They didn't win first prize but did get gold watches and it was exciting for them. My younger brother Roger and I used to sit around in our early years and harmonize like the Everly Brothers. Music ran throughout the family. I always ran around with older guys when I was in school because they always seems to be into music. My school days weren't the best.
I was like a rebel or black sheep. I did get into trouble and put on probation in the 8th grade. It was for minor things like drinking under age, etc. My aunt Florence gave me my first guitar. It was a beautiful thing.
The first song that I ever learned to play was 'Wildwood Flower.' I was 16 years old when I first started recording and writing songs. The bathroom in my house had a good echo and that's what I used for my studio. That's were I wrote 'Rockin' Teens' and 'Teenage Girl'. I was fortunate to have good musicians with me when I first started to record and play live shows. I had one player by the name of Junior Smith, a farm boy, He always chewed snuff and on stage would let it run down the side of his mouth.
He could play like Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. He would hear a song and copy it and know it in no matter of time. He was an excellent player. His brother, Connie Smith, played steel guitar, banjo, guitar and piano. I had a drummer by the name of Bob Van Houlton, He wound up with Roscoe and the Green Men.
They all had green hair and played the Dick Clark show once. My bass player was 'Goose' (real name Len Palmer). He was a rather silly guy - comic of the band. He had a fancy Lincoln that we used to ride around in.
We didn't have room for all our instruments in the car so 'Goose' would cover his bass and tie it down on top of the car and off we'd go to a job. I did get to see Elvis play back then in Fort Wayne. I remember him wearing that gold suit. We didn't have videos back then, so I would go and see all of his movies over and over again to get his movements down pat. I would copy them to the T for my stage act.
My voice was higher back then so I could sing the key he sang in also. I got to do show with Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Everly Brothers, Ferlin Husky and Sonny James to name a few. Marty Robbins liked me and gave me a plug on the Grand Ole Opry at one time. I remember playeing with Johnny Cash. It was the time he was deep into drugs.
When he got up to sing, he fell backwards on the stage and an ambulance had to take him away. We went out and did the show in his place (not that we could do Johnny Cash) but we gave it our best. I confronted Johnny on that occurrence years later but he had no recollection of what had happened. I also got to play on the Alan Freed and the Big Beat Show. They had Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, etc.
Loads of giant stars were on this show. One night we went to see the show in Fort Wayne and one of the buses with the groups' instruments didn't show up. Dave Smith (my agent) wheeled and dealed for our appearance on the show by letting the other groups use our instruments. That was quite a thing for me back then ...
I was in another world being able to get up with all those big names and play. http://www.rockabillyhall.com/DennisPuckett1.html Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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