Scotty turned 80 years old on December 27, 2011, and we had the first party two weeks early on December 10th at the Gibson Café in Memphis. This party had been suggested last summer by Kevin Kane, our friend who is head of the Memphis Tourism Commission and who also owns the Blues City Café, our favorite ribs joint in the whole world. He and his assistant, Regina, worked for months with the Gibson people to put this together, and it was a beauty!
We arrived a couple of days early in Memphis because Scotty’s wonderful English band were coming over early to record at Sun. Pete and Stella Pritchard came to Nashville and then drove with Scotty and me to Memphis on Thursday. On Friday, we went to Sun Studio to hear the guys play.
There were so many people in the control room that we had to lure them to Mrs. Taylor’s café (the other side of Sun) for pizza and soft drinks so poor Matt
Ross-Spang (the engineer) could even move to turn a knob. Some of the people at the café were Dale Sellers, an old friend who played with Scotty in Nashville and for Wayne Newton in Las Vegas for years, Fred and Brenda Satterfield, Kris Kordevalis and his lovely Sharon, JM and Deborah Van Eaton, Kevin Woods, Scotty’s grandson Jim Moore, and on and on. Sun is a little place, you know!
On Saturday, Scotty kept trying to go downstairs but everyone came up so we just stayed and visited in the room. He had said, “Let’s don’t get a suite so we can visit in the lobby.” But that did not happen! Jim Moore, Scotty’s grandson from Washington state, who he just met last summer, was there. He stayed with us all day, and he’s so great! Also James Nixon came and stayed most of the day. And Jerry Schilling came back, this time with Peter Guralnick, who we had not seen in a long time. And of course Jerry Townsend was there….he’s always with us!
On Saturday afternoon Scotty received a couple of calls from nice
guys who had recorded with him in earlier years: Paul McCartney called
from Copenhagen just after after a show and sang "Happy
Birthday" along with his band and Robin Zander from Cheap Trick did
the same. He always loves to hear from those guys.
That evening we went to a cocktail party at a gorgeous private home which was given for Scotty and Priscilla Presley, who came from California just for Scotty’s birthday! Scotty and Priscilla had a nice visit in private at the cocktail party, and it was just the beginning of old friends he got to see that night. When we got to the Gibson Café, some people were already inside, but Scotty stood at the door and greeted everyone else as they came in. Again, what a great evening!
Our good friend Durwood Ramsey from Charlotte Courthouse, VA, was there with his son and a friend. Durwood and Scotty played guitars together in the Navy around 1950. We also visited Durwood at his home in 2003. Of course, Roland Jaynes was there….and Roland never goes out! We were so pleased that he made it. Also a gentleman named Joe Lee who had played with Scotty and Bill Black during the Fernwood Records years was there.
And of course our Sally Wilbourn who Scotty met in 1955 when Sally went to work for Sam at Sun Studio right out of high school was there. We are always so glad to see Sally. And Sam’s boys, Knox and Jerry, along with Jerry’s daughter Hailey were there, too. Scotty has known those boys since they were children, and now they are grandfathers!
We had so many people from long distances….John Barron and his band from Hamburg, Germany, came and played. Scotty recorded with John in Hamburg around 2002 and we have been friends since. Also, Ron Garson came over from England. Ron is a good friend of our Jim Roy (who runs this website) and has been with Jim to Scotty’s house, to Pete Pritchard’s birthday party in London, and to a show the guys did near his home in England. Ron sat backstage with us and drank wine before the
And of course we could not have had our party without Paul Ansell and Mia and beautiful Velvet (age 4), Pete and Stella Pritchard,
Liam and Fiona Grundy, Dave Briggs, and Jimmy Russell and his fiancée all here from London. Scotty said that he enjoyed traveling and playing with these guys more than any other band he played with…including Elvis’s!
And we had Jerry Schilling, Priscilla Presley, and Deke Dickerson all from California, Jim Moore (the grandson) from Washington state, Katha House (Ray Butts’ daughter) from New Hampshire, Scotty’s two daughters Andrea and Vikki and their children, Amy and Nick, and Billy Swan and Ronnie McDowell and Lee and Debbie Rocker and on and on.
After Sonny and the guys finished, we had John Barron and his band who came all the way from Hamburg, Germany for the party. After several very up-beat numbers, they got even more up-beat. They asked Lee Rocker to come up and play with them. They knew Lee from when he was in Germany with the Stray Cats. Then they REALLY got to
Then we sorta heard (the crowd was too busy and noisy visiting to hear much) our great friend Thom Bresh. When Scotty first met Bresh, he would not play a guitar in front of Thom because Scotty thought he was one of the greatest guitar players he’d ever heard. And then we had several speeches from those of us who love Scotty…..I got to thank everyone for coming and making his 80th so special, then Kevin introduced George Klein, who introduced Priscilla, then Jerry Schilling and Peter Guralnick, both long-time friends.
Then we had my best treat of the evening……Tracy Nelson and Bucky Barrett playing “Careless Love.” You could hear a pin drop!! Scotty and Tracy recorded that song at Music City Recorders in 1971. That version is on Scotty’s cd “Moore Feel Good Music”. It’s still my favorite song of all time.
We know it was exact because the original ES-295 belongs to Larry Moss of Memphis, who was kind enough to bring the original to the party and beforehand had made it available to Mike Voltz, who was in charge of making the new one. Thanks, Mike and Larry.
After the cake was cut, we went back to the stage for the English band. Each of the guys except Jimmy sang, showing what a versatile group they are. Then Paul took over and sang several songs. After that, there were so many guests who played and sang with them that I lost count. I remember
specifically JM Van Eaton doing a Jerry Lee number that he had played on, and Deke Dickerson really working out.
Sorry that I do not list everyone, but I just don’t remember them all. I’m old, too, you know! I could fill many more pages of who all we got to see, but Scotty said it best. He said, “This is not a birthday, this is the best reunion that Memphis has seen.”
The next day, Scotty and I said a reluctant farewell to Memphis and came back home to Nashville, with so many happy memories of his 80th birthday. I hope everyone reading this makes it to 80 and has as good a birthday party! Thanks, Kevin and Gibson and Jim and our Englishmen and our German band and Priscilla and so many others who made this a great time for all.
Memphis photographer Andrea Zucker
was hired by Kevin Kane and the Memphis Tourism Commission to photograph
the event for Scotty and Gail. Some of her photos were used on
this page while the remaining more than 450 shots she took of the party,
guests, performers and presentation can be viewed on her Pictage Photo
site (click here).
Registration is free and once registered you will also have the option of
purchasing select sized quality prints if you desire. Check them
Please note that neither Scotty, Gail,
or James Roy are responsible for the sale, processing or delivery of any
of these photos.
All photos on this site (that we
didn't borrow) unless
otherwise indicated are the property of either Scotty Moore or James V.
Roy and unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited.