Allen "Puddler" Harris
Allen W. "Puddler" Harris
Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana
|Spouse(s)||Marsette B. Harris|
(1) Harris career as a pianist mostly began and ended with two of the best-known names in the field of music: Ricky Nelson in California and Jimmie Davis in Louisiana.
(2) Floyd Cramer's decision to move to Nashville opened doors for Harris to become staff pianist at the former Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport's Municipal Auditorium. (3) Harris' friendship with a former mayor of Lake Charles, led to Harris' appointment as director of the Lake Charles Civic Center, named for James E. Sudduth.(4) Harris is among sixteen musicians honored with induction in the Delta Music Museum in Ferriday, Louisiana, because of their impact on the Mississippi River delta country inducted into the Delta Music Museum in Ferriday, Louisiana.
Allen W. "Puddler" Harris (born June 9, 1936) is a rock and roll and country musician who played piano in the original Ricky Nelson Band in Hollywood, California, and the last Jimmie Davis band in Louisiana. In between, he worked for a decade with Conway Twitty and became Twitty's production manager.
Harris was born in tiny Jigger near Winnsboro, the parish seat of Franklin Parish in northeastern Louisiana. Jigger was also the birthplace of perennial Louisiana political candidate L.D. "None of the Above" Knox. Harris's interest in music began as a teenager when he and guitarist Fred Carter, Jr., also from Winnsboro, formed a band which played at parties, drive-in restaurants, and other similar gatherings. Harris joined the United States Marine Corps. On his discharge, he was given the opportunity to substitute for pianist Floyd Cramer at the Louisiana Hayride in the Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium. When Cramer moved permanently to Nashville, Harris replaced him as staff pianist at the Hayride, which closed in 1960. He also recorded and toured with Johnny Horton and became friends with Joe Osborn, originally from Mound near Tallulah, the seat of Madison Parish in northeastern Louisiana, and James Burton, a guitarist born in Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana. The trio thereafter reunited as members of the original Nelson band.
While in Hollywood, Harris recorded with Walter Brennan of The Real McCoys television series, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Lettermen, the Ventures, and Ray Anthony. He also worked for Leroy Van Dyke and Nat Stuckey. When Stuckey toured with Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, Twitty offered Harris a position with the "Twitty Bird Band".
While performing in Lake Charles, the seat of Calcasieu Parish in southwestern Louisiana, Harris became friends with the mayor and was subsequently asked to become director of the Lake Charles Civic Center, named for the late Mayor James Sudduth. It was during this time that Harris joined the last band of former Louisiana Governor Davis. He remained with his friend Davis until the former governor died in the year 2000.
Harris resides in Lake Charles with his wife, Marsette B. Harris. He has four children and six grandchildren. He is among fifteen fellow musicians, living and deceased, including Davis and Twitty, who have been inducted into the Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame in Ferriday in Concordia Parish.
- Brochure, "Delta Music Museum Celebrities", Delta Music Museum, Ferriday, Louisiana
- "La. Political Hall of Fame in Winnfield to enshrine Baden, five others, Jan. 28,". Alexandria Daily Town Talk, January 16, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2012.[permanent dead link]