|Jerry Lott a.k.a. The Phantom
Jerry Lott a.k.a. The Phantom was born near Mobile, Alabama in 1938 and moved to Leaksville, Mississippi during infancy. He played country music until 1956 when Elvis Presley turned his head around. "Love me", recorded in Mobile in the summer of 1958, is one of those rare, lusty explosions which crackle with more energy than the national grid.
"I'd worked three months on the other side of the record", he told Derek Glenister. "Somebody said, 'what you gonna put on the flip-side' I hadn't even thought about it. Someone suggested I wrote something like Elvis 'cause he was just a little on the wane and everybody was beginning to turn against rock 'n' roll. They said, 'See if you spark rock 'n' roll a little bit'... so that's when I put all the fire and fury I could utter into it. I was satisfied with the first take, but everybody said, 'let's try it one more time'. I didn't yell on the first take, but I yelled on the second, and blew one of the controls off the wall."
The second take of "Love me" can be found on Bear Family's "That'll flat git it!" series, volume 5. The first take apeared on "Cotton Pickin' Rock" (Anchor) in 1978.
"I'm telling ya", Lott continued, "it was wild. The drummer lost one of his sticks, the piano player screamed and knocked his stool over, the guitar player's glasses were hanging sideways over his eyes."
Lott took the master to Hollywood. On a Satanic impulse, he followed Pat Boone to church and persuaded him to listen to the tape.The devil was surely working overtime that Sunday. It was Boone's idea to call Lott "The Phantom" and he even agreed to issue the record on his own label, Cooga Mooga (an euphemisme for God, as in Great Cooga Mooga). In the event, Lott signed a contract with Boone's management and never met anyone at Dot, who finally released "Love me" in 1960.
In 1966 this screaming bundle of testosterone sustained paralytically severe injuries when a car in which he was travelling tumbled 600 feet down a mountainside near Spartanburg, South Carolina. There were no more records on Dot or Cooga Mooga (although a mediocre fragment has surfaced on a White Label collection).
Notes on "Love me":
Jerry Lott (The Phantom) - Vocals
The story continues...
Thanks to Derek Glenister, who did the Jerry Lott interview for New Commotion in 1980, and to Bear Family for re-issueing this great raunchy rockabilly song.