EDDIE COCHRAN - BACK UP SESSIONS, PART 1, ON PAUL VIDAL's BIG V JAMBOREE
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THIS IS THE FIRST PART OF EDDIE COCHRAN'S BACK-UP SESSIONS.
Eddie Cochran's prowess on the guitar ensured that he played on numerous sessions for other Artists during the fifties. His distinctive style can be easily spotted on many records ; however, a lot of erroneous information has circulated over the past forty years as to whom he backed up and whom he
didn't. The following tables will largely set the record straight - although they're obviously not definitive.
Song titles in blue color and record catalog numbers in red color are those featuring Eddie Cochran - either as guitarist or producer or both.
Click on the names followed by the sign (*) to access the pages specially devoted to these Artists. All additions and corrections will be welcome !!

© Paul VIDAL * Privas, France * February 2006


  1. The AMERICANS

    It was a collective name for Crest Records' in-house group of songwriters & musicians - Ray Stanley (piano), Jack Lewis (guitar) and Dale Fitzsimmons (bass). Their name appeared on a few singles by Jack Lewis, Lynn Marshall and Bonnie Paul. The only '45 which was entirely credited to them was Crest #1019, coupling 'Old Friends' with 'My Honest Name', the latter song written by Stanley, Fitzsimmons and Jerry Capehart. Although Eddie Cochran did record a demo of the song (which sounds more like a patriotic chant than anything else !), it is unclear whether he actually sings or plays on the released record. Probably not.
    Thankfully, Eddie does not appear either on 'Teenage Goodnight' (the flip of Crest #1025) or on 'Chickadee Waltz' (b-side of Crest
    #1035
    ), two pieces of crap. But he DOES sing background vocals on the wonderful
    'Butterscotch Candy And Strawberry Pie'
    (the main side of Crest #1025).

    Please see under both Jack Lewis, Lynn Marshall & Ray Stanley for more info and photos in the tables on the next pages.
    Also, check out my pages devoted to The Crest Records Story.


  2. JOHN ASHLEY

    Good looking John Ashley is best known as an actor who had roles of varying importance in several rock'n'roll films between 1958 and 1968. He became a regular fixture in most of the American-International 'beach party'-type movies of the '60s, home of the ubiquitous Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon !

    From the 'Hot Rod Gang' film. He was Johnny in 'Bikini Beach', one of those tripes from '64, which featured good tracks by Little Stevie Wonder and The Pyramids. The next year, he starred in both 'Beach Blanket Bingo', where Donna Loren sang, and 'How To Stuff A Wild Bikini', with music by the excellent Kingsmen (of 'Louie, Louie' fame). 1967 saw him appear in 'Hell On Wheels' (along with Marty Robbins) and 'Hell's Playground' (also called 'Riot At Lauderdale'). However, his best moment was certainly as John Abernathy The Third in an earlier and legendary American-International picture from 1958 titled 'Hot Rod Gang' (re-titled 'Fury Unleashed' and severely amputated for the UK market). Legendary because it also featured Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps !
    Since Ashley was under contract with Jerry Capehart, there's an Eddie Cochran connection here. Eddie and future members of The Kelly Four accompany John on two rockers he sings in the movie, namely 'Annie Laurie' and 'Hit & Run Lover'. Ashley also sang 'Believe Me' (without Eddie) which, like the others, was not issued commercially.

    Eddie also provided fine guitar backing to an early, unissued version of 'Born To Rock' (predating the one issued on Dot 15775 in May '58 with 'Pickin' On The Wrong Chicken' on the flip ; this single does not feature Cochran but a full band directed by Milton Rogers) and three more unissued rocking tunes : 'Don't Let Them Tear Us Apart', 'Mean Mean Woman' and the piano-led 'I Can't Let You Go' which Eddie even produced. The latter track first appeared (master take #11, in stereo and with studio chat) on the RockStar CD, 'L. A. Sessions' (RSRCD 003), in 1992. It's quite possible that Eddie Daniels should be the piano player on it.

