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Sonny Fisher

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# 1 Thurman ‘Sonny’ Fisher was born on November 13, 1931, on a farm close to Chandler (Texas), a few miles from Tyler where he was raised. After stints in California and the Northwest, Sonny came back to Houston in 1949. His interest in music came from his father, who used to play guitar and sing cowboy songs ; however, that interest developed on a greater scale when he heard Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams on the radio. Around the time of his first marriage (1951), Sonny put a Hillbilly band together with Red Leonie on steel guitar and a fiddler named Paul Vaughan who had played with another important Texan musician/songwriter, Red Hayes. They were soon joined by drummer Darrell Newsome and bass slapper Leonard Curry. The band began playing in nightclubs in the Houston area and, not surprisingly given the rich local musical scene, they began to incorporate more and more Rhythm’n’Blues into their act - especially after guitarist Joey Long came on board. In an interview given to Bill Millar and Ray Topping in May 1979 (printed in UK mag, New Kommotion # 25), Sonny recalled that they were deeply influenced by Joe Turner, Fats Domino and B. B. King. In the latter part of 1954, the Southern States were rapidly shaken up by a newcomer named Elvis Presley and Sonny was one of a long list of young aspiring musicians to be knocked out by Elvis’s sound - to the extent of thinking he was black. When Presley played the Texas Korral in Houston, Sonny went to hear and see him.

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