Sunday, 4 October 2009
Rockin' Song of the Week No. 76 - Jay B. Loyd – I’m So Lonely
Jay B. Loyd – I’m So Lonely
Here’s an artist that I can’t believe didn’t see more action in either the charts or in the ensuing revival years. I’m not even sure why he only had three singles issued, and they were spread out between 1958 and 1961. He looked great as well, and what he lacked in prolific ness he more than made up for in quiff height. He looked the rockabilly singer and he had the voice to match it.
Rockin’ was in his blood as he was born in 1937 in Tupelo, Mississippi, the home of Jimmy Wages, Gene Simmons, Ray Harris and that other guy with the quiff! It was whilst singing at one of that guy’s parties in 1957 that he landed a deal with ABC-Paramount. His only single for them came out in 1958, but he had to wait a full twelve months for a follow-up, this time on the emerging Memphis label, Hi Records.
Bill Black was on the label following his departure from the Blue Moon Boys and it was his combo that provided the groovy backing being Jay B. The session from 1959 was produced by Jack Clement and engineered by former Sun artist Ray Harris and was so Memphis you can still feel the muddy Mississippi river roll by as you listen to it 50 years later. The opening lick was later used by Polecats on John I’m Only Dancing. The vocals remind me a bit of Teddy Reidel or Carl Mann. It’s such a damn good record and did well enough for Hi Records to be picked up by London Records for national distribution, which they did until 1977. The flip was I’ll Be Alright, a bluesy, moody ballad in the Ral Donner/Jack Scott mould.
He moved on to writing country songs and also worked as an engineer for the City of Memphis. Jay B. Loyd died in Collierville, Tennessee on 7th September, 2003 at the age of 66.
Recommended downloads: The very Elvisy ABC Paramount 45, Cross My Heart and You’re Just My Kind from no lessor tunesmiths than Clyde Otis and Otis Blackwell. His version of Apron Strings is also worth a listen if you can find the great Zu-Zazz album, Memphis Saturday Night. Thanks to Terry Gordon for the label shot.