Hello, I started my career in Hollywood recording studios during the late 1960s….Moved to Nashville in 1974 then back out to Hollywood in 1977 and a record deal with Scott Shannon at Casablanca and then produced two albums for Jay Lasker at Ariola. Mr. Lasker headed ABC-Dunhill Records during the glory days of Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, The Mamas And The Papas,The Grass Roots, Hamilton Joe-Frank & Reynolds, Smith and scores of other huge talents. …Upon returning to Nashville in 1978, The first project I became involved with thanks to Lee Hazen, was with Johnny Cash and Jack Clement. I’d heard & seen Johnny Cash on tv as a child but while I was going to college in Beaumont, Texas I heard all these stories about Jack Clement including music with the Big Bopper, and Dickie Lee who recorded the hit “patches” in Clement’s studio adjacent to the King Edward Hotel downtown. but never met him until 78 when I was cast into an album project with two long time friends…., Jack Clement & Johnny Cash…On a trip to Memphis a few years later, Jack & I went to have dinner with Sam Philips and Marion Keisker. Jack was Sam’s recording engineer during the Sun Records days with Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charley Rich, Billy Lee Riley and others.
During the evening we sat around the table talking about music and the subject of the studio surfaced….It was decided that we’d drop by the old place after stopping at a liquor store beforehand. Jack had mentioned prior that he either wanted to get Sam to pay him or get his publishing back on several hit songs he’d written while at Sun Records.
The plot thickens.
So Marion was the designated driver and the three of us passed around a bottle of
Tanqueray until we arrived at 706 Union Avenue…..We got out of the car ( Tangueray in hand ) and during a slight drizzling rain these two older guys start getting very animated about how they both made recordings in that small room, where Elvis stood, where the amps and instruments were placed. I felt so lucky to be a witness to these two legends carrying on like kids again. During all this, Sam acknowledged if it hadn’t been for a Jack’s involvement Jerry Lee and Johnny probably wouldn’t have done much. Jack did engineer & produce Great Balls Of Fire and every hit Jerry Lee did at Sun. Johnny & Jack met there and made records together right up until John’s death and Jack passed not long after. I know…..I was there…..Sam was great…..he, in only a way Sam could tell a story, was only into it for the music. He sold Elvis’ contract to RCA but he released Johnny to sign with CBS without any severance fees…The rest is history. If I were producing a biopic on Sun Records, Jack Clement would have as great a feature as Sam, perhaps even more. Through Jack I was able to make recordings with Johnny Cash, Billy Lee Riley, Vic Damone, Frank Ifield, Louie Armstrong, U2, and Charlie Pride ( Jack had produced 12 Platinum albums with Charlie ). He hired me to assemble the back up vocals on two re record albums. The experiences I had though Jack were the biggest part of my life from 1978-1987. FYI, I engineered & co produced other albums in Jack’s home studio with Roger Cook, John Prine, Nanci Griffith, John Hartford, Jim Rooney, Peter Rowan and a host of others.