Lloyd Ellis

Lloyd Hastings Ellis, a native Pensacola, Florida. His musical career began in the 1930s and continued through his time in the U.S. Navy. Fans and musicians both admired his guitar playing style. He was captivated by Django Reinhardt’s music as a child, which he first discovered on 78rpm records. According to “I Just Wanted to Play”, a DVD documentary about Lloyd’s life, Lloyd began entertaining listeners over his Pensacola radio station WCOA. In 1940, he switched to electric guitar after he had already started playing acoustic guitar. According to documentary, he was a fan of Gibson guitars throughout his career. One of his Johnny Smith models was one he bought from Johnny Smith in 1. He also played with many other groups throughout his career. Lloyd was part of a trio that entertained audiences in Mobile, Alabama, in the 1930s. Tiny Moore, another member of that trio, also received some critical acclaim in his later career. He played for Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys. He was a member of George Liberace’s “Music Under The Stars” band during World War II. The band entertained more than 500,000 troops in the Pacific. He settled in Los Angeles after the war and began to do club and studio work. He appears in Jimmie Davis’ movie “Louisiana”, as part of the Sunshine Serenaders. He can be seen playing his unique jazz guitar in a country setting, with a cigarette hanging from his lips while his fingers work their magic on the instrument. Jimmie Davis also claimed that he did some songwriting. He is listed as cowriter of the song “You Won’t Be Satisfied That Way.” The tune was recorded by Jimmie on Decca 46066. Bill Monroe, a legendary Bluegrass singer recorded the song. Lloyd decided it was time for a new scene and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada with the Red Norvo Trio, which also featured Monk Montgomery at The Tropican Hotel on Las Vegas’ famous Strip. They stayed together for three years. He left the trio and found work in various hotel bands. He backed Liza Minnelli and Ann-Margaret and Barbara McNair and Mitzi Gaynor and Vic Damone. He also recorded for Trey, RCA and Mercury record labels. Country and Western Jamboree magazine wrote a 1955 comment on “Annie Laurie” b/w” Waltzing Guitars: This is an unusual rendition of Annie Laurie’s old favourite, with double-guitars. Ellis wrote the other song. One site that documented some of Lloyd’s connections to an old musical eras note mentioned Lloyd’s connection with a Phoenix-based group called The Four Deals. We did our research. Peter Potter, a West Coast radio personality, awarded the group first prize in a talent contest. Capitol Records signed the group after that. The group’s members were Benny Wilson (lead singer), Glenn Brewton (guitarist), and Travis Anderson. It’s Too Late Now was the song that won the contract. This song was written by Lloyd Ellis and is part of their Capitol release (No. 1313). The reverse side is “There Ain’t No Bears in the Forest”. He recorded “So Tall, Cool, and So There” in 1960 for Trey (TLP 902). He recorded in 1963 with Bill Cyrils, as part of his quartet, which released an album on Fairmont (LP 3830), called “Anytime..Anyplace”. It also included a line at its bottom that said “Insured By Lloyds of Ellis”. The group featured Bill Cyrils playing vibes, Lloyd Ellis playing guitar and arrangements, Dan Shannon playing bass, and Jimmy Kaye on drums. It is still available on eBay. He was a member Pete Fountain’s Jazz Group, where they performed at the Hilton HOtel in New Orleans. They played at venues such as the National Music Camp, Interlochen, Michigan, Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Chautaugua Institute, Chautagua and Saratoga, New York, and the Blossom Music Centre in Cleveland, Ohio. The group performed a commanding performance at the White House during President Ronald Reagan’s visit to Brazil in the mid-1980s. The group also performed for Pope John Paul II in New Orleans. Guitar Player magazine published an article about Lloyd in its April 1989 issue. Although we don’t have the article in question, it’s worth noting this quote from B., a great guitarist. B. King, on Lloyd’s artistic talent. “Lloyd Ellis, man, is something else. His abilities are amazing. Lloyd, Red Norvo, and Monk Montgomery were a trio without a drummer, but Lloyd’s rhythm playing is so strong that you would swear you heard a drummer. Mercury Records thought that country music fans might be interested to his 1965 music. The album was entitled “Tommy Jackson u0026 Lloyd Ellis: Guitar u0026 Fiddle, Country Style” (Mercury Wing MSW 12298). Unfortunately, the album doesn’t feature them together but instead, it focuses on one side of each artist. Lloyd finally decided to’retire from Pete Fountain’s band and returned home to Pensacola. He stated, “I didn’t retire, but I retired from Pete Fountain.” Lloyd performed a few shows on PBS with the Lloyd Ellis Quartet. Pensacola Jazz Society also had some local PBS work. He was often heard in Pensacola at venues such as Phineas Phogg’s, Marty’s, and other venues within the Seville Quarter. Lloyd was diagnosed with cancer in 1994. Lloyd also found that he had many close friends who rallied around him in the last months of his life. A benefit was held at Phineas Phogg’s on a Sunday, March 1994 to help Lloyd pay some of his medical bills. The benefit began at 2:30pm and continued until the early hours of the morning. Don Gumpert’s Dixieland Saints and Holly Foy, Crosscurrent and Dave Shelander were among the guests. Ray Parker, Joe Occhipinti, Joe Occhipinti, Ray Parker, Crosscurrent, Holly Foy, Crosscurrent, Dave Shelander and many other Southeast musicians were also expected to be there. Although the benefit requested a $5 minimum donation, Bill Campbell, the writer of the news article suggested that it should be at least $20. He said, “Lloyd gave so much to us. Let’s just say “thanks.” Jelly Rolls Jazz Club, downtown Fort Walton Beach, Florida hosted Lloyd’s jam session a few weeks later. It started at 2:30pm. Don Gumpert wrote in April 1994 that the March benefit was “hugely successful” and that they expected that more than 25 musicians would be visiting Fort Walton Beach. Lloyd died from cancer on May 4, 1994. Frances Ellis, his wife, and eight children (four daughters and four boys) were left behind. from www.hillbilly-music.com

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