Bass maestro Ray Walker evokes sizzling Nashville nights with Elvis and Jerry Reed

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Clad in blue denim and a leather black wristband, a striking 33-year-old Elvis Presley rehearses on his acoustic Gibson J-200 guitar for the iconic “‘68 Comeback Special” on June 27, 1968. Photography by Frank Carroll
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Ray Walker, the sole surviving member of the legendary Jordanaires vocal harmony quartet, is captured during the commemoration of friend Elvis Presley’s 70th birthday at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 8, 2005. Photography by John Krondes / Globe Photos
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Baritone Hoyt Hawkins, second tenor-guitarist Neal Matthews, bass extraordinaire Ray Walker, and an obscured Gordon Stoker of the Jordanaires gather around a microphone with Elvis Presley to work out a song arrangement between April 27 and 28, 1960 during an RCA Hollywood recording session for the best-selling “G.I. Blues” soundtrack. Image Credit: FECC Elvis-Collectors
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Jerry Reed personifies the swingin’ little guitar man lyric as he hits a hot lick on his acoustic nylon string classical / flamenco guitar in a photo featured on the LP rear jacket of “Sweet Love Feelings,” distributed on March 14, 1978, via RCA Victor Records. Image Credit: OffClouds.com / username Sparky85 / Sony Music Entertainment
Click to watch Elvis Presley relentlessly attack “Guitar Man.” Recorded on September 10, 1967 at RCA Studio B in Nashville, the backing band on the syncopated country rocker included such legends in their own right as Jerry Reed, Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana. Music Credit: Sony Music Entertainment; Video Credit: YouTube user Antonio Collenzo
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First tenor-manager Gordon Stoker, bassist Ray Walker, second tenor Neal Matthews and baritone Hoyt Hawkins of the Jordanaires appear in a publicity photo showcasing Walker’s addition to the lineup, circa 1959. Image Credit: Raymar Music
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Elvis Presley and bass extraordinaire Ray Walker of the Jordanaires are captured during rehearsals on March 24, 1960 for ABC Television’s “The Frank Sinatra Timex Special” in Miami, Florida. Elvis had been discharged from the Army just three weeks earlier. Image Credit: For Elvis CD Collectors messageboard
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Jordanaires bass singer Ray Walker and buddy Elvis Presley work out an arrangement between April 27 and 28, 1960 during an RCA Hollywood recording session for the best-selling “G.I. Blues” soundtrack. Image Credit: Raymar Music
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The Jordanaires [i.e. Neal Matthews, Gordon Stoker, Hoyt Hawkins, and Ray Walker], Elvis Presley, and soprano Millie Kirkham collide inside RCA Studio B in Nashville on May 28, 1966, during the sessions for the Grammy-winning “How Great Thou Art” album. Image Credit: Raymar Music
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Elvis Presley appears overjoyed to be in the presence of noted steel guitar whiz Pete Drake on September 10, 1967, during a session at Nashville’s RCA Studio B that yielded the artist’s authentic take on the classic country weeper “Just Call Me Lonesome.” Image Credit: For Elvis CD Collectors messageboard
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An autographed photo of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer D.J. Fontana and Elvis Presley on September 10, 1967 inside RCA Studio B in Nashville. DJ met Elvis in 1955 on the Louisiana Hayride and remained in the artist’s employ until the “’68 Comeback Special.” Image Credit: For Elvis CD Collectors messageboard
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Producer Felton Jarvis and Elvis Presley share a hearty laugh on September 10, 1967, inside Nashville’s RCA Studio B during the funky “Guitar Man” / “Big Boss Man” sessions. Jarvis remained at Elvis’ side from 1966 until his friend’s tragic demise in 1977. Image Credit: For Elvis CD Collectors messageboard
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Jerry Reed sports a baseball cap and headphones as he remains focused on recording a guitar overdub in Nashville’s RCA Studio A during the “Alabama Wild Man” / “You Took All the Ramblin’ Out of Me” 1972 era when guitarist Paul Yandell was in his band. Image Credit: The Estate of Paul Yandell
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Jerry Reed is befuddled by a card trick instigated by magician Whit “Pop” Haydn backstage in 1976 at Tombstone Junction, a small western town theme park located in McCreary County, Kentucky. Photography by Whit Haydn / Tombstone Junction Theme Park official website
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“Music is the most powerful thing on this earth, and it’s hard to be angry when you are listening to music.” Jerry Reed, March 20, 1937 — September 1, 2008: Image Credit: Deep Roots Magazine
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Elvis Presley is hot as a firecracker in a gold lamé-inspired jacket and black pants designed by costumer Bill Belew during filming sessions for his acclaimed “‘68 Comeback Special” at NBC Studios in Burbank, California, on June 30, 1968. Photography by Frank Carroll / For Elvis CD Collectors messageboard

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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