“Pink Velvet Swing”: Six Degrees of Roy Clark

In 1962 Capitol Records released a Roy Clark instrumental LP entitled, The Lightning Fingers of Roy Clark.  Given the year of release, Roy shows amazing restraint by limiting to three the number of songs whose titles end with the word “Twist”.

One obvious album highlight is Roy’s version of Hank Penny’s “Pink Velvet Swing”:

Roy Clark 1962 LPThe Cincinnati-Kingston Connection II

Speaking of Hank Penny, Wikipedia’s bio spotlights his hit song “Bloodshot Eyes” and shows a curious chain of connections that illustrate the direct cultural impact of the sounds coming out of Cincinnati’s King Records studio on people in far-flung places that yet were within reach of radio during its peak period of influence – places such as Kingston, Jamaica and legendary session guitarist, Ernest Ranglin:

Penny’s “Bloodshot Eyes” was also recorded in 1951 by rock and roll singer, Wynonie Harris, who turned it into a major rock hit (King 4461).  Harris was a big influence on Elvis Presley, who did go to see him play and met him in his formative years and recorded Roy Brown’s Good Rocking Tonight after hearing Wynonie Harris’ hit version.  Appreciated by white country music fans and black rock and roll followers alike, “Bloodshot Eyes” became an early landmark in racial integration.  It was much appreciated in the Caribbean, where Wynonie Harris had a large following.  Along with other Wynonie Harris records, it was being played on Jamaican dancehalls as early as 1951.  In 1958 Jamaican mento group, Denzil Laing and the Wrigglers recorded a fine version of it for their Arawak Hotel album featuring jazz guitar great, Ernest Ranglin.

Arawak Hotel LP