Bigtime 1960s pop hitmaker Tommy Roe has a new EP, Tommy Roe Meets Barefoot Jerry, recorded in Nashville with his old friend Wayne Moss of Barefoot Jerry.
“The way it came about is very interesting,” says Roe. “As you know, Sonny and Cher made some great records, but Sonny as a congressman also passed some terrific legislation for songwriters who had copyrights prior to 1972. Because of this legislation, I’ve been able to recapture all of my copyrights for an additional 39 years–and decided to rerecord them as a ‘Revisited’ series.”
Moss was a top session guitarist in Nashville and played on Bob Dylan’s landmark 1966 double album Blonde on Blonde and Roy Orbison’s classic “Pretty Woman.” He was co-founder of late ‘60s/early ‘70s country band Area Code 615, which also included other major Nashville session players, among them guitarist Mac Gayden and drummer Kenny Buttrey, with whom Moss formed Southern rock band Barefoot Jerry in 1971.
“Wayne was the original guitarist on my first hit, ‘Sheila,’ in 1962,” continues Roe. “I called him to see if he would be interested in rerecording Sheila with me for the Revisited series, and he was very excited to be a part of the project–and we rerecorded it in Nashville at his studio, Cinderella Sound.”
The session went so well that Moss suggested that Roe record some new material.
“I said, ‘You mean, like, ’Tommy Roe meets Barefoot Jerry’?’ And he said, ‘What a great idea! Let’s do it!’ So we proceeded to record four songs for the EP, two of mine–‘Cabbagetown’ and ‘It’s a Lonely Lonely Night’–and two of his: ‘Tokin’ Ticket’ and ‘You Can’t Say It All.’”
“Cabbagetown,” incidentally, shares its title with Roe’s recent memoir, From Cabbagetown to Tinseltown and Places in Between, which documents his move from the ”Cabbagetown” cotton mill section of his Atlanta hometown to Hollywood via his hit catalog.
As for the Revisited series, Roe followed the chart-topping “Sheila” with “Kick Me Charlie,” a track from his 1966 Sweet Pea album. He plans on more recording for the series, which is digital only; Tommy Roe Meets Barefoot Jerry is available both digitally and on physical disc.
“The Revisited series is a chronological rerecording of my hits from the ‘60s and ‘70s, with the understanding that the new versions have their own unique quality,” notes Roe. “The objective is not to make a better recording, only to revisit each song as a tribute to its success.”
Up next in the Revisited schedule is “Everybody,” Roe’s No. 3 hit from 1963, to be followed, in order, by “Sweet Pea,” “Hooray for Hazel,” “Dizzy” and “Jam Up and Jelly Tight.”
“We plan on recording more for the Revisited series, and who knows what else we might decide to record?” says Roe, noting that his touring has slowed following quadruple bypass surgery, “but maybe I’ll go out again in the future—we’ll see how it goes.”
Regarding his current recording work, “at this stage of my career, it’s great fun,” Roe concludes. “Getting to work with Wayne again after all these years, along with his engineer Robert Lucas and the incredibly talented musicians he brings together, is just awesome!”