Official Website

I Was There When It Happened

My first record release was "Won't You Cry For Me" under the name of "The Dawgs."

Somewhere around the summer of 1965, Bobby Sharp and I signed with Huey Meaux.  As a young band at the time, we thought we would be recording as Bobby Sharp and the Dawgs—the name we had been using when we played our gigs in Waco.

However, Huey saw money potential in Bobby as a single artist, me as a single artist, both of us together as Bob and Gaylan and perhaps another recording opportunity in the Dawgs--all on different record labels.  It was a very exciting time for a young teenager.  More later...

I wrote the song "Won't You Cry for Me" in early 1965.  The B Side was "Shy," a song I had written much earlier, when I was in the 4th or 5th grade.  Huey and then co-manager Gene Kelly wanted to shorten my last name.  I thereby became Gaylan Ladd, which ended up misspelled on the record.

A few months later, Huey decided not to go with the "band thing."  So...No more "Dawgs."

Players when we recorded at the old Goldstar (later renamed Sugarhill) Studios in Houston were:

Fred Arechiga - drums

Bobby Sharp - background vocals and acoustic guitar

Gaylan Latimer - lead vocals and 12 string acoustic

Huey hired Jimmy Rogers, a bass player, to play on a couple of our sessions, because original bass player Tommy Nash had left the band.  I do not know what happened to Tommy.  At the age of 12, he was an incredible jazz guitarist--light years ahead of most accomplished players both then and now.

The above photo is circa early 1965.  We were playing at the Westview Roller rink in Waco, Texas.  This was before signing any record contracts—"Bobby Sharp and the Dawgs."  Fred is on drums.  Bobby is playing a Gibson Birdland (which he later hocked along with all those Gibson amplifiers at some pawn shop in Houston for $400—a story by itself).  I am playing the white Strat (which I wish I still had).  Tommy Nash is playing an old Harmony bass that my dad had bought for $60.  We were ready to take on the world!

This Goldstar control room photograph is from a long session in which we recorded quite a few songs.

Standing behind the console (Don't you just love that retro/tube console!!) right to left:  Bobby Sharp, Fred Arechiga, Gaylan Latimer and Jimmy Rogers.  In front of the console is the late, great engineer Doyle Jones and behind him is Huey Meaux, a musical history all by himself.

"Walk, Think and Cry" was recorded at Goldstar.  The introduction of the song features footsteps—Bobby “stomping” with his "Beatle boots."  Also featured are the two (built-in across the hall) world-renowned live reverb chambers on the recording.

Huey made a deal with Epic records for Bobby Sharp.  However, that was just the small picture.  If you looked at the big picture, Huey had Bobby Sharp and The Dawgs, The Dawgs, Bobby Sharp, Bob and Gaylan and Gaylan Ladd—Five acts out of just two singers/writers.

In the above photo, Bobby is singing in the studio with a Gibson 12 string which less than a year later, he bashed against a studio wall.

In the photo above, taken the same night, you see me playing the Gibson12 string, Bobby playing the Gibson Birdland, and Fred (drummer) on the far left.  Standing in the back, left to right, is our co-manager at the time, Gene Kelly.  Gene was a Disc Jockey from Waco who "discovered" us.  Next is Huey Meaux and finally Jimmy Rogers.  A whole lot of songs, deals, etc. came out of just one Goldstar recording session.

Before I continue, I wish to state that I did not come up with the name "The Dawgs."  Over the years, it seems that I have been taken out of context, stating that I originated the name.  Bobby and Fred came up with the name.  I loved it.  The name just kinda stuck around.  A few years later it became Gaylan Ladd and the Dawgs while playing fraternity parties and 7 Eleven Slurpy concert gigs in the Waco area.

Shortly thereafter, Bobby and I moved our base to the Houston area.  We played ALL types of concerts and venues.

KILT radio personality Russ Knight, the "Weird Beard," made us a part of his radio show every week.  We not only played live on his show, but also answered phone calls.  It was incredible!

I remember one night I had to wait for my ride after the “Weird Beard” show.  So I decided to I pull out my trusty Gibson and write a song.  I was not only annoyed that I had to wait for my ride, but also that someone had forgotten to think about me.  I wrote, “Think About Me” in about 10 or 15 minutes, right there in the KILT waiting room.

I have written hundreds of songs since that night, but none have had the success of that one very simple song.

Eleven years later, Freddy Fender's cover of “Think About Me” did pretty well.

As Bob and Gaylan we played just about everywhere:  Van's Ballroom, opening for Jimmy Reed, concerts with the Sir Douglas Quintet, B.J. Thomas, Roy Head, and on and on.  There are too many places and too many names to remember.

