Three Songs for Carl Perkins

Three Songs for Carl Perkins‘It was on The Animals tour in 1964 that I first met him. Carl was a great guy, one of the loveliest guys I ever worked with. I’d never met a Tennessee boy like that before, someone with that southern accent. He introduced himself – he was so ‘over the top’ and we all looked at each other. But he really meant it.
‘Really nice to meet ya boy’, he said. Some years later I went to see him at the Albert Hall – went to say hello. He said, ‘it’s ‘Frankiestein’ or ‘Frankie’ as he called me. He introduced me to Johnny Cash who was on the same show. That was the last time I ever spoke to him. He was playing at the Nashville Rooms in Kensington one time and sent me an invite to join him, but I was doing a gig somewhere. On the ’64 tour I spent a lot of my time chatting to him. He told me how he chopped off a couple of the fingers on his left hand whilst leaning into an electric fan on stage. He got them stitched on ok, but they got stiff sometimes so he’d ask me to do the solos on certain nights and let me use his Gibson Switchmaster guitar.

donThe morning he had the good news we were all staying at a country house hotel. As usual, Carl and I were sitting at the back of the tour bus as we waited to set off. Rick Arden, Don Arden’s step-son was the tour manager and he got on the bus and said, ‘I’ve got some good news for you Carl, it appears that The Beatles have released three of your songs. I remember saying ‘the drinks are on you today Carl’. I can’t remember his reaction exactly, he was a cool Tennessee boy, but I think he was pretty pleased’.