Tuesday, September 19, 2006

So Long Guitar Man

Then the lights begin to flicker and the sound is getting dim The voice begins to falter and the crowds are getting thin But he never seems to notice he's just got to find Another place to play,Anyway got to play, anyway Got to play.

As reported by Miss Holly King, host of Rockabilly and Beyond on RFP:

Alvin Wayne Casey, guitarist, passed away at 8:40 AM this day Sunday September 17, 2006 He has gone on to the great forever. So long to a great friend. He was most noted for the records he made with producer Lee Hazlewood, with artists like Duane Eddy and Sanford Clark. He also has made numerous records on his own, reaching his commercial peak in the early 1960s, when a few of his instrumental (or mostly instrumental) surf and R&B-rock singles made the Top Hundred. In the 1960s and 1970s he worked often as a session player in Los Angeles, and was still putting out records under his own name in the 1990s. Casey was still in his teens when he started working with Hazlewood in Phoenix, introducing Lee to Sanford Clark, whose hit "The Fool" was produced by Hazlewood. Casey's band backed Clark on the singer's records, as well as other discs cut by Hazlewood. Casey was in Eddy's band, the Rebels, in which he played the piano, although he's more known for his guitar playing. Casey also wrote one of Eddy's earliest hits, "Ramrod," as well as cowriting another Eddy hit, "Forty Miles of Bad Road," with Duane. In the early 1960s Casey was dividing his time between sessions in L.A. and Phoenix, and working with his own group, the Al Casey Combo. Somewhat surprisingly, considering his twangy background with Eddy and the surf recordings in his near future, his first successes were with bluesy instrumental rock singles with a jazzy organ groove (played by Casey himself). "Cookin'" made ..92 on the pop chart, while a similar follow-up, "Jivin' Around," did a little better, getting to ..71 pop and ..22 in the R&B listings. In 1963, however, he and Hazlewood rode the surf craze and cut an entire surf LP, much of which featured Hazlewood compositions, and all of which had respectably tough reverberant guitar by Casey. A single from the album, "Surfin' Hootenanny" (with almost incidental female vocals by the K-C-Ettes, aka the Blossoms), became Casey's biggest hit, making ..48; top L.A. session dudes Leon Russell (organ) and Hal Blaine (drums) were present on many or all of the tracks. Casey's solo career petered out when the small independent label he recorded for, Stacy, closed shop around the beginning of 1964. Casey found a lot of work, though, as a session man, on recordings by artists including the Beach Boys, Eddy Arnold, and Frank Sinatra. He also ran a music store in Hollywood in the late 1960s, and played as a member of the band on Dean Martin's television show. In the mid-'90s he made a solo recording for Bear Family, Sidewinder. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:43ri28gu054a http://www.rockabillyhall.com/AlCasey1.html http://ziggiesmusic.com/store_gallery/Al-Casey ( Thanks to Troy for this quick Bio.) When I have times and dates for the graveside services and the Wake, I will send ASAP Dionne at Ziggies Music


Mariah Fleming said...

What an incredibly lovely, loving and touching tribute Miss Holly King has written, clearly from her heart and soul. God Bless You Miss Holly King. Synchronicity abounds.

Isn't it wonderful that Al Casey was inducted into the Az Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame last year? God Bless Y'all Hall of Fame folks who put on that wonderful first show and made sure Al Casey was among those honored along with William Edward Compton et al.

Here's hoping you keepers of the flame from RFP can join Liz Boyle along with the other contributors to the KCAC LIVES! Blog for this impromptu ALWUN HOUSE GATHERING.

Read the above post from the KCAC LIVES! and let's make it real, because, hey, don't we know 'What is Hip!?'

Anonymous said...

To All,

Graveside services for Al Casey will be at 3:00 this Friday (9/22) at
Phoenix Memorial Park , 200 West Beardsley Road in Phoenix . The phone number
there is 623 434 7000 or you can Map Quest for the directions. Take the 7th
Street exit off the 101 and head north to East Beardsley. Turn left (west)
to get to the entrance.

There will be a wake on Saturday (9/23) at the Phoenix Musicians Union at
1202 East Oak (602 254 8838) from 12-5 pm.

Look forward to seeing many of you there to celebrate the life of our friend
Al Casey.

Rock on Al!!

JD (John Dixon)