Ray Stinnett

Ray Stinnett

Born in Memphis in 1944, Ray got his first guitar, aged 12, from Nathan Novak’s pawn shop, where Elvis got his first guitar.

Before long, he was putting the plan into action, playing nightly at honkytonks, roadhouses, beer joints, nightclubs and the many Memphis recording studios. He achieved his promise with Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs – Wooly Bully was the number one se


elling record of 1965. At 21, Stinnett was living a life of world tours and screaming fans – the whole mania. The wheels fell off a year later, amid managerial disputes. The four Pharaohs parted ways with Sam.

By 1967, the summer of love, Ray left for Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, taking up residence
at the legendary Morning Star Ranch, where Ray focused on finding his true voice. Returning to
Memphis a year later, Ray formed a working friendship with Booker T. Jones. Eventually, when Jones moved to Malibu and took a contract with A&M, he lined up a deal for his old friend.

Still working in Memphis with (old) friends Jerry Paterson and Mike Plunk on bass, along with
Booker T. and co-mixer/engineer Richard Rosebrough (Chris Bell, Big Star), Ray channelled his experiences in the pop machine, at Morningstar and beyond into the songs that would become A Fire Somewhere. It funnelled the vast experiences of this pop star, cosmic traveller and grounded, loving father.

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