MAGGIE LEE AND THE PERCUSSIONS
The Echoes and Maggie in the beginning.
Personnel are from top left Freddie Sherffius; top right Buddy Jones; bottom
left Kelly Graves; bottom right Joe Stout; center Maggie Lee.
Maggie Lee and The Percussions began in 1960. Joe Stout was on drums, Buddy
Jones on guitar and Fred Prentice on bass. In the beginning, the group was
known as The Echoes. Buddy Elinor joined a few months later, playing
saxophone and trumpet.
During this first year, Margaret Lee Tate and her sister Joyce, followed
the band to various engagements. The two sisters were called upon to sing
two or three numbers each night. Joe Stout, the drummer, dubbed Margaret
with the nickname, Maggie.
In 1961, Joe and Margaret married. When Buddy Elinor moved to Florida,
Maggie attempted to learn to play saxophone. She gave up that endeavor but
showed interest in learning the keyboard. A Fender Rhodes portable piano
was rented from a local music store and after a month of practice, Maggie's
natural talent emerged. The replacement for Buddy Elinor was unable to
continue in the group, so Maggie was added on keyboard. Maggie played a
portable organ and became the lead singer.
The band performed all over the West Tennessee and West Kentucky area. This
group continued until 1964 when Fred Prentice married and Buddy Jones left
to join a group closer to his home. Carl Mann, who recorded the hit record,
Mona Lisa, joined the group for a short period of time.
Left to right: Joe Stout, Maggie Lee, Poly Stanfill, Pete Tate
About the same time a group called the Percussions was having similar
problems. The two groups merged using the name The Percussions. In 1965,
The Percussions recorded a single 45-RPM record under the direction of
Willie Mitchell at the HI Studios in Memphis, Tennessee; the record was
released on the Block label. The song titles were Your Love, (written by
lead singer and guitar player, Troy Williams. The flip side was titled
Misery and Pain, written by Joe Stout. Then the British invasion of music
came into fashion and The Beatles era began.
In 1966 the group once again lost members for various reasons. Maggie's
brother, Paul (Pete) Tate returned from the Navy and joined the group as
singer and lead guitar. James "Poly" Stanfill joined on bass guitar. In
1967, this group recorded an album in Memphis on the Allendale label
entitled, It's Time for the Percussions. Roland James was the sound
engineer. The album included songs, "Time is Running Out" (written by Joe
Stout); the Rolling Stones song, Time is on My Side; and Tar and Cement,
the most popular song on the album. Maggie's father, John Tate, performed
harmonica on one song entitled, Fox Chase.
The song Tar and Cement came to the attention of Sam Phillips, owner of Sun
Recording Studios in Memphis. At that time the Holiday Inn Corporation was
forming a record label and talent agency. Through this agency, the group
booked tours to military bases in Goose Bay Labrador, Sondestrom and Thule,
Greenland. They were booked for a 3-week engagement but were held over for
an additional 6 weeks. Subsequent tours to these bases were made in 1968
and 1969. Before the tour, Paul Tate left the
group and Lloyd Foust replaced him on guitar. Larry Reed was added to the
group on horns and vocals. The group was booked as rock and roll, but
performed some country tunes. They soon learned that the audience was
starved for country music because most groups booked there were from the
Northeast. The group soon learned that Lloyd knew most of the popular and
classic country songs so they switched to mostly country to satisfy the
audience. Lloyd brought the house down with his solo of the Spanish tune,
Malagueńna. Lloyd was the most talented all around guitarist ever heard by
Maggie and Joe.
Thule, Greenland was the United States most outer defense at that time.
Huge football-field sized radar screens were beamed at the Soviet Union. An
Eskimo village was moved for the building of the base. Five hundred miles
north of the Arctic Circle, it is the northern-most inhabited land in the
Maggie became known as Maggie Lee, professionally and the group became
"Maggie Lee and the Percussions" remaining that until retirement. A female
in a musical group was a rarity, in those days. For a period of about 4
years, the group toured 21 states and several foreign countries as well as
doing recording work in the Sun Studio under the direction of Sam Phillips.
The Holiday Inn label never came to fruition.
Alvin Holland from Camden, Tennessee joined the band on guitar. Alvin was a
great guitar player. He played left- handed by turning the guitar over
without re-stringing (as most left-handed guitarists do) to the amazement
In 1972 Joe and Maggie operated the Cellar Lounge in South Fulton,
Tennessee. It featured the group several nights a week. Jeff Sensing joined
the group on guitar and vocals, as well as Patrick Morris on bass and
Barbie Morris performing vocal. One year later Joe and Maggie purchased the
Kings Den nightclub in Martin, Tennessee, renaming it Maggie Lee's. The
club was in operation from July of 1973 through December of 1991. Maggie
Lee and the Percussions was the house band for the entire period of 18
years. Joe managed the club, so Mickey, (Joe's son) and various others
performed drums (with occasional fill-ins by Joe).
