Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

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Category: Merle Kilgore

Merle Kilgore on Starday-King

Former Starday recording artist Merle Kilgore would have an unsuccessful stint at Columbia/Epic in the mid-1960s before rejoining the fold at the newly-expanded Starday-King (the King label having consolidated with Starday upon the death of its founder/owner Syd Nathan in 1968).  Starday historian emeritus Nathan D. Gibson would interview Kilgore for 2011’s

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“Baby Rocked Her Dolly”: Frankie (Miller) & Johnny (Horton)

Merle Kilgore really brings the pathos on an original composition that absolutely could have come from the canon of Johnny Cash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNrlWmpUyvo “Baby Rocked Her Dolly” was also covered by Starday labelmates, Frankie Miller (1960) and Red Sovine (1967).  However, for his own version, Kilgore wisely decides to begin —

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“Johnny Zero”: Reduced to Nothing

Recorded by Merle Kilgore in early November, 1963 at Columbia Recording Studio in Nashville and released January 1964 as a single by MGM: “Johnny Zero”     Merle Kilgore     1963 Does Merle Kilgore sound like Johnny Cash because they were such good friends, or were Merle and Johnny good friends

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“Fast Talkin’ Louisiana Man”: Merle Kilgore in Character

Merle Kilgore, we learn from the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame website, signed more than a few recording contracts in his life: 1953:  signed his first recording contract with Imperial Records 1959:  recorded albums for Starday (contract presumably signed) 1961:  signed recording contract with Mercury Records 1963:  signed with MGM

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“42 in Chicago”: Big in Australia

Merle Kilgore not only wrote “Ring of Fire” with Anita Carter but was also a good friend of Johnny Cash.  Merle Kilgore penned a fair number of memorable tunes, some of which he recorded himself, such as “Baby Rocked Her Dolly,” “Go On Bruce,” “The Bell Witch” – and “42

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