Rayburn Anthony, Still in Business!

Rayburn Anthony was born in Humboldt , Tennessee in 1937. He came from a large family, 5 brothers and 3 sisters. His brother Bob who is a few years older than Rayburn is a fine guitar player and Rayburn picked up his own playing skills from Bob. Rayburn was asked to play rhythm guitar in a little band Bob played in and pretty soon became the vocalist as the band kept getting requests for vocals and they were mainly playing instrumentals.

Rayburn played at a little club near Jackson, Tennessee on a regular basis and as it was one of the few clubs to stay open late the other local artists would drop in after their gigs. among them were W.S. Holland drummer for Carl Perkins and Carl Mann who W.S. had discovered and recorded at Sun. They liked what they heard when Rayburn sang and W.S. took him over to Sun. Rayburn thought the other musicians who went with him were going to play with him but Sam just told him to sing a couple of songs accompanying himself on piano. Sam was impressed and signed Rayburn up and they recorded a couple of weeks later.

His first release "St. Louis Blues" (Sun 333) was getting lots of local play and they were going to send him to St. Louis to get some reaction there but the payola scandal was breaking and the trip was cancelled. Over the next year or so Rayburn cut more than twenty songs for Sam producing three single releases. Rayburn felt that Sam could see the changes coming in music and tried to steer Rayburn into the lighter side of rock 'n' roll. His second release "There's No Tomorrow" (Sun 339) showed the direction they were taking with a strong melody but still that rocking feel. Rayburn has in his possession a tape of one of the last things he cut "Moon Over The Mountains" on which Sam overdubbed some strings onto. The song has a great guitar solo by Eddie Bush who played on most of Rayburn's sessions, as did T. Willie Stevenson on bass and Tony Austin on drums. Rayburn and Tony would go on to write quite a few songs together. The final release "How Well I Know" (Sun 373) followed the ballad pattern. Rayburn had he arrived at Sun earlier might have followed into the same format as Warren Smith with country weepers and rockabilly but those couple of extra years had music changing.

After the Sun contract ran out Rayburn began to write more and with a friend Gene Dobbins he wrote two songs recorded by Sandy Posey one of them being the B side of her hit record "Born A Woman ". At this time Rayburn was writing for Bill Black's music company and he later moved to Nashville where Scotty Moore employed him at his recording studio which gave Rayburn time to write and develop his studio skills. His songs began to be recorded by established artists and his impressive resume includes cuts on Charlie Louvin and Melba Montgomery, Charley Pride, Vern Gosdin, Conway and Loretta and Jerry Lee Lewis. He also worked at this time with Billy Walker as a front man and Billy recorded several of his songs including "Sing Me A Love Song To Baby" which hit number one.

After this he worked on the road with Melba Montgomery. He recorded on Pete Drake's Stop label covering "I Walk The Line" as a duet with Joyce Reynolds and providing a song "A Hundred Yards Of Real Estate" for The Jordanaires Stop album. He did some more recording himself cutting 3 songs for Pappy Daily, one of them a Tony Austin song was to be the first release on him for Musicor but a similarly titled song was out by another artists and this stopped that.

His next road job was with Bobby Bare a happy 4 year stint and Bare got him a chance on Polydor Records. This led to several chart records including "Maybe I Should Have Been Listening When You Said Goodbye." He switched labels to Mercury and was produced by Jerry Kennedy and scored his highest chart record with "Shadows Of Love." Around this time Rayburn visited Britain and toured with Scottish band Colorado who cut some of his songs. He started to visit Sweden in the eighties and has averaged two trips a year there over the past ten years. He has released four cd's in Sweden, but his latest recordings done on vintage equipment with Wildfire Willie and The Ramblers veered back into rockabilly.

He also recorded his own version of "Sing Me A Love Song To Baby" and it sounds as though it was cut in the fifties. Another of the recordings "Jackson Was Jumping" gives a name check to all those famous cats who came from the area such as W.S. Holland, Carl Perkins, Kenny Parchman and Carl Mann. Rayburn sang the song at the Rockabilly Festival in Jackson reunited with W.S. on drums and Dave Rowe of the Johnny Cash band on bass and Jerry Elstrom (ex Perkins band) on guitar. Old pal Tony Austin was backstage too.

Rayburn has also recorded some great new country songs and hopes in the near future to get to play some dates in Britain and Europe. He just needs a call. You can e mail him at: rayburn@rayburnanthony.com

Rayburn has recorded a great new CD "Jackson Was Jumpin'" with Wildfire Willie & The Ramblers backing him, read all about it!

Rayburn Anthony on the web: http://www.rayburnanthony.com

Courtesy of Jim Newcombe,