Not many can say they toured with some of the most influential artists of early Rock N’ Roll, but CW Kendall had the opportunity to do just that for many years. “I had a crew called the The Big Beats. We were managed by Norman Petty. Norman Petty, of course, managed Buddy Holly. We seemed to be in the studio a lot at the same time. I ended up playing piano for Buddy on a lot of his recordings. He did not use a piano player in person, but he did on the records. I also wrote a song called “Little Baby” that was on three or four of his albums. It all came together the first time I ever sat down and played with him. It just flowed. It was easy. The rhythm section was good. My piano playing was a little more rock n’ roll. It fell into what they were doing. We were from Dallas, but we would be in Clovis [NM] recording. We were the first rock n’ roll band signed to Columbia Records in 1957. That was our first label. I played with many, many artists. Buddy. Roy Orbison. Ricky Nelson. Sonny James. On and on and on. I would play backup for a lot of these people and we’d open for them. Forty-two states and twenty-seven foreign countries.”
“I get a real kick out of people calling [Buddy Holly] a legend. I think he’s up in heaven saying ‘Ha, I’m no legend. I’m just a regular guitar picker.’ He really didn’t think of himself that way at all. He was very nice and pleasant to be around. I thought highly of him.”
» CW Kendall is still touring with his band The Big Beats. You can find more info on him and his musical career at cwkendallmusic.com.