ELVIS PRESLEY WAS IN MINDEN                        

 Dear Bobby,

Thanks for these memories from the time when Elvis came in town on July 15, 1955. By then he was still a local act playing mostly in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. The Colonel Parker and Tom Diskin, working with Hank Snow, booked few time the Memphis Flash but the largest part of the job was done by Bob Neal from Memphis. Few days earlier, Elvis has played in Plaquemine, Louisiana. Everybody remembers Elvis driving a pink Cadillac but he probably came to Minden with a Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special blue with a black top or with its folk pink Ford. Interesting to note about DJ Fontana being not yet a permanent member of the band. When Elvis played in Minden he has already 4 out of his 5 Sun's releases but the records may have not been well distribued. The first issued in July 1954 was "That's All Right"/"Blue Moon of Kentucky" (Sun 209), the second was "Good Rockin' Tonight"/"I don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine" (Sun 210 - september 1954), the third was "Milkcow Blues"/"You're a Heartbreaker" (Sun 215 - January 1955) and the fourth was "Baby Let's Play House"/"You're Right, I'm Left, She's Gone" (Sun 217 - April 25, 1955). His last release came in August 1, 1955 offering "Mystery Train"/"I Forgot To Remember To Forget" (Sun 223). I don't know if Scotty and Bill Black sold some promotional pictures that night but here is one of the time. By then, Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys liked to goes on some other songs like "Maybellene", "Heart Of Stone", "Shake, Rattle and Roll", "I've Got a Woman" or "Rock Around The Clock". Some live recordings survive except for "Rock Around The Clock".

I had a huge work to nail the "Ram" record story but it was a wonderful experience shared with friends. If only Mira should have write accurately you mane, I may I have the luck to write you before publishing. That little O missing has lead me the wrong way for researches and I don't knew about your Minden's connection until recently. Since the story was published, I also came in touch with James Wilson. Stay among the great unknow Sybil Johnson. I don't know if James and Louise Burton are aware about that publication ... I have seen James on stage with the TCB band quite a few time but I hav never meet him.

It's time to go for now but I will be back soon for more talk about these old days when the Louisiana Hayride was a big affair challenging with The Grand Ole Opry and the Big D Jamboree from Dallas.

Warmest regards from your french friend.

Dominique "Imperial" ANGLARES.
I'm sorry It took me so long to answer a question you asked about a live performance by Elvis Presley in Minden, Louisiana.
You asked if by chance I was there that night. I was! It was at the Joy Drive In Theater. They had a flat bed truck set up in front of the
concession stand at the drive in movie. The movie feature was first shown then every one got out of their cars, and went to the
concession stand to watch the performance.  Elvis, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black did a thirty, or forty minute concert. Elvis
didn't have many records out at the time, but he did all of them. This was in the summer of 1955.

Also  you asked about Paul Howard, the  "ole" Arkansas Cotton Picker. I did shows with him both on the radio station KAPK
in Minden, and at a local country music show every Saturday night live, and that was also broadcast over KAPK. This was in
1953. James Burton played with me on this show. Paul went back on the road after this show folded.

Later in around 1955, or 1956 I did a show with him in Fordyce, Arkansas. Then in the 1970's I did a show with him in
Shongaloo, Louisiana. I think he passed away a few years after that.

>I want to thank you for your interest in me and including a picture with me in it in your Ram Record Story. I read the
>article, as it was sent to me by Alton Warwick, and enjoyed it very much.

I appreciate your interest in old country, and rock music. I wish it was still around.

Thanks again for bringing up some wonderful memories of the  1950's for me . I certainly enjoyed those years.

Your friend,

Bobby Moorehead

Elvis Presley and his band made a personal appearance back in 1955, during the days prior to his ultimate success. Even now, in the year 2003, he is still the King of Rock and Roll. It seems like only yesterday that he was at the Minden Joy Drive-in theater driving the kids wild. Did you know his guitar player was born in Minden? His name was James Burton.

Elvis at the Joy Drive-In, Friday, July 15, 1955: There was no article in the newspaper about his appearance before or after.  The only mention was in the Joy movie ads as follows:

Minden Press-Herald           Thursday, July 14, 1955      Joy Drive-In ad

Fri & Sat:   Meet the Keystone Cops (Abbott & Costello, Fred Clark, Lynn Bari)
                   Hellfire (Wm. Elliott with Marie Windia)

Sun, Mon, Tues: Hit the Deck (Jane Powell, Tony Martin, Debbie Reynolds, Walter Pidgeon, Vic                            

                    Damone, Gene Raymond, Ann Miller, Russ Tamblyn)
                
                           The Desperado (Wayne Morris, Beverly Garland)

                           Three Coins in the Fountain (Clifton Webb, Dorothy McGuire, Louis Jordan,                                 

                Jean Peters)
               
                           Murder is My Beat (Paul Langton, Barbara Payton)

               Friday - In Person:                           In Person
               (Photo of Elvis
                Here)                                            * Elvis *
                                                                   Presley
                                                                  Scotty and Bill
                                                                  The Blue Moon Boys

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Minden Press-Herald            Friday, July 15, 1955          Joy Drive-In ad

Friday in Person starts 9:21 P.M.         Elvis Presley

Movie:    Tonight's the Night (David Niven, Yvonne de Carlo, Barry Fitzgerald

Admission: 25 and 50          (All passes void)

..................................................................................................................
Minden Herald, October 16, 1942

Drive-In Theatre
Shreveport Road
Phone 40

After this week Drive-In will be open on Sundays only.
27 Admission         Children up to 11 years      5
No charge for car


Minden Herald, August 16, 1946

Drive-In Theatre
Adults 35       Children under 12        14


Minden Herald, April 25, 1952

Hands Drive-In , Shreveport Road, Phone 40                                                                                  
                                                                              

This is the day the name changed in the newspaper ad. 

