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Thread: 1963-05-19 Club Del Morocco, Nashville

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    1963-05-19 Club Del Morocco, Nashville

    Sunday 19 May 1963
    Nashville, Club Del Morocco, Jefferson St., Tennessee, USA

    The King Kasuals had a regular gig here: Harry Batchelor - vox, Jimmy Hendrix - guitar, Alphonso "Babe Boo" Young [later, Larry Lee] -guitar, Billy Cox - bass, Frank Sheffield - drums, Tee Howard Williams - sax, & Tommy Lee Williams - sax.
    Frank Howard (of 'the Commanders' - resentful): “Well, one night we [the Commanders] were at Head School [?] over on ah, Joe Johnson [?] an’ Jimmy Church saw us. And, and he co’ him up-came up to us and said, ah, ‘Man, you all guys are good,’ said, ‘I’m really... well, we did a lot of splits an’ shoutin’, all this kind o’ stuff so... seriously, you all really good, man. I want you all to go with me, you know, go on the road with me. An’, man, that was, that was, that got it for me. I mean ah, Jimmy Church wanted us to go on the road with him! So that got it, for him. An’ he had the best band, one of the best band’s around here, Johnny Johnson – the King Kasuals [not then! That was much later. The Imperials maybe? Ed.] - which Billy Cox was the bass player uh-uh. I mean this town had the bands to do that. And the worst band in this town was Jimmy Hendrix [ie the King Kasuals! Ed.], now. The worst band, the worst band. Jimmy could not play ‘My Girl’ [December 1964, ie after Jimi had left the King Kasuals and Nashville Ed.] and you got to remember, doin’ the sixties, Motown, Motown was in, you know. But he cou’-he was not good at playin’ ‘My Girl’. He, he-he could play it, whatever he was playin’. Jimmy was a good guy, don’t get me wrong, Jimmy was a, Jimmy was a, just a nice guy. He did, he’d turn around, put his guitar up against the amp, an’ get the feedback, an’-an’ and people didn’t understand that. I mean, nobody understood that, ‘What, what are they, man, eh-what is he doin’!?’ You know.
    I’m worried about people fogettin’ Willie Walker, I’m worried about people fogettin’ Sam Baker; I’m worried about, bout them forgettin’ the people that really, I mean that really busted uh-uh, Roscoe’s shelter [?]. I mean, I mean Earl Gaines was a wonderful singer. I mean jus’-just, just, Freddy Waters, Freddy Waters was one of the, I consider him one of best singers ever came out of this town. But-but, but when are you goin’ to mention these people, you know? An’-an’ the Hi-tones, an’ the, ah-ah, I mean-I mean, it-it was so many groups in this town. And the Mix Brothers uh-uh. I mean, it’s just, I-I, we learned from those guys. I mean these guys, they really made the music in this town.”
    Larry Lee: “[I first met Jimi and Billy when] they were onstage together at the Del Morocco. I was a student at Tennessee State and living off campus, about three blocks away, I wouId go down to the Del Morocco to hear the music. [They wereplaying] mostly Top 40 R&B. They had a singer and played a little blues at that time. I didn't hear Jimi doing much singing. It he did, it would be background vocals. He never led a song.
    Well, the first time I saw him, I thought he was the worst guitar player I ever heard. I was looking for a practice buddy, and I thought, This is him. I was just happy that I wasn't the worst guitar player in Nashville. [laughs] The thing is, he was playing an old guitar and the strings were barely staying on it. Jimi was just doing the best he could. Alfonso Young, the other guitar player, he had a big pretty guitar, and Jimi was just laying back, really doing nothing. When I came back a couple of weeks later, Jimi had a different guitar, and man, did he surprise me! His ideas were different from other players-but he was good! Once he got that guitar, he was always great. I used to get into it with some of the musicians in Nashville, because at the time Johnny Jones was the man in Nashville. I honestly thought Jimi could outplay him. I finally met Jimi one night when he broke a string. I told him that I was a guitar player and that I stayed right up the street. I brought him back a guitar string and we were friends after that.
    Jimi said that when he was famous one day, he would have a thousand guitars. He didn't say "if"; he said "when." At that time, I figured if Jimi made it, he would do it with the guitar alone. I had no idea that he would sing. That came as a surprise later.
    I started by just sitting in. Later on, when Alfonso left, we started to play together in the King Casuals. We were the house band at the Del Morocco for four nights a week, 11 dollars a night.”

    “I was playing for Earl Gaines who recorded ’24 Hours A Day’. At that time Jimi was playing a Kay guitar, the next time I saw him he was playing a new Epiphone guitar with a Silvertone amplifier.”

    “There was a promoter, I think the name was Carl Fisher. He came to the Club Baron, which was a couple of blocks down the street from the Del Morocco. He got Jimi to leave town. Jimi later came through one time with the Isley Brothers. Then he came through with Little Richard. After that, Jimi was making a few gigs with Gorgeous George, and I played one with him. He told me that he was going to try to make it in New York and tried to get me to come with him. I was trying to go through school at the time. Plus, I didn't have the nerve Jimi had; I was kind of playing it safe. I just wanted to finish school, which I never did anyway. [laughs] I hated to see him go because he was one of my tightest buddies. I gave him my coat, because he didn't have one, and wished him good luck.”

    “As it was, I was using Tennessee State as an excuse to stay out of the army. I was a full-time student at first, and you could stay out of the army and get a deferment if you were in college. There were times when I left college to go on the road with [Curtis Mayfield's Chicago soul group] the Impressions. Whatever train was leaving and needed a guitar player, I was on it. That finally ran out and I got drafted. I was 26.”

    Larry: “Used to sing ‘Hog For You Baby’
    Billy: “Hog For You Baby’
    Larry: ‘Course, The Coasters.
    Billy : “Go-od”
    Larry: “Or whatever.
    Billy: “Ah.”
    Larry: “What did I sing? I used to do a little singin’.”
    Billy: “Twist And Shout? By the Isley Brothers.”
    Larry: “Mh-hmm.”
    Billy: “And-uh, Ah...Oh, man, I tell you there was a slew of ‘em. But...”
    Larry: “You know, Harry Batchelor was really the lead singer.”
    Billy: “That’s right. Jimmy didn’t sing much. Larry liked the Impressions, he did Impressions songs”
    Larry: “Yeah.”
    Billy: “They laughed at my singin’, so I heh-heh, never sang-ha-ha.”
    Larry: “Heh-heh.”
    Billy: “But-ah, the songs of that time, period. And-eh, they came out really good. People liked us an’ they enjoyed what we were doing. And I think, subconciously, they knew that, they-we had, there was some magic goin’ on whenever we played. They-they knew that, that was special.”
    Larry: “Main venue was one end of the Del Morocco to the other-ha-ha....”
    Billy: “Ha-ha-ha-ha!”
    Larry: .... “Ha-ha-ha! That was about all when we first started. Just four, what was it? Four nights, four- five nights, somethin’ like.”
    Billy: “Mm, four or five nights a week, an’-ah.”
    Larry: “That was the main venue.”
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    24 Elmore James died from his third heart attack, just prior to the 2nd ‘American Folk Blues Festival’ package tour which would have been his first visit to Europe. He was only 45-years-old, but he had been a notoriously heavy drinker, as well as manufacturer, of bootleg alcohol from early youth.
    25 Beatles, Sheffield, City Hall
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    28 Beatles, Worcester, Gaumont Cinema
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    Last edited by stplsd; 2 Weeks Ago at 07:31 PM.
    Frank Zappa: "Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read."

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