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Whatever happened to Billy Swan?

Jas. Lott, Billy Swan, David Loehr
James Lott, Billy Swan and our open house host, David Loehr

Billy Swan, the kid from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, is alive and well, singing about James Dean from his home in California and from Sun Studios in Nashville. His co-producer is James Lott. James and Billy travelled to Fairmount, Indiana, for the James Dean festival this year. They sang to us on the porch of the James Dean Gallery, posed with fans, signed autographs and were a complete delight. See for yourself:

During the performance   Before the show could start, we were hit with a brief but incredible deluge of rain. We all tried to save the amps and equipment. No-one seemed to mind standing in the wet grass to experience this unique evening. Magic under the (invisible) stars.

    

    fan, helping out   Little problem here, Billy couldn't read his words to a new song and hold his guitar too. He and James were using our small venue to have a lot of fun with fresh material. We all identified with the tribulations of eyeglasses. And after all, it was dark on the porch, despite the wonders I worked with these photos. You all know Billy's famous song, "I Can Help." Tonight we got to help him a little.

Billy singing     Billy singing

Some of the songs I jotted down as Billy sang included Route 66, Maybelline, Hello Mary Lou (Marcus's wife's name,) Blue Bayou (which I hadn't know Roy Orbison wrote,) Drivin' Wheel that Billy wrote with T-Bone Burnette, Billy's own "I Can Help" and both the new songs about James Dean. They were moving, especially hearing them where James Dean may have stood, on that porch.

Billy said James Dean once had been looping with Monte Hale, yodeling on a tape and two lines from that inspired the fine new song.

Naomi Yamada and Billy   Billy enjoyed learning about the Thousand Cranes tribute for Jimmy's grave, made by Naomi Yamada of Osaka, Japan.

Billy and fan     Here is Billy with one of his best Fairmount fans.

Maxine and Bernie     Photographer and Billy

with David Loehr     with Kazu Shimizu

David Loehr, our host, with Billy.       Billy with Kazu Shimizu; Kurt Whirl in background. Kurt is headed for Orlando where he hopes to work for the Disney corporation.

Order Billy's new CD, "Like Elvis Used To Do" from Dan Farrow's page. James Lott is on the CD too. Billy's daughter Planet does vocals on "Love Me Tender." We all would have bought this CD at the open house if Billy had brought any with him. But we sure did buy his CD with the two James Dean songs, and you can buy it from the James Dean Memorial Gallery website. (Just bookmark this page before you go shop.)

There's a terrific Billy Swan fan page by his former schoolmate Danny Farrow.

There is another page here for the Open House, with more fan pictures.

Here's the index for the 1998 James Dean Festival, Image Map They all looked like Jimmy Can you do it or knot? David Loehr's party Billy Swan's James Dean songs Several car pages In the church several pages of fans At the cemetery We behaved well this year

This is a wee part of the Contents of DEANERS e-zine.

Here's Otto's cover, the parent of this family of magazines.


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