I just re-read the O.K. Houck article on the site and it reminded me of a story
Marshall Grant told Scotty and me down at the opening of the
International Musicians' Hall of Fame. He was talking about how he,
John Cash, and Luther Perkins got started playing together.
Marshall Grant of The Tennessee Two
Photo © Mandy Lunn / THE TENNESSEAN
He said that he and Luther had worked at the DeSoto dealership in Memphis as mechanics. John's brother was a salesman there and when Marshall and Luther were not busy, they would play guitars in the grease pit in the back. Scotty confirmed this, saying that he had a DeSoto from there (it is in the picture of him in the car and Elvis looking through the window). He said that sometimes when he was off the road he'd go down and play with them in the grease pit. Anyway, the brother told them that his brother was in Korea, and when he got back he wanted to bring John down to meet them as he loved country music, too.
Elvis talks to Scotty in his DeSoto - 1956
So when John came home, he came down and they all began to play. As Elvis became more famous, they decided they wanted to try to be a real band and started working up some stuff. John said that it would look dumb on stage for three guys playing lead guitars, so they gave John the rhythm, Luther was the best player so he got the lead, and Marshall went down to O.K. Houck to see what he could get.
Luther Perkins, Johnny Cash and Marshall Grant
Photo courtesy web
The salesman took him to the used department and he had an old upright bass which he said Marshall could have for $15.00. Marshall took it back to the dealership and began to play it. He said that the famous "boom-chicka-boom" that was the Cash trademark was just the only thing he could play as he had never played bass in his life.
April 2, 2012
Marshall performed and recorded with Johnny Cash from 1954 through
1980, was his road manager for 25 years and performed with him for the last time
in 1999 at Cash's final appearance. They remained close friends until Cash's
passing. Marshall died on August 7, 2011 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where
he was scheduled to perform at the Inaugural Johnny