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The gleaming, snow white Cadillacs with matching trailers in tow pulled into the gravelled parking lot of an area somewhere in West Toronto. It was summer 1959. As the late afternoon sun began to set on the Arkansas-plated vehicles, the Ronnie Hawkins entourage stepped out and began to unload equipment. Ron Russell and Bill Morris were young kids at the time, catching frogs on the banks of nearby Black Creek. Even if they were to be the youngest kids at the dance that evening, they knew they'd be back -- and back they came. It was awesome! In those days in Canada, no band could touch the sound of Ronnie Hawkins and the original Hawks, straight from the Ozarks with their country rock-a-billy sound. It spread like wildfire! Ronnie Hawkins - 'Teenage Idol'
Jerry Lee Lewis and wife, Myra Back home that night, Ron and Bill were star struck. It was a time when Jerry Lee Lewis was being escorted out of England for marrying his 13 year old cousin, which caused his fourth hit single, "Break Up" to quickly drop off the charts, unlike "High School Confidential" which had zoomed to the top only months before. It was a time of emptiness too, because there was no one to fill the boots of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, who died in a plane crash on February 3rd, 1959. Elvis was going into the army after a string of pop music hits that scarcely resembled his early rock-a-billy days.
It was also sad to know that one of Ron & Bill's favourite records, an old 78 of Hank Williams' "Your Cheating Heart", was actually 10 years old. It amazed them that a record that old should sound so good. It prompted Ron to buy the Hank Williams "Memorial Album" and the connection between country and rock became obvious. Somewhere between the country Hank Williams sound and the rock-a-billy Ronnie Hawkins sound, the Corvairs were born. Before the end of the year, the old Bell & Howell tape recorder was cranking out songs by Ron & Bill. In 1960, Ray Reeves came in on electric guitar and Bill Hall on steel (Hawaiian as it was called then). Hank Williams Sr.

It was January 14th and The Corvairs finally appeared live, playing two teen dances in one night. Both of these gigs were in the same neighbourhood, and so close together that part of the crowd followed the band from one location to the other. There were few other bands in town, and most were playing rhythm and blues, with songs by Jesse Hill, The Clovers, and Big Jay McNeely.

Ronnie and His Corvairs (new name and all) wouldn't play this music. (Ron's voice hadn't changed yet.) Instead they played songs like "Crazy Heart", by Hank Williams, "Steel Guitar Rag", and "Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On". They tried to get a gig at York Memorial Collegiate that same month, but Metropolitan Toronto Chairman Alan Tonks' band was booked so they waited until next dance.

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