Now it's time to back up to the Waco days of Bobby Sharp and the Dawgs.  To the public, Bobby claimed he was from Dover, England.  Dawgs band members knew he wasn't from England and Huey knew he wasn’t either.  At the time, a guy from England and a guy from Texas had marketing appeal, so Bobby continued his fake British accent everywhere we went.

Bobby was really from Okmulgee, Oklahoma.  I went there with him once to visit his family.

Then something happened!  Some claim it was a girl, who was Huey's secretary for a short while, along with her mother who affected Bobby.  All I can remember about them is that they both had BIG Hair!  It was the kind of hair that would stand up about a foot or so that had been sprayed with so much hair spray that it would never move.  Ugh!  The smell of hairspray!

Some also claim that Bobby and the girl fled with some of the record advance money.  I don’t know that to be true.  It is more likely that he was going through some type of mental anxiety.  The Bobby I knew had always been a "high-strung" chain-smoker, who could get upset at the least little thing.  I know a lot of it was acting (he was a good actor), but then he started destroying things seemingly out of frustration and inner anger.  He bashed the beautiful Gibson against the wall.  I loved that guitar and never have been able to afford another one like it since.  He hocked the Birdland and Gibson amplifiers somewhere in Houston.  He also messed up his red MG.

I was not sure what to think as I watched what was going on with Bobby.

We had a major deal and now he was doing almost everything possible to mess it up.  I do know that Bobby was mad because Huey was making most of the money from the deal…Which he was!  But…We had a future, or so I thought.

The last straw came when Bobby took out a large ad in one of the major Houston papers with a picture of him in a cowboy hat (I think) stating that he was not from England, but from Oklahoma.

Goodbye Record Deal!

The last time I saw Bobby, he was being taken to the hospital.  It seems he had a major mental breakdown.  I have never seen him since that evening.

Bobby was a great writer and singer.  Hopefully he still is years later.

Huey purchased a place in Pasadena and turned it into an office with a studio in the back of the building.  On the same block, he opened up a teen club called Pasadena Teen Town--a concert/dance venue.  We played there as Bob and Gaylan.

Even though Bobby was signed with Epic records, Huey was still releasing 45s both as Bob and Gaylan and Bobby Sharp on other labels.

At the same session that I recorded "Think About Me," I also recorded about 6 other songs.

Some of the players that I remember playing on the tracks are:

Wallace Pelton played bass and keyboard on Painted Lady and Smokey Places.

Dennis "Crash" Collins played bass on “Think About Me.”  Dennis is a crazy guy who later became an FM Disc Jockey for many years.

Tommy (here I go again, I cannot remember his last name) played drums on “Think About Me,” “Smokey Places” and “Painted Lady.”

Huey released "I Better Go Now" with the B side “Painted Lady” under the name Gaylan Ladd.  Next he released a song called "Smokey Places."  Oh!  How I wish I had a copy of that one today!  That's when he struck a deal with MGM.  "Her Loving Way" was thought to be the A side by a lot of Disc Jockeys.  However, suddenly “Think About Me” started getting a lot of airplay.  Almost as suddenly and I do mean suddenly, I was on tour at age16 and loving life!

I was having a good ride and things were going great.  Hanna Barbera wanted to buy out my contract but Huey did not want to sell.


Huey goes to prison!

I find myself back in Waco playing gigs whenever and wherever I can get them.

I did record a couple of songs with a group called the Silvertones at Chuck Hardings studio on North 19th in Waco.

I suddenly found that I had reached the point where I was just very disillusioned with it all!

So...Here I was, back in Waco, with no record deal and my manager/producer/record company in prison.

Wow!  Talk about a being conflicted!  What do I do now?

For the next year and half I stay in high school.

I buy a hearse and paint it metallic Indian red.  If anyone has a picture it, I would LOVE to see it!

I get a group together and we start playing gigs in the Waco area as Gaylan Ladd and the Dawgs.  Different band members came and went and things just sort of plodded along.

When Huey finally got out of prison, he called to tell me that he had things rolling again.  We all drove to Houston in the hearse, full of equipment and started recording again.

We recorded “Repulsive Situation” (I played Marshall fuzz bass on the recording) and a few other songs.  The guys in the group didn't like the name Dawgs, so we decided to change it to East Life Transfer.

If I remember correctly Vernon Womack, the keyboard player, came up with the name.  Vernon later left the group to play with Tracy Nelson and Mother Earth.

Sammie Piazza was the drummer.  He also left the group and went to play with Hot Tuna.

Tommy Christian was the guitar player.  He left for San Francisco.

Too bad!  That group had some very good players.

I probably should have gone elsewhere too, but I decided to stay in high school, so I went back to Waco.

