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Joe Clay Biography

Claiborne Joseph Cheramie, 8 September 1938, Harvey, Louisiana, USA. Clay was a rockabilly singer and guitarist who recorded two singles in the late 50s and entered a 30-year period of obscurity before being rediscovered by fans of that music. Clay fronted the C.J. Cheramie Trio in Louisiana in the early 50s, playing the Louisiana Hayride in 1955 on a bill with Elvis Presley. The following year Cheramie submitted a demo tape to RCA Records, which signed him to its Vik subsidiary and changed his name to Joe Clay. He recorded two songs, one of which, ‘Ducktail’, sold well regionally. Another single was cut in New York and performed on the Ed Sullivan Show while he was there. After the second single, ‘Cracker Jack’, failed to reach the US charts. Clay was dropped from Vik and returned to Louisiana where he took a job driving a bus, a job he held from 1956 until the late 80s. Discovered by the rockabilly collectors Clay put together a band and began performing his old songs again in the late 80s. Germany’s Bear Family Records released a collection of his early recordings in 1986.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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