Dues-paying is a many splendor thing. Any ten sets a night boogie band worth their salt has tales of having to shelve a cherished original because a drunken regular in the front row will use your face for an ash tray if he
doesn’t hear “Louie Louie.” Ditto the San Francisco acid casualty whose crys of “play Iron Man!” disrupt the best intentions of a budding reggae band.
Both examples, however, pale at the prospect of being warm up fodder for Perry Como to an audience of Vegas straights who, after untold hours of cold dice and even colder women, are ready to extract a pound of flesh if not shown a good time. Such was the situation with Jimmy Pakala and Larry Meredith and so it is with little wonder that their initial dip into the well of popular music holds no terrors for them.
Their initial recorded effort, “PakalaMeredith,” does a complete 180 from the glittery lounge mold that the two singer/songwriters were often forced into. Their Rightous Brothers vocal shadings do wonders to a mixture of
blues/gospel/pop songs with much evidence shown that the pair can indeed make happy music. But this tale of possible music fame is anything but a Schwabs number. There was a lot going on before, during and after the
Vegas trip. And it goes something like this.
True to his Bakersfield upbringing, the first word out of Larry Meredith’s mouth (after mommy and daddy of course) was music.. As a child Larry went the classical music route but later returned to the earth, eventually doing time in both Buck Owen’s and Merle Haggard’s backing bands.
Jimmy Pakala, a Memphis by-product, also started out a musical longhair, showing much dexterity as a classical pianist. It was this mastery of the eight-eights that brought Jimmy his first exposure via The Ted Mack Amateur Hour and a sterling rendition of “Blue Skies.” While at Memphis University he furthered his musical education in various southern troupes. But the Horace Greeley in Jimmy soon surfaced as an invite to join a