Jamie – The “Paul” Lad of the BeatLads
Known as the cute “Lad”, at least according to his wife Kim, Jamie is the next eldest of the BeatLads. Born in Haleyville, AL, Jamie spent the first 4 years of his life in Bear Creek (the small town, not actually the water) before moving on to bigger and better things in Phil Campbell, AL. It was during these years that Jamie came across his sister Julia’s “Meet the Beatles” album. “I’m surprised that I didn’t wear the album out”, says Jamie who would pretend to play along using a badminton racquet. Although forbidden from having long hair, Jamie became a Beatle at heart. He even tried to emulate how George Harrison made his “G” in his signature, which he still uses today.
Jamie’s flare for writing music came at an early age. He wrote the song “Do You Believe” which his older sister Julia put to the tune of the Beatles’ “Octopus’ Garden”. With Julia on the piano and sister Pam providing additional vocals, the trio performed the song several times at different churches. The Christmas of 1971 brought Jamie his first “real” guitar. A Yamaha FG-170 greeted him that morning. Unfortunately, Jamie found guitar playing to be harder than anticipated so not much happened musically for the next few years. Starting in the 10th grade Jamie started to get serious. He took guitar lessons from Frances “Boo” Long who not only re-energized Jamie’s interest in playing the guitar but writing music as well. Teaming up with fellow classmates Ricky Pounders (piano) and Curtis Nix (guitar), the trio spent many a dateless weekend night working on songs including trying to write a few of their own. “Lunch Room Blues” was probably the most popular of Jamie’s early attempts at penning a tune. Before long the gift of parody showed itself when Jamie took the tunes of Elvis, the Oak Ridge Boys, Dion, etc., and used his own lyrics to add a satirical twist to the happenings at school. However, due to the graphic nature of some these songs, they were never recorded and seldom performed outside of a small group of friends. During his senior year the trio added a drummer (Scott King) and flutist (Lee Burfield) and performed at the school talent show. Things didn’t take off as planned and the band went their separate ways.
After college and marriage, Jamie finally met up with Lawton. There was an immediate bond between the two. Only separated in age by three months, the two had a passion for Minnesota Vikings and Alabama football, Monty Python and most of all, The Beatles. The two would later pair up to be co-directors of a Junior High Camp, which provided them with an outlet for their music. By this time it was evident that one of the two would need to play the bass while doing camp and since Jamie actually owned a bass, the duties fell to him. Wanting the Beatle look Jamie purchased his second bass guitar, the Epiphone Viola. This bass was used for The Spreetles and several of the earlier BeatLads’ gigs. Not satisfied with close, Jamie broke down and sold a 1974 Fender Strat (which he had picked up in college) and purchased the Hofner bass that he uses today.
Jamie’s life long dream has finally become reality. Armed with his Hofner bass and newly acquired Vox bass amp Jamie is doing what he always wanted to do, be a Beatle. “If only I was left-handed,” Jamie bemoans, “I would have it made.”