45 Friday: JERRY JAYE – Going To The River


By ‘Bob The Record Guy’ Paxon

Here’s a nice Rock’n’Roll record on a Buffalo record label, by an apparent Rochester guy, but little seems be known about him locally. And nationally, information is sketchy because he’s gotten confused with another Jerry Jaye – or two.

Jerry Jaye (born Gerald Jaye Hatley) hit the charts in March 1967 with a cover of Fats Dominos’ “My Girl Josephine”. It was a nicely rockin’ track, not ‘wild’ but closer to the original R*R stuff than what either Nashville was doing with country, or what psychedelic popsters were doing with Rock.

Some saw it as a return to Rockabilly – and it did have that sound –  but aside from a few old timers who never quit, and just a HANDFULL of rebels among the flowers and beads crowd (like CCR), Rockabilly didn’t return for another decade. But Jerry Jaye (Hatley) continued on with more singles for Memphis’ HI records label, and eventually an album. Most (more than half) of his recordings were reworkings of Fats Domino tracks. His love for Fats continued unabated, despite the public never really reconnecting after that first single.

Compilers of info on R&R and Rockabilly will tell you that despite his 1967 success Jerry Jaye (Hatley) was a first generation Rock’n’Roller who actually started in 1958. And this Rochester/ Buffalo recording (today’s Friday 45) was his first release. But they’re wrong. The 1967 Jerry Jaye was a Southern boy (Tennessee), a different Jerry Jaye from the 1958 local artist we’re celebrating today.

Not much is known about our local boy. I don’t even know his real name. It probably wasn’t really ‘Jaye’. He later had a trio and they were a fixture at Rochester’s 414 Club, J&I Lounge, The Avenue, and Garden Grill. The Jerry Jaye Trio included Neil Marvel and Gene Newman.

Along the way he cut a record for Fine Recordings in Rochester using Sonny and Bobby Geno as backup. After a small pressing on Fine (supposedly only 250 copies) it was issued on a label out of Buffalo with a 20 West Tupper St address, intriguingly named Label Records. This was related to the Masters Releasing group (essentially a Lenny Silver company).

Label had only three releases, all R&R. The others were the Four Ekkos – a Rochester R&R vocal group – and the Cornell Sisters – a pop/ R&R duo). All were pressed by Columbia.

Think about the confusion involved with that: Label Records. Real “Who’s On First?” stuff.
“What record company is it on?”
“Okay: label?”.
“Yes what?”
“The Record company!”

But I digress. Our local JJ’s recordings for Fine, picked up by Label Records, sold some copies regionally but ultimately stiffed. A guy who COULD be the same Jerry Jaye (pretty likely) cut a track in 1958 for Stepheny Records (out of Illinois), both sides of which have been compiled on a Buffalo Bop CD of Rockabilly tracks. Unfortunately for music detectives they’ve also been included on an unauthorized compilation of the Memphis Jerry Jaye’s music. I’m not sure if the Stephney Records JJ is the Label Records JJ but I know neither of them are the 1967 Memphis JJ!

To complicate things further there there was a 1959 release by a Jerry Jaye on Pallette Records out of Allentown PA. It even has picture sleeve, which shows this JJ playing an electric bass. I don’t THINK this is our man – though it’s possible – but I’m pretty sure it’s not the Memphis cat either.

In doing some research I found that the Memphis JJ apparently never recorded before the mid-1960s and apparently never left the South. So I’m pretty sure none of the other JJ’s are related to him. Yet the foremost resource for Rockabilly info lists two of their records (those of our guy and the Stephney Records guy) as his first records.

It’s easy to see why the R&R historians got this wrong, because the Memphis Jerry Jaye’s fixation on Fats Domino coincides the plug side of the Label Records release by ‘our’ guy, a Rockabilly cover of another Fats Domino tune. “Going To The River”.

So this should be perfectly clear- two different white guys named Jerry Jaye covering Fats Domino tunes Rockabilly Style almost a decade apart, with no other apparent connection. Got it?

Anyway, “Going To The River” is a good rockin’ track. The flip is a slow ballad version of the standard “A Cottage For Sale”. After this our Jerry Jaye disappeared into the mists of time, leaving only confusion in his wake.

Oh, one more thing: in 1958 a group called the The Jaye Sisters (??) released a record on Atlantic. A cover of a song by – you guessed it – Fats Domino. Another version of “Going to The River”!!

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