    Ashley's first Silver single.John Ashley tried hard on all those 'big beat' sides but he's not really convincing, this being probably the reason why they weren't released at the time. His voice is therefore better suited to softer songs such as the following, the only two sides produced by Jerry Capehart and involving Eddie Cochran which were indeed issued on the Silver label (an offshoot of Crest Records) in 1959, though they were waxed in September of the previous year :

          SILVER 45-1002
          SL-0005 Seriously In Love
          SL-0006 I Want To Hear It From You
    And what a fabulous 2-sider it is ! The top side, 'Seriously In Love', comes from the always fertile pen of Johnny Burnette ; that doo-woppish rock-a-ballad features Eddie Cochran on guitar (probably both electric and acoustic) and has John singing against a vocal backdrop by...The Four Dots !
    The other side was written by Bill & Doree Post (of 'Weekend' fame) ; a ballad with a girlie chorus, it is sung delicately by Ashley with Eddie playing electric guitar and has a sort of 'Think Of Me' feel about it.
    This record is a typical slice of Hollywood 'teen sound' but of the highest caliber.
    One of my top fifty favorite singles.

    John's other Silver single (# 45-1005) does not feature Eddie but is quite good too. 'One Love', written by Jerry Capehart, was later recorded by the mysterious Eddie Donno on Jerry's own label. Sung by Ashley to a simple acoustic guitar accompaniment, one wonders if it wasn't only intended as a demo. 'The Cry Of The Wild Goose' was an old Terry Gilkyson composition that Tennessee Ernie Ford had cut way back in 1949. It was certainly selected because it was another American Music copyright (the parent company to both Crest and Silver Records) ; nonetheless, John sings it at a breakneck tempo over a bright, effective guitar backing, with constant changes of key.

    Other singles on Dot (#15878, 'Let The Good Times Roll' b/w 'My Story', 1958) and Intro (#6097, 'Let Yourself Go-Go-Go' b/w 'Bermuda', cut at Radio Recorders on May 31, 1957) have no Cochran involvement, nor does the one on Capehart (#5006). 'I Need Your Lovin' and 'Little Lou' were both penned by Eddie Daniels with Jerry Capehart but although Eddie Cochran had cut a fantastic demo of the latter (issued posthumously in Europe), he does not play on Ashley's brassy version.

    Sadly, John Ashley passed away in 1997. All the above tracks (and more !) were collected on the 'Born To Rock' 2-CD set put out in 2001 by the German label, Hydra (BCK 27114-1.5).


  3. JOHNNY & DORSEY BURNETTE

    Johnny in the studio.
    The great Johnny Burnette needs no real introduction ; a full appreciation of his career will soon appear elsewhere on my site.
    Being such a good friend of Gene Vincent, Ricky Nelson, Sharon Sheeley and of course Eddie Cochran inevitably led Johnny to use Eddie on a number of recordings not yet clarified as of 2006.

    One thing for sure, their collaboration began when Liberty launched its first subsidiary, Freedom Records, during the summer of 1958. Jerry Capehart was hired as A&R man and one of the first artists to be signed was Johnny Burnette, whose name was mis-spelt Johnny Burnett (without the final 'e') on Freedom's very first release. 'Kiss Me' b/w 'I'm Restless' (F-44 001) should have been a smash but it sank almost without a trace. Who played on those tracks remains unknown although Eddie might be the guitar player on 'I'm Restless'. Or is it Joe Maphis who had already played on The Brothers' magnificent Imperial '45 ('Warm Love' b/w 'My Honey', Imperial #5509) ? And who drums so ferociously on 'Kiss Me ?

    Johnny Burnette's  second Freedom '45 coupled two highly original tunes from different sessions :
          The 'Me & The Bear' single.FREEDOM F-44011
          FR-118 Me And The Bear
          FR-119 Gumbo

    Interestingly enough, a copy of this single was found in Eddie's own record collection !
    'Gumbo'
    may have been cut at the 'I'm Restless' date and although it's never been ascertained, I'm one of many who think that Eddie plays guitar on it - using effects not too dissimilar to those he employed on 'Scratchin' for instance. In return, there's not any doubt as to Eddie's presence on the other song, the noisy, sax-led, story-telling 'Me & The Bear' : the session sheets have been found and indicate that Eddie, Joe Maphis, Connie 'Guybo' Smith, Plas Johnson, Ray Johnson and Earl Palmer all played on that December 11, 1958, recording date held at Gold Star Studios. What's more, Burnette and the band cut three more songs - all Jerry Capehart compositions - for which, ALAS, the tapes have been lost or destroyed :

