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Post new topic Tunes Of The Week #19 - Rocky Caple
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Author Topic:  Tunes Of The Week #19 - Rocky Caple
Joe Goldmark

San Francisco, CA 94131
Post Posted 24 May 2011 9:23 pm     Reply with quote

Steeler - Rocky Caple
Tunes: Jamtown, Tulsa, Sawed Off Shotgun, Wrong Guitar, Pick Twister
Labels: Sims, Alvera (see scans), & the album was on the "Luck" label.
Years: late '50s, early '60s

I recently rediscovered Rocky Caple on this Billy Parker album. He plays "Jamtown" & "Tulsa" which were reissued as a single on Sims. His signature tune was "Sawed Off Shotgun." I'm showing two different singles of this tune, but they are both the same version.

What I first notice is his interesting compositions, followed by his command of the instrument. I assume that's him on the back of the Billy Parker LP. Do any of you Texans have any Rocky stories? He doesn't get a lot of press, but he was a great player. Who else did he play with? Did he mentor anybody? Was he kind to small animals?

Last edited by Joe Goldmark on 26 Apr 2017 7:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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Randy Beavers

Lebanon,TN 37090
Post Posted 25 May 2011 6:02 am     Reply with quote

I had the good luck to grow up listening and learning from Rocky in Tulsa, OK.

Rocky was originally from the Memphis area. He worked for Slim Rhodes there. When Rocky got drafted into the Army, John Hughey took his place with the band. When Rocky got discharged they had twin steels in the band till Rocky moved to Tulsa. In Tulsa he worked for Billy Parker, Johnny Lee Wills, Hank Thompson, and everyone else around the NE Oklahoma area.

Be sure to check out the "Travis" style of playing on the cut of "Wrong Guitar".

I couldn't have grown up in a better place to learn steel guitar. Billy Parker along with Rocky Caple and the Shotguns played a couple of times a week for radio remotes during the week. Mom and Dad would take me to hear him most of the time.

The photo on the back of Billy's album shows Nubb Boggs playing guitar in the band. Those were some magical days. The twin work they had put together was amazing. I went to hear them open the show for E.T. and the Troubadors at Cains Ballroom once. Maybe I had a little favoritism, but I swear The "Shotguns" owned the stage! And trust me, I was and still am a huge Troubador fan.

Thanks so much Joe for bringing Rocky the credit he so well deserves.


P.S. The original cut of "Sawed Off Shotgun" was on Alvera Records. It was cut at KVOO studios in Tulsa with Al Clauser as the producer. The "B" side was Jimmy Hall singing a song he wrote, "Sugar Moon". Yes, the same tune many steel players now play. The Sims label recording was cut in Oklahoma City a few years later. I can't remember the name of the studio right now, but it'll come to me. I just remember it was owned by Gene Sullivan. The Razorback Label recording is the Sims cut from Oklahoma City.

Last edited by Randy Beavers on 25 May 2011 10:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joe Goldmark

San Francisco, CA 94131
Post Posted 25 May 2011 9:27 am     Reply with quote

Hey Randy,

Thanks for chiming in. Glad to hear that Rocky was a good person and major influence. Also nice to have his history. I've got an old album of Slim Rhodes with John Hughey on it, but didn't know that Rocky and John played twin steels in an earlier incarnation. That must have been a hoot. When did Rocky quit playing?

Any more Rocky stories out there?

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john buffington

Owasso OK - USA
Post Posted 25 May 2011 11:56 am     Reply with quote

Rocky is semi-retired now and still living in Tulsa, OK. I too remember my parents taking me to hear Billy Parker, Rocky and Nubb play on the back of flat bed semi-trailers, back in the good old days for sure. They patterned their playing style after the Texas Troubadors, and were very good - too good almost. Whatever the TT's released one week, Rocky and Nubb had it down the following week or sooner. Anytime Rocky was working with a different band and the other lead instrument(s) happened to be playing at the same time he was - he would immediately quit playing, "fix the situation" on the spot! Never was shy about it either! I remember him having a cigar on the end of his guitar or in the corner of his mouth and with a sheepish grin as to say - watch this - you knew it was going to be good and it was too!
A Rocky fan forever -
John Buffington
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Randy Beavers

Lebanon,TN 37090
Post Posted 25 May 2011 3:27 pm     Reply with quote

Hey John, hope your doing well. Speaking of the cigar reminds me of a story. One night the wind blew a cigar rolling across the parking lot. Leroy Rogers was the front man and he told some of the guys "watch this". He picked it up and put it on Rocky's guitar when he wasn't looking. When Rocky kicked off the next song he played a fret sharp to everyone else. When Leroy looked over puzzled at him Rocky said "you want to get that off there now?" Great memories.
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Herb Steiner

Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 26 May 2011 7:17 am     Reply with quote

Joe, you are the BEST!
Herb's Steel Guitar Pages
Texas Steel Guitar Association
Allison String Instruments
My rig: Infinity and Telonics.

Son, we live in a world with walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with steel guitars. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg?
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Barry Blackwood

Post Posted 26 May 2011 7:30 am     Reply with quote

Ditto, Herb.
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Dave Ristrim

Whites Creek, TN
Post Posted 31 May 2011 3:43 am     Reply with quote

Man oh man do I love to be reminded of how much great music there is out there. Thank you again Joe, for posting these gems.
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