Jimmy Lovelace

Rock, Pop, Country Bass Guitar Go Go Boys, 5 Jets

Born: 1/02/1937 Cloverdale, AL

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Jimmy live

Source: The Five Jets


Kenny Lovelace Honored in Alabama


Ken Lovelace has been Jerry Lee Lewis' friend and band leader for 35 years. On Saturday, it was Lovelace's turn to take center stage as the Alabama Music Hall of Fame unveiled a bronze star in his honor. Kenny's stood beside me through ups and downs and thick and thin - I love him like my own brother, Lewis said of the soft-spoken Cloverdale native. I wouldn't have missed this for anything.

Lovelace's star on the Walk of Fame will be in good company. It's surrounded by stars honoring his cousin, Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, as well as soul legends Percy Sledge and the Temptations and gospel greats Gold City. What a wonderful honor. I couldn't be in better company, Lovelace said after the ceremony. I told Jerry that this makes me want to bring that old 1966 black limousine out of storage and hit the road again.

Lovelace started playing music when he was 7, said his aunt Christine Lovelace Gentry, who lives in Florence. When it's born in your soul, it just comes out, said Gentry, a pianist. When Kenny found an instrument, he had no trouble learning how to play it on his own. Now, he's truly a virtuoso. He's so versatile with his talent, and he's gracious with it. When he's playing, you can tell he's in seventh heaven.

Lovelace toured with singer Bud Deckleman and performed shows with Sun artists Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. Then, he joined his cousins Raymond and Jimmy Lovelace in the Go-Go Five, later called the Five Jets. We started traveling a lot, and from that point on, it was one thing after another, Lovelace said.

Jimmy Johnson, who was a guitarist for the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, believes the Five Jets had a big impact on the area's music scene. The Five Jets came out of here and wound up going to Vegas and Louisiana and everywhere, said Johnson, chairman of the music hall of fame's board of directors. They were the complete catalyst, I think, for the music that followed here in Muscle Shoals.

Lovelace was performing with the Five Jets when he experienced his fateful first encounter with Lewis in 1967. The band was backing up Lewis's sister, singer Linda Gail Lewis, at the Rendezvous club in Monroe, La. Jerry came in one night and heard the show, Lovelace said. He really wanted to hire the whole band, but they weren't free to travel at the time because of their families. So he said, 'Well, I'd like to hire you, Kenny.' I was free to travel at that time, and the rest of the guys encouraged me to go.

Lewis had burst onto the national charts in the late '50s with the classic Sun hits Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On and Great Balls of Fire. We used to work 28 dates out of the month, doing rock shows and country shows, Lovelace said. We'd work almost every night and travel 400 to 500 miles a day. At the very end of the tour, on the last night, Jerry and I would hop in the back seat. He'd get the guitar and I'd get the fiddle, and we'd play all the way into Memphis.

Lovelace has performed on such chart-topping Lewis hits as the No. 1 country-pop crossover hit Chantilly Lace, the rambunctious Rockin' My Life Away, the honky-tonk favorite 39 and Holding and the classic cover version of Judy Garland's Over the Rainbow. Kenny's the world's only real rock 'n' roll fiddle player, Lewis said. We've shared great times and great music together. You just can't beat him as a player or as a person. He's the best there is.

--Courtesy: Times Daily, Tuscaloosa, AL

Source: "That's News to Me!" #10




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