” Help My Brother, our tenth album, won the prestigious 2011 IBMA Album of the Year Award.
We were named the 2011 IBMA Vocal Group of the Year, the first time a brother duet has won this award.
By LEISA GREENE NELSON
Typically, fathers and daughters argue over music, nowhere near sharing the same tastes in musical genres.
But father and daughter duo Lou and Phyllis Erck share the same passions: Bluegrass jamborees and live broadcasts. What bridges the generation gap between them is a mutual love of the same kind of music, and their enterprising ideas to be the first to broadcast jamborees live – whether in the 1950’s by broadcast radio or today streaming via the internet.
In 1956, Lou Erck started the Reilly Springs Jamboree in Northeast Texas when he was a broadcast DJ for Sulpher Springs Radio Station. He worked for the radio station starting in 1947 working with Bob and Joe Shelton at their recording studio, and then in the late 50’s running the Jamboree with the Shelton Brothers. Bob and Joe began recording back in 1935 for Decca Records and produced over 150 cuts and Lou explains, “Old timers are well aware of the success of Bob and Joe Shelton.”
The song Just Because is an original by the Shelton brothers featured on Elvis Presley’s first album that became one of their most memorable songs.
As partners, Lou Erck worked with Joe Shelton through KSST in Sulpher Springs, Texas to be the first ever to broadcast 30 minutes of live performance from the stage of a Jamboree. Lou’s job was to keep the microphones and equipment running during the performances, broadcast it out, lining up the featured musician, and advertising for the Jamboree.
Today, sitting in his daughter’s office, Lou is dressed in pressed pleated pants, a blue collared shirt, and a jacket looking like a Griz-fan Grandpa that any grandchild would admire. Lou grins and says, “Phyllis told me I had to be here to tell my story, not sure why. Did you know back then we called it Hillbilly music?”
One of the first famous musicians to play at Reilly Spring Jamboree for Lou was George Jones. Lou recalls, “I called information and asked them for George Jones’ phone number. They gave it to me, I dialed and he answered. I told him I was putting on a Jamboree every Saturday night and that we would love to have him on the first show. He said, ‘I think I can come up.’”
Lou proceeded to tell Jones that the Jamboree was new and not a very large crowd. Lou was concerned about cost since George’s “massive hit,” White Lightning, was being broadcast everywhere. Lou said, “I didn’t think we could afford him, but George said, ‘I think a hundred and twenty-five dollars will do it.’”