ON THE ROAD WITH BILL and SUE-ON HILLMAN
A 50-Year Musical Journey
PHOTO ARCHIVE: POSTER MOSAICS

Intro | Early/40s/50s | Early Years/60s | 70s Decade | UK | 80s and 90s | 21st Century | Sue-On | Roots | Gigs

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ROOTS and INFLUENCES
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More at
The Roots Chapter of our online
HILLMAN MUSICAL ODYSSEY BOOK
ROOTS



 

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ON STAGE ROOTS
Some of our favourite Musical Influences
That we've seen on stage . . .  we even shared a stage with some of them.
www.hillmanweb.com/book/roots/onstage








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ROOTS & INFLUENCES I
TWO WORLDS : Born a World Apart
Rural Manitoba ~ Southern China and Hong Kong

CHINA SONG | CHINA LADY

Music Influences ~ Courting Years ~ 1966 Wedding
Developing act in local pubs ~ TV ~ First Recordings ~ USA Stage
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Bill Hillman Early Years: 
www.hillmanweb.com/h100.html
www.hillmanweb.com/h101.html
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Sue-On Choy Early Years: 
www.hillmanweb.com/princess.html
www.hillmanweb.com/soos
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EARLY "ROOTS" YEARS : INFLUENCES
ELVIS EARLY YEARS 1954-1956
THE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE
Shreveport Municipal Auditorium ~ Louisiana

LOUISIANA STOMP  |  MISSISSIPPI TRIPPER

* Auditorium Today ~ Elvis and James Burton Statues
* The Interior Hallways showcase portraits of 
the Hayride stars by artist Jerry Harris
* Artist IDs are featured on the Webpage at:
www.hillmanweb.com/elvis/hayride/elvis1all.html
Part of our Elvis Tribute: www.hillmanweb.com/elvis
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EARLY "ROOTS" YEARS : INFLUENCES
CKY's HAL LONE PINE - BETTY CODY SHOW
BEND THEATRE ~ STRATHCLAIR ~ 1950s
with Ray St. Germain, Lenny Breau, Jack Paget and a sister singing duo.

KENTUCKIAN SONG   |  WORKIN' FOR THE MAN

* This entertaining show featuring stars from Winnipeg's CKY radio show 
was a major event in my formative years.

* Three of my main obsessions at that time were rock 'n' roll, Elvis and guitar.
* Ray's Elvis act was right on and
* Lenny's Chet Atkins licks on his Gretsch were incredible.
* More photos on our www.hillmanweb.com site at BEND

 
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WEB REFS AT hillmanweb.com:

ROOTS I
SUN'S MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
SUN STUDIO AND MUSEUM
ELVIS' GRACELAND
JOHNNY CASH'S TENNESSEE 3 TODAY
THE JOHNNY CASH CONNECTION
EARLY "ROOTS" YEARS : INFLUENCES
OUR MEMPHIS SUN STUDIO CONNECTION

SWEET DREAMS / BORN TO LOSE  |  GLORY LAND
* I discovered Sun Rockabilly in 1954 via the late night radio signals beamed from Memphis radio stations and WSM Nashville.

* The Sun artists from Memphis have been a major influence and led to an appreciation of many other Southern influenced musical genres: blues, gospel, rock, bluegrass, skiffle, folk, etc.

* I first met Johnny Cash after a Brandon Arena show in the '50s and even had a 15-minute backstage guitar lesson from Luther Perkins. (I was a starry-eyed beginner on guitar).

* Since then we've attended shows by all the major Sun artists: Elvis, Carl, Jerry Lee, Roy, and Johnny -- and have made numerous visits to Graceland, Sun Studios, and the Opry.

* In the '60s we even performed for Johnny and June and their entire entourage in Brandon's Prince Edward Hotel ballroom -- a local service club hired us to do a series of after-show parties for all the major acts that came to the Wheat City.

* Over the years, we've also performed with many of the Grand Ole Opry performers, who regaled us with wonderful stories of touring with Elvis and all the Sun artists in the early days.

