TCB Band : James Burton
James Burton was born in Minden, Louisiana and moved to Shreveport with his family when he was ten years old. He has been playing the guitar since the age of thirteen and is self-taught. At fourteen, he was hired to be part of the staff band for the enormously popular Louisiana Hayride Radio Show in Shreveport, which was the start of his career in music. A few years later, James played in the Dale Hawkins band and his guitar solo on the 1957 hit song Susie Q would become one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 songs that shaped rock and roll. At seventeen James left Shreveport for California, joining Ricky Nelson's band in Los Angeles, which lead to regular appearances on The Ozzie & Harriet Show. Numerous recording sessions followed with James playing the dobro as well as lead guitar. He released a single around this time entitled Swamp Surfer/Everybody Listens To The Dobro, which was under the name of Jimmy Dobro. He also made three other singles on the Fabor label in conjunction with Ricky's bass player, Joe Osborn, under the names of Jim and Joe. Throughout the 1960s, James worked with a whole host of artists including Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, The Everley Brothers, Frank Sinatra and on the soundtrack for Viva Las Vegas. In 1964 James was asked by Johnny Cash to play dobro on the pilot for the TV show Shindig and formed the group The Shindogs of which Glen D Hardin was also a member.
Elvis Presley approached James and asked him to play on the famous '68 Special show, but James was working with Frank Sinatra at the time and had to decline. Elvis contacted James again in 1969 to tell him that he was returning to live performances and asked James to form a band to support him. That was when The TCB Band was formed. James continued to work with Elvis until 1977 and beyond. During the 1970s James also worked with Gram Parsons and was also a member of the Hot Band formed by Gram's girlfriend and backing singer Emmylou Harris. From 1978, James began working with John Denver and continued to do so for the next fifteen years. Glen D Hardin and Jerry Scheff were also part of John Denver's band at this time.
1987 saw the TCB Band together again in the fantastic Roy Orbison Black & White Night show, which is well worth watching to see James and Bruce Springsteen have a guitar duel during the song Pretty Woman. In August 1997 the first Elvis - The Concert show took place in Memphis and the band have continued to tour the world intermittently with this show since then, as well as appearing (mainly in Europe) with a variety of good vocal artists (see Events page for current show dates).
2001 saw James inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and he has also been honoured in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. A statue of James was placed in front of the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium, next to a statue of Elvis, in 2005. This was the same venue where he had played as a fourteen year old boy, and where he holds The James Burton Guitar Festival. The festival supports the James Burton Foundation which is dedicated to raising money to provide technical training, music lessons and guitars to young musicians in schools, Shriners Hospitals and St Judes Hospital in Memphis.
James, through his career has also been credited in a number of movies as a guitarist in various club scenes, the latest being The Guardian starring Kevin Costner