This CD should be played loud!!!
Recorded August 8-10, 2005 at St. Peter's Church, Chelsea, NYC
An altar at St. Peter's in Chelsea may seem like a pretty unusual place to pay homage to his rockabilly heritage, but for Billy Burnette, it was the perfect backdrop for his first-ever live project, "Memphis In Manhattan." Recorded in just two days during a blistering heat wave in the city, Burnette and his band smoldered their way through timeless hits like the Rick Nelson smash, "It's Late," the Everly Brothers classic "Bye Bye Love," and Elvis' "Big Hunk Of Love" - a collection of tunes that demonstrate why Burnette is indisputably one of the most versatile and in-demand players of his generation.
Fitted for his blue suede shoes practically at birth, Burnette comes by his rockabilly roots quite naturally. Born in Memphis, the son of the legendary Dorsey Burnette, who with brother Johnny formed the famed Rock and Roll Trio and penned hits for Ricky Nelson, the Beatles, Rod Stewart, and more, Burnette grew up surrounded by the bass-thumping backbeats of Beale Street. The infusion of jazz, gospel, and R&B sounds that informed both his father's music and that of another native son, Elvis, made an indelible impression on the budding young star, who was soon styling up his pompadour and hitting the road with Brenda Lee for his first USO tour of Japan at just 13, Five years later, the mighty Mississippi would call him back to record a Columbia Records album with famed producer Chips Moman, and the trip would ignite a lifelong love affair for Burnette with the Delta and its rich musical history.
Though Nashville took notice of his talents and he recorded for MCA/Curb in the 80s, Burnette's hometown was never far from his thoughts, or his music. He found instant success as a songwriter with artists like Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, Tammy Wynette and Faith Hill all recording his material. Nominated for Best New Male Vocalist by the Academy of Country Music, he further defied categories when he became part of the legendary rock band Fleetwood Mac in the late 80s at the invitation of Mick Fleetwood himself, and toured and recorded with the band for eight years. Several years later Burnette got an invitation for the "thrill of a lifetime" - an Australian tour with Bob Dylan, and he pays homage to the master here with "Broken".
"We get into a little New Orleans mix on Bob's song on the record," says Burnette, "which is really fun. Most of the record is rockabilly, and we do my dad and uncle's song "Tear It Up," and "It's Late," which my dad wrote for Rick Nelson, too. The album is basically what I do live, and it was a really fun record to make. I met Norman Chesky for dinner one night with my good friend Del Bryant from BMI and Evander Holyfield, and we started talking about doing a record for Chesky. The music we picked really is kind of Memphis music - it just kind of reeks of Memphis, even though we did it in Manhattan, which is funny. I love New York, though...the energy of the city and the people."
Recording the album live inside St. Peter's added an extra element to the already rich experience for Burnette, who thrived on the vibe. "Doing it live brings out a certain energy in you, because you know you're under the gun and you have to get it right then and there. And there's something to be said for that. It was pretty wild. I had a lot of fun recording this record...it was a great experience, and it's something I'm really proud of overall."
[Ms. Hollabaugh is a freelance music journalist writing for Billboard, BMI Music World, Country Music Today Magazine CMA Close Up magazine, Country Weekly, the American Music Channel, and others]
Billy Burnette played a Gibson Chet Atkins Guitar w/Fender Vibrolux Amp.
Kenny Vaughn played a G&L Telecaster Guitar w/a vox AC15 Amp.
Special thanks to the Chesky staff;Gibson Guitarsl and Yuek.
A very special thanks you to Del Bryant; Norman Chesky; and D'Addario Strings.
And a big thanks to my band.
- Billy Burnette
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(P) (C) 2006 Chesky Records inc.
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Manufactured in the USA
Compact Disc Digital Audio
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