Welcome to Mellow's Log Cabin. This blog's purpose is to supply information on a diversity of American southern music - ranging from country, blues, old-time and folk to R&B, rock'n'roll and rockabilly. I regularly present my research results about artists, labels, shows and also give guest writers a chance to publish their texts here on occasion.

UPDATES

• Update on Les Randall acetate.
• Thanks to Bob more info on Bill Harris.
• Added info on Reavis Recording Studio.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bill Harris

Marlon Grisham - Square Watermelon Seed (Cover 45-711)

This apparently Memphis based songwriter is some kind of a mystery to me. Bill Harris appeared as a songwriter on a couple of independent Memphis record labels by local artists, including Marlon Grisham, Eddie Cash, and Jim Climer.

BMI reveals that Harris' full name is William Alvan Harris, Jr. There was a William Alvin "Dubbye" Harris, born  on July 31, 1940, and passed away on March 30, 2005. At the time of his death, this William Alvin Harris was living in Waterford near Holly Springs, Mississippi (south of Memphis across the Tennessee-Mississippi state border). He was buried at the Hill Crest Cemetery in Holly Springs, the ceremony was led by Brother Frank Feathers (a cousin to Charlie Feathers). William Alvin Harris was a self-employed truck driver. I'm pretty sure this is our man.

Harris was not only a songwriter but also a musician and band manager in the 1950s. He became a member of Harold Jenkins' group in 1956 as a bass player and recorded several (unreleased) sessions at Sun with Jenkins. He shared the position with Jimmy Evans, another Sun musician. When Jenkins went to Nashville to record for Mercury and became "Conway Twitty," Harris was finally replaced by Evans (who, in turn, was replaced by Nashville studio musician Lightnin' Chance in 1958).  

At the same time Harris left the Jenkins band (late 1956/early 1957), he met up with another young singer, Memphis born Eddie Cash. Harris soon became Cash's manager and organized the Peak and Fernwood recording sessions for Cash. He also wrote one of his songs, "Thinkin' Man." Cash left Memphis for Chicago in 1960 but Harris remained in Memphis. It is possible Harris then became Marlon Grisham's manager.

Harris first appeared as a songwriter with "She's My Technicolor Baby" in 1954 (copyrighted on October 21 according to the Catalog of Copyright Entries). BMI has listed several more songs under different names by Harris.

Harris' compositions also included:

Jungle Love, recorded by Marlon Grisham on Clearpool
Square Watermelon Seed, recorded by Grisham on Cover
Tall Mac the Lumberjack, with Jim Climer, who recorded it on Fernwood
Tonight's the Night, published by Bill Black's Lyn-Lou publishing firm
Thinkin' Man, recorded by Eddie Cash at Fernwood studio and leased to Todd Records 

Thanks to Bob

2 comments:

Bob said...

Bill Harris played bass for Harold Jenkins (Conway Twitty). He was also a manager for Harold Jenkins and Eddie Cash and probably more.

Mellow said...

Thanks Bob! I read that somewhere but I didn't remember where. I didn't want to include it before being sure where it was.