Featured Photo: Downtown Jacksonville in the mid-1950’s.
by Dennis Crenshaw
Many of you will care less about this posting. But as someone once said, (don’t ask me who, but it sounds good) “If you own the vehicle, you do the driving.”
With that in mind I’m taking over the site to present to the few who might care an open window into my early life. So come with me back, way back to about 1958. This was a time of innocence. We had never heard of pot. Sex was taboo for most young people. And the Illuminati was a word I had never even heard of.
Image: 1950’s Rock and Rollers in their local hangout.
I was 15, a Rock and Roller in my last year of Jr. High and the music was my life. It was the time of waiting weekly for the latest hits of Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and all the one time wonders of the times. I wore my hair in a D.A. (Ducks Ass) greased back with Royal Crown Hair Dressing, jeans folded up into cuffs at the bottom outside my Fred Myers engineer boots. and went to City sponsored dances at one of the City parks on Friday nights.
Summer days were spent at Jacksonville Beach or at one of the many theaters downtown where you could set in “Air Condition” for a few hours and watch Artie Murphy or Randolph Scott outdraw the bad guys. A quarter (plus 10 cents for popcorn and a nickle for a Coke) got you a double feature, a few cartoons, a News Reel and Coming attractions.
The television shows of the times were lousy and we only had AM Radio. The only Rock and Roll show on our local radio station “Scotty’s Music Box” with local DJ Scotty Furgenson only lasted for two hours on Saturday night. We learned of the new music from jukeboxes which were everywhere and by going around to the many record stores in Jacksonville.
In the summer of 1958 my best friend and next door neighbor Willard Roman bought a 1949 Nash Rambler. Probably one of the ugliest cars of the times. But don’t tell him that. This transport opened a whole new world for us. Mainly Drive-in Theaters, double-dating and weekends at the beach without our parents. What little money we could scrape up we saved for the weekend double dating at the drive-in or to go to the beach. After all gas was 29 cents a gallon.
So we would set in his Rambler in the driveway and dream of making that California Trip. We also discovered another thing. Late at night his powerful AM car radio would pick up 50,000 watt stations all over the eastern portion of the country, like WCKY Cincinnati Ohio.
One night as he was searching the dial why down in the high numbers, 1510 to be exact he picked up a different sounding voice from WLAC Nashville Tennessee. that voice was DJ John “R”.
We discovered the world of Blues – the roots of Rock and Roll. My life and love of music was never the same. I became an instant Blues-man and have remained one ever since and I never missed another night listening to John R. until I joined the Army January 4, 1961.
Image: WLAC – DJ John R. who developed a cult-like following across the Southern United States as a white man who sounded black and introduced black blues music to a whole generation of listeners both black and white.
So without further ado meet the one and only . . . John R., WLAC, Nashville Tennessee and the magic music we heard those late nights long ago setting in a driveway in Jacksonville Florida, coming from a place we had never seen many, many miles away. And while I’m at it I’ve put together a little blues show of my own. Excuse me while I indulge.
John R Richbourg – TnRHOF 2012 Inductee
YouTube ~ TennRadioHOF
John R – Cissy Strut (The Meters)
YouTube ~ warehambr
Go to Page 2 for the rest of the story