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The 1980's Sessions


The following is an attempt to piece together what is known of Jimmy Ellis’ recording career after leaving Sun Records. Although the amount of material is not as mammoth as what was done at Sun, finding the dates, the recording venues and who produced the recordings and whether anything else was done at those sessions is a major task. It seems Jimmy would record (or re-record) tracks just about everywhere he travelled and often freely gave his recordings away to friends and fans.

Again please note this is very much a “work in progress” and any further information or detail would be very much appreciated. A lot of the detail is unconfirmed and even the smallest piece of additional info would be welcome.

Recorded at Soundtrack Studios, 1982:
You Never Talk When We’re Dancing
It’s Been Heaven Tonight

Recorded at the studio of friend and country singer Razzy Bailey.

March 16th 1983 at The Shelby Singleton Sound Studios in Nashville, Tennessee:
Rock It Billy Rock It
Out Of The Blue
Run Fool Run

November 2nd - 23rd, 1983 at Scruggs Sound Studio, Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee:
Freeze Up
I Do
Still In Love With Billy
Runaround Sue (Unreleased)

Three of the above listed tracks were released on cassette tape only as part of a press pack issued by The Tony Lawrence Organisation. These recordings were intended to be a change of direction for Jimmy with the choice of material being totally different from his usual style.
The recording of Runaround Sue was apparently taken to Ireland by the producer and remains unheard to this day.


May, 1984 at Scruggs Sound Studio, Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee:
Old Time Rock
Her Memory Just Won’t Let Us Lay Down
I Can’t Get Used To Sleeping By Myself
I Dream I Lay With You Tonight*

Recorded late in 1984 and released by Kristal International Records:
Saving Up My Pennies
I’m Starting Over

Note: Info says that the above four songs were mixed on May 14th. 1984 which means that they were recorded shortly before that. They were produced by guitarplayer Boomer Castleman who also supports the dates.

April 1st. 1985 at unknown studio and released by Kristal International Records:
100 Pounds Of Clay
Because He Lives

BNA Recording Studio (Boomer Castlemans studio) in Nashville, Tennessee:
Mr. Me Misses You
You’re Stealing My Wife
Midnight Till Morning
MIdnight In Memphis*

​These songs was recorded between 1984 -1986 according to the late Boomer Castleman, Jimmy's friend and guitar player: "If my memory serves me correctly, Jimmy came to my studio three or four times to record. Midnight in Memphis was a track I already had. I just put his vocal on it. I cannot seem to find it. I am going to say those songs were recorded between 1984, 85 and 86. After 1986 I spent more time working with Larry Boone than I did with Jimmy. The reason I believe it was during those years was because I got my recording equipment together in the summer of 1984, & I believe that was when I started recording Jimmy".
*Midnight In Memphis remains unheard still today.

February 18th, 1986 at Soundtrack Recording Studio in Nashville, Tennessee.
Producer: Fred James
Guitar: Lonnie Mack
Drums: D.J. Fontana
Acoustic bass: Joe B. Mauldin
Piano: Willie Rainsford
Rhythm guitar: Fred James
Background vocals: Mary-Ann Brandon, Bucky Lindsey and Fred James.
Old Pipeliner
Never Too Old To Rock’n' Roll*
Back On The Street Again*

* The two tracks above would be collected among others and released by Aron Records of Canada on their 1989 NEW BEGINNINGS CD release.
All four tracks were made available on the 2011 German CD release NASHVILLE ROCKABILLY.

June 24th, 1986 at the Soundtrack Recording Studio:
Thank God For America
Sunday Father
Going Off The Deep End
Hell To Pay (But Heaven Tonight)

I Make The Livin (You Make The Livin Worth While)
Note: This song was written and produced by Jimmy's friend Jerry Cupit and supposedly recorded around the same time as Thank God For America. It is also possible that it was indeed recorded at the same session on June 24th, 1986 but it is not among the listed songs on the finished reel to reel master.

Unknown studio in Birmingham, Alabama:
Down In Mississippi

It seems Jimmy wasn’t too happy about recording this song as it was very much in the Elvis Is Alive vein. After three years he was however talked into doing it after he got offered as much as 5000 dollars.

American Sound Studio (a Division of Jimmy Velvet Enterprises) in Nashville, Tennessee:
I Need You In My Life
Lay Around And Love On You
The Way My Dog Loves Me
Dream On Me (Re-recorded later for the Stargem label)

The following tracks from the bootleg CD ROUGH DIAMONDS are possibly from the above sessions but no information has yet been made available to confirm or deny this:

Out Of My Life
Love Lifted Me
Starting Over
Midnight Till Morning

12th. December, 1988 at Prestige Productions Studios:
Sweet Mississippi Memories

This track was recorded as part of a deal arranged that same day and as the B side of Down In Mississippi. Jimmy sang to a previously recorded backing track. The session lasted two or three hours and Jimmy had problems dealing with the lyrics.

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