Reggie Young & The "Suspicious Minds" Guitar?

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by tonytrout, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. tonytrout

    tonytrout Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    43
    Posts:
    2,815
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2003
    Location:
    Brasstown/Murphy, NC
    I really didn't know where to place this question but here goes: I know that Reggie Young played on all of Elvis Presley's American Sound Studio sessions from January 13, 1969 - January 22, 1969 & February 17, 1969 - February 23, 1969 including the famous (and very familiar) opening to "Suspicious Minds" (a song which the writer, Mark James, had a "miss" with when he attempted to record the song in '68) but - it's also always been said by others (and admitted by Reggie, himself, on a radio show dedicated to those iconic Memphis sessions) that he played the intro on a Gibson Super 400 that had once belonged to Scotty Moore. He actually said that he played that guitar on nearly all of the songs (except "Kentucky Rain" - he played acoustic rhythm on that song and, no, Ronnie Milsap did not play on the song - that was Bobby Wood. Ronnie did do some overdubbing work but - didn't actually work with Elvis in the studio).

    Anyway.......where is that guitar today? Does Reggie still own it?
     
  2. tonytrout

    tonytrout Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    43
    Posts:
    2,815
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2003
    Location:
    Brasstown/Murphy, NC
    Here's an update about the "Suspicious Minds" guitar from the man, himself, Reggie Young via email and his lovely wife, Jenny Young, who can be seen in the "Waylon: Never Say Die - Live!" DVD:



    What sweet, sweet people that Reggie & his lovely wife, Jenny, are for replying to my email recently!! It actually shocked me that I got a reply back. As you can imagine, that earned Reggie a bunch more brownie points. LOL!!!
     
    Chip, Stubee, xafinity and 7 others like this.
  3. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    4,465
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Gifted and gracious! All too rare. What a gentleman
     
  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    71,814
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    Very cool!
    Reggie is truly one of my biggest guitar heroes.
    The man serves the song, like no other, IMO.
    Thanks!
     
    waymore, boris bubbanov and Ricky D. like this.
  5. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    19,178
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    What a wonderful surprise to get a personal email answer to your question! I think there are plenty of our guitar heros that care deeply for their fans...

    Good for you, Tony!
     
  6. tonytrout

    tonytrout Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    43
    Posts:
    2,815
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2003
    Location:
    Brasstown/Murphy, NC
    Thanks, fellas. I really just wanted to ask Reggie about the Gibson Super 400 CES that Reggie used on most of those iconic Memphis sessions with Elvis but - I got wound up when I started telling him how big of an Elvis fan I am. LOL!!

    Still, getting that email reply was absolutely very sweet of both Jenny & Reggie. Definitely CLASS with a capital "C"!!
     
    Chip and brookdalebill like this.
  7. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    23,351
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    R.I.P. 2019
    My question is, "How do you play that opening guitar line?" Flat pick? Fingers? I've never tried to figure it out, but I've always kind of wondered about it.
     
  8. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    71,814
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    Though I'm no RY, I just use my fingers.
    The lounge act I play in does SM all the time.
    Maybe there is a YouTube tutorial.
     
  9. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    23,351
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    R.I.P. 2019
    I'll take a look on YT when I get a chance. Good suggestion.
     
    brookdalebill likes this.
  10. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    16,213
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    That's so cool.

    I've been thinking about Reggie a lot the past couple of weeks. Working through some soul tunes, including the addictive "I'm In Love".
     
  11. tonytrout

    tonytrout Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    43
    Posts:
    2,815
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2003
    Location:
    Brasstown/Murphy, NC

    I'm thinking that Reggie used a capo on the guitar on the "Suspicious Minds" intro, although, it can be played in a straight "G" chord (which the song is written in) because that's how James Burton played it when he went to work with Elvis and Elvis added the song to the live show starting after the July 31, 1969 initial "VIP Only" performance.

    I'll ask Reggie and let ya'll know if/when he replies. Thanks for the kind words regarding his email reply, fellas. That made me feel good knowing that I've created a meaningful thread here. :)
     
    Chip and boris bubbanov like this.
  12. tonytrout

    tonytrout Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    43
    Posts:
    2,815
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2003
    Location:
    Brasstown/Murphy, NC
    Once again, I got another nice reply from Jenny & Reggie and he answered me as to how he played "Suspicious Minds" & answered the chord question. He did not use a capo, surprisingly!


