Al Casey (rock & roll guitarist)
|Birth name||Alvin W. Casey|
October 26, 1936|
Long Beach, California
|Died||September 17, 2006
Alvin W. Casey (October 26, 1936 – September 17, 2006) was an American guitarist. He was mainly noted for his work as a session musician, but also released his own records and scored three Billboard Hot 100 hits in the United States. His contribution to the rockabilly genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
Casey began working at the age of six as a steel guitar player. He began a longstanding association with Lee Hazlewood while living in Phoenix, Arizona. His guitar is prominent on Sanford Clark's hit 1956 version of Hazlewood's song "The Fool", featuring a lick borrowed from the song "Smokestack Lightning", and on many other recordings by Clark. He was also part of the backup for Duane Eddy's recordings, playing bass, piano, and rhythm guitar. Casey wrote one of Eddy's earliest hits, "Ramrod" (1958), as well as co-writing another Eddy hit, "Forty Miles of Bad Road" (1959).
Casey began working with his own ensemble, the Al Casey Combo, in the early 1960s. With this group he scored three instrumental hits: "Cookin" (U.S. #92, 1962), "Jivin' Around" (U.S. #71, 1962), and "Surfin' Hootenanny" (U.S. #48, 1963), recorded with Hazlewood. The Surfin' Hootenanny album featured Al mimicking the styles of Dick Dale, the Ventures, and Duane Eddy. Drummer Hal Blaine and organist Leon Russell played on many of these recordings; the backup vocal group, named as the K-C-Ettes, were in fact the Blossoms. The small independent label he recorded for, Stacy Records, folded in 1964.
Later he was a featured guitarist on the "Exotic Guitars" series of albums on the Ranwood Records label.
As a member of the Wrecking Crew, he worked as a session musician for artists such as the Beach Boys, Phil Spector, Elvis Presley, Glen Campbell, the Association, the Monkees, Johnny Cash, Eddy Arnold, Simon & Garfunkel, The 5th Dimension, Harry Nilsson, the Partridge Family, Frank Sinatra, and Nancy Sinatra on "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'". He also owned a music store in Hollywood in the late 1960s, and played as a member of the band on The Dean Martin Show. He continued recording into the 1990s, including an LP release, Sidewinder, for Bear Family Records, in that decade. In 2001, he played guitar, dobro, mandolin, and banjo on Al Beasley's A Rainbow in the Clouds album, recorded live at the Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Casey, along with many of his fellow studio musicians, is featured in the documentary film The Wrecking Crew.
Casey died on September 17, 2006, in Phoenix, Arizona.
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- Nola b/w Shine On Harvest Moon, Old Timer (1955)
- If I Told You (Wouldn't Know It All By Myself) b/w The Pink Panther, MCI (1956)
- A Fool's Blues b/w/ Juice, Dot (1956)
- Guitar Man b/w Come What May, Dot (1957)
- Ramrod b/w Caravan, Ford (1957) (Released as 'Duane Eddy and the Rockabillies' as Casey was under contract to Dot. Eddy played rhythm guitar).
- Willa Mae b/w She Gotta Shake, Liberty (1957)
- ( Got The) Teen-Age Blues b/w The Adventures Of Frank N. Stein, Highland (1958)
- Surfin' Hootenanny, Stacy (1963)
With Chet Baker
- Blood, Chet and Tears, Verve (1970)
- Al Casey at AllMusic
- Rockin' Country Style discography of Al Casey
- Al Casey biography on Space Age Musicmaker