LATEST BLOG POSTS

Rock of Ages: Tracing the Roots of the Tulsa Sound

By Teresa Knox | November 26, 2019

By JOHN WOOLEY As nearly as anyone can tell, the Tulsa area first started rocking to live local guys back in early 1956, when Gene Crose put together a little group and played the rockabilly tunes “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Baby, Let’s Play House” and “I Forgot to Remember to Forget” for the Cadet Capers show at Oklahoma Military Academy in Claremore, where he was enrolled. It wasn’t long before he’d picked up a new band and begun doing Tulsa engagements. According to a new poster, “Pioneers of the Tulsa Sound” (available from Janine Stovall at the Paperwork Company, 369-1014), the…

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Rock of Ages: Making Waves

By Teresa Knox | October 6, 2019

By JOHN WOOLEY MTV wasn’t even a gleam in an executive’s eye when Tulsa’s first wave of rock ‘n’ rollers hit. In fact, “Where the Action Is,” that fondly remembered Dick Clark-produced daily TV show, didn’t come along for almost a decade. Even the granddaddy of them all, Clark’s “American Bandstand,” didn’t go national until ’57. So it’s hard to conceive how huge a force radio was in spreading early rock ‘n’ roll across our country, our state and our city. In the case of Tulsa, it wasn’t just local radio that got our teens pumped on this strange new…

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The Church Studio Welcomes Oklahoma State University Music Intern

By Teresa Knox | August 13, 2019

Get to know Student Sadie Kane in her first Blog Post BY: Sadie Kane When I first contacted The Church Studio, I had no knowledge of the history that lies within the walls of the old building. I was unaware of the legendary musicians that had filled the historic chapel with their music that would eventually create a brand for the city of Tulsa. Growing up in Oklahoma City, the only “homegrown” artists I had known about were the likes of Carrie Underwood and Garth Brooks. Even with the information I have on the artists of Oklahoma, I was unaware…

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Rock of Ages: The Race for Rock

By Teresa Knox | August 8, 2019

Tulsa’s early rockers were black and white, and no one cared – as long as the racial mixing was on the stage By JOHN WOOLEY “I’m tellin’ you, I didn’t know segregation back then — in the Flamingo Club for sure,” states multiple music hall of famer and bluesman Flash Terry. Terry worked in that north Tulsa venue both as a headliner and with the legendary Jimmy “Cry Cry” Hawkins throughout the ’50s. “If you were a musician or a music fan, you could come in there and sit down,” he said. “There wasn’t any discrimination. Not at the Flamingo. And we…

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Rock of Ages: ‘Rockin’ this Joint Tonite

By Teresa Knox | July 11, 2019

Gambling, drinking, guns and bombs — Tulsa’s rock ‘n’ roll gigs of the 1950s felt like Wild West shows By JOHN WOOLEY   Before rock ‘n’ roll exploded in the late ’50s, there weren’t many places in Tulsa where a talented kid could play in front of a crowd. Tommy Crook, who left rock ‘n’ roll to become the best-known solo guitarist in town, remembers. “The Ritz and the Rialto and the Orpheum (movie theaters) used to have these stage shows on Saturday afternoons and Saturday nights, in between movies,” he said. “They started out as talent shows, with the…

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Pamela Thompson Pickett: You Will Be Missed!

By Teresa Knox | June 17, 2019

By:  Ann Bell Nicholson Pam was born to parents, Eula Mae and Jeff Thompson. They were Tulsa residents. She was an only child. She was born on December 31, 1951 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Pam graduated from Bishop Kelley High School and then the University of Oklahoma. While a student in Norman OK, Pam joined a band called Sailor, her first professional singing job.  Upon her return to Tulsa after finishing college, Pam attended a gig I was doing and from the crowd, I could hear her beautiful singing following along with me. I invited her on stage where she shyly,…

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Rock of Ages: Birth of the Beat

By Lourdes Alcala | June 6, 2019

Rock ‘n’ Roll Rode into Tulsa on a ‘Mystery Train,’ and Local Teens Turned the Beat Around to Make Their Own Sound By JOHN WOOLEY     In the beginning Tulsa swung. But it did not rock. Then, onto our stages stepped Gene Crose, followed by Clyde Stacy and Bobby Taylor, Wally Wiggins and David Gates and Jack Dunham and Lucky Clark, Junior Markham and Tommy Rush, along with their friends and fellow musicians, some of whom would go on to significant careers in rock ‘n’ roll. A few would even become household names, although under different monikers. The bespectacled…

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2018: Year in Review

By Teresa Knox | January 10, 2019

Jan 2019 Newsletter Dear Friends, 2018 has been a year of growth, community and resilience for our organization. Our team has been busy with multiple projects, including the renovation of the historic Harwelden Mansion and the construction in Studio Row, which have all been equally demanding and challenging, yet extraordinarily worthwhile. Throughout the year, one thing became evident: we could not have done this without your outpouring support. Thank you for following our social media, purchasing merchandise, donating and attending our community events. Most importantly, thank you for embarking on this journey with us! Because of YOU, our network is…

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OKIES ON RECORD #1

By Teresa Knox | August 23, 2018

By Steve Todoroff We are starting a new monthly series here on the Church Studio Blog, where we will cover some of the early releases from the past where Oklahoma musicians appeared together in the studio, more often than not on other artist’s records. Starting us off is a popular rockabilly artist and songwriter from the late ‘50s/early ‘60s by the name of Johnny Burnette. In late 1958 Burnette signed a recording contract with Freedom Records, an offshoot of Liberty Records, where he released a string of singles under the Freedom Records label. By 1959, the Freedom label was shut…

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THE BILL DAVIS INTERVIEW

By Teresa Knox | June 22, 2018

By Steve Todoroff It’s a late September night at the Sunset Grill, a combination cafe/night club in Tulsa where eager fans begin to cram themselves around tables near the vicinity of the dance floor. As they mingle about, a party-like atmosphere maintains them until that moment the band squeezes onto the tiny stage and starts pumping out a beat that will somehow get everyone moving, though by show time there will hardly be room enough to breathe. Ace drummer David Teegarden takes the stage first, double checking his drum setup. He’s shortly followed by bass player Gary Cundiff, who likewise…

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