These photos were taken July 26, 2006 at the Louisiana State Capitol while Louisiana Governor Katheleen B. Blanco
signed the Bill 796. Present were Jerry and Diana Long, Louisiana Representative Danny Martiny,
Ronnie Skains, Jan Chevalier-Gallo (Jay's daughter also a great pop singer) and Mrs. Long's mother.
The photos were taken by Gisela M. Chevalier.


Update: December, 2006
Jay Chevalier Records the
Official Louisiana State
Hurricane Recovery Song


JAY CHEVALIER- A resident of Kenner, was born in Lecompte, Louisiana. Jay's very first recording was "THE BALLAD OF EARL K. LONG", which sold more than 100,000 copies. Jay also appeared as Senator Wiley Braden and worked as a consultant for the movie "BLAZE", starring Paul Newman as Gov. Earl K. Long and on the movie "COBB" as a professional gambler starring Tommy Lee Jones.
      Jay worked for Governor Earl K. Long ("Uncle Earl") until his death September 1960.
      Then Jay performed in Las Vegas at the "Million Dollar Golden Nugget" for many years throughout the 60's. And at the "Union Plaza Hotel" during the 70's.
      In 2003, Jay became a published author for the acclaimed book "Earl K. Long and Jay Chevalier When the Music Stopped" (Southern Legacies Press).
      JAY CHEVALIER is a member of the "Louisiana Music Hall of Fame"; "The Louisiana Political Hall of Fame" and the "Rockabilly Hall of FameŽ".
      Recently he performed as a Headliner for two international Festivals in England - The Hemsby Festival, May 2005 and "The Americana Festival" July 2006, where more than 80,000 people attended. In Europe two of the most prestigious magazines this year have dedicated articles and front page covers to his career in Sweden and France.
      For the last four years he has also performed for the New Orleans "Ponderosa Stomp" Festival.
      He has three CD's available for sale "The Ballad of Sheriff Harry Lee", "Lost in Louisiana in 1959" and more recently "Come Back To Louisiana".

His song "COME BACK TO LOUISIANA", was proclaimed through House Bill 796 by Representative Danny Martiny, as the Official State Recovery song and on the same Bill "Jay Chevalier shall be known as the Official State Troubadour for the Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita Relief Efforts as he travels the world bringing awareness of the destruction caused. by the hurricanes and the continuing needs of the people of Lousiana."

TO ORDER CD's, CAll: 1-888-440-BIRD (2473)
FOR INTERVIEWS CALL: (504) 491-0176





INTERVIEW by STEVE KELEMEN

My first experience with music was when my father bought me a guitar for my 10th borthday. It came out of a Sears-Roebuck catalogue. It was delivered by mail in a big box. It was a Silvertone. It had an oval body with F holes. The hardest part of learning to play the guitar is learning how to tune one. Being out here in these woods away from civilization, it was hard for me to learn how to tune that guitar. There was a man named Baker Tayler, who finally taught me how to tune that guitar.

When I was 17, a local radio station opened up in Oakdale, Louisiana. It was called KREG radio. It is still there today. They let local talent come on and have a show. The owner of a furniture company (Howard Rush) took a chance and sponsored me on the radio. My cousin and I had a show and we got tons of fan mail from girls. We were still in school and getting all that mail and applause really caught fire in my mind and give me the passion to want to play country music, and later on, rockabilly.


I joined the Marine Corps in 1954. It was while I was in the Marines that I formed my first real band. One of our highlights was appearing on Jimmy Deans national TV show in 1957. When I came out of the Marines Corps I recorded my record. It was for the Cajun label out of Virginia. Me and a follow named Garry Gilmore produced it.

It was the first time I was ever in a recording studio. At that time Gene Vincent had just recorded "Be Bop A-Lula" and Gene and I became good friends. I worked with Gene in Norfolk, Virginia. He and Elvis were my first influences in Rockabilly. I thought if Gene could make it big in rockabilly, I could do it also.

