"Missouri Hepcat"

Interview By Steve Kelemen

"Many people have there own favorites when it comes to Rockabilly music. We all know about the established greats (i.e., Elvis, Carl, Johnny & Dorsey, etc.). But what about the lesser known artists. That is why I am proud to present to you Larry Terry. Sure, he made just one record, but what a record!!

I came from a large family and had 5 brothers and 5 sisters. There are 10 of us still living today. We lived in a rural area on a farm. My father had dairy cows and worked also. I remember in the summer not having air conditioning in the house. We also didn't have electricity and used kerosene lamps. It was so hot in the house in the summertime that we would sit outside in the evenings and play games. My brothers would play guitars, mandolin and banjos and I enjoyed listening at a young age. I started singing along with them. I started playing the guitar at the age of 11. I went to a rural grade school and at the age of 7 - 8, I remember singing at local fairs and pie suppers that were a big thing then.

The first band I played with was with my brothers. During my Junior and Senior high school year I had an older sister living in St. Louis and I went down there and played around in some nightclubs and stage shows. In 1960 I went back to St. Louis to pursue the music that I enjoyed so much. It was at that time that I sent a tape to the Midnight Jamboree (a show that was held after the Grand Ole Opry finished it's show).

It had about 3 or 4 songs on it with me playing the guitar. They contacted me and made a date for me to go down. This was in the summer of 1960. My brother-in-law took me down to Nashville. Ernest Tubb was on the road at that time and Cowboy Copas was the emcee. That was quite an experience for a young guy like me right out of high school and living in the country. The song that I sang that night was a big song back then by Ray Price called "Under Your Spell Again". It sticks in my mind that some of my friends from Windsor High School were out cruising that Saturday night and heard me singing on the radio.

The Rockabilly guys that I liked back then were Carl Perkins, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and The Everly Brothers. In the country scene, the guys I really liked were Faron Young, Webb Pierce, Marty Robbins and Ray Price.

In the rural area, Rockabilly at first was not accepted real well by the older people. But it became popular with the younger kids everywhere. I still enjoyed country and sang both types of music then. At the Testa Records recording sessions I had a 2-piece band called the Hepcats (that played with me on live shows also) that I formed in St. Louis. On lead guitar was Hobe Cook. The drummer was Paul Duncan and myself on guitar and vocals. We recorded for Joe Amams Testa label. He also ran a publishing company called Ozark Music. We became acquainted with him through a friend. He is the one who produced it. I'm not sure where the record was pressed. I do know that we made 500 copies. 'Hepcat' was written in 1957 and I wrote 'Why Did She Go' in 1955. I signed a contract with Ozark Music on May 11, 1961, so I think the record was released around June of 1961."

Rockabilly Hall of Fame