Smokey Joe Baugh

The SUN recordings
About Joe Baugh

Smokey Joe Baugh (from cover SUN LP1021)


[August 25, 2004]

I played the LP SUN 1021 and it brought back a lot of good memories.
I was born and raised in Memphis and Smokey Joe Baugh was a childhood friend. He and his family lived across the street from us and he learned to play on our family piano when he was about 11 years old. I made contact with his brother George in Memphis recently. George was Elvis' security guard for many years before and after death. It was the first time in 50 years we have made contact. Johnny (the younger brother) was my best friend. George told me that Smokey Joe was robbed and killed in Salinas, California in about 1999. I was so sad that I didn't contact them sooner, because I've driven by there many times over the years. That's when I started looking him up on the internet and found that he recorded these records in the 50's. His brothers didn't have any either.

[August 30, 2004]

I just got off the telephone from talking with Smokey Joe's brother George in Memphis. He said they don't have any family picture's. Their mother died in Salinas, CA and she had them. Nobody knows what happened to them. He is going to send me a book from Sun Studios that has pictures and stories including Smokey Joe with Elvis etc. I ask him about what you told me about the Throat injury that gave Joe his gravel voice. He didn't know anything about it. The family was separated many times for long periods. He said it wasn't always like that. Joe had no formal education because he would skip school often and eventually quit altogether. He was a rolling stone. He would take off for months at a time. He also said that everybody like Joe (Joseph). He would perform anytime for anybody. I remember when I was a small boy that I loved Boogie Woogie. My mother had all of the 78's of the 40's. I played them all the time. I would beg Joe to play Boogie Woogie on our piano and he would make it smoke. He would mow our lawn for pocket money and would take a lot of breaks to play and have a cold drink of ice tea. He was my first hero.
I had read something on the internet about if Jerry Lee Lewis hadn't showed up at Sun Studios that Joe could have been made famous by Sam Phillips. I will look through some of the material I printed out about Joe and send you the webpages. Some of them you might not have seen. I am a big fan of Bill Black too.


[December 18, 2004]

I looked through my old pictures and found some of the Baugh family. I have only one of Smokey Joe Baugh. It is a 1944 school picture. I made a copy and will sent it to you by regular mail. This is how I knew him best when we were growing up together. It is also when he started to play our piano every chance he got. He had natural musical talent and could play any kind of music by ear.

I just made contact by phone with Bobbi Holobaugh (Buddy Holobaugh's widow). Joe and Buddy formed "The Midnight Cowboys" in Waco, Texas.
She had only good things to say about Smokey and the nice things he did for people. She didn't know what happened to Smokey after he left Waco for Salinas, CA. She had heard a rumor that he married a lady with money.

Earl Dodson (USA)