Born June Evelyn Kuykendall, 7 November 1929, Lindsay, Oklahoma
In June 2005, I did a "This Is My Story" feature on the late George Motola. A few weeks ago I received a very nice e-mail from April Motola, the youngest of the eight children of George Motola and Ricki Page. I asked her if she would send me the e-mail address of her mother, which she kindly did. Mrs Page agreed to be interviewed by e-mail and here are the results, edited from the eight messages she sent me.
1. Where were you born?
I WAS BORN IN THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA MANY MOONS AGO, OF HERMAN AND OVELLA KUYKENDALL. I BELIEVE MY ANCESTORS ORIGINATED IN THE NETHERLANDS. ONE OF FIVE CHILDREN, AN OLDER BROTHER RAY, A YOUNGER BROTHER NOAH, A YOUNGER SISTER, SONYA, AND A BABY SISTER SUSAN, MY BIRTH NAME IS JUNE...
2. How and when did you become interested in music? What kind of music did you hear when you grew up?
I BECAME INTERESTED IN MUSIC AT THE RIPE OLD AGE OF TWO AT WHICH TIME I WOULD SING WITH MY DADDY. IT SEEMS I COULD SING AS SOON AS I COULD TALK. A BORN SINGER...I GREW UP DURING THE DEPRESSION OF THE THIRTIES....REAL POOR....BUT AS FAR BACK AS I CAN REMEMBER I WANTED TO SING...WE DIDN'T HAVE A PHONOGRAPH PLAYER SO I LISTENED TO THE RADIO A LOT AND FOR ENTERTAINMENT WE, MY WHOLE FAMILY, MEANING GRANDPARENTS, AUNTS , UNCLES, COUSINS, BROTHERS, SISTERS, PARENTS, A BIG BUNCH, WOULD HAVE A HOE DOWN...IT SEEMED LIKE EVERYONE PLAYED AND/OR SANG...IT WAS SOMETHING TO BEHOLD AND HEAR....AS FAR AS THE KIND OF MUSIC, A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING BUT WHEN I BECAME A TEEN MY PREFERENCE WAS MORE CLASSICAL EVEN THOUGH MY DAD HATED IT....
3. Where and when did you meet George Motola? Did he encourage you to become a songwriter or had you already written songs before you met him?
I WAS AN ASPIRING SONGWRITER WHEN I MOVED FROM FRESNO , CA. TO HOLLYWOOD, CA., WITH NOTHING BUT TEN DOLLARS IN CASH BUT A MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF CONFIDENCE. I GOT A JOB AT A JEWISH DELI WHICH WAS A FAMOUS MEETING PLACE FOR A LOT OF STARS AND PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY....THAT'S WHERE I MET GEORGE, I WAITED THE TABLE HE WAS AT....AND I GUESS SPARKS IGNITED BECAUSE HE LEFT ME A FIVE DOLLAR TIP, FOR A MILKSHAKE, AND ASKED THE HOSTESS ABOUT ME....TA-DUM...THE BEGINNING...SHE TOLD HIM I WAS A WRITER WHEREUPON HE INVITED ME TO COME TO HIS OFFICE FOR AN INTERVIEW....I THOUGHT HE WAS A WOLF AND NEVER WENT...LATER THAT WEEK HE SHOWED UP, A LITTLE UPSET, AND WANTED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO ME? I THOUGHT "MAN, IS THIS GUY FOR REAL?". SO I GOT A FRIEND TO GO WITH ME AND WAS REALLY SURPRISED TO FIND HE WAS WORKING IN THE OFFICE WITH LEIBER AND STOLLER WHO WERE WRITING THE MUSIC FOR JAILHOUSE ROCK AND ALSO THE COASTERS STUFF... I WAS IMPRESSED!!...GEORGE AND JESSE BELVIN HAD JUST FINISHED RECORDING "GOODNIGHT MY LOVE"....ANYWAY, GEORGE ASKED ME TO SING THE SONGS I HAD WRITTEN, WHICH I DID, AND WHEN FINISHED, HE SAID I'M NOT PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN THE SONGS BUT HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECORD, I LOVE YOUR VOICE...WE WERE A PAIR FROM THAT MOMENT ON....
