Camille Daddy

Also see - Jimmy Lee Fautheree and Webb Pierce - posted July, 2008


"Jimmy Lee"
Courtesy of: The Steel Guitar Forum
Author: Walter Stettner

"Jimmy Lee" Fautheree passed away to be with his wonderful maker on June 29, 2004, at his home in Dallas, TX., after a short battle with cancer.

Jimmy Lee Fautheree (James Walton Fautheree) was born April 11, 1934, in Smackover, Arkansas. When he was 12 years old, his aunt bought him guitar and was fortunate that his parents wanted him to be an entertainer, and an entertainer he was!!


He spent many hours and days practicing guitar and singing with two of his younger brothers, Lynn and Jackie, both of whom in adulthood would follow him in musical pursuits. Their father was an oilman and moved his family from town to town as jobs became available, but settled in Dallas in 1946. The family was very musical minded, so Jimmy came by it honest.

Jimmy liked and was around most phases of music, blues and hillbilly, were his favorites, but country and gospel also fell into place. Ernest Tubb and Jack Guthrie were big influences, but Merle Travis left a definite impression on Jimmy with his distinctive finger-picked electric guitar style.

Jimmy's performances started out in Dallas at the Big D Jamboree, went on to the Louisiana Hayride with his friend Johnny Mathis (Country Johnny Mathis), and wasn't long till he was being booked there for many performances. His first Capitol session took place at the Louisiana Hayride in 1951 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Four songs were recorded - "Go Ahead and Go" (a Jimmy Lee original), and here, was also renamed "Jimmy Lee". Jimmy Lee went on to be a great star in the Hillbilly field - "If You Don't, Somebody Else Will", "Can't Find The Doorknob", "Sweet Love On My Mind", "Sweet Singing Daddy", among many.

Later, he teamed up with his brother, Lynn (known then as Lenny), but kept the duo name as Jimmy and Johnny. They were featured on Faron Young's band - Faron Young & The Deputies, on to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, performing there many times on the famous stage. Jimmy was featured in many shows of Elvis Presley's early years, with Elvis being Jimmy's opening act several times. Wow, how many can say that has happened for them!!!

Jimmy produced several Gospel albums, his first in the late 1970's, but in 1995, Jimmy & Johnny again performed again for the first time in 35 years, whe they recorded a gospel tune "It Won't Be Much Longer", released on the Dallas based TIMA Records in 2000. It was their last recording as Johnny became ill in 1999. On this TIMA CD, one track is "Golden Oldies" by Jimmy, is a great song well performed. The CD's liner notes by Smokey Stover declare that Jimmy Lee Fautheree is one of the original developers of the Rock-A-Billy style of guitar picking.

Jimmy was invited to come back for a reunion on the Louisiana Hayride show last June 27 & 28, 2003, titled "One More Ride", at the original Municipal Auditorium, 706 Elvis Presley Ave., Shreveport, Louisiana. Jimmy opened the Friday night show by singing one of his recordings - "Unknown Legends", written by Johnny Mathis. That song was perfect for the night, and as many of the original performers such as Kitty Wells, Johnny Wright, Bonnie, Maxine, and Jim Ed Brown, Billy Walker, just to name a few were present to once again perform their talents, and could say, "we are home once again".

Also last year, Jimmy performed a Rockabilly Show, "The Ponderosa Stomp", in New Orleans, Louisiana, backed by Deke Dickerson and the Ecco-Fonics Band. That performance went so well that Deke invited Jimmy Lee to his Fort Horton studios in Austin, TX., to record with the band. The result is: "I Found The Doorknob", Jimmy Lee's first recording in forty years! The new CD features the hit "I Found The Doorknob" (answer song to "Can't Find The Doorknob"), and many others including "Gotta Get You Near Me Blues", "Overdue", "Box Full of Gits" (Jimmy's admirous guitar picking), "I'm Diggin a Hole", "Big Mamma Blues", "Nine Pound Hammer", and many more. This CD is Available through the web site -

Jimmy went to Rye Sussex, England, and performed the Rockabilly Rave Show on March 7, 2004, doing an outstanding performance playing his guitar and singing to many a fan who never thought they would get to see their favorite person. This was a first time ever performance in Europe.

Being a natural lead guitarist and singer, Jimmy will be remembered the world over with his wonderful talent, and that he did have. So special!! Jimmy came home from England very sick with pneumonia, was hospitalized several weeks, then was also diagnosed with cancer. His battle was a short time, but his maker will reward him with flying colors, probably from the rainbow.