          FR-115 Remember
          FR-116 Dutchman's Gold
          FR-117 The Table


    Eddie was not involved in Johnny's last Freedom single (another fabulous platter coupling 'Sweet Baby Doll' b/w 'I'll Never Love Again', F-44 017) but he did play on another totally unissued (at the time) session which took place at Gold Star on August 25-26-27, 1959, a decidedly busy and productive period for Eddie Cochran.
    Five tracks were committed to tape : Ballad Of The One Eyed Jacks (Johnny would re-cut it in February '61), You're Cheatin' On Me, Blue School Days, Just Keep On Goin' and Just A Memory. They first appeared, complete with false starts and overdubs for 'You're Cheatin' On Me', on another Hydra CD, 'Johnny & Dorsey Burnette - Rock & Roll Tonight' (BCK 27110).

    And of course, in 2002, the legendary and exemplary Bear Family label put out the definitive box set on Johnny Burnette : 'The Train Kept A-Rollin' - Memphis To Hollywood' (BCD 16438), a 9-CD spectacular ! All the above songs are featured plus just about everything Johnny cut for Von, Coral, Imperial, Freedom, Liberty, Chancellor, Infinity, Reprise, Capitol and Magic Lamp, the icing on the cake being the inclusion of more than a hundred demo recordings.

    Johnny's brother, Dorsey Burnette, was another talented writer and singer, with a huskier voice. He cut several solo sides for Imperial in 1959, one of which most certainly features Eddie Cochran on rhythm guitar : a medium, chugging, hypnotic rocker called 'Misery' (Imperial 5597, b/w 'Lonely Train'), recorded on April 13, 1959. James Burton plays lead guitar. All of Dorsey's Imperial recordings were collected on a RockStar CD from 1994, 'The Burnette Brothers' (RSRCD 005).

  4. JERRY CAPEHART

    The role that Missouri-born Jerry Neal Capehart played in Eddie Cochran's career is ambiguous - and one could easily draw a parallel with Norman Petty's guidance of Buddy Holly's career. In the mid-fifties, Jerry decided to seek fortune in the country music field and began writing songs. He met Eddie Cochran at a music store in Bell Gardens while Eddie was still part of The Cochran Brothers and hooked up with them in order to cut some demos.
          ROCKSTAR RSR-EP 2010
          Closer, Closer, Closer
          A Healer Like Time

    The rare Cash record. These were two of the earliest examples of their collaboration.
    It was already apparent that Jerry was not really a singer, a fact which became evident when he secured a one-off record deal with John Dolphin and somehow tried his hand at the new shakin' music with the mythical single :
         CASH 1021
         1021-A   Walkin' Stick Boogie
         1021-AA Rollin'
    Besides Eddie and Hank on guitars, the backing band was Ernie Freeman's, with Ernie himself on paino.
    Eddie
    easily stole the show with his inventive guitar breaks but the record went nowhere.

    At this early stage, however, there's no denying the entrepreneurial skills of Jerry Capehart : proof is, a deal with American Music, a huge publishing house, followed in the early months of 1956. More demos were cut, mostly at Gold Star Studios with Eddie and Hank on guitars plus Connie 'Guybo' Smith on bass fiddle, up to the time of Eddie's first solo single on Crest.
    These are the ones on which Capehart sang, first published by RockStar Records :
         ROCKSTAR RSR-LP 1009
         That's What It Takes To Make A Man
         ROCKSTAR RSR-EP 2010
         Heart Of A Fool
         ROCKSTAR RSR-EP 2003
         Latch On
         ROCKSTAR RSRCD 010
         This Must Be The Place

    'That's
    What It Takes...' is probably Jerry's best vocal, with sumptuous Chet Atkins-style backing from Ed who shines again on 'Heart Of A Fool' with a perfect rockabilly solo. 'Latch On' had already been cut twice by The Cochran Brothers with Hank Cochran on lead vocal. They had a third go at it, Bill Haley-style this time, at the 'Skinny Jim' session - with Capehart's voice added.

