
I collect those items.
How do I do the research on the tapes, are they placed in order?
The recordings in the Graham archives as I mentioned are in order and have sheets
that go with them that tell when they were recorded. Most of my fathers archives as I
explained were out of order and I had to use the diaries of Joyce Nichols and other records
to put things back together and then ive over the years ive developed a very extensive
computer data base that tells me who was on the show, where the show was located,
how many people were there, so its very easy for me now to date a determine when recordings were done.
Are there people owning up unreleased material from the Hayride that I don't own and that I'm aware off?
Yes, the Grahams tapes exist and then there is another family here in town that purchased
an archive of Louisiana Hayride recordings from 1966 to 1969. These were mainly
touring package shows of people like Roy Acuff and Roy Clark and George Jones and
Johnny Cash so there's probably about another 1500 songs in that collection, but it is
from the late '60s.
Do I still have original posters and publicity material?
From the Hayride the answer is no. KWKH, I don't know if they ever put out that many
posters and they certainly didn't save them and if they had any they got thrown away in the '70s.
Have you ever met Elvis? And, Are there any stories to tell?
No I haven't, I never got to meet him.
Let me think about stories, I may come up with one and add it on the end of this tape.
Before any broadcast of the show were there rehearsals and if yes were the rehearsals taped?
No they really didn't have a rehearsal you could get out and warm up a little bit but they didn't
rehearse the full show, they did record the 30 minute Saturday night country style portion of
the show from 7:30 to 8, so that was prior to the regular Hayride show and off course
those shows were recorded and broadcast over at CBS but it wasn't really a rehearsal.
How was the Louisiana Hayride organised as we sometimes the program was broadcast from Shreveport, other times it was on the road?
That is correct, the Hayride would tour in the area of Shreveport, most of the time they
operated out of the municipal auditorium in Shreveport, but the were times especially during
the month of April there was a local festifull held every year in Shreveport for the month
of April and was call holiday in Dixie. Which was a celebration having to do with the civil
war and it was a big cotillion and social celebration, sort of a carnival and they would hold
this event every year in the municipal auditorium during the month of April, so the Hayride had to
vacate the building every month in April and they would typically go on the road to nearby
Texas towns and just take the show on the road for the entire month of April. Sometimes during
the year they would leave town when other events wanted to use the municipal auditorium or
if repairs were being made to the building, but as general rule for the most part the Hayride stayed in town.
Are there Elvis interviews at the Louisiana Hayride existing on tape or acetate?
No only the short interviews that frank page or Horace Logan conducted right before Elvis
would sing a song and all of those have been made public.
During my researches have I ever been contacted by people owning recording from the Hayride
that I would like to talk about?
Well I think ive already discussed that, there are people who contact me every once in a
while, well most of the time they contact frank page out at radio station and the only person
who had anything Elvis related was a gentleman who had made an acetate of one of the KWKH
broadcasts and that was where Elvis sang "I'm Right, You're Left, She's Gone" and he sent a
cassette copy of that to Frank Page many, many years ago and frank gave that recording
to me and it was put out on the Good Rockin' collection.
How was the recording method usually used by Louisiana Hayride to tape shows and which means was used for studio recordings, any protection copy?
No there wasn't any protection copy that I know of about back then, the recording method
I think ive explained. The Louisiana Hayride primarily used quarter inch reel to reel tape recorders
and the studios may have used acetates, I'm not really sure what they recorded on but I
believe it was quarter inch tape.
There are some titles of songs Elvis's is told is to have recorded while at the Louisiana Hayride,
Uncle Pen, Oakie Boogie, Always Late with Your Kisses. etc. I have no further information on those
recordings except that I do have some listings of the songs that he obviously sang on the show
but again I haven't been able to locate the recordings anywhere.
Story of ex country singer Peggy Little owning on tape two Elvis concerts...
I have never heard this story, I don't know anything about Peggy Little but I'll see if I can pursue it
for you and see what I can find out.
Is there any dream you'd like to fulfil?
Yes, I'd like to see a museum for the Louisiana Hayride and for KWKH in the Municipal Auditorium in
Shreveport open for all the people who come nationally and internationally, as it is now the
building isn't used very often and id really like to share the history of the Hayride with the world
in a better fashion and provide a museum to showcase that. I'd like to do a motion picture about
the Louisiana Hayride to share the history again of the Hayride because not many people know that if
you went there, say New Years Eve December 31st 1955, and if you paid your 60 cents admission
to the Louisiana Hayride you got to see a show with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, George Jones,
Jim Reeves, Johnny Horton, David Houston and several other, just an absolutely incredible
cast and to think all of those people were in one town, all getting there start at the same
time is just really unbelievable, so I'd love to do some motion pictures and establish a museum at
the municipal auditorium.
