Monday, January 11, 2010

"Come along, everybody come along, while the moon is shinin' bright!...

...We're gonna have a wonderful time at the Louisiana Hayride tonight!"

That's the song that cranked up one of the most popular events in Country Music for decades, "The Louisiana Hayride." Probably second only to The Grand Ol' Opry, the Louisiana Hayride was the most popular country music program in the US. And, it became known as "The Cradle of the Stars."

Alert: Before you start reading this, let me give you a "boring warning." If you don't care anything about Elvis, well just move on along. There is a lot more interesting junk on the world-wide computer.

A few days ago (on Elvis' birthday), I posted a lame joke dealie about what I think Elvis would look like today. In the comments, Buck wrote, "Heh. Thousands of elderly southern women bearing pitchforks and torches should be showing up on your doorstep any time now. You'd best go into hiding."

To which I responded, "Hey Buck, my Momma worked in an office in Shreveport with a gal that Elvis took a shine to while he was a regular on the Louisiana Hayride (where he got his first semi-real "break").

Elvis kept bugging said gal for a date. She told Momma, "I'm not going out with that hillbilly."

There are lots of old ladies around here that took him up on it, though. Hey, I might post some old stuff of Elvis on the Hayride, if I can find it."

So, since I got nothing better to do, I looked it all up.

In 1954-56, Elvis did get a semi-big break on The Louisiana Hayride. And, in Shreveport, he would connect with his lead guitarist, James Burton, who still performs, and is a guitar legend in his own right.

I grew up listening to the Louisiana Hayride on KWKH radio. And, quite often, Momma, Daddy, Papaw & Munnie (my Daddy's Father & Momma...not sure exactly why she was called "Munnie," but her Momma was called "Mammie," but I digress) and us kids would go to the Louisiana Hayride at the Municipal Auditorium across the bridge in Shreveport.

My Daddy's best life-long friend, David Houston, (who my baby brother is named after, btw) was a regular on The Hayride, so sometimes we would get to meet some of the big country music stars that performed on the show. Roy Clark, Grandpa Jones, Ray Price, etc.

But, by the time that I was old enough to know anything, Elvis was already a big way he'd come on The Hayride anymore.

I have an autographed copy of this book by radio legend, Frank Page, who emceed The Hayride forever. The book came with a CD of Elvis' performances on The Hayride. I can't upload audio. Oh, maybe I can, but I don't care enough to mess with it. Frank is a heckuvaguy. I could tell long stories about him, but I won't further the boredom. I ran into him a couple of years ago at the JC Penney store at the Bossier Mall. He still looked danged good!

These videos are pretty well like the audio CD.

The first one is of Horace Logan using, for the first time, the expression that would one day become famous, "Elvis has left the building." The shot you see is of the old Municipal Auditorium on Texas Ave. (actually, the address is now 705 Elvis Presley Blvd., Shreveport, LA, 71101) There are statues out front of Elvis, and James Burton.

This one is an audio of Elvis' first performance on The Hayride. In it, you will hear Frank Page introducing a very young, and very courteous Elvis Presley.

I actually found a post on ElvisPresleyNews about his first performance on The Hayride.

A great quote from the article:

On 6 November 1954, Elvis signed a contract to appear on the Louisiana Hayride every Saturday night for a year. Gladys and Vernon Presley came to Shreveport to witness the contract because Elvis was underage. He was nineteen years old.

Elvis was paid $18.00 per performance, Scotty Moore and Bill Black $12.00 each. The Hayride became the foundation of Elvis's early rise to stardom.

This last one has some good screen shots...the old ads for The Hayride, and photos of folks I recognize.

Well, that's all my Elvis junk. Hope y'all enjoyed it. If you like Elvis, I'm sure you did. If you are like me, and never cared much for him...well, okay.


  1. If you like Elvis, I'm sure you did.

    I did. That said, I'm of a mind that Elvis' earliest bits were his BEST bits. I wasn't much of a fan after the point he began making movies and "went Hollywood," and even less of a fan once he started doing the Vegas thing. But of all the people I might have wanted to trade places with during my adolescence, none were higher on the list than Elvis. Well, maybe Jerry Lee Lewis, but that's another story... ;-)

    And thanks for the shout-out!

  2. I never cared much for Elvis while he was alive but, the more I hear his voice, the more I realize that he was a wonderful musician.

  3. Buck, The Killer was something, wasn't he? Oh crowd-grabbing as Elvis was, Jerry Lee is one of the most amazing talents ever IMHO.

    Patrick, I didn't "get" the Elvis thing. Then again, I'm about a half a generation behind the times. By the time I was old enough to decide about what music I like, Elvis was far different.

    I'll tell you when I liked to see Elvis the best. Whenever he was standing next to Ann-Margret. ;)

  4. Actually I think some of his renditions of religious songs are some of the best out there.

    One of my aunts has one of those silky scarves he used to wear; she was at an Elvis concert and he tore it off and threw it into the crowd, and she caught it, sweat and all. It's one of her prized possesions, and yep, still got that sweat on it, albeit dried. Ha ha!


Don't cuss nobody out, okay?