My backup band members during those days when I first started playing rockabilly were Charlie Horton, Pee Wee Chevalier (my brothers), Rose Williamson and Tommy Strange.

I saw Elvis live for the first time in Norfolk. I was sitting up in the stands and when he came out on stage there were about 40 policemen across the front of the stage. About 200 girls rushed the stage. He was chewing gum and spit it out into the audience and the girls went nuts trying to get that piece of gum. H sand for about an hour but you couldn't hear a word he said because of all the screaming. I though at the time that this kid was really going to get somewhere. Of course, he became the entertainers of all entertainers.

Another story on Elvis. It happened in Nashville during the early 1970's. My manager and i were sitting in a restaurant and the waitress who was taking out order threw down her pad and went running like mad down the hall and out the front door. I looked at Billy (my manager) and said, "I wonder what's wrong with that girl." We looked outside the window and there on the street was Elvis and two of his bodyguards walking toward his Cadillac. He has on a blue cape suit and was eating a banana. He turned around at this screaming waitress, opened his arms and she must have jumped ten feet into them. He let her kiss him on the cheek and gave her his autograph. Then he took off and she came back to her pencil and paper and took our order again. Elvis was the most electrifying person I've ever seen.



Jay and Dary Forehand play for two M.D. patients
(who were musicians also) Norfolk, Virginia, 1957.



"The Ballad of Marc Elishe" b/w "The Ballad of Earl K. Long" was my first big record. It sold over 100,000 copies copies in the state of Louisiana. It was released on the Recco label. Executives of an oil company in Shreveport heard the song and a fellow by the name of H De Maree came down to make a record deal with me to record "The Ballad of Earl K. Long." This was the governor of Louisiana who was put in a mental institution and the movie "Blaze" was made about him. Everybody thought he was crazy, but he wasn't. Anyway, I wrote a song about him and for two weeks no one would play it because they thought I had written it to help the governor. But, I didn't. I didn't know him and had never met him. Jimmy Stretch took the record with him one night to Baton Rouge. The weekend DJ didn't know that the management had banned the record. Jimmy asked the DJ if he had heard or had a copy of the record. The DJ said no. Well I have one here, would you play it? So the DJ put it on. The switchboard started lighting up like a pinball machine and they had about 50 phone in the matter of three or four minutes.

Because of the reaction to the record, he decided to run a contest. The first 50 people to send him a telegram would receive a free record. His name will Bill Besson, a night disc jockey. The phones stopped ringing and about 11:30 pm Western Union said someone had to come over to pick up all the telegrams - there were too many to deliver.

Well, the record broke that night. Boll called some friends of mine who lived close to my home, as I didn't have a telephone. They came over to tell me the record had broken wide open. I went to Baton Rouge with $7.00 in my pocket and before it was over, the record sold 100,000 in Louisiana alone.

In 1960 I record my second record for Eddie Shuler from Goldband Records - "Castro Rock" b/w "Mona." Eddie was a real pioneer in the recording industry. He recorded "The Sea of Love" for Phil Phillips and it became a big hit. He has a studio with one or two tracks. There was no mixing. Everything was recorded at the same time and the engineer had to get it just right. I got royalties off "Castro Rock" in some very unique place all around the world.

The Pet Record was cut in late 1961 - "Billy Cannon" b/w "High School Days Almost Over." As you already know Billy Cannon was a famous football player (a Heisman trophy winner).

After the governor died, I went west with with my Tommy Strange who had a group called 'The Features.' We opened in the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas in February of 1962 and I worked with the band for all of 1962. Before we left for Vegas we auditioned for Crest Records, owned by Sylvester Cross. I sang him a song that my cousin and I had written "If I Can't Be Near the One I Love - I'll Love the One Near Me" plus another one I had written about that time called "Check Out Time." I got a call back and Sylvester Cross asked me if I knew why I was getting the recording contract. He told me that Jimmy Bowen had come down the staris that morning whistling "If I Can't Be Near the One I Love - I'll Love the One Near Me" and if you have a song that someone can whistle or tap their toes to, usually you've got a hit song. So that's how I got on Crest Records out of Hollywood.