Kind Regards, Walter



Courtesy of Deke Dickerson
Rest in Peace ...
Jimmy Lee Fautheree
1934 - 2004

We are saddened to announce that our friend Jimmy Lee Fautheree died on Tuesday, June 29, 2004, in Dallas, Texas after an extended bout with cancer.

We backed him up on his last show, at the Rockabilly Rave in England back in March of this year (2004). He was already in advanced stages of cancer, and after his condition worsened, he had to cancel appearances at Viva Las Vegas and the Ponderosa Stomp.

We are grateful that we had the opportunity to bring Jimmy out of retirement and record a new record with him last year. Critics all over the world raved about the album and Jimmy Lee was very pleased with his past-due acclaim. My biggest treasure is a letter Jimmy Lee wrote to me in April telling me that the reviews for this new album were the best reviews he had ever gotten, and how happy that made him.


Although Jimmy Lee was a little-known figure in the history of rockabilly and country music, everybody agrees that he was as talented, if not more talented, that some of the superstars that he know and played with on the Louisiana Hayride (Jimmy was friends with everybody from Johnny Horton to Hank Williams to Elvis, and played behind such legends as Webb Pierce, Faron Young, and Lefy Frizzell). His guitar playing on his early Capitol recordings 1951-52 surely were the blueprint for rockabilly guitar licks to come in later years (and James Burton told me personally "Oh man, Jimmy Lee was my favorite guitar player, when I was coming up on the Hayride I just idolized him.")

Jimmy's biggest problem, self-admittedly, was that he was just too shy for the music business. Whereas most country stars of the day would do just about anything to hog the spotlight, Jimmy Lee would avoid it at all costs. Historians agree that if Jimmy Lee had been more extroverted, he would be as well known as many of the Louisiana Hayride stars he rubbed shoulders with. His obscurity was not deserved.

When I heard Jimmy Lee play a Telecaster guitar, I heard magic. He was the missing link between Merle Travis and Lightnin' Hopkins. Nobody could play the guitar like he did. I felt honored to play beside him. With Jimmy Lee's passing, a totally unique style of guitar playing died with him.

I am glad that Jimmy Lee got to live long enough to see that he was loved by a whole new group of young rockabillies. I think he had no idea that a whole new generation of kids were listening to "Can't Find The Doorknob," "Sweet Love on My Mind," "If You Don't Somebody Else Will," "Love Me," and others. I believe he was both shocked and overjoyed that 50 years later, his records were still being played all over the world. I'm glad he got to see this firsthand, with an autograph line two hours long after his show at the Rockabilly Rave.

We also want to extend our condolences to Jimmy's wife Nancy. They were married for over 50 years, and I never once saw Jimmy without Nancy, or vice versa. Nancy always cooked a giant home-cooked meal for us whenever we came through Dallas - I think she knew that a bunch of traveling musicians could use a nice home cooked meal.

All the Ecco-Fonics and the other musicians who played on the CD would like to say, we loved you Jimmy, and you will be sorely missed.

He finally found the doorknob. Rest in Peace Jimmy Lee.

