"Billy Lee Riley ... one of the greatest original Sun Recordings artists, peacefully passed away on Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 at 5:20 am. His family was at his bedside. Funeral arrangements are pending."Read the rest at the link. There is already a star-studded memorial show planned in Newport, Arkansas on August 30. It's a two-hour drive from Memphis.
BILLY LEE RILEY MEMORIAL BENEFIT SHOW: Sunday, August 30th. Newport, Arkansas at the Silver Moon Club, located on 167 Highway, North of the Rock and Roll Highway. The show will start at 1 pm. Scheduled to appear: Sonny Burgess and the Pacers, WS Holland and his band, Travis Wammack, Carl Mann, Smoochy Smith, Ace Cannon and his band, Jr Rogers, Warren Crow, JM VanEaton, Dale Hawkins, CW Gattin, Teddy Reidel, Jeannie and the Guys, Matt - Jim & Tim the Blues Bros. Band, Teddy Hill, Larry Donn - Contact: Rapidbc1@aol.comHere's Billy Lee's bio on Wikipedia. Others will present you with videos of his best-known stuff, but I'll share an obscure track I ran across on Napster years ago of Billy Lee singing a clever vocal to Bill Justis' seminal hit instrumental "College Man," now available on Rhapsody. Scroll down to the highlighted track and press the play button; and listen to any of the other original recordings on the album. I got to tell Billy Lee one night that this track had seen the light of day. He was pleased. Here's a picture taken in Memphis last year by local real estate magnate Joe Spake, Jim Spake's brother:
UPDATE: There will not be any visitation. Graveside services will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday, August 5th at Walnut Grove Cemetery in Newport, Arkansas.
Click this link for a picture of the cemetery entrance in Google street view. Then click the X in the upper right corner of the street view to get the street map and back out with the minus sign until you see where it is relative to Memphis and beyond. Or just work with the map below:
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UPDATE: In case you missed the show, here's a souvenir: