William S. “Bleu” Evans
Louisiana Music Hall of Fame Induction Speech
I want it known that Studio in the Country was not a one man creation. It was a team effort by a group of incredible people who were members of this TEAM. They all share part of this induction. This is a speech I wrote but I got emotional when delivering it and I did not perform well. Here is what I wrote and wish I could have delivered to you during my induction. I wanted you to know exactly what I was trying to say.
Here it is.
I do have a few important words to say. I ask you to please be patient with me and try not to get uneasy for the next few minutes. I’ve been a little under the weather lately, so I may have to read more of my words than I would like. It took a while to get here, over 45 to 52 years, depending on your starting point, but it was worth the long trip, well worth it. Thank you all so much for being here. I certainly appreciate it.
I would like to congratulate my great friend of many decades and one of the best songwriters and singers ever for his well-deserved Induction into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Just one of his hundreds of songs written by him was chosen the “Song of the Century” by members of this state, “New Orleans Ladies”, what an accomplishment, Mr. Hoyt Garrick.
As for as my Induction into this majestic group of outstanding members whose history making accomplishments in the Music Industry and culture of Our State, Louisiana, I am humbled by this most revered honor.
My appreciation cannot be described in words. I would like to thank Mike Shepherd, the President of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Del Moon, co-founder and Board Member, and the entire LMHOF Board of Directors, for voting to honor me the most outstanding award of my career.
I thank so very much Malinda Brumfield-White and everyone involved in the Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival and especially all the volunteers, for allowing me to receive this honor at the BBHF. Thank you so much for the creation of the BBHF which, is a miracle in its own right, and a great opportunity for everyone to have the chance to experience all this festival provides to artists, musicians, and audiences. Please don’t forget the great chefs and artisans who have worked so hard to provide the great food and crafts that are available here today.
I would like to thank all the artists, producers, musicians, record and entertainment companies who had faith in The Studio Team and Studio in the Country to help them create their many historic masterpieces.
I would especially like to thank Jeff Glixman and Kansas, Willie Nelson, Pete Fountain, Allen Toussaint, Frankie Beverly, Doc Watson, Stevie Ray Vaughn, John D. and Susan Loudermilk, Bobby Charles, Zachary Richard, Wayne Newton, The Jades, Thunderhead, “Gatemounth” Brown, Clifton Chenier, Willie Tee, The Meters, The Mills Brothers, The Neville Brothers, Theodore Emile "Bo" Dollis, the longtime Big Chief of the Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians, Philippe Rault, Ronnie Kole, Johnny Winter, Stevie Wonder and his producer Gary O. Adante and engineer John Fischbach, for their belief in our team, the studio, and the magic that exists here in the country near Bogalusa.
I wish to thank a group friends whose great support pushed me onward to complete this dream. Please thank, Don and Etta Arata, Robert "Bob" Lawrence, Richard F. Knight, Morton Roche, Rick Lewis, Marc Bartels, Dale Branch, Louis Mitchell, Greg Newman, Frank Lusco, Luther Cooper, Joe Quaglino, Gerald Pelias, and my Uncle Howell Evans. There are so many more that I should mention and that I appreciate so much. To all of you, I thank you so much and I think you know who you are.
I would like to thank all the artists, partners, advisors, friends in the entertainment industry who I have worked with all over the world for having faith in me and my abilities to honor me with their partnerships and projects. Especially Jack Nitzsche, a great composer, conductor, artist, person, the producer, writer, arranger, Producer, and keyboard player for The Rolling Stones and Neil Young and Crazy Horse, and countless other artists. Jack was a man that I loved as a Brother and we did many albums with many great artists and many award-winning movie soundtracks together Including an Oscar Win for "Song of the Year" for "Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong" from the motion picture soundtrack "Officer and a Gentleman". Also, Perry Como, Nick Perito, Dick Stabile, Don Williams, George Martin, the owner of Air Studios London, where I worked and recorded. George was the producer of the Beatles. George Martin had a profound guidance on my vision of this industry. Also, to Rick Nelson, Bob Brown, Al Pacino, and Sammy Davis, Jr., Walt Disney, Ed Shea, Tom Hidley, John D. Loudermilk (again), George Augspurger, Toby Foster, and Bennie Harrell. All of you contributed to my personal engineering and production awards. I thank each and every one of you very from the bottom of my heart. I am so very grateful and thankful for your amazing contributions to this dream.
With heartfelt sincerity, I want to thank Gene Foster, Debbie and Pete Farmer, and my third Son, Benjamin Mumphrey, for without their love, hard work, and devotion, Studio in the Country would NOT continue to exist as a home for great opportunity and creativity for artists from all over the planet. God Bless you and your families and may you accept my love, respect, and appreciation for you and all you have done to preserve this great recording studio, Studio in the Country.
I know my Brother Gene is organizing all the new technology for Our Lord in Heaven, and when he is finished, many new songs from Heaven will be heard.
WHAT is so very IMPORTANT to note is the fact that the studio and the successes are in no way the result of one person. This success was and is the accomplishment of an incredible team of brilliant engineers, producers, technicians, and staff. Each member of this team shares this induction honor with me. This is a Group Induction. Not many people realize that these individuals were not only members of the team, but the majority of this Team, were a major part of the construction crew that built the studio. I would like to introduce you all to the “Studio in the Country Team”, without whom, Studio in the Country would never have existed.
The Studio in the Country Team
The Team Members are: Raymond Black, Lee Peterzell, Lynn Peterzell, David Craig, Hoyt Garrick, David Farrell, Alan Black, Paul Black, Charley Gressett, Jimmy Stroud, Edwin Hobgood, Gary Levon Bardwell, Ronnie Dobbs, Steven (Skip or Skipper) Scoggin, Norman Koonce, Steve Hodge, Val Valentin, Phillip Rault. Jim Bateman, Bruce Irving, Tom Knight, Gary Baker, Ken Wilson, My Wonderful Mother, Mary Kathryn Evans, and, most of all, My Daddy, Raphael Semmes "Smokey" Evans, Jr.
I would also like to thank my sisters, Jane Knight, Ann Williams, and Mary Jo Lundy, who are here today. I would also like to give a special Thank You to my Brothers-in-Law, Dr. Arvid Lundy, Earnest Williams, and Ralph (Bubba or Spooky as well) Knight. To My Dear Sisters, Thank you for taking the time to travel many, many miles, to be here with me on this wonderful occasion. I want to thank all my Children: Dawn, Kimberly, Christopher, Kate, Lizzie, Patrick, my Grandchildren Angela Marie, Jonathan and Kathryn, and My Great Granddaughter Eloise, and all the rest of my Wonderful Family. Your love and support continue to keep me among all of you. Thank you and God Bless You. I Love You All More Than Life Itself. I thank you all for listening to this ole man. I Thank God Our Father in Heaven and His Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for All Things. May God Bless You All, Your Families, and May God Bless the United States of America. I Love the USA!
William Semmes “Bleu” Evans