|Arkansas Been Rockin', Jimmy Evans
JAG Records 0009
When nineteen year old Elvis Presley started making waves all over the south with his first record "That's Alright Mama" other young musicians started to blend blues and country into the exciting new rockabilly style. Nowhere was the call heard more strongly that in Arkansas, which lies just the other side of the Mississippi from Memphis where Elvis cut his first records at Sun.
Memphis had a strong blues tradition it's radio stations were blasting out this music into the rural districts of Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. The young country musicians who heard this began fusing their country songs with some hot blues licks into a style since revered as rockabilly. Billy Lee Riley, Sonny Burgess, Mack Self, Charlie Rich, Johnny Cash, Harold (Conway Twitty) Jenkins, the names are legendary, all made their way to the Union Avenue studio. Jimmy Evans, a native of Marianna, Arkansas was there too and wrote his own page of rockabilly history by playing bass and singing harmony on Mack Self's wonderful "Mad At You" and doing demos with Charlie Rich. He also recorded with Warren Smith at Sun. On stage Jimmy has also played with Billy Lee Riley, Kenny Parchman, Smoochy Smith and even Jerry Lee Lewis one time when the killer needed a guitar player and young Jimmy stepped in.
Jimmy toured and recorded with Conway Twitty and Ronnie Hawkins and both artists recorded songs written by Jimmy as did another Sun artists Jimmy Haggett and Jerry Lee Lewis. He has fond memories of his stint with Hawkins when he met many other artists such as Eddie Cochran, Frankie Ford, Jack Scott, Bobby Darin, Brook Benton and many more. He has less fond memories of a dash from Toronto to Chicago to do one of the big Alan Freed shows and then it was back in the cars and back to Toronto all without any sleep!
Jimmy then made his mark with his own classics "The Joint's Really Jumpin'", "Messy Bessy", "Dudley Do Rite" etc. Like so many from the rockabilly era Jimmy then slipped back into country music playing fair dates around Arkansas and recording a series of country singles sometimes using the name Jimmy Dale Evans sometimes Lattie Lane. He once backed country legend George Jones and he did studio work with Floyd Cramer when he was brought in for one of Conway's Mercury sessions. Now he's back with a new bunch of songs cut in Tennessee and Arkansas and ready to show you he can still bring a tear to your eye with a sad song or get your feet a tapping and the joint ajumpin'.
The first song "Memphis 1955 " was written when he lived in Fort Worth, Texas. Its co-writer Jimmy Ray Paulman had been lead guitar player in the Twitty and Hawkins bands at the same time as Evans and they wound up in Texas together. Jimmy cut the song in Memphis in the 70 's and it's a fine way to introduce him to new fans. All the other songs here are new and were recorded in Arkansas and Tennessee. They show off Jimmy's fine country style in "My Own Piece Of Heaven "(Jimmy playing acoustic lead on this one) and "Driftwood On The Water" and his rockabilly with "Live Wire Mama" and the aptly titled "What's This Old Country Boy Doing Singing Rock 'n' Roll?" There is a hard driving country sound to "Trouble On The Line " that could make this the song that gets Jimmy some real solid airplay. A little humour too in "Spend, Spend, Spend" when Jimmy is so exhausted from making the money his honey spends that
even her new lingerie is wasted on him! Special mention must go to the 10-O-C band led by Lee McAlpin (Carl Perkins band) and English writer/guitarist Geoff Taggart for their work on the CD. Geoff's co-writer Jim Newcombe is from England too although Jim is currently living in Canada.
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