Who was/is Roy Perkins ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

In 1958 slang, a drop top was a cool convertible. Car songs were always cool. So when piano pounder Roy Perkins laid down Drop Top at Eddie Shuler’s studio in Lake Charles, Louisiana, he was cutting edge. Perkins was one of the earliest swamp pop singers in South Louisiana. Born Ernie Suarez in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1935, he soaked up the boogie and blues piano stylings of Cecil Gant as a youth. When Lloyd Price’s Lawdy Miss Clawdy came along, Ernie learned it note for note. 

New Orleans record distributor Mel Mallory headed the Meladee label, and in 1955 he issued Ernie’s debut platter You’re On My Mind after changing the piano man’s name to Roy Perkins (after Carl Perkins). White lads playing R&B were taking hold in south Louisiana, and Roy got in on the ground floor, encoring on Meladee with Here I Am. Mira Smith, proprietress of Shreveport’s RAM Records, was interested in Roy too. She escorted him and the band he played with, Bobby Page’s Riff Raffs, to Goldband Records owner Shuler’s studio and had them wax Drop Top (Roy’s recent purchase of a new convertible inspired him to write the fiery rocker) and its flip, That’s What The Mailman Had To Say.


RAM issued Drop Top, credited to Roy ‘Boogie Boy’ Perkins. Mercury had good contacts in south Louisiana and issued it nationally in March of 1958. It was a one-shot deal. Perkins left Smith (Linda Brannon cut Roy’s Just Another Lie for RAM that same year) and waxed Sweet Lilly for producer Bill Hall in 1959 (it came out on ‘Pappy’ Daily’s Dart label). Other Perkins rockers, notably Ba Da, languished in RAM’s vault. Perkins switched over to electric bass and stayed a Riff Raff until their 1962 breakup.


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