THE ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME PRESENTS



1907 - 2001

PAT MASON SPEAKS:

I was born on October 26, 1907 in Boise, Idaho. (Yes Pat is 90+ years old). For the first fifteen years of my life, I lived on a ranch by the Yakima Indian Reservation. I went to mountain Brook School and graduated from the 8th grade, and then ran away from home because my Dad wouldn't let me go to high school. I went to Longbeach, California. I started booking bands in the 1950s. Willie Nelson and I were working as disc jockeys on radio station KVAN and at that particular time he was singing in a band and I sang with him and some of the other guys. I got interested in doing a record of my own and made a rockabilly record called "Big Foot Wiggle"

Then I started working out of Nashville and I booked all the major country acts at that particular time and sang with some of them. I also booked Roy Orbison and I sang backup with him and really liked him. I really like Marty Robins and others that did other stuff that wasn't strictly country. He was only 14 years old then - he was working in front of Ernest Tubbs record shop and singing to draw attention to the shop. Ernest Tubbs asked me to take Elvis out on the road to get him some experience. So I took Elvis with me and at that time we were doing theater dates only. Hank Thompson was the lead singer and Harley Duff was the second one on the program and we just threw Elvis in as a little extra. But he sure did wow the people even then.

I took on Gene Vincent after he had had management problems and moved into Seaside. He stayed here two years and in that time I booked him all over the country and even over the world. I booked his dates in France and England, etc. At that particular time he had a guitar player named Jerry Merritt and they got along well together. I sent Gene to Japan and he did quite well. Then I got interested in another group and started booking them and moved Gene to Los Angeles and that's where he stayed. I also booked all of the black performers such as Fats Domino and Little Richards. Then I got with a guy and we put together a band called Paul Revere and The Raiders. We were working in the northwest and I took Paul around all over and we were doing fine. I had a friend Dick Clark who called and said they were going to shoot a show on national television, so I took Paul Revere and the Raiders and we shot the show up on Bear Mountain and they were a big success and everything went great from then on.

In the Meantime I was doing some things for myself and doing some singing and it finally got to the point where it was taking up too much of my time - traveling and stuff like that. So I just gave up on it and came back here to Seaside.

I was the first person to book Johnny Cash in the northwest. At that time he was wearing a zoo suit and a long chain and everything and he certainly went over big with the crowds then. Later on in Johnny's life, I booked a lot of dates with him and we became good friends. I thought Johnny was a really good entertainer. He likes people and he likes to work, and he's a good guy. I also booked Jerry Lee Lewis a lot of dates - he was a really good performer, kind of wild and hard to handle, but we got a long good.

A few of the artists I worked on the road with were George Jones, he was a really good artist, worked quite a few dates with him, worked a lot of dates with Dorsey Burnette and he had a song called "Tall Oak Tree" at that time, worked a lot of dates with him, Dorsey was a good entertainer. Lonzo and Oscar worked out of the Grand Ole Opry and I don't know if they ever made a song famous, but they were sure a good comedy team and worked quite a few dates on the road with him. Then there was bobby Bare and Bobby had a lot of good songs and worked a lot of dates with him on the road. At that particular time he had Detroit City and Five Hundred Miles From Home and had a lot of other good ones. Bobby was a really nice guy and a good singer. Worked with Bobby Helms and at that time he had a song called Fraulein which was going over good - worked about 10 days with hm on the road. Then I booked Johnny Horton and he had Honky Tonk Man and Battle of New Orleans, that was a good song for him. He and his band were good entertainers.

I then booked Bill Haley. Bill Haley was a good entertainer - but he hadn't had a lot of experience on the road and also it might surprise you to learn he had a very mild voice and when he sang he had to get right up close to the microphone. He had Rock Around The Clock at that time and sold a lot of records. It was a pleasure working with him. I worked with another country artist along about that time, called Ray Price, another good artist and enjoyed working. I then worked a lot of dates with Carl Smith and he went over good with the people. He was always an eager worker and never bitched about staying on the stage when you've got 12 acts or anything like that. Then I worked a lot of dates with T. Texas Tyler. T. Tex was one of the guys that really enjoyed working. He was really friendly to the people and got along really well with him. His famous record was "Deck of Cards" and he had a couple of others like "Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette" and they went over really good. He was really nice entertainer.

Then I started working dates with Johnny Cash. I worked an awful lot of dates with him on the road and I started out with him when he wore a zoot suit and he was doing impressions of Elvis Presley on stage and things like that. I have been a life long friend of Johnny's and we've stayed together and worked on the road a lot of times. I can't say that I worked with a guy that I liked any better than him. Then there was Lefty Frizzell - he was a good entertainer too. He had a song called "The Mom and Dad Waltz", a good one and he went over good with the people. Hank Snow was a good entertainer, he had a song called "Rainbow at Midnight", booked a lot of dates with him.In fact we got stuck in a snow storm once and I had to hang up for about 3 or 4 dates before we got out. Then came Sons of the Pioneers - and I worked quite a few dates with them, they were good entertainers and they kept that band together for quite a long time.

Then I started working with Willie Nelson, he and I were disc jockeys together in younger days - this was before Willie ever wrote or made a song himself. He was doing others peoples stuff. We remained good friends all the time. Johnny Horton - worked quite a few dates with him on the road, he had a song called "Battle of New Orleans", and it was a good one. He went over good with the people. Judy Len, she was the yodeling champ of Idaho. Worked quite a few dates with her. Worked a lot of dates with Ferlin Husky and Gene Shephard. At that particular time they had a record called "Dear John". Little Jimmy Dickens, he was a good entertainer and enjoyed working and his first song "Sleeping At The Foot of The Bed" was a good old country hit. Sold about a million records and back in those days, that was quite a sale. Booked Don Reynolds and he was the king of the yodelers in those days, booked quite a few dates on him and traveled on the road. He had quite an act he did with guns that went over really big. He also could use a quirt and pop it or snap it or whatever it was they did with quirts in those days. And then there was Del Woods, a piano player and singer. Wade Ray and the Ozark Mountain Boys. He was a good entertainer and had a good band, worked quite a few dates with him. Then there was Sonny James who had a record "Young Love", really hot record at that particular time that I was working with him. Went on the road with him for about 10 days, he was a good entertainer. I worked with Adrian and Sandy Coaker - they were the youngest group I ever worked with , but they went over good with the audiences. Ann Jones was a good singer and real good entertainer. She had a good song out at that time about - you gotta love your mama every day - worked a lot of dates with her. I booked a lot of dates on Lorie and Larry Collins - they were a very young duo, brother and sister, went over well with people. Then I worked with Hank Thompson, worked on the road with him a good many days. He had a song called "Candy Kisses" that was really a big one back in those days.

After the country and rockabilly things started slowing down and I was tired of working with Paul Revere and the Raiders, I started booking some of the black acts. I booked the Drifters and the Coasters, and the Inkspots, Fats Domino and Little Richard. I worked quite a bit with them on the road. I don't know if you would be interested in all of this, but I just wanted to show you all what the life of a booker must have been like - what I had been doing for years and years and years on the road and off of the road, it was kind of a hectic life, but I enjoyed it. I have 8x10 pictures of all of these that I told you about and I did a lot of the others that I don't have pictures of. Anyway, here it is for what it is ... I enjoyed it

Pat