Question number thirty-six,
Ever researched to look for recording of the concerts Elvis did in Canada?
No I don't know anything about that. I'm not really an Elvis freak in the collector sense,
I am well acquainted with what Elvis did at the Hayride and collect Elvis at the Hayride
but other than that I do not collect Elvis recordings or memorabilia and I'm not a big collector like
some people out there.
A recorded concert from LaCrosse Wisconsin?
I don't know anything about that.
Why some songs on my recent two cd set are recorded at the wrong speed?
These are the recordings that I gave to Ernst Jorgensen to put on the sunrise L.P
and that's the way that they put them out, so I just left them the way that they were. I'd probably if I'd had
some more money, I may go back in the next year or two and with the advances being made
in computer technology and sound restoration technology I would love to clean up all
of the archives I have on Elvis and get them all at the right speed and make
them sound as clean as possible.
How many songs did Elvis sing or could he sing in his segment and how many times had he sung on
the same night?
The way it generally worked on the Louisiana Hayride is a performer would come out and sing
two songs for his first performance on the show, the show was three to three and a half hours
long, so based on audience response you'd always come back out for the second half of the show
and the artist would get to sing some more songs, if the audience really liked artist that night
and was applauding and in the case of Elvis they liked what he did, then the artist could sing up to
five additional songs. So it is possible that Elvis could have done as many as seven songs in
any one given night on the Louisiana Hayride.
Hank Williams was known to have the last night he was on the Hayride before graduating to the Opry,
he sang the Lovesick Blues and was encored seven times on that song alone.
Question number forty,
Talks about the Southern Made Doughnuts, did Elvis play only on this commercial or is he known
to have done other ones?
Its possible that he might have pitched Southern Made Doughnuts on a few other nights, I've already
explained how that was handled and if he happened to be out on stage when they were talking
about that, then he may have been asked to make some other comment about it. The other
show sponsors like Lucky Strike cigarettes or some of the medical products the announcers
would handle it and had a pre recorded statement. In the case of Lucky Strike though they did have
a jingle and sometimes Hayride members would sing the jingles for instance Jeanette Hicks always
sang the Lucky Strike theme and sometimes she would get Jack Ford and Hoot and Curly who were
part of Slim Whitman's band to come out and play the music for her to sing along with. I don't think
Elvis sang any jingles on the show, I don't know what they would have been, but its possible that
he would have done more than one Southern Made Doughnut ad lib commercial.
Is there an agreement with BMG to publish all the Louisiana Hayride songs through them and what
is the relationship with Ernst Jorgensen?
I met Ernst in 1994 and I helped fill in about 35 dates that he wasn't sure off where Elvis
was through my research and he and I became acquainted and good friends. He has some live
material as ive told you that he wants to put out and I think that they will in the future,
but ive always made it clear to RCA and BMG that Elvis's contract gives me the authority
and the full rights and ownership in the Elvis Presley Louisiana Hayride recordings, I do not look
to RCA or BMG for there permission or approval of what I do with these recordings and I've freely
licensed them for the last ten years and done with them whatever I wanted to and as I mentioned in
1998 they came to me and actually licensed six of my recordings to put on the sunrise L.P.
and that to me says that they certainly do not have any rights to these recordings because
you certainly wouldn't go and licence something that you thought you already owed.
Question number forty-two,
How did you react to the critics after the publishing of the sunrise CD and the very bad of the recording from the Louisiana Hayride?
Not being plugged in to the Elvis network I haven't seen any of the reviews from the sunrise L.P.
all I knew was that Ernst Jorgensen told me overall that the sales of the album were disappointing
that he I think had anticipated selling something like 50,000 units and had sold less than half
of that, so beyond that I never saw the critical reviews on the recordings, but again let me say that
my differences in how a record can be cleaned up and restored, I'm very big on getting
the record as clean as possible and taking the time to take out the pops and imperfections,
there are already computer programs now that ive begun to play with and I can afford to devote
weeks of my personal time into cleaning up a record and I understand if RCA were to pay one of
their engineers whose on the clock at 50, 100, 200 dollars an hour that it would get very expensive,
you can run up a bill doing sonic solutions work spending ten or fifteen thousand dollars on a record
and where that may seam a reasonable sum to you and I, if there gonna go out and just sell 25,000
CDs of a product its not worth it to them at this point. I think it may become worth it to them
later on as they run out of fresh Elvis material to go back and clean up the damaged goods.
As I mentioned to you I plan to clean up my Elvis recordings as soon as either a) I can afford
to get the restoration done at a professional studio or b) I can buy the necessary
computer equipment to work on the recordings myself and try to make them as good as possible.
Question number forty-three,
Do I know if Lucky strike the sponsor ever asked or received copies of each show?
