Column

Easy Ed's Broadside

Exploring music without a map.

Since 2009, Ed has shared his thoughts on ND about music that touches him, and rambled hither and yon about what else is on his mind.

Easy Ed's Broadside

Exploring music without a map.

Since 2009, Ed has shared his thoughts on ND about music that touches him, and rambled hither and yon about what else is on his mind.

The Supersonic Guitars of Billy Mure

An interesting story very well told, Ed.  This is exactly the kind of work that retains my interest in ND. Seems that Emily had music in her bloodlines much the same as you did the record business in yours, the influence of families. And your sons are quite into music, yes?  Even as a kid I always read the liner notes, I remember reading the names Hal Blaine and Larry Knechtel on Partidge Family records and later understood the full scope of their work.  Always interesting to connect the dots.  A recent example was a very last minute chance to see Chip Taylor. I had no idea who he was, and I was told he wrote Wild Thing. That alone piqued my interest in the show, and when I was told he also wrote Angel of the Morning I was really curious, I'd have never guessed the same guy wrote both. That's all I knew when the show started. During intermission I googled him.  Real name James Wesley Voight. Brother of Jon Voight, uncle to Angeline Jolie.  His accompanist on electric guitar was John Platania, who I also had to look up.  Played guitar on Van Morrison's Moondance records, other Van Morrison records, and has been in Van's touring band on and off for 40+ years.  An interesting confluence of stories in two guys on a small stage in a Chicago suburb mid winter. Thanks again for the great story.

Glad you enjoyed this story. It felt like it needed to be written, since there are only a handful of articles out there about this very successful musician. His grandaughter Emily, who adored her grandfather, really helped frame my own family ties to the fifties and sixties era in music; and I've been mulling this one over for years. In doing some research a couple of weeks ago knowing I was going to finally meet Emily face to face at a local gig, I discovered that my cousin used Billy quite often over the years for many sessions that were both chart toppers, and also a string of lesser-known work that included a number of easy listening instrumentals, budget albums merchandised at supermarkets and children's titles. He was so prolific that a complete discography is hard to capture. 

I also saw Chip Taylor and John Platania a couple years ago, opening for Jay Farrar one cold winter night in front of maybe fifty people in Brooklyn. Chip was really why I was there, as a long time ago I repped the Buddah label and sold some of his early albums. We had a great chat catching up on some of the old guys we both knew from back in those days. In fact, he wrote a great song about the music business and I know pretty much everyone he name-checks. Not to take the spotlight from Billy, but I'll post it here for you. 

 

Ed, if I'm reading this right, you were unaware of the connection between your cousin and Billy when you interviewed Emily a few years ago and only learned of it when researching this article?  That's a wild small world story.  I listened to Supersonic Guitars and Tiger Guitars a few times each, absolutely loved them both. I would imagine that was some wild stuff for the late 50's, and it sounds vibrant now. Thanks again!

I had suspected that Arnold and Billy knew each other, specifically because each had worked closely with Connie Francis. But it wasn't until I started looking at the dates when Arnold left Okeh Records and joined MGM that I realized they worked together on quite a few projects, mostly from 1959-1963. After that, Billy was working more as an arranger and producer from what I gather. When he moved to Florida he performed extensively, but I believe his recording days were over. 

 

Chip Taylor, fantastic, and John Platania did indeed play with Van the Man on a lot of occasions, a terrific player, anyone unfamiliar check out "Too Late To Stop Now" one of the best live albums by anyone, anyhwere for proof.

Great record...recently re-issued, remastered, with Volumes I, II, II, and IV and a DVD concert as well...goes in the "must have" category...

Thanks soooo much for this article. I was totally blown away by Billy Mure's career and by Supersonic Guitars. I was shocked to see that this stuff is not available on cd. Deke Dickerson, Work Your Magic!!

Lot's of vinyl available cheap, though. It's so great to learn about this all these years later!!

Great stuff!!

 

Supersonic Guitars...that is fantastic...ahead of the curve indeed.

I enjoyed this column immensely...one of your best...

Wow what a great story!  So many hit records and man that cat could play. It makes no sense at all to try and determine the first "R&R" song because black musicians were rocking and rolling in small combos long before the style crossed over, for one example Louis Jordan.
Mr. Mure had a very influential career and I am still trying to figure out how I never heard of him as I knew every record and every other musician mentioned in this great profile.

Thanks for such a great article on an important guitarist.