    I agree that James did play it faster - but he didn't start out playing it that way when he first went to work as Elvis's guitarist. On some of the first live shows, Elvis tries to keep the tempo at the same pace as what he recorded the song in but - later in the month (August, 1969) he, unfortunately, wound up speeding up the tempo to accommodate his karate into the show and the song. IMO, that's when the entire song went downhill and lost a lot of its "emotional impact"

    Here's two examples (Elvis's original studio track):




    And here's the first live recording from August 3, 1969:




    And if you've got about 20 minutes to spare and don't mind listening to all eight takes, here they are. The first picture in this video is of Elvis & four of the nine female backing singers on the song (Ginger & Mary Holladay, Mary "Jeannie" Green, Donna Thatcher, Susan Pilkington, Dolores Edgin, June Page, Carol "Sonja" Montgomery, Sandra Posey Robinson, June "Ricki" Page & Ginger Holladay. WARNING: Some takes contain profanity from Elvis:

     
    brookdalebill and Chip like this.
  13. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    23,351
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    R.I.P. 2019
    You probably know this, but Donna Thatcher was better known later as Donna Jean Godchaux after she went west, got married and sang with the Grateful Dead. Ronnie Tutt also played in Jerry Garcia's "bar band" with Merl Saunders to complete the Elvis/Dead connection). I can pick out Donna's voice on the studio version of "Suspicious Minds." She also sang on Boz Scaggs first solo album after he left the Steve Miller Band and a ton of other hits.

    Thanks for doing the detective work with Reggie and Jenny.
     
  14. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    16,213
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    Didn't Donna-Jean also do some work at Muscle Shoals?

    Paul, as soon as I read your post, I THOUGHT I recognized that girl standing next to Elvis, second from the right.
     
  15. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    23,351
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    R.I.P. 2019
    Yes, she did. I've read an interview where she was talking about meeting Keith for the first time in California, and she never mentioned being a musician, but while they were talking almost every song that played on the juke box that night were songs she'd sung on. I think she's also on "When a Man Loves a Woman" by Percy Sledge.
     
    moosie likes this.
  16. tonytrout

    tonytrout Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    43
    Posts:
    2,815
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2003
    Location:
    Brasstown/Murphy, NC

    No, I didn't know that about Donna. However, yes, I do know that Tutt worked with Garcia's band at the same time he was working with Elvis (I believe this was around 1975/1976). Speaking of Tutt, he had to miss the last few dates of Neil Diamond's "50th Anniversary" tour due to an injured left leg. However, thankfully, according to Donna (his wife), he's doing well/recovering well and should be back out on the road when & if Neil goes back to touring. :)


    Thank you, but, I kind of already knew that Reggie had used a guitar that formerly belonged to the late Scotty Moore on those iconic Memphis sessions in January/February, 1969. I just asked him what happened to the guitar and he ever so graciously replied (with Jenny's help, of course). :)
     
  17. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    23,351
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    R.I.P. 2019
    I got to see Ronnie with the Jerry band back then. I might have even met him when I met Jerry and Merl. We were all standing around at the side of the stage before they played. Things were a lot looser back then.
     
    tonytrout, Chip and moosie like this.
  18. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    16,213
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    That's gotta feel so strange... good, but strange. :)

    Yeah, I think the Percy Sledge connection was in the Muscle Shoals documentary.
     
  19. tonytrout

    tonytrout Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    43
    Posts:
    2,815
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2003
    Location:
    Brasstown/Murphy, NC
    Man, I would have loved to have met Ronnie (I still would like to meet him)!!! He's always had very nice things to say about his time working as Elvis's drummer. The only negative thing I've read from him is that "I didn't like him when I first saw him in the 50s!" LOL!!! Tutt said that after he properly met Elvis and began working with him, he came to love him. I'll just add this and then shut up:

    There's a 3-volume set of books out titled, "The Ultimate Elvis Presley Recording Sessions" and - near the back of the 3rd book, there are interviews with Ronnie, James, Glen D., Jerry Scheff & "The Sweets" (The Sweet Inspirations), Elvis's female backing vocalists. Ronnie tells some interesting stories and gives his opinion on a lot of things.

    It's a great set of books to have. :)
     
    Paul in Colorado likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.