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Jerry Byrne

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This Is How It All Began Vol. 2

  • 1958 SPECIALTY 635
  • Lights Out / Honey Baby

  • "Lights Out" sold very well in the south, reaching the top of the regional charts and even breaking into some of the national listings. Jerry went out on the road and Specialty put out two follow up singles.

  • 58 SPECIALTY 651
  • You Know I Love You So / Why Did You Ever Say Goodbye

  • 59 SPECIALTY 662
  • Carry On / Raining

  • "You Know I Love You So" was pretty bad and it deservedly flopped, the flipside was another Rebennack/David composition, it was more bluesy, a bit like Jimmy Clanton and far away from "Lights Out". Specialty must have seen the error and switched back to rock`n roll for the third single. "Carry On" is solid rock and roll in Larry Williams style. It again sold well in the south and enabled Jerry to keep the momentum going. He toured south, mid-west and the west and remained active on the N.O. music scene until the mid sixties.

  • Until the mid seventies it was thought that the three Specialty singles were the total output of Jerry Byrne on record. However, there`s more.

  • 59 VIN 1013
  • Morgus, The Magnificent - MORGUS & THREE MOGULS (incl. J. Byrne & Dr. John)
  • Lonely Boy - FRANKIE & MAC

  • 60 SPINNETT 1000
  • Chinese Bandits - THE CHEERLEADERS
  • True Love - THE CHEERLE
  • These novelties actually made some money for Jerry and he had one more stab at the charts. During 1960 a disc was released by The Cheerleaders on Spinnett (Roland Stone and Bobby Lonero had records on Spinnett too). "Chinese Bandits" backed by "True Love" was a novelty item in support of the local football team. The Cheer Leaders comprised Dr. John, Huey `Piano` Smith, Frankie Ford and Jerry Byrne. The record went well and made the local charts, but the identity of the famous names had to be kept secret as all were contracted to other record companies.

  • After that Jerry settled in Morgan City, Louisiana where he was still running a Marine Supplies company in late 80`s. A record, "I`m From The South" appeared on the General label in the eighties and "Lights Out" was chosen as part of the background music for the movie "Sam`s Son", an autobiographical film by Michael Landon of "Bonanza" fame. This gave a rise to rumours of an album release to come of old Specialty material. There are number of unreleased songs still in the vaults including an even faster version of "Lights Out" and the only thing that has been materialised is this great Specialty 45. Isn`t there an alternate version of "Carry On" on some compilation? I couldn`t find it.

  • 74 SPECIALTY 735
  • My Little Girl / I Can`t Say No

  • 8? GENERAL ?
  • I`m From The South / ?

  • Jerry made his European debut at Tom Ingram`s first all-dayer at The Clarendon Hotel, Hammersmith in West London on March 22nd in 1987. By all accounts, Mr. Byrne proved a little bit wild; he was ejected from a restaurant for singing "Lights Out", he demolished promoter Willie Jeffery`s bathroom and at rehersals he refused to work out a playlist - instead he insisted on playing a selection of New Orleans blues and 60`s soul. Still, on the night he rocked and received a fairly favourable reaction, favourable enough to have him eventually doing "Lights Out" four times, "Raining" twice and the same for "Carry On".

  • Recommended listening:
  • - all of Jerry`s Specialty 45`s
  • - Freddie `Fingers` Lee`s excellent cover version of "Lights Out"

  • Sources:
  • - Now Dig This #47, #49, #213
  • - Too Much Noise #34
  • - Marijn`s lyrics pages


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