Memories (Kay Martin)

When I went to Junior High and High School, I had a very good friend named
Elaine. She and I went places together, saw Johnny Cash and other country
performers. We were on the same page with musical tastes and still are. I
met Jerry Lee Lewis and introduced her to him in July-August of 1957. I was
in college then and she was working in New York City for a music publishing
company and she met Fred. She introduced me to him. At the time, he had out
his first single, I think. I know I got a copy of it then, which I still have.
I probably have about 3-4 of his first singles and the albums. I was
struck by the majesty of his voice and just loved to listen to him sing and
play his guitar. He was consumed at the time by a love for Hank Williams.
He sang “Rambling Man” over and over those days. He also sang some of the
songs he had written which later turned up on some of his albums. I know he
was producing demos for some music publishers at the time, but the details
escape me. I don’t know whether he was performing live anywhere. I just
heard him sing in his living room! He and my friend Elaine got married.
They had a son named Kenny who now lives somewhere in California. He has a
young daughter, Fred’s granddaughter. Fred was in a bad place and his
marriage soured. I only saw him once after that and he did not know who I
was. He was performing at a club in Greenwich Village and I went with a
friend who really liked Fred’s music, another Jerry Lee Lewis fan. Fred was
in poor shape, broke strings, didn’t finish songs, and left the stage before
the set was over. I was really disappointed. I never saw him again. But I
bought his records, 3 or 4 albums. I never kept in touch, unfortunately,
because now I see from your site that a lot was going on that would have
fascinated me. I think Fred may have aspired to go to Sun Records or to
Nashville, but I don’t think he ever did. The “big time” was not the bag he
was in! Most prominent in my memory is Fred’s resonant voice.

I wish I’d stayed in touch with him….

Best,
Kay