Lattie Harrison Moore (17th October 1924 in Scottsville, Kentucky - 13. June 2010 ) was an American Hillbilly and rockabilly singer and songwriter.
Lattie Harrison Moore was born in 1924 in Scottsville, Kentucky, to Dora and Homer Leo Moore -- his father was a tobacco farmer-turned-preacher. The young Moore had an interest in music at an early age and, as a boy, learned to play the guitar, mandolin, and upright bass. His first job out of school was as a projectionist at the local movie theater in Scottsville. As a teenager, he was an especially big fan of Gene Autry and the latter's country & western songs, and he also admired the work of Roy Acuff, Hank Snow, and others he heard on the Grand Ole Opry -- and a bit later, he added another name to that list who came ahead of all of the others: Hank Williams.
At age 19, he headed to Indianapolis, hitchhiking his way to the city where he felt he had a shot at making a living as a musician. He was drafted into the United States Navy around this time but didn't stay in the service very long, and Moore was back in Indiana by the end of 1944, playing small clubs and other minor venues. He was also married around this time, and later hosted a local radio show as well as working on the musical side of an act put together by aging cowboy movie star Lash LaRue.
In 1951 he made his first record, Hideaway Heart/Married Troubles, for a local label, Arrow; collectors hunted for it for more than 50 years before a copy turned up. The following year, he tried again. In Nashville he met Frank Innocenti, one of the owners of Speed Records, coming out of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, and auditioned for him there on the street.
"The song was called Juke Joint Johnny," Innocenti told the rockabilly historian Martin Hawkins. "I thought it was so good I gave him a contract and cut it that very afternoon. No one in the band knew the song except Lattie and his lead player, so to fill up the sound I told the engineer to bring the drums in as loud as possible to fill out the sound of the piano. The song hit the jukeboxes fast and good. I think this was about the first rock'n'roll record out of Nashville, and in those early days we didn't know it."
Juke Joint Johnny was hillbilly blues, its sound and structure redolent of the period and somewhat akin to a Hank Williams hit of a few years earlier, Honky Tonk Blues. Certainly Williams's influence – the deep blue tonality, the wordbreaks that are half hiccup, half yodel – runs wide and deep through Moore's work, whether in a jaunty love song like I'm Gonna Tell You Something or the wry hard-times reportage of I'm Not Broke, But I'm Badly Bent.
These were made for King Records, a Cincinnati-based company that was one of the most powerful promoters of country music and blues in the two decades following the Second World War. Moore cut about two dozen recordings for King, in two stints between 1953 and 1963. One of the best of them was Out of Control, a picture, drawn from life, of alcoholic excess, which Moore co-wrote with an expert in that field, the singer George Jones, who recorded it first.
Others included (Here I Am) Drunk Again, written by a fellow country singer, Webb Pierce, an admirer of Moore's work, and If the Good Lord's Willing and the Creek Don't Rise. The Williams flavour was intensified by the presence on some of his sessions of Williams’ steel guitarist, Don Helms.
Throughout the 1950s and 60s, Moore was heard on radio, and gave personal appearances, in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. His last recording was a 1971 album, You Can't Make Hay Pickin' Cotton. Evidently, by then he couldn't make hay singing country either, because he returned to Scottsville, where for a few years he worked in law enforcement. By now he was a figure of near-legendary status in record-collecting circles, his discs eagerly collected and lovingly reissued. He underwent laser surgery in 1986 for throat cancer and recovered from quadruple heart bypass surgery in 1999.
His wife, Mildred, to whom he was married for 58 years,
died in 2003. Lattie Moore died June 13, 2010 at the Medical Centre, Bowling
Green, Kentucky. He was 85. (Info edited from All Music & an obit by Tony Russell
for the The Guardian)
|Melvin Grubbs with Lattie Moore|