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EARLY "ROOTS" YEARS : INFLUENCES
OUR MEMPHIS SUN STUDIO CONNECTION II

THE MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
Elvis Presley (piano/guitar) ~ Jerry Lee Lewis (piano) 
 Carl Perkins (guitar) ~ Johnny Cash ~ (Drums by Fluke Holland)
The Million Dollar Quartet
is the name given to recordings made on 
Tuesday December 4, 1956
in the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee
SUN'S MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
More Hillman Archives: ROOTS I | SUN STUDIO AND MUSEUM
ELVIS' GRACELAND | JOHNNY CASH'S TENNESSEE 3 TODAY
THE JOHNNY CASH CONNECTION

MY FAVOURITE ELVIS ALBUMS
www.hillmanweb.com/elvis

FULL SIZE COLLAGES
http://www.hillmanweb.com/cards/elvisall.jpg

http://www.hillmanweb.com/cards/sun2all.jpg

GLADYS PRESLEY PHOTO GALLERIES..

GLADYS PRESLEY PHOTO COLLAGES.


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EARLY "ROOTS" YEARS : INFLUENCES
NASHVILLE STARS REMEMBERED

MAMA TRIED | OLD JED CLARK
* Radio Broadcasts in the '50s and '60s were a powerful influence.
* Many hours were spent surfing the radio dial 
     searching for the latest rock 'n' roll and C/W hits. 
* Special faourites were the broadcasts from Memphis and Nashville.
* Saturday night was Grand Ole Opry time from the Ryman.
* We never dreamed that in a few years 
     we would be sharing a stage with many of these performers.
* Sadly, a great many of these artists are no longer with us.
* Featured here are almost 50 photos of the 
     final resting places of some of these Southern performers.
www.hillmanweb.com/odyssey1
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 "ROOTS" YEARS : INFLUENCES
TEN GUITARS 
THAT CHANGED MUSIC FOREVER
Chosen by Randy Bachman ~ CBC Music Series

Hillman Personal Favourites:
www.hillmanweb.com/guitars

APACHE

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1960s
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Reference Pages: hillmanweb.com

Meet the Ventures On and Off Stage
View Ventures Classic Album Covers
Visit our Vintage Mosrite Site
Live Performances on YouTube
HILLMANS PLAY APACHE: 1971
MEETING WITH THE VENTURES 50 YEARS LATER
50th Anniversary Show at McPhillips Station Casino
Winnipeg ~ January 17, 2011

APACHE  |  TAMMY
* In the early '60s we were the house band at the Brandon Roller Rink. We had a chance to meet and perform with many top acts: Rockin' Conway Twitty with Al Bruno on guitar, Elvis's Memphis buddies Johnny and Dorsey Burnette, top Blues acts, Chad Allan and the Reflections, the Fireballs . . . and the VENTURES.

* Those were the days before we did many vocals and we often played guitar instrumentals for the whole gig. . . which led me on a constant search for guitar records:  Ventures, Shadows, Fireballs, Duane Eddy, Chet Atkins, Wes Dakus, Champs, Lonnie Mack, Link Wray, Spotnicks, and many one-hit wonders such as Jorgen Ingmann, String-A-Longs, Surfaris, Chantays, Rebels, Tornadoes, Pyramids, et al. I went so far as to import all the Shadows records from England and the band worked out synchronized steps to accompany the tunes.

* It was great to have the chance to meet again with the two surviving members of the original Ventures that influenced so many guitarists through so many decades.


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CKY CAVALCADE OF STARS 1964
Winnipeg Auditorium

LET IT BE ME | JOHNNY B. GOOD

* Opening Act: Brandon's Dovermen
* The Newbeats
* Roger Miller
* Everly Brothers
Our band, the Dovermen opened the show and backed the Newbeats 
after only a quick backstage rehearsal
The Band: 
Bill Hillman | Warren Hannah | DelKeith Dubbin | John Bishop
www.hillmanweb.com/h203.html


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BOBBY CURTOLA WINTER TOUR - 1964-1965
WITH BRANDON'S DOVERMEN

PROMISED LAND | ROCK MEDLEY

A few scrapbook items from our Dovermen Western Canada tour with Bobby Curtola in '64/'65.
Photos here were from Portage. 
THE DOVERMEN:
Bill Hillman | Warren Hannay | Delkeith Dubbin | John Bishop . . .
More of our Curtola photos and memories at:
http://www.hillmanweb.com/curtola
and
www.hillmanweb.com/hbc1.html


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THE COUNTRY GENTLEMEN YEARS : 1962-1966

CAJUN CHILD  | HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT
During my Brandon College years I played in quite a variety of bands: Rock, C/W, Old time, Jazz Combos, folk, but the longest lasting and best known was the Country Gentlemen. Barry Forman and I brought in numerous band line-ups and later did quite number of shows with Russ Gurr. We played a multitude of dances, pubs, car shows, live Provincial Exhibition broadcasts, Co-Op Neighbour Nights, barn dances, fairs, rodeos, military bases, etc. We also had numerous CKX TV and Radio Shows, including live daily noon shows and weekly half hours. 

