I had played Piano most of my life by the time I entered Middle Georgia College in 1963. I think I must have started my plinking about and finding stuff on the piano at about age 3. I'm sure you didn't want to hear me then but I was learning and discovering stuff. From about 7 on I took lessons off and on through high school. About a year before I got out of high school I traded a guy four albums for a Roy Rogers guitar. A good buddy of mine named Buddy Dunaway, a great guitarist in the Chet Atkins style, showed me a few chords and with the musical knowledge I had from the piano, I was off and running. I knew I'd be leaving for college soon and could not take my piano (a bit bulky!) with me so I needed to learn guitar in order to have a portable instrument. Back then about the only "portable" pianos were the Wurlitzer, which I preferred, and the Rhodes. I didn't have the money for either and I loved guitar anyway, so guitar it was.
I don't quite remember how we met, but somehow I met Jimmy there at Middle Georgia. We found we both had a deep love for music. He was a singer and I was a would be writer and player with a mind for technical things. We worked up a couple of songs I had written, "A Love Is But A Love" and "Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch". I somehow found a little studio in south Georgia Near Kibee. It's hard to believe now because there weren't that many studios, especially in south Ga, but for it being a mono recording in a renovated barn that had been acoustically set up (and seems like I remember it even had a vocal booth), luckily it sounded pretty good for the time. I got Buddy to come and play guitar and I also used a couple of musicians I had met in Macon where my Mom and Dad were living. I played a piano part since the studio had an upright there. None of the musicians other than Buddy and I had ever played together before. We got there, I showed them the chords and the arrangements I wanted and we did a few takes, I don't remember how many, but we picked the best takes and that's what you hear on the record. Back then we all played and sang at the same time and that was what was recorded. No punch ins to fix anything like today. It was fun! We ordered a thousand 45's as they were called then, and to my knowledge that's all there ever was. It was my first time doing any of this. I loved it. I was hooked!
We then needed something to call ourselves. It was really just Jimmy and I since the other musicians were only there to do the recordings and lived in other towns. Because of the Beatles, groups were the biggest acts going and Solo performers were no longer in vogue. So we came up with Jimmy Ellis and the Apolloes since Apollo was the greek god of music. We figured if it ever mattered, we could put a group together.
We sort of hung out together that summer off and on between spring and fall semester and since I lived in Macon when not in school, one of the places we went was to a recording studio in Macon where we met Bobby Smith. Bobby would later play a part in Jimmy's rise. But He went back home for the rest of the summer and I worked at the airforce base in Warner Robins as a draftsman. In the fall we were back at school. He was on the baseball team there and fairly committed to that but I had a taste and I wanted to do more music. I had also changed my major from engineering to music and was trying to carry a double load.
One day. . . . .