Gary & Eddie
I have been in communication with a Blog visitor (Fran) recently and was encouraged to feature the country star Gary Morris who I was told had ties to Colorado. Both Wikipedia and the Gary Morris web site weren’t of much assistance, mentioning only that Gary had performed in the Denver area in the 1970’s after coming into town from Fort Worth. Beyond that on his own site he mentions spending time more recently in the Colorado mountains to do some fishing and relaxing.
And then Fran presented me with this tidbit: Gary Morris played regularly at Taylor’s Supper Club for at least five years, and, this is just for you as an old vinyl guy. He recorded a live album there with Eddie Johnson produced by Don Leyland titled (you guessed it) “Gary and Eddie”.
The Female singer on the album was Teri Hernandez. Eddie and Gary actually formed in 1969 and continued for at least 5 or 6 years. Gary went to Nashville but Eddie Johnson continued in Denver and with Bo Cotrell formed the Lawmen. (His is a ) neat story and am impressed with Gary’s staying power. It was not until 1981 that he started to have recognized success. Many call Gary “cheesy” but I am sure he doesn’t mind that label as I am sure Bobby Hart is fine with the label “bubblegum.
That sent me scrambling to retrieve my copy of the Cartay LP recorded by Gary and Eddie (with Teri). And sure enough, there on the back is an autograph from non other than Gary himself. The Cartay label was owned at, least in part, by Taylor’s club owner Sammy Toole. Gary and Eddie made their way onto the label via the long play and the single shown below.
As for Eddie Johnson – the singer continues to perform around Denver today, most recently at Lannie Garrett’s Clock Tower Cabaret as a member of the “All in the Family Band” where he is joined by his sister and his son. From Eddie’s bio:
Eddie Johnson has been a constant talent on the Denver musical scene since 1969 when he and his pal, famed Nashville artist, Gary Morris, teamed up to create, “Gary and Eddie”, better known as “Taylor’s Cowboys”. You might also know Eddie Johnson from his time with a group called “The Lawmen”. The Lawmen were all former Jefferson Country Police officers that played music for civic functions and service clubs. Their act was wildly popular with the crowd at Taylor’s. He and his Lawman pal, Bo Cotrell, opened a nightclub in Glendale, Colorade called “Bo and Eddie’s Saloon and Home for Wayward Cowboys”. Bo and Eddie shared the stage with many old friends and stars such as Jimmie Rodgers, John Gary, Mel Tillis, Dottie West, and others.
For Gary, it was onto Nashville and eventual fame. He scored his first country hit in October of 1980 with “Sweet Red Wine” released on the Warner Bros. label. Gary would go on to score 27 country charting hits, including 5 number 1 records all shown below. In August of 1983 he recorded his game changer, “The Wind Beneath My Wings” which was selected as the Country Music Association’s “Song of the Year”. The song would become Bette Midler’s biggest hit in 1989 reaching the number one spot on the Hot 100.