After Sue-On and I were married in 1966, she decided she didn't want to be a stay-at-home musician's wife . . . so we worked up an act and she joined the group - necessitating a name change: THE WESTERN UNION


Reference Pages: 
www.hillmanweb.com/h201.html | www.hillmanweb.com/h201a.html
www.hillmanweb.com/russgurr | www.hillmanweb.com/forman | www.hillmanweb.com
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HILLMAN GIG NOTES ARCHIVE
THE BAR WARS

GOODTIME JAMBOREE  |  LADY LUCK
Songbird of the North
For some time before we moved into Brandon to finish our university degrees we had been driving in to play the beverage room in the Cecil Hotel. Our move to the city coincided with all the city's hotel beverage rooms decision to hire bands... and strippers. We have the distinction of being the first Brandon band to supply live musical accompaniment for exotic dancers. At that time most of the girls were imported from fairly classy clubs in Europe, and tourist towns like Vegas -- some were quite well educated and all were entertaining. A popular stripper at the Cecil Hotel Beverage Room was called Frenchie. In 1968 her act consisted of bathing in a transparent plexiglass tub that we had to maneuver onto our stage during each of our breaks.  The splashing water was an occupational hazard. She had recently had silicone injections into her breasts, but things had gone wrong as one hung far below the other. She swore she was only going to perform long enough to earn money marry her Mormon boyfriend. The most popular song in her act song was Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl during which she invited a few lucky guys up to scrub her back. Management was impressed with Sue-On's vocals and one night billed her on a poster alongside the stripper ad, as "The Songbird of the North" Sue-On was so embarrassed by this that she made them take down all the posters.
Viking Strippers
The elaborate stage for the unique Brandon Inn beverage room/pub/bar was built like a Viking Ship. In 1967, our newly-formed Western Union band had the experience of introducing and providing "bump and grind" music for the first stripper to appear in Brandon - Desiree from Europe. This was around the time that Sue-On added a stand-up drum kit to our stage act and it was quite an experience learning stripper beats. The crowd went wild and this marked the beginning of a long line of exotic dancers that we backed between our regular music sets. All this was an entertaining way to work our way through college. Our routine was the same for most days. Classes through the day. Supper. Study and work on assignments for next day's classes. Rush to one of the pubs where our equipment stayed set up for a week. Play our music, but having to stay on stage during our breaks to back the strippers. Hit the sack around 2 am and up in time for 8:30 classes next morning. In spite of this strange schedule we both managed to earn our degrees -- and I was even awarded a Silver Medal.
Sweatin' with Thumbelina and Trans
By Fall 1969 we were working our way through college by a rotating schedule in which we appeared in every Brandon bar for a week at a time. Almost every hotel now featured a stripper along with the band. It seemed that each girl tried to outdo the others with a more outrageous act. One was a 300 pound gal called Thumbelina. The night before she had overflowed the water in her bathtup in the hotel room above the stage so that the ceiling tiles above the stage were all soggy and darkened and the water had dripped onto the stage carpeting. She had trouble finding room on our small Beaubier Hotel stage which resulted in our amps and instruments being knocked over. Since she sweated profusely, she would constantly cover herself with baby powder which got onto our instruments and costumes. . . and "muddied" the still-wet stage carpeting. Another unusual one was a transvestite. . . strange seeing an exotic dancer with no waist or hips. . . and with a prominent adams apple.
A "Drop Dead" Act
By 1970 the Beaubier started to bring in Winnipeg bands occasionally, including one featuring Randy Bachman's brother, Gary, on bass. But since we were the only act featuring a Chinese girl singer/drummer and a fiddle, we were very popular. The audience would send constant rounds of drinks and tips. One night, after leaving a generous $20 tip for Sue-On on the stage, an elderly customer went to the washroom and had a heart attack. We continued to play while the ambulance drivers wheeled the poor man past us on a stretcher.
Stripper Can't Get It Off
After Sue-On and I had both earned our B.Ed degrees at Brandon University we returned home to Strathclair to teach. Sue-On commuted daily to Birtle for a few years where she taught high school courses. We attended one of their grad ceremonies, but there was time to kill between the supper and dance so we went to the local pub for a beer and coke (Sue-On doesn't drink). An "exotic dancer" provided the entertainment. When we had worked with such dancers years ago in Brandon most were experienced performers brought in from other countries. The trend now was to use local more inexperienced talent. The girl stepped to the one-foot-high little stage in a corner of the small beverage room. She was dressed in what was obviously an ill-fitting, home-made costume and she carried a small portable record player, which she set up at the rear of the stage. She had trouble placing the right record on the turntable and even more trouble placing the needle on record -- she was very nervous. The music finally started  and she went into her "exotic dance." But she had a great deal of trouble removing her clothes . . . the zippers stuck, and she eventually had to sit down on the edge of stage to remove her boots which also seemed stuck. When she resumed her awkward self-conscious dance the jiggling stage caused the record needle to jump. The audience made up of old-time barroom regulars got into the music and dance, however, and started to stomp and whoop. One old guy seated close to the stage, obviously a fiddle fan, played along with the music by stretching out his left arm while fingering and bowing an imaginary fiddle. The dancer thought he was making obscene gestures and told the management repeatedly to make him stop. The fiddling got even wilder. The dancer finally burst into tears and ran off the stage screaming all the way back to her room - clutching the few clothes that she had managed to remove during her abbreviated act. We sneaked out and returned to the school where the audience and procedings were much more sedate. . . but not nearly as much fun.
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THE FEDERAL GRAIN TRAIN YEARS 1966-1973
ON STAGE AND TOUR
with
RUSS GURR AND THE WESTERN UNION

