O.K. Houck Ephemera

I received this in an email today. While we don't actually deal in memorabilia we are aware that many of the friends, fans, archivists, researchers, collectors and curators that visit Scotty's site do and for their benefit thought it worthwhile to post this:

Hello James,

Iím an artist, briefly a Memphian. I enjoyed very much your article about O.K. Houck Piano on the Scotty Moore website.

I have some old paper receipts that came out of the O.K. Houck building on 121 Union in Memphis. In the 1990s, a friend of mine rented the building. At the time I was doing a lot of research and art about early rock and roll, so he invited me to take whatever I wanted out of the building before he had it cleaned up to move in.

Much had been gutted out of the building already, but itís really pretty remarkable how much was still in there. There was a large, lighted sign advertising harmonicas that looked to be from the 30s. On a lower level, there was a Gretsch Drum room, with a bright, glitter inflected drum shell pattern all the way around the top of the room. There was a cabinet overflowing with drum hardware. If I had known that 15 years later I would marry a drummer, I would have stuffed my pockets with all the little bits and pieces my husband Lance finds himself looking for (how many vintage kick pedals has he sent to their grave?)


Sample of Deposit receipts for O.K. Houck with check from Luther Perkins and Scotty
Photo © Susan Wille

In a room not far from the door where we entered the space, there were what appeared to be accounting recordsóboxes and boxes of them. There wasnít time to pour over things at the time we were in the building, so I chose the oldest box I saw, dating from 1959 to 1961. What I have left of that cache of things is a stack (maybe 50 to 100 or so) of receipts for checks deposited at Commercial & Industrial Bank. They were filled out by a clerk, but what I love about them, is finding names for Memphis musicians with amounts that had to be a guitar or amp or something substantial that contributed to the sound they each were famous for: Luther M. Perkins, $65.37 on Dec. 10, 1959, Scott Moore $50, August 19, 1961 (scanned of those two attached; the hi-lighting on the names was done in the computer; not on the records.)

There are receipts for purchases from Sam Phillips, Bill Justis, Cordell Jackson, Jim Dickinson, Echo Recording, Memphis Recording Service, Hi Recording Corp., and Iím sure more names than I recognize.

Iím looking to sell these pieces to an interested party. I was going to approach the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Tennessee State Library. Having read your very thorough article, I was wondering if you know of anyone that would have an interest in them?

Susan Wille
Asheville, NC

Again, please note that neither Scotty or anyone associated with his website are involved with the condition or sale of any part of this collection or even have more specifics of its contents but as a courtesy we will be happy to provide contact info for any seriously interested parties since the history of Memphis' musicians and their instruments is of relevant subject matter to this website.

added October 9, 2012



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