ROYCE PORTER (By Shaun Mather)
Born 1 April 1939, Sweetwater, Texas
Royce Porter was born in Sweetwater, Texas and as with many in the area, music was his first love. By an early age he was singing on the Saturday Night Jamboree at a Sweetwater theater.
Whilst still in his teens, he went to Houston and cut his first songs for Bennie Hess' Spade label. Cut at the AGA Studios, A Woman Can Make You Blue and I End Up Crying featured a strong rockabilly sound. Despite Porter's best efforts to push the disc at radio stations, the record failed to generate other than local sales. One of the visits brought him in touch with Starday's Pappy Daily who asked Porter to record for him.
In the summer of 1957 "Yes I Do", a song with strong Presley influences, was recorded in Fort Worth with Dean Beard on piano and The Kounts on backing vocals. It was released on the Mercury sub-label Look, and again sold well locally. His next release "Good Time"/"Beach of Love" was put out on Mercury Records proper (71314), but before he could make the most of this opportunity he was drafted. Whilst in the Navy a single came out on Daily's D label, Lookin' and I Still Belong To You. (This can be found on the Bear Family box-set "The Complete D Singles", BCD 15832.)
Upon his discharge he changed directions and became a minister' at the Baptist Church in Sweetwater. He returned to recording in 1965 with the Nat King Cole hit "Looking Back" released on FED Records out of Houston. Further singles with his brother-in-law Bill Funderbunk came out on Huey P. Meaux's 'Tear Drop' label. In 1969, with Funderbunk in the Army, Porter relocated to Nashville. He spent several years working small clubs before finding more success as a songwriting, and becoming founder, with Bucky Jones, of Porter & Jones Music, a music publishing company now connected with Reeves Enterprises. The company has made him a rich man, who enjoys a home with a backyard landing on Old Hickory Lake, just like Johnny Cash, uh um. (Dale Watson moment!) Among his regular artists, none has cut more Porter songs than George Strait who has cut four Porter-Dean Dillon co-writes including the great chart-topper, Ocean Front Property. The CD "The Best Of Spade Records" has four Royce Porter tracks on it. "Yes I Do" is on "That'll Flat Git It, Vol. 11" (Bear Family BCD 16101).
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