Deke and all the boys


Jimmy and Johnny Discography


         Seems strange to hear the late great Jimmy Lee Fautheree singing "Unknow Legend" on the Louisiana Hayride stage show in 2003 as he is rated among the finest Rockabilly/Hillbilly Bop singers worldwide. For sure, many years have past since his 1954 hit on "Chess" with Country Johnny Mathis and lot of his pals had left the building as Elvis, Hank Williams sr or Johnny Horton. For sure, Country music had change and move away from the raw rural sound of those cotton pickers, sharecropper, barefooted guitarists. For sure, the simple downhearted delivery is no more in favour at a time were TV and video clips made the rule and the stars. But, overseas, some people keep the 50's legacy alive since years. How come it?
         In the mid 70's, many people in England asked to hear vintage R'n'R and Rockabilly on the radio. These lead to a big manifestation in London and soon radio started playing' again those 50's wonders. Real soon, "Jungle Rock" from 1958 (Hank Mizell) became a hit in Europe and "You're barking up on the wrong tree" from 1957 (Don Woody) do the same in UK. Vintage labels as Sun, Decca, Capitol or Chess were looking on them files and reissued fabulous recordings by Merrill Moore, Faron Young, Johnny Carroll, Jerry Kennedy, Roy Hall, The Burnette Brothers, Wayne Raney or Š Jimmy and Johnny. When you're 19 years old, ready to rock and you heard blowing from the speakers: "Love Me" by Jimmy and Wayne, that's an experience you will never forget. If the DJ is good and next spin "I can't Find the Doorknob" by Jimmy and Johnny, you left the dance floor tore up with your boppin' shoes wrecked. Now, that sound had poisoned your soul and you will search for records and performers until Lord call you. That's just what happened to me in 1978.
         My first paper about Jimmy Lee Fautheree and Country Johnny Mathis was published in 1982 and the last in 2004. I have learnt how he worked with Hank Williams sr, than Elvis opened for the duo way back in 1954, than Jimmy Lee played his Fender on Webb Pierce's "Teenage Boogie" or Faron Young's "Sweet Dreams", how "Sweet Love on My Mind" was written at Jimmy's house but first recorded by Johnny and Dorsey Burnette. I have learned how you can be a star on The Louisiana Hayride, staged the Grand Ole Opry with Faron Young and be back to asbestos work few years later.
         Through the years Jimmy Lee's recordings were issued on countless labels and a Swedish musical magazine made a special issue on him in 2002. Since years, people fight for his original singles. Some goes for such high price as $ 300 for an original 45 rpm's copy. And that cat never had an LP issued in the USA except on his own label. Thanks to Deke Dickerson, Jimmy Lee Fautheree had the opportunity to cut hot sides for a CD issued in 2004. This lead to a first European gig in March 2004 where some people had to wait two hours in order to have them records sleeves autographed.
         Unfortunately, fate hit him and his lovely wife when cancer was found. On 29th June 2004, the story was over. Jimmy left the building and was enrolled in the upper choir singing gospel with his old Shreveport buddies.
         But in Europe, some people wanted to take care of his legacy and wished him to be inducted to the International Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Bob Timmer's agreed to nominate Jimmy Lee and few months later the Louisiana Stage of Stars Museum put Jimmy memorabilia in display courtesy his widow. Old fans like me still play his recordings, collect memorabilia's and write papers. Even a one hour radio broadcast is on the way in France. A legend never dies!
         If somebody ever told you about an "Unknow Legend" ... He will talk about anybody but not about Jimmy Lee Fautheree. Something was wrong in the song Š Jimmy Lee is a true Hillbilly Bop star. Yes indeed! God called him to heaven but his music live on forever.
Dominique "Imperial" ANGLARES
Brest R'n'R Appreciation Society.

Le contenu textuel de toutes les pages constituant le site est la propriété exclusive de son auteur et ne peut être reproduit, partiellement ou dans son intégralité, sans son autorisation écrite. Lucie Lebens ­ ­
Par Impérial

