[refresh for more]



While still in the Marines stationed near Washington D.C., Jack became friendly with the Stoneman Family living in Carmody, Maryland. Pop Stoneman had had a hugely popular song,"Sinking of the Titanic" back in the Twenties, and was, in fact, the person Ralph Peer was going down to record in the famed 1927 Bristol Sessions. That led to the discovery of Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family and is generally regarded as the birth of the commercial country music industry. Jimmy Dean and Roy Clark also were supporters of Clement, and they would have him get up to play at the local clubs.

Teaming up with Jack and Scotty Stoneman and Buzz Busby as the Tennessee Troupers, they helped launch a music scene that led to the D.C. area being regarded as the "Bluegrass Capital" when members of Buzz's subsequent groups became The Country Gentlemen and Seldom Scene. Buzz and Jack worked as a duo called The Bayou Boys mixing comedy with music and appeared on the Wheeling Jamboree and touring the northeast. Here is a recording log of a session they did for the WCOP Jamboree and a photo of them flanking star Elton Britt:

Click to enlarge: Buzz Busby, Elton Britt, Jack Clement, WCOP Jamboree 1954

After knocking around Austin and Wheeling for a while, Jack returned to Memphis to take advantage of the G.I. Bill at Memphis State, become an Arthur Murray dance instructor, and eventually hire on as the right-hand-man for Sam Phillips at Sun Studios. In addition to his duties of auditioning hopefuls and recording a roster which included Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Warren Smith, Billy Lee Riley, and Charlie Rich, Jack found time to release some singles as a Sun artist himself. Here is a promotional piece put out at the time; ironically, this particular song was recorded at RCA in Nashville (click to open the fold):
Over the next few years, other 45 rpm singles were released on various labels, including his own, JMI:
Various 45 rpm records by Jack Clement





Saturdays 2pm ET