Entertainment Magazine: Entertaining Tucson Vol. 1: Tucson Country

Tucson country music bands in the ‘70s

By Charley Yates [1]

October 1990 – Entertainment Magazine. Page 5

The first entertainer to bring the Las Vegas style country variety show to Tucson was Roy Clayborne in 1971. He talked to the crowd. When he walked right off the stage, the crowd went wild. He would do a full show with a follow spotlight, costumes, and a real good band. Roy drew large crowds with his magnetic personality. This dynamic entertainer used comedy, impressive impersonations of many well-known country music stars and motion picture stars, and even stars from the old time rock and roll era. He could really motivate an audience into a frenzy.

As the highest paid entertainer to do a long-term show in Tucson, he made quite an impression that shall be remembered for years to come. However, other bands said that there is no sense in doing a show because no one will pay attention any way. Others followed, such as Frank and Woody, Jean Chastain, Kelly Koplin, The Original Jacks and The Lewallen Brothers.

But, Billy Templeton drew larger crowds than any local entertainer in a 20-year period. He did it with his Elvis snow. So far, no other entertainer has broken his record. Billy drew over 20,000 people into the Corona De Tucson Race Track. People jammed the bleachers and aisles and overflowed onto the grounds. Wherever a person could stand or sit, they could see the show in the center of the track.

One of Tucson’s local highlights was one hot June in 1972 at Copper State Recording Company during the mix downs for the first “Country Sounds of Tucson” album. This is the same studio where Linda Ronstadt made her first demo. Larry Allen, Gary Allen and this reporter arrived at the studio early that morning. Johnny Leonard, Kenny Durrell, Gary Skinner, Rick Skinner and Mike Ramsey were waiting at the Sambo’s Restaurant across the street, having breakfast and coffee. Rocky West came in to find out who was going to put the guitar parts on his songs. Everyone pointed a finger at Charley Yates (me!). Other musicians started filtering in, Leo Dominguez, Mike Atar, JoAnna Leroy, just to mention a few, who wanted to witness this historic event.

[1] Charley Yates is a local country entertainer who has performed in Tucson since 1967.

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Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades
Volume 1

by Robert E. Zucker

The local entertainment scene in Tucson, Arizona during the 1950s through 1985 was vibrant– from the ‘50s rock and roll of the Dearly Beloved to the ‘80s with the Pills, Giant Sandworms and everything in between– classic rock, disco, alternative, punk, hard core, country, swing and Big Band. Hundreds of bands and thousands of entertainers over three decades. Within these pages are the memories and the experiences of those people and places.

These are the original articles and interviews published in several local newspapers that covered the Tucson entertainment scene over the decades. Follow their stories through the years– the big breaks, record releases, hot performances and duds, break ups, tragedies, personal insights and struggles.

Purchase copies of Entertaining Tucson Across the DecadesEntertain Tucson on amazon.com.

2014 © Entertainment Magazine and BZB Publishing, Inc., Robert Zucker and Newsreal, Jonathan L. All rights are reserved. These are the compiled works of contributed materials from writers and photographers previously published in the Tucson Teen, Magazine, Entertainment Magazine and Newsreal newspapers, and from Entertainment Magazine On Line (EMOL.org). No part of the material protected by this copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher.

Permission is granted to use quotes and cite references to the contents in this book with proper credit noted: “Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades,” © 2014 Entertainment Magazine.”

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