Ray Doggett - Singer, Writer and Producer
Ray Doggett

Ray Doggett was born Elmer Ray Doggett in a little town called Sweetwater, Texas, were he graduated from Highschool in 1953. By playing guitar in several highschool bands he acquired a taste for it and in the mid 50s he tried his luck as a solo artist. In 1956 he had luck with a recording with Spade Records in Houston, Texas. This record company was founded by country and rockabilly singer Bennie Hess and had six releases in 1957; Bennie's own, Vern Pullens, Royce Porter and Ray Doggett's. He re-opened the label in the 70s when he released some of his old and some new records. Ray Doggett's first record on Spade 1928 was the rockabilly song "Go Go Heart" b/w "Fallin' Teardrops". Unfortunately none of the Spade releases were very successful, because the only distribution company in the area would have been Pappy Daily with whom Bennie Hess didn't want to cooperate at first. So he sold his records himself meeting only little response from the DJ's. Then, when finally a contract with Pappy Daily was established it was already too late and Bennie had to shut down the label.

After his first record on Spade, Ray Doggett started to play as a session musician, like in Royce Porter's second record "A Woman Can Make You Blue" B/W "I End Up Crying" (Spade 1931) which was recorded in the ACA studios in Houston. Ray and Bennie got along quite well, so they released a second record of Ray on Spade 1932 "It Hurts The One Who Loves You" b/w "That's The Way Love Is With Me". All the same this recording was appreciated with a little success, so that Bennie was able to persuade the recording giant Decca to bring out the record in license. Not even this major label could bring Ray to a success.

He had more luck with song writing that with records. Besides his own records, he also co-wrote "On My Mind Again" and "Rakin' And Scrapin" under his pseudonym Elmer Ray. His partners in writing these songs were Slim Willet (singer and owner of several Texas labels, such as Winston and Edmorals) and Dean Beard, who was also the first to record these songs. He further wrote songs for Bob Denton, Ace Ball, Johnny Guidry, Jan Moore, Darrell Rhodes and Bruce Channell.

Musically it went on for him in 1957 with the release of KIX 102 "Love Is Made Of This" b/w "Now It's Over" and TNT 159 "High School Wedding Ring" b/w Whirlpool Of Love", but again he didn't exceed local popularity. On his own label Ray issued Ken-Lee 101 "Beach Party" b/w "So Lonely Tonight", but this didn't change things. So in 1958 he returned to Bennie Hess and his new Pearl label. The first record, Pearl 716 "No Doubt About It" b/w I'm Afraid" was soon followed by the second one "We'll Always Have Each Other" which was coupled with the already twice releases "That's The Way Love Is With Me". After this, the increasing popularity of Ray Doggett caused Top Rank to record his last record on Top Rank 2025, ""Can I Be The One" b/w "Restless Heart".

Being sick of traveling around Ray took to producing other artists. His first attempt a year earlier showed that he had the talent for this. In 1958 he produced his first record for country superstar Kenny Rogers (then Kenneth Rogers) on Carlton 454 "We'll Always Have Each Other", which he had also recorded himself. Ray kept on producing during the 60s, when he produced artists as Tommy Clay, The Counts, Huey Meaux and Lelan Rogers. In the early 80s Ray ran "Big H. Sound Distributors" in Houston, Texas. A publishing company which was resident in the Goldstar Studios.

Willi Gutt, 1989

Source: Doggone It Doggett, Hydra Records BLK7709

Mr. Ray Doggett passed away Saturday March 16, 2002, he was 67. He died of a massive heart attack in Nashville at his bedside. I thought you might want to post it so you could pay homage to him on your website.

Thank You, Paul Allsup (CEO - The Independent Music Association)

Elmer Ray graduated from Newman High School in Sweetwater, Texas, in 1953 and he was always a very colorful and interesting person. I remember that although he was very talented he was shy and until he began to use a musical instrument in his hands didn't know just what to do with them when on a stage. He sang with a boys quartet that continued to entertain us at class reunions until the last one 4 years ago. Indeed at the reunion 5 years prior to that, he was there and was not susposed to attempt to sing as he had throat cancer; but he insisted and we were thrilled. Indeed his funeral services were held in Sweetwater this past spring and a number of his classmates and friends were in attendence.

Thanks for the story, Ann (Cowan) Locke - July, 2002