In Memphis for the Heroes Awards

For the first time in their history, the N.A.R.A.S. Memphis chapter (they’re the folks who give Grammys) voted to give four Memphis Music Heroes Awards. It will be on-going after this year with more recipients in the future. 


Scotty and Jerry Schilling April 12, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Steve and Ella Shepherd April 12, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd

We got over to Memphis on the 11th—Scotty likes to get in early and get settled, and we had several friends coming in so we wanted to visit with all of them before the actual show. Jerry Schilling was there from Los Angeles, and of course our dear Patsy Andersen who lives in Memphis. We also had Jerry Townsend and his lady, Mary, from Little Rock and Albuquerque, our dear friend Jacques Vroom from Dallas, and always Steve and Ella (the back) Shepherd from Nashville along with Mollie Blanks, our good friend from Quitman, MS.  


Jerry Townsend, Molly Blanks and Scotty April 12, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd

Also, Ronnie McDowell and his band, plus the Jordanaires and Millie Kirkham came along for the show, so we just had a great time at the Trolley Car Lounge at the Marriott Hotel. That was our meeting spot after every night’s activities.  Several of these pictures were shot there….for some reason, a lot of these pictures are of Scotty and me with glasses in our hands…lots of Lemonade folks…it was hot in Memphis!


Molly, Steve, Gail, Ella, Scotty, Mary and Jerry
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd

There was to be a rehearsal at the Gibson Lounge on Monday, but Jon Hornyak, the president of NARAS Memphis called and said they were running late, so everyone we were taking to rehearsal (most of the above mentioned) came up from the lobby to our room and we made pictures and drank (lemonade, I told you!) until time to leave. That was where the first group of pictures was made. All that group piled on the bed was a hoot!


Steve Shepherd and Scotty at the Gibson Lounge
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd

Then we went to Gibson Lounge for the rehearsal, saw several good friends there.  Scotty and Ike Turner had done a show together in New York with Matt Guitar Murphy and Joe Lewis Walker several years ago in Central Park and they had a little old-home-week thing. Actually, Scotty had engineered sessions at Sam Phillips Studio in the early 60’s with Ike and Tina, and so they had actually known each other 40 or 50 years.  Our good buddy Kevin Kane was there, he owns our favorite restaurant, Blues City Café on Beale St. We never go to Memphis without some of Kevin’s ribs for dinner.  Forget Corky’s and Rendezvous, Blues City has the best ribs known to man! Anyway, there was as much conversation as playing at rehearsal, so we got off to a good start. 


Jon Hornyak, D.J. and Scotty April 12, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Jody Stevens, Jon Hornyak, the Jords, D.J., Ronnie and Scotty April 12, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


D.J. and Scotty April 12, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Kevin Woods, Ray Walker, Louis Nunley, Karen Fontana and Gordon Stoker
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Scotty and Jerry Phillips
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


D.J. Fontana and Scotty
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Karen and D.J. Fontana, Scotty and Ella Shepherd
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Steve Shepherd and Domingo "Sam the Sham" Samudio
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Gail Pollock, Ella and Steve Shepherd, Jerry and Knox Phillips
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Scotty with painting by Lamar Sorrento**
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd

After the rehearsal, we went directly to Spin City, a new record shop at Highland and Poplar St. in Memphis for their opening of the new store.  They had a reception for the Memphis Music Heroes, and just about everyone in Memphis was there! More pictures are included here. They have big music murals on the walls about Memphis music history and one of course was with Elvis, Scotty, and Bill. Scotty, Dj, and the Jordanaires all signed that one on the wall.  I hated to see those beautiful walls being written on, but the store manager seemed to like those guys doing it!  Scotty’s daughter and grandson, Vicki and Nick Hein were there. Also Scotty’s friends of many years, Knox and Jerry Phillips and Sam’s companion of many years, Sally Wilbourn.  Scotty and Sally have loved each other for years, and she is looking great!


Scotty, DJ and Karen Fontana
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Kevin Woods, Wade Bernard, Gordon Stoker and Louis Nunley
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Sam "the Sham" Samudio April 12, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Kevin Kane, D.J., Scotty and Jerry Schilling April 12, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Scotty, Kevin Kane and D.J. April 12, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd

There was a big crowd but they had great refreshments, and also of course more lemonade.  We had a good time, Scotty made lots of pictures with fans, and then we went to the Blues City Café for dinner.  There was quite a crowd there also. My old friend Rufus Thomas’s son was there.  Also Gatemouth, the Jords, DJ and Karen Fontana, and one wonderful, smart, kind man who is also quite a talent.  I was so impressed by him, Domingo "Sam the Sham" Samudio.  Are you old enough to remember “Wooly Bully” or “Little Red Riding Hood” by Sam The Sham and the Pharoes?  He was one of the nicest people I’ve met in years!  Of course a great time was had by all, and then we adjourned to the Trolley Car Lounge in the Marriott.  Lots of pictures came from there, including one of me with not one but TWO extremely handsome men...no wonder I had a great trip!