MUDDY MISSISSIPPI LINE  |  THE FRENCH SONG

Russ Gurr ~ Bill and Sue-On ~ Barry Forman
Jake Kroeger ~ Kerry Morris ~ John Skinner
In every summer during the '60s and early '70s we kept our calendar free of our regular bookings on military bases, TV, pubs, arena dances, etc. so that we could go on Western Canada tours for the Federal Grain Co. They supplied a motor home, vehicles, and a portable stage which also folded down to form a parade float. We played major fairs and exhibitions across the four Western provinces. The audiences were huge and we enjoyed the experience of meeting with a wonderful variety of grandstand performers and carnies.
 www.hillmanweb.com/russgurr | www.hillmanweb.com/forman
www.hillmanweb.com/odyssey1
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HILLMAN CAREER POSTERS
THROUGH OVER 5 DECADES
A Sampling from 1962 -Present
SWINGING '60s: Community Clubs ~ High Schools ~ Barn Dances ~ 
TV ~ Riverside and Other Dance Halls ~ Winnipeg 
1970s - 2000s: Fairs ~ Kenora Arena ~ Thunder Valley Black Powder
 Festivals ~ Exhibitions ~ Tours ~ Bobby Curtola Sock Hops
CANADA: CFB Bases ~ TV ~ Tours ~ Arenas ~ Corporate Parties
USA: Grandstands ~ Rodeos ~ Exhibitions
UK: Working Man Clubs ~ Studios ~ Br. Legions ~ Military Bases

SAIL ON 747 ~ REELIN' IN SOHO ~ MONTANA
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American Studios Plaque ~ Ringo Starr ~ Bill Black Combo ~ Petula Clark ~ " The Memphis Boys"
Jerry Lee Lewis ~ Sam Phillips ~ Carl Perkins ~ Country Music Hall of Fame ~ Elvis ~ George Klein
Roy Hamilton ~ Roy Orbison ~ Johnny Cash ~ Mac Davis ~ Tony Joe White ~ Burnett Brothers


PAUL McCARTNEY: 75 FRIENDS


CHET ATKINS
www.hillmanweb.com/music/chet


PHOTO ARCHIVE: MUSIC CARDS AND POSTERS

Intro | Early/40s/50s | Early Years/60s | 70s Decade | UK | 80s and 90s | 21st Century | Sue-On | Roots | Gigs

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BILL AND SUE-ON HILLMAN