No I don't believe they asked, in fact I wrote to the tobacco company that owns Lucky Strike several
years ago and made them aware of the recordings that I had because Lucky Strike is mentioned so many
times during the course of evening that I thought they might like to talk the
recordings and put them out as some sort of a promotional gift if people were to buy
cigarettes like the camel imprinted products or the Marlborough t-shirts or something like that but
I never heard back from the tobacco company and I know they didn't keep anything back then.
Musicians who played at the Louisiana Hayride have they ever talked to me about photos they took or video or recordings of there friends?
Most off the musicians I've run into and believe me I've interviewed a lot of people who worked
at the Louisiana Hayride from patrol men, security guards, ticket takers concession workers, the musicians,
to these people they were just having a good time especially the musicians. This was a gig they went to
they performed and had a good time and that's all they thought about it, they didn't realize they were in
the presence of future stars so they didn't very often take photographs, the musicians were mostly
men and so if they had their picture taken with anybody it would be a pretty girl. Tthey didn't care about
getting their picture made with Elvis or with any of the other stars and you have to remember
that back during the glory days of the Louisiana Hayride from 1948 to 1960 the average regular person
didn't have a tape recorder, radio stations and recording studios were just getting around to
having tape recorders, most what would be considered portable tape recorders weighed about
25 or 30 pounds and they were very expensive, think back to when VCRs first came out or
CD players they were very expensive and this would be the situation during the time of the
As you get into the mid and late '50s the brownie reflex cameras became more
affordable so audience members started bringing their brownie cameras to the performances
but prior to that even simple cameras were a luxury item, this was right after world war
two and people didn't spend money on luxuries like that and only the most avid music
fanatic would own something like one of the very expensive reel to reel tape recorders and he certainly
wouldn't lug them around, Also keep in mind because of the tape speeds that they were recorded at that
time you didn't get very much recording done on a tape, so that I think is the reason why
not too many band members recorded because even today musicians are poor people, they
don't have a lot of money. So I keep looking in the hope that somebody out there has saved
something but that's just it, 8mm film was the way things were shot but again movie cameras
didn't become a popular consumer item until the late 50s and early 60s and even then they were
silent films, so unless you brought a tape recorder with you, you weren't going to get the sound
to go along with your movie and except for performers maybe like Elvis who were moving around
on stage why would you want a silent movie of Johnny Cash standing there playing his guitar. So I think
that's why they didn't take that equipment to the Hayride and why they didn't tape it.
We know you are working on your personal book on the Hayride, any particular photo or story to reveal?
I'll have to think about that, I've got over a thousand photographs from the Louisiana Hayride that I've
collected from a bunch of places, I think one of my favourite Elvis photographs shows him standing
in front of his car out at Caddo lake here and I generally like the stories about the Louisiana Hayride
and the photographs about the stars that just show them as regular people. Out of my
collection I have the studio headshots that they took and the publicity photos but I'd much
prefer, finding a picture for instance I have one of Johnny Cash and Johnny Horton sitting at a
picnic table putting fishing lures on there fishing rods and I have other pictures of people
hanging out at picnics and having parties, I much prefer that cause it shows what to
me the Hayride was about it was a large very close family of people that was made up of people
like Slim Whitman who was a postman, Webb Pierce who was a clothing salesman, you know
all these people just had regular jobs, George Jones was a house painter and these people
came together every Saturday night and they made music, they enjoyed it, they really
didn't have stardom in mind when they set out to perform they just really enjoyed making
music together and I think it was the Nashville scouts in the audience and all the record people that
saw the talent and really started putting the idea in their brain that they could become famous
and make a lot of money at the record business, because really during the Hayride era it was
starting to happen that an artist could make good money singing, there hadn't been too many
people that had gotten rich off recording their music, a few singers back in the 20s and 30s
but this music was still considered locally to be hillbilly music, washtubs and things like
that and it just seamed like nobody was going to take hillbilly serious so it wasn't until Hank
Williams made a little bit of money, but I mean Hank made some good money for performances
but he didn't make it off his records, I think it wasn't until Webb Pierce really started to have
some million selling records that people saw that you could make some good money in this industry.
So anyway there's a million stories that will be in the book, I don't know that I can single any
one story out at this particular time, but if I think of some ill email them over too you.
Oh that's it for the questions, I hope this gives you a good insight into what
I know on the Louisiana Hayride, I'm always happy to help out and in fact I just got
back from a meeting with the city of Shreveport today and I understand their trying
to work on some plans to put a museum in the municipal auditorium and get Mr. Horace
Logan to come up and help and be the curator of the museum and help out, so I'm looking
forward to working with him and hope that all comes about.
I think were about to run out of tape and ive certainly talked long enough,
I hope this gives you some help Fabris, thank you for your interest and will talk with you soon.
2002/09/05 Joe Kent / Fabris Giovanni Luca / Kevan Budd / Ep.Gold.Com.
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