When Sin Stops & Waylon

Last week, I was on the Glenn Mitchell Show on KERA-FM where Glenn and I raised over $18,000 for the listener-supported station by playing and talking about Texas Music for two hours. One song in particular triggered quite an interesting e mail exchange with Eddie Reeves, one of the Nighthawks, the West Texas rockabilly band who had the regional hit before Waylon covered it. Eddie proceeded to set the record straight. -----Original Message-----
From: Eddie Reeves Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 7:01 PM
To: Glenn Mitchell Show
Subject: The Nighthawks

A Texas friend who lives in the Dallas area heard your recent show on which you had a music historian. He talked about Texas music and about Buddy Holly and about the influence that Buddy Holly had on other bands. He then played "When Sin Stops" by the Nighthawks. I was happy to hear this as I am the vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the group. The Nighthawks were from Amarillo and three of us attended the University of Texas. Mike Hinton, now a Houston attorney, was the drummer and Bob Venable, now decease and formerly a Dallas oilman, was the lead guitarist. John Thompson of Amarillo was the bass player and I've lost touch with him over the years.

From 1984 through 1999 I was Executive VP & GM of Warner Bros. Records in Nashville. I'm now retired and live in Franklin, TN. I am hoping you will give me the name and contact information of the music historian who appeared on your show so I can give him the correct information regarding the Nighthawks. I understand he didn't know all of this information and that he thought we had a sax player in the band. And, too, it would be a treat for me to talk to a Texas music historian.

If you give me your address I be happy to send you my songwriting career CD entitled, Resurrecting Eddie, Part 1. I wrote three Ray Charles songs, Sonny & Cher's "All I Ever Need Is You" and a song called "Rings" by Cymarron and by Lobo.

All the best,
Eddie Reeves

and then, I replied.....

Hi Eddie,

I'm the so-called music historian who played
"When Sin Stops", only it wasn't the Nighthawks' version, as I noted. It was Waylon singing with King Curtis on sax, backed by Buddy Holly & The Crickets. I did however credit the Nighthawks as the ones who did the original version.

Sorry your friend who was listening was confused.
But glad to know about y'all. So, ol' Jimmy Gilmer from the Fireballs and Bob Montgomery aren't the only West Texas rockers who done good as Nashville execs.

My compliments. Holler if you're ever down Austin or San Antone way.


Joe Nick Patoski

to which he responded with something he'd written....

by Eddie Reeves

----- Original Message -----
From: "Pete Meador" To: "ahs58friends" Sent: Wednesday, April 27, 2005 11:50 PM
Subject: [ahs58friends] Heard the Night Hawks/When Sin Stops on the radio today.

I was listening to KERA 90.1 (NPR) today. Glen Mitchell had a Texas music historian on the program that talked about music in Texas from the early 1900s to present. During the time he was talking about Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Buddy Knox, he played a song by a "Texas Panhandle" group that he said showed the influence of Buddy Holly on
local bands in Texas. Then he announced, here are the Night Hawks doing "When Sin Stops", and then he played it.

The only member of the Night Hawks whose name he mentioned was a sax player from I.M. Terrell in FW. Since the original Night Hawks had no sax player, I guess the recording company wanted more instruments in the background for the recording??? Is that right Eddie?

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eddie Reeves"
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 5:13 PM
Subject: Re: [ahs58friends] Heard the Night Hawks/When Sin Stops on the radio today.

Thanks for this information. This has nothing to do with the record company. There is a lot of misinformation out there about old records, especially obscure old records like "When Sin Stops." One website recently advertised that Buddy Holly was the lead guitarist on "When Sin Stops" by the Nighthawks. I don't know if this was to increase the value of the record so it could be sold for more or if it was just confusion with the fact that after we recorded this song it was heard by Buddy Holly in the summer of 1958. After hearing it, Buddy Holly wanted to record the song so Norman Petty called me to request permission for Buddy to record it. Norman was compelled to ask us since we had paid him $250 to record us and to attempt to get us a recording contract and because the first use of a copyrighted song requires the permission of the author.