         James Walton Fautheree naquit le 11 avril 1934 en Arkansas dans la même petite ville que Sleepy La Beef, un "géant" du Rockabilly, Smackover. Son père travaillant dans l'industrie pétrolifère emmènera sa famille en Louisiane, en Californie, au Texas avant de se fixer à Dallas en 1946. Attiré par le Blues, et encouragé par son père, Jimmy se mettra à la guitare en écoutant une radio noire de Nashville, la WLAC.
         Il sera aussi séduit par le Hillbilly de Jack Guthrie (un cousin de Woodie Guthrie), par le Honky Tonk de Ernest Tubb et par le finger picking du guitariste Merle Travis (compositeur de Sixteen Tons, entre autres). Il rencontrera Merle Travis pour la première fois en 1950, à Dallas.
         Jimmy Lee deviendra un habitué du Big "D" Jamboree où il fera la connaissance de Country Johnny Mathis qui deviendra son partenaire par la suite. En février 1951, ils se rendront à Shreveport (Louisiane) pour tenter leur chance au "Louisiana Hayride". Cette émission live diffusée tous les samedi soir, concurrente directe du Grand Ole Opry de Nashville, présentait des artistes tels que Webb Pierce, Hank Williams, Faron Young ou Johnny Horton. Parmis les spectateurs se trouvait le jeune James Burton, futur guitariste de Ricky Nelson et d'Elvis.
         En 1951, Jimmy Lee fit l'acquisition d'une des toutes premières Fender Telecaster et signera un contrat avec le label "Capitol". Sept singles suivront avant que son contrat ne prenne fin en 1953. En juin 1954, il formera un duo avec Country Johnny Mathis et ils seront rapidement sur la scène du Louisiana Hayride. Ils seront parmi les premiers artistes "Hillbilly" à être signés par le label de blues de Chicago « Chess". Ce label ayant décidé de tenter l'aventure dans ce style musical utilisait son talent scout local pour enregistrer des artistes populaires au Louisiana Hayride. Leur premier morceau "If You Don't Somebody Else" entra aussitôt dans les charts et sera repris par de nombreux artistes. Suite à ce succès, Chess sortira un deuxième disque et Capitol sortira des archives un enregistrement du duo datant de 1952 resté inédit.
         Les choses semblent aller pour le mieux puisque le 16 octobre 1954, ils demandent même à ne pas se produire au Louisiana Hayride pour les 24 $ habituels, ayant un engagement pour 500 $ au Nouveau- Mexique. Ils obtiendront l'accord et seront remplacés, grâce à leur manager Tillman Franks, par Elvis Presley qui fera là sa première apparition au Louisiana Hayride. Il reviendra quinze jours plus tard et restera Š deux ans. Quant au duo, il sera viré du Louisiana Hayride pour indiscipline la semaine suivante et se séparera début 1955. Jimmy Lee fera un dernier disque pour le label Chess avec Wayne Walker, le rockabilly classique "Love Me". Durant les annéees 54 et 55, le duo tournera souvent avec Elvis Presley qui fit plus d'une fois leur première partie.
         En 1955, grâce a Webb Pierce, Jimmy Lee décrochera un contrat avec le label "Decca", son frère Lynn prenant la place laissée vacante par Country Johnny Mathis. Le duo continuera malgré tout à se produire sous le nom de "Jimmy and Johnny" et sera en tournée avec Johnny Horton, Elvis, Wanda Jackson et même Buddy Holly. "Decca" sortira plusieurs excellents singles du duo comme "Sweet Singing Daddy" ou "Sweet Love on my Mind" qui sera aussi enregistré par Johnny et Dorsey Burnette.
         Jimmy Lee sera aussi le guitariste de Webb Pierce sur une version restée inédite de "Teenage Boogie". Lorsque les Wilburn Brothers quitteront le groupe de Faron Young, Jimmy Lee et Lennie les remplaceront. Ils tourneront avec Faron Young pendant près d'une année, se produisant ainsi au Grand Ole Opry. A la fin 1957, le duo se sépara après deux années de tournées épuisantes. Durant l'année 1958, le duo original sera reconstitué et gravera un des plus grand rockabilly de tous les temps pour le label "D" : I Can't Find the Doorknob. Ce disque en pressage original se négocie aujourd'hui à plus de 200 $. A l'époque, 90 cts suffisait pour l'acquérir ! Jimmy Lee aura un autre single de sorti en 1958 sous le pseudonyme de Johnny Angel. Cet excellent disque sera enregistré à la Nouvelle-Orleans avec les musiciens qui accompagnaient habituellement Fats Domino ou Little Richard.
         Quelques disques sortiront les années suivantes avant que Jimmy Lee ne s'installe au Nouveau-Mexique, prenne un emploi stable et ne fasse plus de la musique que pour le plaisir. Il sortira quelques disques durant les années 60 et 70 mais sa carrière professionnelle avait pris fin. Un LP de gospel sortira en 1979 et sera suivit d'autres enregistrements Gospel, jusqu'en 2000, pour le label TIMA. Jimmy Lee Fautheree sera de retour sur la scène du Louisiana Hayride en 2003 pour deux réunions exceptionnelles. Il y chantera l'autobiographique "Unknow Legend", composé par son vieux compère Country Johnny Mathis, devant un public comblé. Il se produira aussi au "Ponderosa Stomp" en Louisiane et, en 2004, en Angleterre pour son premier concert en Europe. Cette venue en Europe avait été précédée par l'enregistrement d'un CD fabuleux avec Deke Dickerson sur le label Ecco-Fonic. Le titre de ce CD, "I Found the Doorknoob", était un clin d'¦il aux 50's. Ce disque fabuleux couvre tous les styles du Hillbilly à la Country authentique en passant par le Rockabilly et le Honky-Tonk. A acheter d'urgence, il y a toujours des copies en vente sur le net ou chez Bear Family Records. Si vous avez un seul disque à acheter en 2006 Š c'est celui-là.
         Malheureusement, Jimmy Lee nous a quitté le 29 juin 2004 après une courte bataille avec le cancer. Depuis un single est sorti sur "Norton", plusieurs magazines lui ont consacré des articles, une exposition permanente est organisée au Louisiana Hayride Museum et il a été nommé au Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Lucie a découvert sa musique et lui consacre une émission radio. Jimmy Lee n'est donc plus une "Unknow Legend" !

Here are the two brothers Jimmy and Lynn, wearing them Faron Young's Deputies western outfit, at the WSM office in 1956.

Updated June 15, 2007

©Rockabilly Hall of Fame ®