Tuesday, July 5, 2011
There's an auditorium in the city of Shreveport that played a huge roll in launching the careers of some of this country's greatest musicians. In the 1950's, almost everyone had heard of the Louisiana Hayride. Today, the memories of those great performers still echo through the old building.
"It is said that if you were to have stood in this building at the right moment in time, that you would have actually seen the music change, the face of music change for the whole country, right in the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium because of people like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and of course Elvis Presley," says Teresa Micheels with the auditorium.
It was 1954 when Elvis made his first appearance on the Louisiana Hayride, a weekly live concert that was broadcast on radio from the Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport. KWKH radio announcer Frank Page introduced the young singer.
In an oral history recorded for LSU Shreveport, Page talks about the decision to put Elvis on the Hayride.
"We thought he sounded different, so we said let's try him out and see what happens. Well you know what happened. It drove the older people away and the young ones came in".
Elvis became a Hayride regular for the next year. The rising star packed the house.
Guitar legend James Burton started playing in the Hayride's house band when he was 14 years old.
"The crowd just went nuts. And then the younger crowd, every time he'd come and play, it was packed a packed house. A lot of singers I didn't know that well, but I had the opportunity to work with 'em and meet 'em back in those days and it was fantastic," says guitarist James Burton.
For ten amazing years, from 1948 until 1958, the Louisiana Hayride was known as the cradle of stars. Not only Elvis, but Country and Rock a Billy greats like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams spent their early years performing on this stage.
"It was kind of a birthing time for everybody to go on to things like the Grand Ole Opry, the bigger and better things, but they could actually reach a wider audience with the Louisiana Hayride," said Micheels.
While he was playing the Hayride, Burton wrote one of the most recognizable Rock-N-Roll guitar licks.
"Every night we'd play the clubs around Shreveport. I was under age so I had to get a permit to go play. We would play this little instrumental and it was like the biggest draw of the night. Everybody wanted to here it over and over, over and over," Burton said.
That little riff was the beginning of the hit song Suzie G. Burton left Shreveport and the Hayride and toured the country with Ricky Nelson. Then he got a call from the king.
"Elvis called me back in '69 and asked me to put a band but I was there the whole time, 69 up until he passed away in '77. He was really down to Earth person. He was a good southern gentleman, he was a great guy and the music, of course you know the music and what a great singer and performer," Burton said.
Burton still tours and records with some of the biggest names in music. He's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And he's returned to his home town setting up a recording studio directly across the street from the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium. Out front, on Elvis Presley Avenue, there's a statue of two famous musicians who made their make in Shreveport.
"They ask me who was your favorite entertainer to perform with. They were all my favorites because they were all good. They were all different, and that's what makes the music business so great is everyone is different," says Burton.
The Shreveport Municipal Auditorium is still used for concerts and other functions, including an occasional benefit concert by James Burton and his musician friends.
|Caylee Anthony - Top Right Mother Casey Anthony|
Casey Anthony was found Not guilty! Today, there was no justice for Caylee! Rest in peace, sweet angel! America is outraged today! One person said they believed the only 12 people on earth who believe Casey is innocent were on that jury!
The jury declined to speak to the media.
Niko performed with a choir during the 45th Annual Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon at the South Point in September of 2010.
While visiting with producer Steve Binder, he shared some of Niko's music with me. I was totally blown away by his voice. So now you check out Niko and see why Steve Binder is THE MAN!
Please check out Italian singing star NIKO , Official website of international performer Niko Congiu. He's an absolute incredible talent! He's an Italian singing sensation!
Every so often an artist is discovered with a voice so rare and a gift so pure. Most of today’s music is overproduced and prepackaged; marketed with glitz and glamour that more often than not, doesn’t live up to the hype it claims to be. From a small town in Italy, we are reminded of what real talent sounds like – his name is Nicola “Niko” Congiu.
Born in Sardinia, Italy, Niko grew up knowing that he would become a performer. This self taught musician began his career singing on the bar circuits of Italy playing four to five hours every night. Performing on both guitar and piano, Niko’s voice spans over three octaves and easily handles current pop, rock and soul. Following the examples of his favorite musicians such as Tom Jones and Freddy Mercury, Niko was able to create an electrifying stage persona that engaged audiences of all ages. From his consistent touring and endless hours of performance Niko fashioned a strong following of his fellow Italians that soon ended up with packed rooms every night. Alongside of touring Niko helped build his reputation by participating in national singing competitions that were televised all across Italy. In 1997, Niko formed his own nine-piece orchestra and toured extensively throughout northern Italy.
It was at one of these shows that Niko was discovered by notable director/producer, Steve Binder. (1968 Elvis Comeback Special). While on vacation in Italy with his wife, Binder stumbled upon a crowd of over 1,000 marveling at the performance of the devastatingly handsome chanteur. So impressed with Niko’s performance Binder returned the next night only to be even more blown away than the previous evening. It was then that he decided to bring Niko back to the United States and launch his international career.
Immediately Binder set up a showcase for his music industry friends and contacts which, in turn, began the professional relationship between Niko and Live Nation. Everyone from Live Nation that attended became as ecstatic about Niko as Binder was.
In a little over one year, Niko has made impressive strides and has been recognized by many of the industries finest producers and musicians. He has opened for Jewel with the Chicago Pops, opened for Celine Dion at the start of her “Taking Chances” world tour, sang at Carnegie Hall with Tony Bennett at the 25th Anniversary of the New York Pops, toured with Chicago and the Doobie Brothers to 19-cities in the U.S., and starred on New Year’s Eve at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.
