Dinner and a Jam at Scotty's
Scotty, Don Dean and Kim Boleyn
In July of 2003 a lot of us were in town (Nashville)
for the summer NAMM show. The NAMM show is a semi-annual
convention for musical instrument manufacturers, distributors and
merchants to showcase the new and current products. This year Scotty
attended for the first time in several years to visit some friends
and to attend a meet and greet for fans. My friend Ron Garson from
the UK, here for the show, had met Scotty and Gail Pollock when they
were there on tour in the UK last October. While at the meet and
greet at NAMM Gail invited us and several others to dinner at Scotty's
Scotty and Don Dean
We got to his house early but the first ones there
were their longtime friend Don Dean and his friend Kim Boleyn.
While Gail was still preparing the food we sat out back while Don
checked out Scotty's Tal Farlow guitar.
Scotty's house is set on 20 acres of rolling hills and farm on the outskirts
of Nashville, real peaceful. Not long after, Mike Eldred pulled up
with Donnie Wade and Art Thompson. Scotty and Mike have been
friends since the early 90's when Mike used to play with Lee Rocker in
the band Big Blue. Donnie, like Mike, works for Fender Musical
Instruments and Art is a senior editor at Guitar
Player magazine. By then it was time to eat.
Art Thompson, Kim Boleyn, Don Dean, Scotty, Ron Garson
and Jim Roy
Gail cooked us one heck of a home cooked southern
fried chicken dinner. I had been hearing about these famous
chicken dinners of hers for sometime now from several of their friends
but mostly from Mike. She made the mistake of writing him up an
I.O.U. "one chicken dinner" years ago and he's been riding on
that since. After that meal I can understand why. Needless
to say it was a real feast. Mike and Donnie were required to sit
at a separate table though (I did mention they worked for Fender).
Donnie Wade and Mike Eldred (at the Fender table)
After we ate we sat around and talked a bit. It
was fascinating listening to some of the stories that both Scotty and
Don Dean told. Scotty talked about some of the times driving to
gigs in the early days with Elvis, Bill and DJ and how DJ spent the
night circling St. Louis after replacing Scotty at the wheel around
midnight. They would take turns driving while everyone else slept
and come morning Scotty woke up to find that they were parked by the
side of the rode. Asking DJ where they were DJ replied "Still
in St. Louis". He couldn't find his way off the beltway and
wound up circling the city all night. I don't think they let him
drive again after that.
Don Dean, Donnie Wade, Mike Eldred, Art Thompson and
Scotty finally looked around the table and asked
"You want to do some pickin?" We all went into his
studio and out came the guitars. Scotty played his
Chet Atkins, Don the Tal Farlow, Art
played Scotty's 83 Super 400, Donnie the
original Chet Atkins and Mike the Custom
Shop Fender Esquire that he built for
Scotty. Gail kept asking me if I wanted one saying they had
plenty. I kept gracefully declining thinking that in that crowd it
was like asking me to drive the Indianapolis 500 on a learners permit.
Donnie Wade and Mike Eldred
Scotty and Art Thompson
We all sat around and enjoyed it as they traded off
licks playing a variety of shuffles and progressions. At one point
they all traded off leads playing Scotty's signature "Mystery
Train" which caused Ron Garson to remark to me that he thinks he
was the only one in the room that night that couldn't play it. He
had heard me playing it while trying a guitar at the show that
day. I found his remark surprising since when I started working on
Scotty's website the year before he sent me the tablature and a CD for
the song. You think he would've learned it first.
Art Thompson and Ron Garson
Art Thompson and Don Dean
I think at one point we all sat around amazed at Don
Dean's playing. He's from Kentucky and plays a lot on the style of
Merle Travis pickin and was doing these rolls that Donnie Wade was
saying is extremely difficult. Don was doing it almost second
nature effortlessly and when asked "How do you do that?"
He replied "Do what?" Don's a big fan of archtops and
Super 400's in particular. He's done work for Scotty on his Super
400's and Gail told me he even built one from scratch. Art and I
bet that he's got a lot of good stories we'd like to hear.
