"The Show Must Go On. . .Talent Runs Deep"
With a forty-week
contract this year for the Patsy Cline Tribute Show, the Jordanaires and I share a mutual
gratitude to work with such warm, wonderful folks like Michael Gaughan and Mike Growney at
the Gold Coast. They give us a "home away from home" although we are still
"on the road" with home and families in Tennessee.
With such lengthy appearance dates, occasionally one or more of the
Jordanaires need to take a break for special reasons. Since the show must go on, the
Jordanaires are well equipped with well-trained Jordanaires substitutes with
impressive music industry accomplishments and history of their own to "crow
about." When working with professionals like the Jordanaires, they leave nothing to
Louis Nunley is currently appearing in the tribute show substituting
for Duane West, baritone. Louis has served as a Jordanaires substitute for the last
45-years, but most frequently singing the bass part as substitute for Ray Walker. He
refers to himself as "the fifth Jordanaire." He has sung as a Jordanaire on
hundreds of shows and recordings, including most all of the Jordanaire albums recorded
His most recent session as a Jordanaire bass was with Don McLean, of
"Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie" fame when they recorded thirty songs with him in
Nashville in December 1998. Louis sang bass as a Jordanaire on several other McLean
sessions and Carnegie Hall appearances through the years. He was with the Jordanaires for
Kenny Rogers movie soundtrack recording "The Gambler." Louis music
career started in 1953, after graduating from David Lipscomb College in Nashville, when he
joined the Anita Kerr Singers and was on "Sunday Down South" radio show. Among
their first recording sessions was Red Foleys "Grandpappys New
The Kerrs and the Jordanaires performed behind virtually
everyone that recorded in Nashville and overseas for several years. Often, they would pass
each other on the steps at RCA while changing studios in the middle of sessions. Sometimes
they would complete some of each others session work.
Louis, as a member of the Kerr Singers, said they won the Arthur
Godfrey Talent Scout Contest in 1956 and became regulars on the show for the rest of its
rununtil it went off the air in 1963. Louis said, "we were good friends of the
McGuire sisters who also appeared regularly on the Godfrey show." In 1957 Phyllis
McGuire was instrumental in insisting that Decca Records, the McGuires signed label,
should also sign the Kerr group.
The Kerrs then
recorded their first album in New Yorkthanks to Phyllis! Louis said they traveled
from Nashville to New York every couple of weeks for yearsthen landed a label deal
with RCA in Nashville in 1960.
1965 they won two Grammys "Best Performance by Vocal Group" and
"Best Religious Performance." When Anita Kerr moved to California in 1965,
actor-singer Jerry Reeds wife, Prissy Hubbard, joined the group to sing lead. They
changed their name to the "Nashville Sounds." In 1968 Jeneen Walker joined as
lead singer and still sings with Louis today in his group known as "Sounds,
Louis lays claim to
several thousands of sessions that have included many early sessions of Patsy Cline, all
the hit records of Brenda Lee, Roy Orbison, Jim Reeves, Al Hirt, Floyd Cramer, several
sessions with Burl Ives, Perry Como, Johnny Cash, several Elvis recordingsand
hundreds others. Louis chuckles, "1957 was our biggest Christmas year." "We
performed the original sessions of "Rockin Round the Christmas Tree" (Brenda
Lee); "Jingle Bell Rock" (Bobby Helms); and "Holly Jolly Christmas"
Michael Black is also currently performing in
the tribute show here in Vegas filling in for Gordon Stoker, First Tenor, for the next two
weeks. He was born and raised in Chicago where he played drums, sang and wrote songs in a
pop band for twelve years. After relocating to Nashville 23 years ago, he worked at
"The Sound Shop" recording studio for eight years as an engineer but
continued singing, writing, and producing. He left Sound Shop to start his own publishing
company and put more time into his individual singing/writing career.
Michael has many credits under his belt as
his vocals have appeared on the recordings of Michael Bolton, Vanessa Williams, Clint
Black, Lorrie Morgan, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, John Michael Montgomery, and many
others. The ultimate link for Michaels perfect sub-placement as one of the
Jordanaires in the Patsy Cline tribute show is he appeared in the movie SWEET
DREAMS about the life and career of Patsy Cline starring Jessica Lange as
"Patsy." Michael portrayed a member in "Patsys " band.
Michael co-wrote and co-produced a couple of
songs on Richard Elliotts "Soul Embrace" CD. The songs, were "Never
Gonna Break Your Heart" and "Lost in Minaute"; it went to #1 in Jazz
Billboard Charts. Michael says, "I am excited to visit Las Vegas and work with The
Jordanaires and Sharon Haynes in the Patsy Cline Tribute Show."
A few weeks ago, Michael recorded vocals in a
Garth Brooks studio session in which Garth is recording under the name of Chris
Gaines. "Chris Gaines" is Garths new alter egoboth in the
recording industry and movie spectrums. Michael said, "we recorded the songs and
tracks for a movie being filmed for the millennium release with Garth also playing in the
movie role of Chris, a successful pop-recording artist."
Being the only female in this group of
talented men, when I work with artists like the Jordanaires, Louis Nunley, and Michael
Black, and I start to feel like my accomplishments are just a "drop in a bucket"
The good Lord
has blessed us all, and continues to do so by allowing us to share music we love in so
many different ways! Talent runs deep with the Jordanaires and the show does go on nightly
at the Gold Coast.IVLV