So begins Niko’s inevitably long and successful career in his quest to become an international star. Niko is one of those rare power ballad singers who come along once every decade…
HLN's Nancy Grace also paid tribute to Memphis police officer, Timothy Warren last night. She reported he was 39, leaves behind a wife and 2 kids. He was an 8 year veteran police officer.
The Warren family is in our thoughts and prayers as well as the Memphis police who lost a brother. Timothy gave his life to keep Memphis safe. He is a true hero. God bless him! And Thank You to the many men & women on the Memphis police force who risk their lives daily!
G I Blues - The Alternative Album Version is due out on August 8th from the Memphis Recording Service label. This new release features 26 outtakes and movie versions, 19 of the outtakes which were previously released for the first time officially on the Memphis Recording Service 4 CD set The Cafe Europa Sessions and the remaining 7 tracks are all previously unreleased original movie soundtrack versions.
Tracklist: CD (58 mins 43 secs)
THE ALTERNATIVE ALBUM
1. Tonight Is So Right For Love (Take 9)
2. What´s She Really Like (Take 13)
3. Frankfort Special (Take 8)
4. Wooden Heart (Take 4)
5. G.I. Blues (Master)
6. Pocketful Of Rainbows (Take 8)
7. Shoppin´ Around (Take 10)
8. Big Boots (Fast Version; Take 5)
9. Didja´ Ever (Master)
10. Blue Suede Shoes (Master)
11. Doin´ The Best I Can (Master)
12. Tonight's All Right For Love (Master)
THE ALTERNATIVE OUTAKES
13. Pocketful Of Rainbows (Take 7)
14. Shoppin´ Around (Version 2; Take 2)
15. Frankfort Special (Fast Version; Take 7)
16. Tonight Is So Right For Love (Take 4)
17. What´s She Really Like (Take 11)
18. Big Boots (Slow Version; Take 6)
19. Tonight´s All Right For Love (Take 1)
THE MOVIE VERSIONS
20. Frankfort Special (MV Version)
21. Shoppin´ Around (MV Version)
22. Tonight Is So Right For Love (MV Version)
23. Wooden Heart (MV Version)
24. Pocketful Of Rainbows (MV Version)
25. Big Boots (MV Version)
26. Didja´ Ever (MV Version)
The Las Vegas Hilton has fallen on hard times, not getting the respect it did during those years when it was Elvis’s home away from home.
So the keepers of the rights to use of the Hilton name decided last week the time had come to take action.
The "big Hilton," as the resort with its 30,000-plus rooms and suites has been known to generations of locals and visitors will lose rights to the use of the Las Vegas Hilton name and marquee as of the end of the year, unless …
And this is where the guessing and speculation by sources familiar with Hilton operations begins.
"There’s a lot of deferred maintenance over there," according to one of several former Las Vegas Hilton executives who shared their thoughts on the condition they not be identified.
This source continued, "It’s in the wrong place at the wrong time for a property that requires a lot of tender loving care and maintenance."
A fact that puts it in the same category as a number of other local hotels and casinos that managed their way through the dismal business conditions of the last several years by avoiding costly renovations and maintenance wherever possible.
But some well-positioned Hilton watchers say they will not be surprised if there is an about face and Colony manages to satisfy demands by guardians of the Hilton image for improvements that will keep the Hilton name on the Paradise Road resort, which made a reputation during its best years for the ability of its staff to satisfy the demands of the high-end convention and trade show business.
Hilton Hotels was sold in July 2007 to the Blackstone Group for $26 billion, which continues to benefit from high-end convention-oriented hotels across the country, from San Francisco to New York.
The prospect of not having a high quality Las Vegas connection after the end of the year takes an important element out of the mix for Blackstone and the Hilton brand.
"There are groups that move their business from Hilton to Hilton in cities like New York and Chicago. Now they’re hearing there will not be a Hilton in Las Vegas? That’s why this is something of a lose-lose situation," a source familiar with the Hilton approach to business confided.
These are not the best of times for Colony Resorts to face the necessity of romancing a new corporate partner.
The decline of the Las Vegas Hilton began years ago as former LVH owner Park Place Entertainment (which was bought by Harrah’s, which is now Caesars Entertainment) began steering hotel, convention and casino business toward its properties on the Strip – Caesars Palace and the Ballys-Paris complex.
The Las Vegas Hilton was seen as being a long way from the center of the action and it never managed to overcome that "rejection," which resulted in years of declining revenues. Colony Capital had bought the LVH from Caesars in 2004, eventually turning the property over to its subsidiary Colony Resorts.
Colony has not had a lot of luck in the casino business as illustrated by the sad state of its Atlantic City operations – the original Resorts International, which was sold late last year to Dennis Gomes for about $34 million, and the Atlantic City Hilton (the original Golden Nugget), which is also deep in financial trouble.
In Las Vegas, there appeared to be no end to Colony’s knack for bad timing, as illustrated by its partnering with the Las Vegas division of the Fertitta family in the buyout of Station Casinos, which only recently exited a complicated bankruptcy court re-organization.
Years ago, I found myself standing next to Barron Hilton during a company-sponsored event at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu.
Invited guests included a long list of famous faces and top company officials.
I leaned into a slow moment in the conversation and asked, "What’s your favorite hotel?" figuring this special event made his answer obvious.
But without missing a beat he said, "It’s the Las Vegas Hilton."
Various Hilton watchers have looked for signs over the years that the Barron might act on this emotion and re-acquire the hotel where Elvis set all those attendance records during the 1970s.
They’re obviously still waiting.