In 1963 I took my show (Jay Chevalier and the Louisiana Lineshots) into Las Vegas. At that time I had some real knock-out musicians including Bobby Edwards who went on to become a famous guitar player. I hired a young piano player named Dale Houston and he had a girl singer I hired for my band. She had just cut a record and her name was Grace Broussard. She and Dale cut a demo and when I heard it I knew it was a hit - "I'm leaving it all up to you." It went on to sell two million records. I introduced them to high paced world of entertainment in Las Vegas and we had a hot show. From 1963 to 1968 I worked 10 week stints at the Million Dollar Golden Nugget. It became like the Grand Ole Opry for me. Wayne Newton was working at the Fremont at the time and directly across the street at the Mint was Patsy Cline. I got to work with Ron Bennard - "This Should Go On Forever." Dale and Gale - "I'm Leaving It All Up to You" and some of the best rock 'n' rollers out of Southern Louisiana.

One of the most memorable thing I ever did was to work with Carl Perkins in 1962. I can remember my cousin Tom Strange bailing Carl's brother David out of jail. He had an alcohol problem. Carl Perkins was a very exciting entertainer on stage. Vegas made an entertainer out of me. You only had one shot at it in Vegas and you learned fast to became an entertainer.

When Merle Haggard first appeared in Vegas, his wife at the time (Bonnie Owens) approached me to help Merle out. I didn't think I needed to help to help Merle but she said had a tendency to turn his back on the audience.

I retired form from Vegas in 1968 but went back in 1972 to play at the Union Plaza Hotel on Main Street. It was owned by the Union Pacific Railway. In the mid to late '70s, I went back to Louisiana and ran some political campaigns. I also managed a dinner theatre and then produced a show called Super Country USA on radio every Friday night for about a year. This was a great time in my life. In 1980 I went to Beaumont, Texas as entertainment director for "The Palace" which was a large night club. I booked large acts out of Nashville. I even booked Alabama when they first started out. They soon became too expensive to book.

Sandy Moore, a Canadian, became president of my International Fan Club and still is. I started a tour company in 1982 that would take bus tours throughout the States and would finish each tour by taking the customers to a live country show.

In 1989, I was contacted by Huey Perry who wrote the book "Blaze." They were making a movie with Paul Newman and asked if I would like to be a consultant since I knew ao much about the Governor Earl K. Long. He was the focal point of the movie along with Blaze Starr whom he was dating in 1959 when she was the highest paid stripper in the world. So I became a consultant and was also cast as Senator Paul Braden in the movie. I still get royalties from the movie theme song "Come Back to Louisiana" and for acting in the movie. I was able to get a screen actors card because of that acting and rwo or three years later I acted in "Cobb" with Tommy Lee Jones.

In 1992 I had a cardiac arrest and had the aortic value replaced in my heart wit a mechanical one. I felt great after that and in 1995 ran for Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. I came in 5th place. I met my wife Gisela during that campaign. We dated, fell in love and married in 1997.

While on a trip with her to Cuba, I sang the Ballad of The Castro Rock. It was a gutsy thing to do but everyone enjoyed it,During my career I made 50 singles, 2 albums and in 1995 I did a CD - "Sheriff Harry Lee" who was Sheriff of Jefferson Parish and the only Chinese Sheriff in the USA.

I still perform today. I feel there are seven steps to a successful hit record and that a record is a snapshot in time in a moment that is never repeated.

-- Jay Chevalier



Visiting a patient in an M.D. Ward of a hospital.
Norfolk, VA, 1957



NOW AVAILABLE ...

BOOK: "WHEN THE MUSIC STOPPED"
Earl K. Long and Jay Chevalier


CD: "LOST IN LOUISIANA 1959"
Jay Chevalier & The Louisiana Longshots

E-mail: JANDGINTL@AOL.COM



Š Rockabilly Hall of FameŽ