I have been humming this song all day and it was originally a hit for Antoine “Fats” Domino in 1960, but in 1967 a very determined man decided to record it.
Jerry went to Memphis, paid $12 for the recording session, $10 an hour for studio time, and $2 for a box of tape. He sounded a little like Fats, but was able to make it his own.
My Girl, Josephine – Hi #2120/June 1967
I really love this story, so to be accurate, I looked up some information.
‘We did the song in one take because we’d been covering it so much on club dates we played. I said to Roland, ‘There’s just three people on here and when I take the guitar ride in the middle of the song, it’s gonna be empty’. He replied ‘Let’s get to it and we’ll see’. So I did the thing and I had reverb on my amp to make it sound a little better and when we go to the guitar ride, Roland jumped up and jammed some reverb through the board in the studio and there was a squeal, a clash. We didn’t pay no attention to it until the mix at the end and I said, ‘Roland, what’s that squeal in there?’. He said, ‘I guess it came through the board when I turned the reverb up’. I said, ‘We need to take that out, don’t we?’ He laughed and responded ‘Nah just leave it in there, it sounds all right’. As events turned out, I guess he was right!’
500 copies of the single were pressed on Jaye’s own Connie label, still bearing the title ‘ Hello Josephine‘, and when these had very quickly nearly sold out, Jerry took 25 copies of the disc to Joe Cuoghi who, apart from running Hi Records, owned Popular Tunes (the leading record store in Memphis) and from where he operated a jukebox supply service and One Stop. These were passed out to various radio stations including Hal Suit at WMC in Memphis who made the disc his pick of the week. The record was hot and still heating.
All of a sudden they got to ordering records from me through the club where I was working but it was the ‘Josephine’ song they were asking for. It wasn’t long before I’d sold nearly all the 500 copies.
None of this was lost on the enterprising Cuoghi who wrote to Jerry suggesting that as the record was starting break, he may care to visit Hi Records to discuss a deal. The same day that the letter dropped into Jerry’s mailbox, Joe Cuoghi and fellow Hi Records luminary Ray Harris (the ex Sun label rocker) arrived on his doorstep and offered to purchase the record outright for $100,000. Jaye was a business-man and declined.
‘$100,000 was quite a bit of money to me in those days but I told him ‘No. I’m still selling those things I could do better than that by just pressing another 500 copies and selling them to jukebox operators. Of course at the time, I didn’t know that I was talking to one of the biggest operators in the business!’
After negotiations, the three agreed that ownership of the single would pass to Hi Records in return for a contract as a Hi recording artist together with standard royalties:
And a little Bio:
Jerry Jaye (born October 19, 1937 in Manila, Arkansas) is an American country/rockabilly singer.
Jaye grew up on a sharecropper’s farm and did a stint in the Navy from 1954 to 1958. After his return he started a band with bassist Tommy Baker and drummer Carl Fry, who began playing the local Arkansas circuits. In 1966, the group traveled to Memphis, Tennessee and recorded a single, “My Girl Josephine” (a hit for Fats Domino the previous decade). The single was initially released in a press run of 500; Jaye shopped the disc to local radio stations, and as the tune began getting airplay, Jaye signed a contract with Hi Records for national distribution. Re-released in 1967, “My Girl Josephine” became a hit single in the US, peaking at #29 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. A full-length LP, My Girl Josephine, followed, which hit #195 in the US,but four further singles from the album failed to make an impact on the charts. During this time Jaye toured with Booker T and the MGs and Lou Rawls among others.
Jaye left Hi Records in 1970 and began recording new material for Nashville’s Mega/Raintree. 7 singles were released, some of which found regional success. Between 1974 and 1975 he sang lead with the Bill Black Combo after its founder’s death.
In 1975, Jaye signed with Columbia Records, first releasing a cover of Tommy Edwards’s “It’s All in the Game“. This was followed by two further US Country hits (again with Hi Records) in 1976, “Honky Tonk Women Love Redneck Men” (US Country #32) and “Hot and Still Heatin’ (US Country #78).
In 1979 he left Hi again, and began touring the American South with his wife Darlene Battles. Together they released an album on Bejay Records in 1984.
Jaye toured Sweden and England in the 1990s, and released another album, One More Time, in 2005 (wikipedia)