    Another rarity these days : the Jerry Neal '45.When Hank Cochran split, Capehart took Eddie under his wing and soon became his manager & producer. Capehart was undoubtedly a good songwriter (as Bob Denton has rightly pointed out in interviews) but he knew nothing about record production.
    I guess he learned a lot from both Stan Ross (at Gold Star Studios) and from Eddie himself.
    He nonetheless contributed to shaping Eddie's style and sound over the years.
    In August 1958, Jerry released a 'novelty' single under the pseudonym, Jerry Neal, the top side of which was a fabulous Cochran instro :
         DOT 45-15810
         MW-11601 Scratchin'
         MW-11602 I Hates Rabbits
    The flip was probably (and fortunately) the last song ever sung by Jerry ! But in that 'novelty' context
    , and with crack accompaniment by Eddie, Earl Palmer and Plas Johnson, it worked OK.

    Some,
    like Ray Stanley, thought Capehart was 'in for the quick buck' (that's what he told me in 1987). Indeed, Jerry strived to find a replacement for Eddie after his death and even issued a record under his own name
    featuring another Cochran instrumental, at first cleverly titled 'The Fourth Man Theme' :

         CREST 1101
         Song Of New-Orleans
         The Young And Blue (Theme)
    By the end of 1959, Eddie's relationship with Jerry had soured considerably. Capehart had taken on too many other commitments  and certainly couldn't concentrate on Eddie's career. There was also the fact that Snuff Garrett had put horrible strident strings on 'Hallelujah, I Love Her So', perhaps with Jerry's complicity. Plus, Eddie's pals were not Jerry's, and vice versa. Consequently, Jerry did not participate in Eddie's last recording session (January 8, 1960) and didn't go with him to England afterwards.
    But he co-wrote top class material with Eddie and undoubtedly helped him get off the ground and find his own way.
    Click
    here for a complete listing of Jerry Capehart's compositions.

  5. AL CASEY

    'Willa Mae'Al Casey was a major figure on the Arizona and Los Angeles recording scenes of the '50s a nd '60s. A top flight guitar player, with a highly distinctive style, he was also prominent on just about any other stringed instrument - including the piano. His classic guitar licks appear on countless Duane Eddy, Jody Reynolds, Loy Clingman and Sanford Clark cuts but he's best remembered for his stellar work on Sanford's 'The Fool' in 1956 (M.C.I #1003, then Dot #15481). He released a handful of solo singles in the '50s, notably 'A Fool's Blues' b/w 'Juice' (Dot #15524, in November '56) and '(Got The) Teenage Blues' b/w 'Give'n Up' (Highland #1002). In '62 and '63, he cut a clutch of great surfin' singles on the Stacy label (for instance 'Surfin' Blues' b/w 'Guitars, Guitars, Guitars', Stacy #964) with some success ; the label even issued a very rare album by him, 'Surfin' Hootenanny' (Stacy #100, in September 1963), pressed on mottled green vinyl.

    All the while, he played on sessions for established as well as obscure artists, such as Don Cole ('Snake Eyed Mama' b/w 'Kiss Of Love', RPM #502). Interestingly, the rockin' top side of that record features Al on piano. A piano sound which is also present on the following Al Casey solo single (cut at Gold Star Studio B in late '57), one of particular interest to all of us because it does feature Eddie Cochran on guitar.

         LIBERTY F-55117

         45-LB-804 Willa Mae
         45-LB-805 She Gotta Shake
    Most discographies state that Eddie plays rhythm guitar on the excellent rocker, 'Willa Mae'. Al Casey himself confirmed Eddie's presence 'on electric rhythm guitar'. The only problem is, there is indeed a second guitar but it's an acoustic one ! To me, Al sings and plays piano on this track while Eddie plays LEAD guitar. If you listen closely to the solo, it begins as pure Casey but ends as pure Cochran. In Sue Van Ecke's & Bobby Cochran's book, 'Three Steps To Heaven', Jody Reynolds confirms that Eddie DID play the solo, using a '$39 box tremolo by DeArmond that had a vial of mercury in it that bobbed up and down to electric impulse'.
    The flip, 'She Gotta Shake', is a typical Phoenix-style instrumental - funky and reverb-heavy on the guitar - with some vocal interjections by Casey. Apparently, Eddie is not involved. But the story doesn't end there.
    Its basic track was overdubbed with sax and vocal background a few months later and became the flip side of 'Ramrod', another Al Casey instro which was issued as Duane Eddy's third Jamie single (#1109) during the summer of 1958.
    Around the same time, Eddie Cochran was playing on sessions with a vocal group, The Four Dots (see table on the next page). One of the songs, 'Bread Fred', has an almost identical backing track in terms of melody line. Did Eddie remember the tune from the session itself ? Or was it some kind of arrangement with Al Casey since he had played lead on his record ? I'd like to know.