I told Norman that I didn't write the song and that Bob, the Nighthawks’ guitar player wrote it. Norman ask me to talk to Bob and to let Norman know if Bob would grant permission for Buddy to record it. I called Bob and put the question to him. I told Bob if Buddy Holly wanted to record my song (the other song we had recorded was "All'a Your Love") that I would let him and that if Bob let Buddy Holly record his song that it would be alright with me. I told Bob that we'd get another song to record so Norman could still attempt to obtain a recording for our band. There was silence on the phone for about 10 seconds. Then Bob said that he didn't want Buddy Holly to record his song. Bob said that the song was ours and Buddy Holly would have to find another song. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I repeated to Bob that it was alright with me if he let Buddy Holly record the song but Bob said no. He insisted it was our song and he wanted Norman Petty to get us a recording contract. And Norman did get us a recording contract with Hamilton Records, a subsidiary of Dot Records, which was the company that Pat Boone, Billy Vaughn, and others recorded for.

Buddy Holly had been promising a friend in Lubbock who was a disc jockey at KLLL (K triple L), that he would put together a recording session in Clovis and make a record with this disc jockey as the singer. About August of 1958 Buddy Holly flew King Curtis of New York City to Clovis for this recording session. King Curtis was the famous sax player heard on all of the Coasters hits and many other hit records of that time. He played sax on this KLLL disc jockey's recording session on which was recorded the Cajun song "Jole Blon" and "When Sin Stops." By now Buddy didn't need permission to record "When Sin Stops" since he knew our record was soon being released by Hamilton Records and once a song is published (which technically means to offer for public sale), permission to make fair use of it requires no permission from the author. Buddy Holly took the disc jockey's recording to New York and played it for Dick Jacobs who worked for Decca Records, which included record labels Corel and Brunswick. Buddy Holly's records were released on Coral and the Crickets' records were released on Brunswick.

Buddy Holly had already had his big hit of "That'll Be the Day" and "Peggy Sue" so he had a lot of power at Decca and could call the shots. Dick Jacobs signed this KLLL disc jockey and released his record on the Brunswick label sometime in the fall of 1958. The name of this disc jockey is Waylon Jennings and this was his first record ever release by him. His recording is included in the original Buddy Holly box set. There's more to this story and the rest of it is mostly about Waylon's and my paths crossing over the years.

I'll try to contact Glen Mitchell at KERA to learn the name of the music historian so I can correct his information about the Nighthawks. I love the job of being guardian of the Nighthawks legacy. It doesn't require much work, it's fun and sometimes it brings me into contact with some great characters -- American and some European -- who are mostly music enthusiasts and record collectors.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Derrell N. Chandler"
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 7:43 PM
Subject: [ahs58friends] Re: Heard the Night Hawks/When Sin Stops on the radio today.

Please give more Waylon stories to us. I've been a BIG fan of Waylon since 1972 when he came out with "Honky Tonk Heroes". When I retired in 1997, I wanted to go into a series of odd-ball jobs just for the sake of doing the jobs--- anything totally different-- not for the money, but for the different life. First was a three round-trip job on a banana boat between Costa Rica and Houston (Lord, don't let me be that stupid again). Next was delivering flowers part time for a floral company. That's where I met Gwen Schneider who had worked for Waylon for 12 years--- actually was the babysitter/bodyguard for
Jesse Coulter's children. Through Gwen, I got a two-time "roadie" job with Waylon. It lasted a month and included two performances he produced (1999). I only met him personally 2-3 times. One was at his home, Southern Comfort. He thought what I was doing (the odd jobs) would be fun. We talked about an hour mostly about Littlefield, Levelland, and the old radio station XERF which had it's broadcast booth in Del Rio, Texas, but the broadcast tower was in Cuidad Acuna, Coah., Mexico. The broadcast could be heard any place in North or South American. That's the station where Wolfman Jack got his start. They actually sold autographed pictures of Jesus Christ, 100 baby chickens for $3.95, miracle bug killers (two 2"x4" wooden blocks), and anything else because the station was not controlled by the Federal Communications Commission.

Anyway, enough of this nonsense. I barely knew Waylon but you had a friendship with him. I would love to hear more when you have the time. BTW, Waylon did send an autographed copy of his autobiography to me.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Eddie Reeves" To:
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 9:17 PM
Subject: Re: [ahs58friends] Re: Heard the Night Hawks/When Sin Stops on the radio today.

I didn't have a friendship with Waylon. I met him four times and only had more than a brief conversation with him on one of those occasions. I caused each of our conversations to start like this: "Waylon, you and I have something in common." "What's that horse?" "The first song you ever recorded is the first song I ever recorded" ....and so on.

To make a comment, please contact Joe Nick

Home - Contact - News/Appearances - Notes & Musings - Bio - Bibliography
Books - Music - Texas - Travel - Water - Misc - Photos - Links

Copyright 2006 © Joe Nick Patoski, All Rights Reserved. - Website design: Jodi Jenkins