I wrote and recorded “Walking Back to Waco” even more disillusioned!  You can really tell how disillusioned I truly was by the lyrics of my songs at that time.

We recorded "You Better Find Your Way" in Waco at Chuck Harding's store/studio on North 19th about 1967-68.  Glennis Annette is Chuck Harding's daughter.  A few years later Glennis was a singer in Heather Black for awhile.

I played around with a couple of different groups in the Waco area like The Silvertones, which was a big band with horn section at the time.  That group split into a smaller group, which kept The Silvertones name for a while.  Then the band changed its name to Heather Black.

Original Heather Black members were:

Mickey Sharp (no relation to Bobby Sharp) played drums.

Ted Richardson played bass.

Tommy Christian played guitar.

I played guitar and sang.

Where did the name Heather Black come from?

The name belonged to Dennis Black's daughter.  Dennis was a former leader/saxophone player of The Silvertones.

I found myself beginning a new chapter in the music business.

As Heather Black, we recorded an album at Doyle Jones Studio.

A couple of 45s from that album were released on Double Bayou Records.

We signed with Shelby Singleton in Nashville (SSS Records).  I will never forget playing and singing one of my songs for Shelby in his office in Nashville.  I hated doing that kind of stuff.

The song was called "Letter Under the Chair."  For the entire time I sang, Shelby kept talking on the phone and motioning for me to keep singing.

After I finished singing, he got off the phone.  That is when he said, "Why don't you change your song to “Letter Under My Waterbed?”  It was pretty much down hill from there  We did have a couple of releases on SSS Records, but...

On original Heather Black USO tour playng the 4th of July somewhere in southern Greenland.  We also spent 4 long weeks in Thule, Greenland near the North Pole.  Man!  It was cold!

Check out those pants I am wearing inside some building up in Greenland!

Heather Black looking very bored, playing a 6-hour club gig.  Check out the "last call Light" behind drummer Mickey Sharp!  Tommy Christian is on the far left.  I'm in the middle.  Ted Richardson is on the far right,  Fun huh?

Shortly after returning from Greenland, there were Heather Black personnel changes.  We got a new drummer and we added a female singer.  Her name was Glennis Harding, whose dad was Chuck Harding of Chuck Harding and The Confederates.

I've included photos of a Confederates 45 recording--one side features Chuck's wife on vocal and the other side is an instrumental featuring Tommy Christian circa 1963.

When Tommy, Fred Arechiga and I were 8 or 9 years old, we were all students of Chuck Harding.  Yes!  We were playing in bands even then.

After multiple personnel changes, Heather Black now consisted of the following:

Jimmy Jones played bass and sang.

Wayne Brooks played keyboards.

Tommy Christian played lead guitar and sang.

Doug Lavery played drums and sang.

I played rhythm guitar and sang.

Our home base was Upstairs on the Square in downtown Houston—a rocking place!  We also covered most of southern Texas and Louisiana playing various venues and doing concerts.

We recorded a double album Live at Uncle Pete's in New Iberia, Louisiana.  We quickly found that we would have to do some "touch ups" on the live recording due to a very inebriated recording engineer.  However, a good time was had by all.

We headed back to Houston to work on the “touch ups” and immediately encountered a problem.  Huey Meaux had just purchased Sugar Hill Studios.  The problem?  The studios weren’t finished.

So…We set up the audio mixing board and 8 track tape recorder in the very large orchestra (in the 1940s and 1950s) studio room in the back of the building, which was being used for storage.  The control room served as Huey's office and it was quite messy.  We set our instruments up in a somewhat large circle and recorded most of the album over again—Live!  There were no overdubs.

What we produced was the first recording and certainly the first album to come out of the “new” Sugar Hill Studios.

Circa 1972, I signed with ASCAP as Gaylan Latimer.

I also wrote using the name of Emory Caper.

"Vol Teate (Turn Around)" is a song I wrote in 1967-68.  I recorded a demo of it a few years later.  Freddy Fender recorded it, but as far as I know, it was never released in the United States.

Here is an interesting story about "Vol Teate."  The main rhythm track on Freddy's version of "Vol Teate" is from the demo we cut in the little Studio B--the original Goldstar studio room.

The background vocals, steel, electric guitar and Freddy's vocals, were later added in the larger studio.

During this timeframe I was singing a lot of "scratch" vocal tracks for Freddy Fender while he was on the road.  I would sing them as a guide for the band while they were recording the tracks.  Freddy would then learn the vocals and come in to the studio to record them later when he wasn't touring.

Here is a Pacemaker release of "Shoot Your Best Shot"

...and "Hitman."  Recorded at Sugar Hill Studios.

For the next few years Heather Black went through many personnel changes.