4. Were the Georgettes named after your husband? Who were the other members?
THE GEORGETTES WERE NAMED AFTER GEORGE BUT I WAS THE ONLY SINGER, VOCALIST FOR THE GROUP...WE HIRED A LITTLE PHILIPINO GIRL, ROSALEE, TO BE THE OTHER HALF.....SHE AND I DID THE DICK CLARK SHOW...WAY BACK WHEN...WE WOULD HIRE SOMEONE TO BE A PART OF THE ACT FOR PERFORMING PURPOSES BUT THEY DID NOT SING ON THE RECORDING.
5. The MegaGuide to Singles lists six different Georgettes singles on eight (!) labels. (...) Is it possible that there was another group called the Georgettes?
"DOWN BY THE RIVER", "A PAIR OF EYES", "THE STORY", "LITTLE BOY" WERE ALL DONE BY MYSELF VOCALLY... ALSO, I AM A WRITER ON ALL..... THE OTHER SONGS ON THE LIST WERE NOT ME... (These other songs are by the Georgettes on Sabre, Goldisc and Hit - DdH)
6. Did you meet Eddie Cochran? Can you remember if he played on "Wee Willie" and/or "Love Like A Fool"? What do you think of his recording of "Jeannie Jeannie Jeannie"?
EDDIE COCHRAN WAS A VERY DEAR FRIEND OF OURS, GEORGE AND MYSELF, BEFORE RECORDING "J,J,J,"...HE WAS HIRED TO PLAY GUITAR FOR THE G-NOTES SESSION ON "JOHNNY, JOHNNY, JOHNNY" AND FELL IN LOVE WITH THE SONG, ASKED TO RECORD IT, THUS THE CHANGE TO ''JEANIE,J,J". EDDIE AND I WERE BOTH ON LIBERTY RECORDS AT THAT TIME. AS TO "WEE WILLIE", THAT WAS AL CASEY, AND "LOVE LIKE A FOOL" WAS JOE MAPHIS AND MAYBE JOHNNY ''GUITAR'' WATSON. THERE WERE ONLY THREE PIECES, TWO GUITARS, A BASS AND A STICK ON THE BACK OF A CHAIR FOR DRUMS. AIN'T THAT A KICK??? TONS OF ECHO...I DID ALL THE VOCALS... THERE WERE SOME OTHER RECORDINGS OF "J,J,J," BUT EDDIE'S WAS/ IS THE VERY BEST... "J,J,J," WAS MY FIRST PROFESSIONAL SONG AND I AM STILL RECEIVING ROYALTIES FROM IT......
7. My Finnish friend Tapio would like to know if Eddie also played on the flip of the G-Notes recording.
THE REASON I REMEMBER EDDIE PLAYING ON ''JOHNNY,JOHNNY,J" IS THAT HE LIKED THE SONG SO MUCH HE ASKED TO RECORD IT. IT'S POSSIBLE HE USED THE SAME TRACK. AS FOR THE OTHER SIDE OF THE G-NOTES, I CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER IT...I'M SURE WE USED THE SAME MUSICIANS.....WE DID RECORD ''I WOULD'' WITH THE G-NOTES, WHICH WAS COVERED BY MARGIE RAYBURN, WHO WAS ON LIBERTY AT THAT TIME. DURING THE LATE FIFTIES-EARLY SIXTIES I WAS A FREELANCE SINGER, NOT WORKING WITH ANY ONE GROUP IN PARTICULAR...I DID SOME BACKUP ON ONE OF EDDIE'S ALBUMS, WAS UP ALL NIGHT, TED KEEP WAS THE ENGINEER AND I THINK GEORGE WAS DOING SOMETHING...THESE WERE THE ONLY TIMES I WORKED PERSONALLY WITH EDDIE THAT I RECALL.
THE G-NOTES WERE THREE SISTERS, AGES YOUNG... AROUND 12, 10, AND 6...THEIR DAD'S NAME WAS SAM GINO, THE OLDEST GIRL WAS LINDA, NEXT WAS NANCY, CAN'T REMEMBER THE YOUNGEST'S NAME... I SAW THEM PERFORM ON AN AMATEUR SHOW, GOT IN TOUCH WITH THEM, ONE THING LED TO ANOTHER AND GEORGE RECORDED THEM.
