It was in the Spring of 1961 while attending the University of South Carolina,
a rock n' rock group called the Swordsmen came to my attention. I grew up
on rock n' roll and to be this close to a band was just plain exciting. I was a
major in music, played a little piano, some guitar and excelled with the clarinet.
So began my fascination with song writing. We had no internet so information
was hard to come by. Pamphlets were available on a variety of subjects, so I
ordered a handful. The pamphlets provided information about copyrighting,
publishing, submitting songs to record companies.
Lonely Boy, Lonely Girl
My first song was complete and I had a professional at a local music store write
the lead sheet that we used to submit the copyright. There was a recording studio
in Columbia, S.C. and daddy paid for our first efforts. We had our own record label
and the label included the address of our house. The Swordsmen performed it. I am
one of the backup singers and I also play the sticks.
We had 500 45rpm records pressed at the nearest RCA plant. The back side was a song
called Cathy Please Don't Cry written by the lead singer Kelly Jones who also played the
piano. I arranged both songs and directed the recording session. We had no layering
at that time. We used headsets and recorded it all at one time on professional Ampex
recorders. Then came the promotion when the records were received. I learned to go
to the radio stations and promote it with the Disc Jockeys who played the popular songs
at night. You can hear both songs at this link. Lonely Boy Lonely Girl
It became very popular in North and South Carolina. One day I got a call from a sales
representative for a large record distributing company in Charlotte N.C. His nickname
was "Rusty" and he became my agent. We had an offer for a record contract but the
group wanted to hold out for a major record label such as RCA. That major label never
I'm So Lonely
Rusty was busy trying to promote other songs
I had written and arranged for a group called
The Swinging Embers from Raleigh, N.C.
consisting of Bobby Tomlinson, Doug Harrison,
Blair Ellis and Jackie Gore to record one of them
in a studio in Durham, N.C.
I was not at the session so the mix has too much
treble and too much drums. However, it got placed
with Ace Records. The group is great, but at some
point a group needs a break to hit it big. You can
hear this song at this link. I'm So Lonely
On the flip side of I'm So Lonely,
The Swinging Embers perform
an upbeat version of Winter
Wonderland. You can hear
this song at this link.
I had a lot of coals in the fire. The man who
owned the recording studio hired me to write
singing jingles. He was just setting up that
part of the business and had laid down
the music tracks already, so all
I had to do was write the jingles
to fit the music. I did all the
directing at the recording sessions.
This allowed me plenty of time to
work on my own songs and as they
were completed, we would bring
groups in to record them.
This will be a continuing story that will share with you all that I did in this area
and the regrets I have that I did not do more, but sometimes life gets in the way!