Ella Shepherd, Kevin Woods, Mollie Blanks and Wade Bernard
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Jerry Schilling, Gail Pollock and Jacques Vroom April 12, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd

The day of the show, we walked over the bridge between the hotel and the new Cannon Center to rehearse and look over the new theater. It is really something! It replaced the old Cook Convention Center and Ellis auditorium where Elvis, Scotty, Bill and DJ played many years ago, and also where Scotty played his first live show in 24 years with Carl Perkins in 1992. The whole place is beautiful, and so clean!  Scotty said that when he was there with Carl in 1992 the dressing rooms had not been swept since the show with Elvis in early 1960’s! 


Scotty, Kevin Woods and Joe Lewis Walker
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Scotty, Jacques Vroom, and Joe Lewis Walker
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Karen and D.J. Fontana April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Ella Shepherd "The Back" and Scotty
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd

After dinner, we dressed for the show and went back over the bridge.  Scotty had a very big dressing room and we all ended up there for more pictures, including some with Scotty and Ella (the back). Our good friend Joe Lewis Walker was there from San Francisco, so we played a little catch-up with Joe on news since we had seen him last at the Chicago Blues Festival a few years back. Joe is great! Scotty met Joe in Washington in 1994 at the 4th of July bash in front of the Smithsonian institute and has been a fan and friend ever since. He’s got a new label and is working on a new record, a wonderful guitar player!  He was on Scotty’s segment of the show, opened with “Mystery Train” and clowned the rest of the show with Ronnie and Scotty. If you get a chance to see Joe live, don’t miss it, he’s a blast!


Patsy Andersen and Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Scotty and D.J. Fontana April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


D.J., Lewis Black, Nancy Black and Scotty April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd

Patsy Andersen (Scotty’s personal selection) and Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO of Gibson, presented the awards to Scotty, DJ and Bill Black’s three children.  I had not seen Lewis, Nancy and Leigh Ann for some time, and it was good to have a visit with them again. They keep saying they’re coming to Nashville to see some old pictures and hear some Bill Black stories from Scotty, but they have not come up yet.  Patsy looked great in her red dress! Pictures included in the write-up prove that.


Scotty, D.J., Joe, Kevin and Wade  April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Steve, Scotty, D.J. Joe, Ronnie and Kevin, Wade April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Scotty, D.J. Joe, Kevin, Wade and Ronnie April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Scotty, D.J. Joe, Kevin, Wade and Ronnie April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


The Jordanaires April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd

The first group consisted of The Blue Moon Boys (Elvis’s first band: Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and later DJ Fontana), Big Star, a ’60s rock group in Memphis, Ike Turner*, and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown.  All of these guys except Bill Black (we lost him in 1965) and one member of Big Star who has also died were present and full of music.  Each of the recipients were presented with the award and then did about five songs each…it was great! 


Big Star April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Ike Turner April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Ike Turner April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd

After each group had received their awards and done their mini-show, there was a party at the Gibson Lounge, but we did not stay too long there.  The music was too loud for us to talk, so we went back to the trusty old Trolley Car Lounge and stayed up till after 3 am—Patsy had to be up and getting ready for work at 6:30, so she probably did not go to bed at all. 


Ella Shepherd and Patsy Andersen April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd


Patsy Andersen, Scotty and Ella Shepherd April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd

The next day we all struggled to get up and either catch planes, drive, or go to work. I don’t know how the rest of them did, but since we have talked to all since then, apparently they got there okay.   We had a great time, and the NARAS people put on a really impressive show with their first annual Memphis Music Heroes Awards show.


Scotty And Gail April 13, 2004
Photo © courtesy Ella Shepherd

Gail Pollock
May 27, 2004

 



Ike Turner's Custom Fender Stratocaster
Photo © courtesy Mike Eldred

*Ike performed at the awards first on piano as he did first back in 1951 with his King's of Rhythm when he and Jackie Brenston cut "Rocket 88" for Chess Records at Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service.  He then switched to his Fender Stratocaster that Scotty's friend Mike Eldred of the Fender Custom Shop had custom built for him by Master Builder John Cruz.  Mike said it was the first he's seen go out of there that was completely covered (neck and body) in Gold leaf. When Mike took it to him Ike opened the case and started crying. He said nobody ever did anything like that for him.  Oddly enough the first Fender guitar that Ike had ever seen was just down the street at the former OK Houck Piano Company on Union Ave.  Years later he regularly played a Stratocaster and it's said that Jimi Hendrix's first exposure to one was during his tenure touring as a backup guitarist in Ike's band. (click for more info on the guitar)

**Lamar Sorrento was also the artist that did the artwork for the cover and liner notes to the album Good Rockin' Tonight: The Legacy of Sun Records.

 

 
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