The last ad for Hands Drive-in appeared in the January 2, 1953 edition of the Minden paper.   

The above information was submitted by Ann Mays Harlan ....................................................

The entire August 17, 1977 Press-Herald front page was about the day Elvis came to Minden.

David Madaloozo of Barksdale snapped the pictures.

This picture was taken on Pearl Street in Minden, Louisiana at the home of Mr. & Mrs. M.D. Cheshire in July, 1955.

This article also appeared in the Minden Press-Herald.


 

From the TRAVEL section of the Corpus Christi, Texas, CALLER-TIMES, Sunday, July 7, 2002

by Tom Uhlenbrock of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

 

Tillman Franks was waiting on the steps of Shreveport's Municipal Auditorium when the Louisiana Music Trail bus pulled up.  He had a smile on his face and a story, or two, to tell.

 

"I'm 81 and loving it," said Franks, a charter member in the state's lengthy lineup of music legends.

 

Franks was playing stand-up bass when Hank Williams first sang "Lovesick Blues" on "Louisiana Hayride," a radio show that aired in the auditorium from 1948 to 1960.  He lent Williams the white sportscoat he's wearing in his most famous publicity still.

 

Leading the way through the art deco building, Franks pointed out the modest dressing room used by Elvis Presley and the duct tape that marked the spot where "the Memphis flash" stood on stage when playing the Hayride in 1954.  It was Presley's professional debut, and he made union scale of $18 a night.

 

Franks managed Presley at the beginning of Presley's career and several other up-and-coming performers.

 

The music trail was a state-sponsored writers' tour of Louisiana with a goal of showing off some of the lesser-known spots that tourists can visit on their own.  We went top to bottom, starting at Shreveport-Bossier City in the northwest corner, heading south to Natchitoches for a meat pie stop, pausing to watch alligators in the marshes along Lake Charles and listening to bands from Africa in the Cajun capital of Lafayette. 

 

The five-day bus ride ended with a pot of gold, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, where youngsters such as Lenny Kravitz and India.Arie shared billing with elder statesmen such as Dr. John and the Mighty Chariots of Fire.

 

Along the way we witnessed firsthand why Louisiana can boast of being the nation's No. 1 state in terms of cultural wealth, especially when measured in food, music and characters.

As the tour guide in New Orleans put it: "In politics and government, we're still a Third World country.  But we know how to throw a party."  As far as many residents are concerned, dancing and drinking and having fun are a God-given right in this state.  Only in Louisiana does the local preacher open the music festival in Lafayette by thanking the Lord "for the opportunity to boogie."

 

FIRST STOP: Shreveport

 

Strawn's Eat Shop and Pies was a fine place to refuel after the flight to Shreveport.  Seated in the restaurant under a mural that somehow put together Gandi and the Three Stooges, we gorged on chicken-fried steak and sampled the strawberry, chocolate and coconut cream pies.

 

At the Meadows Museum of Art, we listened to the Ever Ready Gospel Singers and saw the debut of 45 never-printed before pictures take by local newspaper photographers Jack Barham and Langston McEachern, who were there on Dec. 15, 1956, when Elvis did his last show for "Louisiana Hayride."  One of the photos that was published at the time shows the 20-year-old Presley swiveling at the microphone, and it earned McEachern a spot on the Associated Press compilation of the 100 top photos of the century.

 

"I took my wife, and Elvis was there with his pink coat on and the ladies around him," said McEachern, now 84.  "I told my wife, 'That guy is gonna make good.'"  The girls were still squealing when the concert ended with the now famous phrase "Elvis has left the building."

 

That night, I sat at a table in James Burton's Rock 'n Roll Cafe and talked with the author of one of the most famous guitar intros in the history of American music.  "I was 14 or 15 years old and had written this funky little blues lick," said Burton, a slight man with thinning, sandy hair and a black sequined shirt on.  "I played it for Dale Hawkins, and he wrote some lyrics and we recorded 'Suzie Q.'  It was a hit for Dale, and of course Creedence Clearwater Revival had a big hit with it in the '70's."  Burton, now 62, was hired by Ozzie Nelson to tutor his son Ricky and put together the band that backed Elvis for more than a thousand concerts.

 

Burton still performs session work and sits in with his son Jeff's band at the nightclub in Shreveport.  He was among the featured performers at the Jazz-fest in New Orleans.  "Age has nothing to do with good music," he said.  "I'm going to play until the strings fall off this guitar."

   
James Burton was born in Minden, Louisiana in 1939, and moved to Shreveport when he was ten. Like Elvis, he found his way to the Louisiana Hayride. His guitar solo Suzie Q became a hit when he was still a teenager. He worked as a back up musician for a while before heading for the West Coast to began a successful endeavor with Ricky Nelson. By the mid 60s James Burton had established himself and held in such high esteem in the industry that he was recruited to help start a band to work with Elvis Presley, when Presley returned to performing live in 1969. Burton worked with Presley until his death in 1977.

If you have any information on James Burton when he was a kid growing up in Minden, Louisiana please submit to:

MindenMemories@AOL.com during his grade school years would be most appreciated. Minden is very proud of James Burton and his success. You can also e-mail me or send to Sherry Gritzbaugh, 4507 Verone Street, Bellaire, Texas 77401.