  6. MIKE CLIFFORD

    Mike Clifford in 1961.We don't have much on Mike Clifford whose career seems to have lasted pretty long and who had a top twenty hit in the US with 'Close To Cathy' (UA #489, late '62).
    Having previously been with Columbia, he went on to record for Cameo, Sidewalk, Air and American International. He also sang 'The Golden Breed', the title song to the movie of the same name (a Sidewalk production from 1967 about 'the world's best surfers, their girls and their action - in and out of the Big Surf !') whose excellent soundtrack appears on a scarce Capitol album (ST 2886).

    But his career began in 1959 with two singles on the Liberty label, the first of which featured Eddie Cochran on guitar !

    LIBERTY F-55207

    45-LB-987 Should I
    45-LB-988 Whisper, Whisper

    The 'Should I' single.In a 1989 interview with Alan Clark, Mike Clifford recalled that his producer, Mark McIntyre, was friendly with Eddie and asked him to play on 'Should I', a lightweight rocker co-written by J. Bachelor and R. Stephens (not the Larry Bright song of the same name on Highland #1052). Clifford explained that he was not present when the backing track was laid down and only met Eddie a bit later at the mixing session. He must have been proud of the results because Eddie's stinging guitar work really saved the disc, which saw Mike backed up vocally by Patience & Prudence on both sides !
    Mike Clifford's other Liberty release (#55219) coupled the standard, 'I Don't Know Why', with a song co-written by Mark Mc Intyre
    , 'I'm Afraid To Say I Love You', which sounds like a rip-off of both 'Poor Little Fool' and 'Teenager In Love' ! Not bad, though, but it's clear that the Liberty management was looking for their own Fabian or Frankie Avalon !

  7. LOY CLINGMAN

    SWAN ?
    The Man Who Made An Angel Cry
    ?

  8. JUNE COCHRAN

    ROCKSTAR RSRCD 010
    I'm Confessin'
    I Dream Of You

  9. The COCHRAN BROTHERS

  10. EDDIE DANIELS

    ROCKSTAR RSRCD 003
    I Wanna Know
    Uh Oh Little Girl

  11. DARLA DARET

    SILVER 2001
    2001-AA Honey, Honey
    ?

  12. BO DAVIS * Click on Bo's link for all details !
    (aka GENE DAVIS)

    CREST 1027
    Y Let's Coast Awhile
    Z Drownin' All My Sorrows

  13. DON DEAL * Click on Don's link for a full story & discography!

    ERA 1051
    45-HN-135 My Blind Date
    45-HN-133 Even Then


  14. BUDDY DEE

    STARDAY EP-258
    Country Rockin' & Flyin'

  15. BIG DADDY DEERFIELD & The Kelly Four * Click on the link for all details !

    CANDIX 325
    Annie Had A Party
    Sweet Angelina

  16. GALEN DENNY

    LIBERTY F-55164
    45-LB-869 What Ya Gonna Do
    45-LB-871 Gonna Build A Rocket

  17. LEE DENSON

    VIK 4x0281
    H4PW-3959 New Shoes
    H4PW-3958 Climb Love Mountain

  18. BOB DENTON

    DOT 45-15573
    MW-9662 On My Mind Again
    MW-9663 Always Late

    DOT 45-15622
    MW-9925 Love Me So I'll Know
    MW-9926 I'm Sending You This Record

    CREST 1086
    CM-1100 Pretty Little Devil
    CM-1101 Thinkin' About You

    ROCKSTAR RSRCD 009
    Sick & Tired

    UNISSUED
    It's Nothin' To Me

  19. EDDIE DONNO

    CAPEHART CA-5003
    CA 5003 One Love
    CA 5004 Rough Stuff

  20. CHUCK FOREMAN

    ROCKSTAR RSRCD 011
    Rockin' It
    Gambler's Guitar
    Jammin' With Jimmy
    Tenderly
    Steelin' The Blues
    Two Of A Kind
    Stardust
    Candy Kisses
    Chuck & Eddie's Boogie
    In The Mood
    I'll See You In My Dreams

Click to go to Part 2 of Eddie's sessions !