Left to right: Johnny Ward , Joe Stout, Eddie Voorhies, with Maggie Lee in center.
During the long period of operation, Maggie Lee's was a first with mud
wrestling, bear wrestling, mechanical bullriding, and male dancers. They
featured bands like the Bill Black Combo, Ace Cannon, the Diamonds and many
From the period when Maggie first became featured, the group incorporated
the use of shows and comedy skits in their routines. One of the most
memorable routines used was the acting out of the song Frankie and Johnny.
As the song began, Joe would leave the bandstand and pick a lady from the
audience to dance or a band member dressed as a woman. When the line came
about Johnny in a barroom with Nellie Blye. Maggie would fire a blank
pistol killing Johnny who fell to the floor. In 1966, this routine was
performed at Red's Place in Samburg, Tennessee (on Reelfoot Lake; near Carl
Perkins birthplace). A local highway patrolman walked in as this routine
started and leaned up against the jukebox just off the dance floor. When it
came time for Johnny to be shot, Maggie walked over and pulled the gun from
the patrolman's holster and fired 3 times. Johnny fell to the floor.
Everyone jumped up, screaming and running for the door except one old
fella. He commented, "She sure as Hell shot him didn't she?" Unknown to the
audience, this was made up beforehand and the patrolman had Maggie's blank
pistol in his holster.
Left to right: Joe Stout, Phillip Tate, Maggie Lee, Lloyd Foust, Larry Reed.
In later years, they were also the first in the area to use pyrotechnics on
stage. On one occasion, Maggie rode a horse in the front door of the club,
dismounted and sang her song during the pyrotechnics show. On another
occasion she rode in on a motorcycle. Joe, being an amateur magician,
incorporated shows, making Maggie suddenly appear from an empty framed,
lighted box covered with butcher paper and bursting forth to render her
show tune. In another act he placed her in a large sack and then in a box.
She disappeared from the box and appeared through the front door singing
her song. Upon opening the box, Joe had taken her place.
About a year after the closing of Maggie Lee's in 1991, Joe and Maggie
purchased the old Mullins Club in their hometown of Greenfield. They were
the first live band to play in the Mullins Club in 1960. It was also where
their first public performance was booked. Ironically, their last public
performance was in 1995, when the state of Tennessee purchased the Mullins
Club property to build a four-lane highway. Since that time Joe and Maggie
Lee and The Percussions have been in complete retirement.
Left to right: Chuck Pallokawicz, Don Reed, Maggie Lee, Joe Stout, Troy Williams.
During the span of 35 years,the group performed practically every style of
music including: music of the big bands of the 1930's and 40's; the country
of Hank Williams and Patsy Cline; the rockabilly of Carl Perkins and
others; the rock and roll of Elvis Presley; the soul music of the 60's; the
Liverpool sound of the Beatles and the Stones; the rock and roll of
Creedence Clearwater Revival; the jazz of all eras; the disco sound of the
80's; the modern country of The Judds and Garth Brooks; the heavy metal of
Guns and Roses and Poison; and even the music of Stephen Foster, backing
Jay Willoughby at the Cardinal Lounge (Paducah, 1971) for a weekly special
gay 90's shows. At that time, the band consisted of Joe, Maggie, guitarist
Ronnie Waters, bass player Nyman Furr, and "Alfalfa" on Sax.
Some of Maggie's own styling of tunes over the years encompassed: Kitty
Welles' Honky Tonk Angels; Patsy Cline's, I Fall To Pieces and Sweet
Dreams; Wilburt Harrison's, Kansas City; Lloyd Price's, Stagger Lee; Chuck
Berry's, Johnny B. Goodie; Nancy Sinatra's, These Boots Are Made For
Walking; Blondie's, Rapture; Cher's, I Got You Babe and If I Could Turn
Back Time; Tina Turner's, Proud Mary and Steamy Windows; Stevie Nix's, Edge
of Seventeen, Stop Dragging My Heart Around and Talk To Me; Heart's, All I
Want To Do Is Make Love To You; Harold Dorman's, Mountain of Love; Janis
Joplin's, Me and Bobby McGee; Roy Orbison's, Crying; and Sammi Smith's,
Help Me Make It Through The Night.
Left to right: Reggie Adams, Poly Stanfill, Maggie Lee, Steve Mallard, Andy Elliott.
Maggie Lee and Joe are proud to have been a part of the music scene for
these 35 years and to have had the privilege of an association with many
talented musicians. The following is a roster of names that have performed
with the group. Apologies to those that memory fails to remember. Time
does take its toll.
A. B. Jenkins
Alfalfa (Lafoyia Maxwell)
Bobby Lee Trammell
Dr. Billy Pitts
Harold James (Big Otis)
Hugh Wayne Tate
Paul (Pete) Tate
Ted Mack Brush