Area Code 615 - the recording of the Eponymous first LP

Here are Ken Lauber's reminiscences on the recording of his first album and the Area Code 615 sessions which followed, done with some of the absolute top Nashville session men of the day.

"I first got involved with the AC615 project before there was an AC615. We all recorded together as part of my first solo album on Polydor Records, "Ken Lauber Contemplation View". We called ourselves, The Gray Speckeled Bird Band. Bob Dylan had worked with some of the guys on his Nashville Skyline album six months before and suggested that I work with them on my album. We cut my album in three days and then formed 615 and cut those tracks in about a week."

"We recorded at a studio that was in Wayne Moss's aunt Lucy's backyard. Aunt Lucy baked these great apple pies which we downed after each final take. It was an 8 track studio which we thought at the time sounded real good. Mac Gayden took some real nice 'Steve Cropper' type solos on my album which made me think of Otis Redding. Weldon Myrick's steel playing was like a classical orchestra on moonshine. Charlie McCoy's harp playing never sounded better, Dylan said. All of the guys, Pete Wade on dobro and rhythm gtr, and of course Kenny Buttrey, added something to my album that really hasn't been heard since. A kind of arranged jam type back up which later became the 615 format. Buttrey really did most of the arranging right from the drums. He always did that on sessions. Probably the only real band leader/ arranger, as a drummer, that Nashville ever knew. Those were the real good times in Nashville. Kristofferson, Baez, Neil Young, Micky Newberry, Jerry Jeff Walker all cutting week after week with this great bunch of musicians who could catch bass (the fish)as well as they could play music... There's never been a studio band out of Nashville that has had as many hits, with such a diverse list of artists to their credit. I wish them a long life as they will always have a part of my heart. AC615 was really a musician produced album."

A fairly comprehensive list of those involved goes as follows;
Elliot Mazer - Producer
Ken Lauber - Keyboards
Kenny Buttrey - Drums/Arranging
McGavock (Mac) Gayden - Guitar
Weldon Myrick - Pedal Steel
Charlie McCoy - Harmonica
Pete Wade - Dobro
Wayne Moss - Bass/Guitar
Norbert Putnam - Bass
Bobby Thompson - Banjo
Buddy Spicher - Fiddle
David Briggs - Keyboards

So what else have these guys gone on to do? (This list is not yet so comprehensive, give me time)
Elliot Mazer - Co-produced the following songs on Neil Young's classic album 'Harvest':
Harvest, Heart Of Gold, Are You Ready For The Country, Old Man, Alabama, Words.
(This is impressive as Alabama and Words are two of my absolute favourite sounding tracks ever)

Ken Lauber - Many TV, Film soundtracks and plays, one of the latest being the soundtrack score to the documentary film "In search of Kundun with Martin Scorsese'.

Kenny Buttrey - Drums on Neil Young's 'Harvest' and 'Tonights the Night' as part of the 'Stray Gators' rhythm section. Co-founder 'Barefoot Jerry'.

Mac Gaydon - A ridiculously long session recording career with many highlights such as sessions with J.J. Cale, Bob Dylan, Elvis, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Tim Hardin. Co-founder of 'Barefoot Jerry'. Solo albums - 'McGavock Gayden' (EMI), 'Skyboat', Hymm to the Seeker (Both MCA). Latest solo album 'Nirvana Blues'. Lots of stuff available from

Weldon Myrick - Weldon's soaring pedal steel playing is a real highlight of AC615. I must seek out some more about his track record, or should that be record track?

Charlie McCoy - Co-founder 'Barefoot Jerry'.

Pete Wade - sessions.

Wayne Moss - Co-founder 'Barefoot Jerry'. Played on Buffy Sainte-Marie's 'I'm Gonna be a Country Girl Again' album on Vanguard. The title track is one I've played several times at Ron's Pub 'The Lake Lothing' in Lowestoft. Because we just had it on MIDI I never knew before researching this piece who did this song originally. Between these guys there's a helluva lot of music.

Bobby Thompson - Details are sketchy on what he's done since, however he was in on the genesis of the AC615 personnel, - playing on Monkee Mike Nesmith's sessions at RCA's Nashville studio which included the song 'Good Clean Fun'. The other people present who would go on to be involved with AC615 included Buddy Spicher and Charlie McCoy see

McCoy and Buttrey wrote the theme to the BBC rock programme 'The Old Grey Whistle Test', an instrumental called 'Stone Fox Chase'.

Mcoy, Moss, Spicher, Thompson played on Steve Miller's album 'Number 5'.

Moss, Buttrey, Putnam, Briggs, McCoy all appeared on Buffy Saint-Maries 'Moonshot'.

Oh and here's a quick list of what some of them did BEFORE AC615;

Bob Dylan's 'Blonde on Blonde' - Charlie McCoy - guitar/bass/harmonica/trumpet; Wayne Moss - guitar; Kenny Buttrey - Drums,