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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Ray Smith born 30 October 1934

Ray Smith (October 30, 1934 – November 29, 1979) was an American rockabilly music pioneer whose biggest hit was “Rockin’ Little Angel”

Ray Eugene Smithwas born in Melber and raised in Paducah, Kentucky. He was taught piano at an early age and performed cowboy songs in school. As a teen he was a moonshine bootlegger with his brother-in-law and also worked for Coca-Cola. Smith was recruited to perform in a talent show while in basic training in Syracuse, NY; after winning first prize for his rendition of Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues," Smith began teaching himself to play the piano, guitar, and harmonica. While stationed in California, he began playing club dates on weekends, and in 1956 he formed his band "The Rock & Roll Boys," even though he admitted later that at first he hated rock and roll and his main influence was not Elvis,
but Faron Young.

Ray Smith & His Rock & Roll Boys formed and began playing gigs in Kentucky and Illinois. He immediately landed his own Television program on Paducah's WPSD-TV, which ran from 1956 to 1959. Charlie Terrell, who managed Onie Wheeler, saw Ray's TV show and was impressed enough to urge Sun Records' Sam Phillips to give Ray a shot. Sam was also impressed by the tape Terrell had given him, and it's said that Ray Smith is the only artist Phillips ever signed without hearing them in person first.

Ray recorded some memorable material on Sun, including Charlie Rich's "Break-Up", later recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis and then by Rich himself. But when Jud Phillips split off from Sun to start his own Judd label, Ray went with him, and it was there that he had his breakthrough hit - "Rockin' Little Angel" / "That's All Right", which featured an all-star backing band and production team including Chet Atkins, Floyd Cramer, Grady Martin, and Bill Justis.


 The record sold well over 3,000,000 copies, and Ray Smith was suddenly a star, appearing on American Bandstand and touring in a snazzy bus with his band, now called the Rockin' Little Angels.

Smith followed his up-tempo hit with a handful of ballads that failed to make a serious impression on the charts, but he continued to perform and record as a journeyman rock & roll and country act, cutting material for Vee-Jay, Warner Brothers, Smash, Tollie, Vix and Cinnamon Records over the next decade-and-a-half. In the '70s, Smith relocated to Canada and continued to perform regularly there, as well as landing frequent dates in Las Vegas. Smith's career came to an abrupt and tragic end on November 29, 1979, when the musician unexpectedly took his own life by putting a gun to his head. Seventeen years later , his hero Faron Young did the same. (info Wikipedia & JSH Rockabilly Hall Of Fame).


boppinbob said...

For Ray Smith - The Sun Years,Plus....Rockin'Little Angel, go here:

01. So Young
02. Right Behind You Baby
03. Why Why Why
04. You Made A Hit
05. Rockin' Bandit
06. Sail Away
07. That's All Right
08. Rockin' Little Angel
09. Put Your Arms Around Me Honey
10. Maria Elena
11. One Wonderful Love
12. It Makes Me Feel Good
13. Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes
14. You Don't Want Me
15. Travlin' Salesman
16. I Won't Miss You (Til You Go)
17. Candy Doll
18. Hey Boss Man
19. I Want To Be Free
20. Forever Yours
21. Little Girl
22. Two Pennies And A String
23. Breakup
24. Shake Around
25. Willing And Ready
26. Life Is The Flower
27. Breakup
28. I'll Try
29. Sail Away
30. Rebound
31. Baby Just Because
32. Little Miss Blue
33. Speak Low
34. I'll Be Coming Home

zephyr said...

Thanks Bob I really like Ray and was sad to see he had taken his own life.
I don't have your email addy I was sure I did but I have also changed my hotmail and gmail accounts so maybe where I lost it.