8. Were your solo recordings produced by your husband?
GEORGE PRODUCED ALMOST ALL OF MY RECORDINGS.... ONE EXCEPTION IS A SESSION I DID FOR EPIC RECORDS IN '65, PRODUCED BY BILLY SHERRILL, FOR AL GALICO WHOM GEORGE AND I WERE WRITING FOR THEN....I DID FOUR SONGS, ''MY BOYFRIEND''...''YOUR LOVE IS REAL''...''AN OPEN SECRET''...''I CRY INSIDE''....THE 2ND AND 4TH WERE RELEASED AS A SINGLE......ALL OF THE ABOVE WERE WHEN I LIVED IN HOLLYWOOD..
9. After Liberty, you went to Dot Records, then to Zephyr, I think, and after that to Rendezvous. Is that correct?
NO. MY SISTER SONYA AND I WERE ON ZEPHYR RECORDS W/ "GOODNIGHT MY LOVE" AS THE PAGE SISTERS. THE FLIPSIDE WAS "HEAVENLY ANGEL", I THINK... ANOTHER RELEASE WAS "SWEET SWEETHEART"/"ALL MY LOVE BELONGS TO YOU"...THIS WAS BEFORE MY SISTER LEFT THE ACT, LEAVING ME TO FIND A REPLACEMENT FOR HER...MY LITTLE SISTER, SUSAN, WAS TOO YOUNG AT THE TIME...FROM ZEPHYR I WENT TO LIBERTY WHERE I RECORDED "WEE WILLIE"/"I'M OLD ENOUGH NOW" , THE GUITAR PLAYER WAS AL CASEY ON THESE.... I ALSO HAD "DREAMBOY"/"IF THEY ONLY KNEW". AT THE TIME, EDDIE AND I WERE BOTH ON LIBERTY....FROM THERE I WENT TO DOT..OTHER SONGS ON DOT WERE DONE IN ''60, OR '61, CAN'T RECALL, BUT HAD A BIG HIT IN HONG KONG IN '62 ?....'YOU'RE MINE''...WENT TO #4 ON THE CHARTS UP AT THE TOP W/ ELVIS, BRENDA LEE, CHUBBY CHECKER.... NICE!!! AFTER DOT I DID THE STUFF FOR RENDEZVOUS.
10. Is the correct spelling of your name Ricki or Ricky?
I CHANGED THE Y TO I BECAUSE OF MY AGE...IT SEEMED MORE APPROPRIATE ... ACTUALLY WHEN MY SIS SONYA AND I BEGAN RECORDING, WE CHOSE NAMES THAT WOULD STICK OUT, WHICH WAS "RICKY AND RONNY"...AT THE TIME WE THOUGHT THAT WAS NEATO....
11. Of your compositions from this period, which one do you cherish most of all?
MOST CHERISHED COMPOSITION : ''BLUE DREAMER'' DONE BY THE ''BERMUDAS'', MY DAUGHTERS. RELEASED ON THE SAME LABEL AS ''DONNIE'' (ERA).
12. Can you name some of the groups with which you were involved as a singer in the late 1950s and early 1960s, apart from the Georgettes?
SOME OF THE GROUP NAMES I'VE RECORDED UNDER ARE AS FOLLOWS : "JUNE AND JOY" , "THE PAGE SISTERS" W/ MY SISTER SONYA. "THE MAJORETTES" W/ MY DAUGHTERS, SHEILA, JOANNA, AND REBECCA PAGE. "THE BERMUDAS" W/DAUGHTERS ABOVE AND MY SISTERS.. "BECKY AND THE LOLLYPOPS" W/ DAUGHTERS REBECCA AND JOANNA. OTHER NAMES I'VE RECORDED UNDER THAT I REMEMBER .... JOHANNA LEE.... LAURA JANE WEBB... THE AUSTIN SISTERS..
