|WHBQuties with George Klein|
After reviewing our studio recordings George Klein called me soon after, inviting us to appear on his show, to perform those two "cover songs" he liked! Jerry Ward (passed away in april-2016), and Roger Frey (passed away in march-2011) were unavailable on the day the show aired, due to previous commitments. My former high school "musician buddies" Gene Reid and Spencer Johnson did appear on the show with me along with another former hometown musician friend Norman Maynard. He had recently moved to Memphis and filled-in playing bass with us. I doubled-up on drums and lead vocals. We had a lot of fun doing the show with those gorgeous "WHBQuties" go-go dancers! I will always appreciate our "television debut" opportunity, thanks to George and the great folks at WHBQ-Fox 13 in Memphis. 1965 was a fabulous summer! George and "Elvis" had always been very close friends since their 8th grade schooldays together in Memphis. George Klein's "Talent Party" show, was a real "jump-start" for performers like myself and many others! Our friends Jim "Dandy" Mangrum and Ricky Reynolds, with "Black Oak Arkansas", all appeared on "talent party" too! My congratulations for all their hard work and great success through the years! Back in the mid 1960's, Jerry Ward, Roger Frey, and myself, had the chance to work with Ricky Reynolds! He played bass several nights with us, at the former "C & R" club, in the northeast Arkansas town of Trumann.
Around that time, I was hoping to work with producer Roland Janes again. Shortly after our TV appearance on the WHBQ’s "Talent Party" show I went back to the "Sonic Studio" later that summer in 1965 and recorded a revised version of my original song "If you really love me", adding background vocals, and also recorded an original song written by my fellow musician, Jerry Ward titled "Fool that I am". In addition I covered an older country hit-song, previously made famous by Eddy Arnold called, "Make the world go away". I had always enjoyed the melody of an instrumental hit-tune recorded by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass titled "A taste of honey". I chose to cover their tune with a vocal arrangement. The musicians assembled for the session included Jerry Ward of Paragould, Arkansas on lead and rhythm guitars, Jim Hudson from Jonesboro, Arkansas (passed away in 2010), playing keyboards, Danny Helms of Tuckerman, Arkansas on bass, Terry Ishmael from Jonesboro, Arkansas on drums, Janet Wood and friends, from the Memphis-area, with background vocals. Janet was the wife of Memphis-area entertainer and recording artist, Bobby Wood. "If you really love me" and "A taste of honey", were the only songs released from that session in late-1965 on my privately-owned label, "Majestic Records" in Leachville, Arkansas which was my former hometown residence at the time. I chose the record label name to acknowledge "grace", as the source of my "God-given" musical abilities! Our memories of Roland Janes, Joe Lee, Jerry Ward, Jim Hudson and Roger Frey will always live on through the music we created together! They're all "jamming" with the "angels" now! After my record's release, I did no touring. My dad had recently passed away during my senior year of high school in October-1963, leaving only my mom and myself to look after the family business. However, I was very pleased and encouraged by some national and local radio air-play, since it was my first try at getting into the record business at the age of 19!
Bill Piatt - Taste of Honey
Bill Piatt - If You Really Love Me
At that time I was considering my military service obligation and whether to continue my education as well as getting married. After a year at Arkansas State University, I chose to enroll at the former, "Jonesboro Business College", in Jonesboro, Arkansas and continued performing with occasional nightclub work. In 1966, I joined the U.S. Army/Arkansas National Guard (875th Engineer Battalion) in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I completed my Federal active-duty in basic/infantry, and advanced combat/ engineer training in 1967 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. In 1972 I continued with my enlistment obligation for two additional years of inactive duty in the U.S Army Reserve, and was honorably discharged in 1974. I am "blessed" with two "wonderful daughters" and five "fantastic grandchildren”, plus!!!!!!! Our oldest grandson is a very talented musician/drummer, and became a member of the United States Marine band"!
Jerry Ward, back in the early 1960's, performed very often with his hometown friend from Paragould, Arkansas, Paul Lovelace. Paul had recorded a "cover song" at Joe Lee's "Variety Recording Studio" in Jonesboro , Arkansas on the "Alley Records" label titled, "This is dedicated to the one I love". Jerry played on that record and worked many club gigs with Paul. Jerry was a singer/songwriter as well. In the early 1970's, he recorded and released an album with his original material titled, Jerry Glenn Ward "Focus". He had written some hit-tunes recorded by other artists. One of those songs called "Six pack of trouble" was recorded by artist O.B. McClinton. There is also a video available with the "Focus" album. Jerry passed away while living in Augusta, Arkansas in April-2016. Jim Hudson, formerly of Jonesboro, Arkansas, also performed with Jerry Ward and Paul Lovelace. Jim was blinded in his younger years from "glaucoma", but was a greatly talented musician on keyboards! Working with Jim and Jerry at "Club Gigs" and in the recording studio was always fun and a great learning experience for me! Back during the 1960's era Jim also played with a local Jonesboro band called, "The Countdowns". The group included Kent Vivrette (formerly of Jonesboro, Arkansas) who currently resides in the Philippines and is the older brother of Jonesboro resident Keith Vivrette who operates a recording service called, "Studio V" in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Other members of that group featured Gene Barnett of Jonesboro and Warren Dupwe, a local Jonesboro attorney. Jim had been residing in the Little Rock, Arkansas-area for several years, where he passed away in 2010. Danny Helms at the time I began performing with him at "Club Gigs", and in the studio was living in Tuckerman, Arkansas. He currently resides in Piggott, Arkansas and works as a commercial/charter-flight pilot! He recently told me about the opportunities to fly entertainer, "Jerry Lee Lewis" around the country for some show dates! Danny is also a very talented musician, and has always played great bass! Terry Ishmael, formerly of Jonesboro, Arkansas (currently living in New Orleans), has always been a very gifted and accomplished musician/drummer! He is the younger brother of Jonesboro, Arkansas attorney, Randall (Randy) Ishmael. I really enjoyed working with Terry in the recording studio, and at "Club Gigs"! He's a fine drummer, and we had the opportunity to perform together at the famous, "Silver Moon Club", Newport, Arkansas! Through the years, he has toured with several big-name/music acts, including recording artist, Jeannie C. Riley, of "Harper Valley PTA" record fame! Roger Frey, formerly of Paragould, Arkansas was also a very talented musician and accomplished drummer! I always appreciated the chance to work with Roger at "Club Gigs", and in the recording studio! Through the years, he had performed with some mid west-area bands. While living in Pensacola, Florida since 1980. He passed away march-2011. Gene Reid my former hometown/high school/musician friend from Leachville, Arkansas has continued as an occasional performing guitarist, while residing in the Little Rock, Arkansas-area where he has been a practicing psychiatrist for many years! Spencer Johnson, also my former hometown/high school/musician friend currently resides in the Conway, Arkansas-area and is still a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist!