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The Waylon Jennings Years at KLLL (Part Three)

by JR posted Apr 14 2014 2:31PM

Part One
Part Two

J.R. here again with Chapter Three from Sky Corbin's remembrance of KLLL around the time when Waylon Jennings worked here. These call letters are important to those of us who work here now. I've been in more than a few conversations around our offices (now at approximately 58th and Avenue Q) about the signifigance of the letters KLLL in this community, and beyond. I promise, we don't take it lightly. In the late eighties/early nineties, station consultants from around the country would come and see what KLLL was doing in an attempt to replicate it elsewhere. It became known as the "Young Country" format, all born right here in Lubbock.

Here's Sky Corbin, former Program Director here at KLLL with Chapter 3. - @JRKLLL

Chapter 3----(WAYLON/LUBBOCK '58)

On that July, l958 morning at KLLL, Lubbock, Buddy Holly and I had discussed Waylon and his potential as a recording artist no more than 5 or l0 minutes when "Hi-Pockets" Duncan, our "old-pro" Sales Manager/deejay arrived for work. Learning that Buddy Holly was present, "Hi" wasted no time coming to the control room. He was well acquainted with Buddy, having worked at KDAV earlier when Buddy and other local talent had performed on their live shows. (In fact, "Hi" had been a factor in Buddy's getting his first record contract, which led to a Nashville session, which produced a flop album and a couple of singles for Decca. Hi had gotten Marty Robbins and HIS manager interested in helping Buddy, which resulted in the Decca contract.) Soon "Hi" invited Buddy down the hall to the "Top of the Plains" restaurant for coffee. There Buddy brought up the subject of Waylon, and "Hi" seconded my opinion of his talent and potential.

When Waylon arrived soon thereafter, he joined Buddy, Hi and my brother and partner "Slim" in the coffee shop. Waylon and Buddy soon came back down the hall to KLLL, closed the doors to the production/recording room, picked up the always-present guitar and "made some music" for each other. Buddy apparently was impressed and became Waylon's mentor on the spot, telling him about his plans to form his own record label and put in a recording studio at Lubbock.

Buddy knew Lubbock and the surrounding area was a hot-bed of talent. In addition to Buddy Holly and the Crickets, there was Sonny Curtis, singer/guitarist/songwriter who had been a member of Buddy's pre-Crickets band, was now recording for Dot Records (without success) but who would become a Cricket after Buddy's death, eventually record for Coral, Viva, Capitol and Elektra...and write some very big songs, mostly in the pop field, such as "Walk Right Back" for the Everly Brothers (and, later, Anne Murray), "More Than I Can Say" for Leo Sayers, "Love Is All Around"( theme for the Mary Tyler Moore Show), "Stranger To The Rain" for Keith Whitley...There was Terry Noland, Brunswick recording artist, who had enjoyed slight chart success, and had been on the Dick Clark TV Show, Alan Freed's big rock 'n roll concerts, and other brushes with the "big-time", there was a rockabilly group called "The Four Teens" who had a near-miss on Challenge Records (lead singer Jimmy Peters would later record for Banner,
Columbia, Decca and other labels as a country artist, with several near-misses) my brother "Slim", who would, a decade later, (as RAY Corbin) record for Monument, then Columbia before his untimely death at Phoenix in l97l. A local Top 40 deejay, Don Bowman, who would soon join us at country KLLL, (where I taught him his first guitar chords) in the late 60's, become an RCA records country comic and a songwriter, have a fairly successful career..(and help Waylon get an A & M, then eventually get signed by RCA.) The list goes on and on...

(Billy Walker from Ralls,


Jimmy Dean from Plainview,

Don Williams from Floydada,

Tanya Tucker from Seminole,

all made it big, but had little or no relationship with the Lubbock music scene.)

The area's production of "stars" must have been the result of something in the west Texas water...or the motivation to "get out of the cotton-patch", as Waylon would say in later years. Buddy Holly was an exception. He believed Lubbock could be a major music industry location, using mostly area talent, and HE liked his home town.

In retrospect, since Buddy was"in love", and about to be married, in just weeks, to Maria Elena Santiago, a New York music publishing company receptionist, his passion and planning for the music business at that particular time seems to hint...again...that he somehow felt he had no time to waste. He did "waste" quite a bit of time at KLLL though, before and after his August l5th wedding, making frequent trips back to Lubbock after he and his bride set up housekeeping in Greenwich Village, NYC. . We...Waylon, Buddy, "Slim" and I..drank coffee together frequently, went bowling at least once or twice during that summer, and Buddy told us "insider" show-biz stories about people he'd worked with, including some of the wildest, nuttiest characters who ever drew breath, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis...and country's George Jones. Waylon was enthralled, and obviously anticipating his "shot" at it. Buddy, while still enthused about
Waylon's prospects, was beginning to have some apprehensions...or at least, to see some problems.

(Next---- World-famous Buddy Holly sings (for free) at Morris Fruit and Vegetable Market and on KLLL...and Waylon records a REAL record at Clovis, New Mexico..with real professionals!)

"Sky" Corbin---Lover, fighter, wild horse rider and purty durn fair
windmill man (retired)

Read Part Four Here

Posted With Persmission


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Twitter: @JRKLLL
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Email: JR@KLLL.com              

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04/14/2014 2:31PM
The Waylon Jennings Years at KLLL (Part Three)
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