Mike Eldred, Scotty, Gail Pollock, Art Thompson and
Scotty and Jim Roy
I guess jams at Scotty's when he has guests is not an
uncommon thing. He even keeps a small amp next to the dinner table
and likes to play there. At one point Art put down the Super 400
and picked up Scotty's Epiphone.
That gave me the opportunity to pick up the Super 400 and try it
out. The guitar plays beautifully. At some point in the
future as memories fade, I'll be able to stretch the truth and say I
jammed with Scotty Moore cause everyone will forget that I wasn't
After the jam the night was coming to an end.
Mike and Scotty were in another part of the studio talking and Ron and I
were trying out the Esquire. Since I was the last one playing it I
felt obligated to wipe it down and put it away. In so doing I hit
the switch tip and it went flying. "Aw Crap!!" I
thought, "I broke his guitar." After a frantic search
half expecting someone to come in thinking I was rifling the place I
found the switch tip and put it back on just in time to hear Scotty
yelling. I thought I had been caught but apparently Mike had snuck
into the kitchen and stolen the last piece of chicken that Gail had been
saving for Thom Bresh.
Mike steals the last piece of chicken
"This one was for you Bresh!"
It was a great night for all. The meal was
excellent, the people were real cool and the entertainment was
great. Its a night that I'll remember the rest of my life.
Of course with Mike stealing the last piece of chicken the night was
pretty much over. Scotty in his southern gentlemanly fashion
showed us the door.
James V. Roy
August 20, 2003
Scotty shows us out
Ron Garson with friends at NAMM
I was fortunate
enough to attend the summer NAMM convention in Nashville again, allowing
me the pleasure of renewing old friendships and meeting new friends.
On Saturday afternoon I was talking with Jim Roy outside the Fender
booth when he got a phone call from Gail to say that she and Scotty had
arrived at the convention. Jim turned to me and said, "I've
been invited over to Scotty's for dinner... and so have you!"
Well, you could have knocked me over with a wet lettuce leaf on hearing
that! I think I mumbled something incomprehensible in reply, and
off we set to catch Scotty's "Meet and
Scotty, don Dean and Kim Boleyn out back
When that was
pretty much over, Gail came over to chat and she asked me if I was
coming to dinner. I replied "Yes," before she'd even finished
the question! We left the show a little early and Jim and I set
off for Scotty's place around 6:30. We found it easily due to the
directions that Gail had given us.
Don Dean and Kim
Boleyn were already chatting to Scotty when we arrived and we joined
them out at the back of the house. I also got acquainted with the two
dogs who were in residence. An old one, a bit gray around the muzzle
just like myself, and a young dog who is totally blind, but gets about
in the most amazing way. He constantly follows Gail around. There was
much talk of guitars and Scotty fetched his Tal Farlow for Don to try
out. It looked beautiful and Don could play it really well, but he
didn't like the frets too much.
One of Scotty's tractors
Jim and I wandered
off down to Scotty's barns to look at his tractors and then the others,
Mike, Donny and Art arrived. We got called in to dinner and sat
down around a table that was piled high with mouth watering food.
There was a huge bowl of chicken, enough to feed an army, in the center
of the spread. We ate all that we were able to, although it seemed that
Mike couldn't get enough, as he returned for extra helpings several
times! Scotty told us tales about being on the road with Elvis and
Bill and DJ and I was having to pinch myself just to make sure I wasn't
Jamming in the studio
suggested that they play some and everyone moved to the studio. Guitars
appeared magically and a jam commenced. Gail offered me a guitar too,
but I declined.
The music flowed, licks were traded and everyone there played some
Eventually, it had to come to a close and the guitars were put away,
apart from the Esquire. Scotty, Mike, Don and Art moved into the
studio's control room and Scotty put on one of his CD's. This was
piped through to the studio and I picked up the Esquire and played
along. Fortunately the only person to hear this, other than Jim, was
Kim, who smiled sweetly. I think she was just being polite!
Ron Garson with Scotty's Esquire
Then it was time to
call it a night and return to my hotel room, but taking with me some
wonderful memories of a perfect evening!
September 7, 2003