GROUPS I HAVE WORKED WITH....'' THE MARYJOHN SINGERS", '''THE JORDANAIRES'', ''THE TOWN AND COUNTRY SINGERS'', ''THE NASHVILLE SOUNDS'',.''THE NASHVILLE EDITION''..PLUS FREELANCING I.E...FILLING IN FOR SOMEONE...ALSO WORKED WITH SONNY AND CHER ON ''RONNIE AND THE RONETTES''.... ANOTHER GROUP I WAS WITH WAS CALLED ''THE RAINBOW SHIP'', WITH BERGEN WHITE AND BUZZ CASON....WE DID ONE SINGLE BUT I CAN'T RECALL THE NAMES OF THE SONGS.... THAT WAS AROUND LATE '60'S EARLY '70'S...
13. You also worked with Phil Spector, didn't you?
I WORKED WITH DARLENE LOVE ON ''HE'S A REBEL'', WHICH WAS PRODUCED BY PHIL SPECTOR. DID QUITE A BIT OF SESSION WORK WITH THE BLOSSOMS (DARLENE, FANITA, JEANNIE AND SOMETIMES GRACIA, WHO WAS JACK NITZSCHE'S WIFE AT THE TIME). WE DID A LOT OF WORK FOR PHIL SPECTOR....AND OTHERS... I SANG WITH THEM ON ''WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE'' AND ''PUT A LITTLE LOVE IN YOUR HEART'', BOTH DONE BY JACKIE DE SHANNON. ALSO A LOT OF THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS STUFF.....BEFORE PHIL AND AFTER PHIL....
14. How did you get involved with country music?
IN THE FALL OF '65, GEORGE AND I, W/FAMILY, MOVED TO NASHVILLE,TN. THIS WAS MY FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH COUNTRY MUSIC....I LOVED IT!! LEARNING THE NUMBER CHARTS WAS LIKE MUSICAL SHORTHAND...IT SAVED SO MUCH TIME...I TOOK TO IT LIKE A DUCK TO WATER....WHILE MOST OF MY TIME WAS SPENT IN THE STUDIO DOING BACKUP, I STILL WAS INTO MY WRITING AND PERSONAL RECORDING...AS A MATTER OF FACT, I DID A COVER RECORD OF ''HARPER VALLEY P.T.A.'' WHICH WAS NO.1 IN SEATTLE AND HIT THE CHARTS IN THE NEW YORK AREA...WAS ON AN INDEPENDENT LABEL NAMED SPAR ...ALSO DID AN ALBUM FOR THEM... http://dev.coolforever.com/m/browse.cfm/item/136286/ THIS WAS AROUND '67, '68.....AROUND THE SAME TIME THE GROUP I WORKED WITH, ''THE NASHVILLE EDITION'' WAS HIRED TO DO THE ''HEE HAW'' SHOW...WHICH I DID UNTIL '85 WHEN I RETIRED THE FIRST TIME... THAT'S ANOTHER STORY....BY THE WAY, THE ''HEE HAW'' SERIES IS AVAILABLE ON DVD, FEATURING ROGER MILLER, LORETTA LYNN, BILL ANDERSON, ALSO FEATURES THE ''NASHVILLE EDITION" .. THE MEMBERS OF THE GROUP ARE HERSHEL WIGGINTON, JOE BABCOCK, DOLORES EDGIN AND YOURS TRULY,,,,,I'M REALLY SKIMMING OVER THE SURFACE WHEN IT COMES TO HISTORY AS THERE IS SOOO MUCH ....
A LITTLE SIDE NOTE: WHEN I LISTEN TO AN OLDIES STATION I HEAR MYSELF ON ABOUT HALF OF THE SONGS, MAYBE MORE.....I SHOULD HAVE KEPT A LEDGER.....
15. Are you still musically active today?
I'M STILL WRITING AND SINGING SPORADICALLY AS I LIVE IN AN AREA NOT TOO PROFESSIONAL REGARDING MUSIC ... MY TWO SISTERS AND I HAVE WRITTEN, SUNG AND PRODUCED TWO ALBUMS OF INSPIRATIONAL GENRE WITHIN THE LAST FIVE YEARS ... AT THE PRESENT TIME WE ARE DOING ACAPELLA SONGS OF THE PAST CENTURY FOR PRIVATE AFFAIRS ... IT"S GREAT FUN...
If you have any questions for Mrs Page, please send them to me and I'm sure she will be happy to answer them ("This is so much fun"...).
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