News createt: 11-08-2010
Norbert Putnam - Back In Memphis!
Pictured - Henrik, Mike Leech and Norbert Putnam from our 2007 Memphis show.
Once at 4 a.m. during a taping session, Elvis looked up and yelled, "Wake up, Putt!" at Norbert Putnam, bassman extraordinaire and renowned record producer.
Putnam thought that would never come to light, but many years later, lo and behold, it was in a release of old Presley masters that ran full length.
Norbert was playing "Merry Christmas, Baby," and somewhere in the take, there's that yell.
Now, you can go to candlelight vigils during Elvis Week Tuesday through Aug. 16 at Graceland.
Or you can go to a benefit concert coming up at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Michael D. Rose Theater at the University of Memphis, 470 University St. in Memphis, and hear the music that ensnared your heart and mind over Elvis, the king of rock 'n' roll.
The concert will benefit Myrna Smith of the Sweet Inspirations in a tribute to the King of Rock 'n' Roll.
"Myrna was key to the Sweet Inspirations and one of Elvis Presley's favorite backing vocal groups. They would sing oohs and ahhs behind Elvis while he was singing and occasionally sing a line behind Elvis. They were a famous backup group on recording sessions and I used them on some records," Putnam said. Cissy Houston, mother of Whitney Houston, formed Sweet Inspirations, he explained.
According to media releases, Smith has suffered a stroke and is on kidney dialysis.
This is a great way to enjoy an incredible concert and help Myrna while you enjoy fabulous music.
So you already want tickets? Call 1(866) 55-TICKETS; the cost is $45 reserved seats and $95 for VIP.
Putnam will be performing. "The backup band are these four Elvis Presley veterans, me, Reggie Young, Shane Keister and Jerry Carrigan. Jerry and I have been playing together since we were 15 or 16 years old. We're going to play behind the singers, Billy Burnette, Jack Clement and Billy Swan."
There also will be a singer from Austria.
"We're going to play 22 songs in this concert," Putnam said. "Elvis reached more people with the timbre of his voice and the emotion within. Jerry Carrigan and I worked on 70 or 80 Elvis tracks over seven years. Elvis was probably the most prolific artist of his time. Elvis made three or four albums a year, and everybody else made one. He may have recorded 1,000 songs."
Of his performance, he added, "I'm taking the upright bass and my Fender electric bass for the performance. But I'm only going to play the upright for a short period of time to demonstrate Bill Black's technique, slap bass, and then move to the electric Fender bass."
Cowboy Jack Clement engineered most of the recordings at Sun Studios in Memphis.
"He probably engineered Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis," Putnam said.
Reggie Young was guitarist on Elvis "Suspicious Minds," and he was also in Bill Black's Combo when they opened for the Beatles in '65. Shane Keister was famous for touring with Elvis's TCB Band — they wore diamond necklaces with the letters TCB, standing for "Taking Care of Business."
Jerry Carrigan is one of America's most recorded drummers. In a 40-year career, he's played on almost 50,000 recordings from Perry Como to Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors, — Ray Charles, you can't name someone he didn't play for," Putnam said.
Billy Swan is famous for his recording of "I Can Help," and "Lover, Please." "He also produced Tony Joe White's 'Polk Salad Annie,' which I played bass on," Putnam said.
What do you need to know about Billy Burnette? He was with Fleetwood Mac and he sang lead vocals on three Beach Boys' covers and made some movies as well.
Putnam reminisced that "Elvis thought his job was to entertain us. He was a funny, kind of stand-up comedian, Elvis was. One night Jerry Carrigan took a little siesta one afternoon, and he didn't show up at 7 p.m. So they called Kenny Buttrey and he came in. Elvis said, 'Oh Jerry, you look so much better since you lost weight!''"
As he thought about his career playing with Elvis, Putnam said, "At the very top, there was Elvis Presley, and down below was everyone else. He was the king of rock 'n' roll."
Source: Jackson Sun
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