Our main base was in Houston at the Village Inn down in Old Market Square.

Later the name of the band was changed from Heather Black to Christopher Cross.

Members at that time were: Chris Geppert, Rob Meurer, Andy Salmon, Jim Newhouse, Clay Hemphill and myself.

After awhile, the band split up.  Chris, Andy and Clay left to play with Dean Scott.

I re-signed with Huey Meaux.

Huey was riding high with Freddy Fender and many other artists he had signed.

It was a constant revolving door of artists coming in to record 24 / 7 at Sugar Hill Studios.  In a two-month period, I recorded over six albums of my material.  However, most of the albums were never finished.  They were just rushed through demos.  Pictures were even made for album covers and Joe Nick Patoski (who was working for Rolling Stone Magazine) wrote the liner notes for most of them.  The albums were completed slick packages.  Sadly, I found that that the albums were never intended to be released.  They were only to be used as tax write-offs and I as an artist / writer got nothing.

Things were not working out between Huey and me.  Furthermore Huey didn't understand or like what I was writing.  I just wanted out, but I was contract bound with no release in sight.

Here are couple of songs from around that time frame.

Original Heather Black Band Members circa 1968

Heather Black circa 1971

Tommy Christian, Glennis Harding, Gaylan Latimer, Ted Richardson, ???

Gaylan Latimer, Glennis Harding, ???, Ted Richardson, Tommy Christian

Heather Black circa 1972

Jack Truitt, Doug Lavery (right), Gaylan Latimer (Left),
Jimmy Jones (bottom center), Tommy Christian (top center)

More to come...


Click HERE to access the official website Comment/Question Form.

Special Thanks To...

Glenn Pitts who discovered this website and contacted me with the name of the mystery bass player (Jimmy Rogers) whose name I could not recall on the early Goldstar sessions.  Glenn was a dancer on the Larry Kane Show for 10 years and Jimmy is Kenny Rogers' nephew--small world!

Chris Bishop from for sending album photos and music.

David Moir for photo copying many of the record labels and all the old photos.

Audio Credits

"Walk, Think, And Cry"

Bobby - Vocals & Guitar
Gaylan - Vocals & Guitar
Jimmy Rogers - Bass
Fred Arechiga - Drums

Recorded at Goldstar Studios 1965

"Won't You Cry For Me"
"It Belongs To You"

Gaylan - Vocals & Guitar
Bobby - Lead guitar & Background vocals
Jimmy Rogers - Bass
Fred Arechiga - Drums

Recorded at Goldstar Studios 1965

"Come On And Get It"

Single from the double Heather Black Album around 1971.

Jimmy Jones - Bass & Lead Vocal on "Lucille"
Doug Lavery - Drums
Tommy Christian - Lead Guitar
Gaylan Latimer - Guitar & Lead Vocal on "Come On And Get It"
Wayne Brooks - Keyboards

"Repulsive Situation"

Circa 1967-68

Gaylan Ladd and the East Life Transfer

Vernon Womack - Organ
Sammie Piazza - Drums
Tommy Christian - Guitar
Gaylan Latimer - Vocal and Bass

This song was mentioned in the April 2010 Texas Monthly Magazine article "3 Chords And A Station Wagon."

"Master Nichols"
"She's My Woman"
"Walking Back To Waco"
"Harris County Jail"
"Cajun Blue"
"California Dreaming"

The original Heather Black members;

Mickey Sharp - Drums
Ted Richardson - Bass
Tommy Christian - Lead Guitar
Gaylan Latimer - Vocals and Guitar

"I Love"

Chuck Harding And The Confederates

Tommy Christian - Lead Guitar on "Sidewinder"
Oneda Harding - Vocal on "I Love"

"Something Is Strange"

The Silvertones

Recorded at Chuck Hardings store/studio on North 19th Street in Waco circa 1966-67.
The studio was in the back of the store.

"Shoot Your Best Shot"

The players:

Jim Fulton - Lead Guitar and Co-Writer on Hitman
Winn Landreth - Lead Guitar
Guy Schwartz - Bass
?? - Drums

"Sweetheart" - written by Gaylan Latimer

Band members:

Kenny Cordray - Lead Guitar
Clay Hemphill - Keyboards
Norvell Holmes - Drums/Background Vocals
Gaylan Latimer - Vocals

"Avenue" - Written by Gaylan Latimer

Norvell Holmes - Drums/Background Vocals
Clay Hemphill - Keyboards
Bill Rowe - Bass
Kenny Cordray - Guitar
Larry Slazack - Saxaphone
Becky Williams - Background Vocals
Tamara Chaplin - Background Vocals
Galan Latimer - Vocals

Copyright 2010- by Gaylan Latimer – All Rights Reserved.