from McAlester, Oklahoma, who was one of the original members of The Jordanaires.
They did a number of gospel recordings in the late ‘40s and
early ‘50s before famously hooking up with Elvis Presley.
left the group before then when he fell ill, in 1954. He was still recording however, as
early as February 1954, with Johnnie & Jack, sometimes billed as
“Johnnie & Jack and the Tennessee Mountain Boys”. (A self-titled CD with that moniker
was issued in 1992.)
He is credited
with rejoining The Jordanaires for a recording
session on 8th November 1956 with The Marvin Hughes Orchestra.
On 19th March 1958, he
joined Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys for a recording of
“Precious Memories”, the eleventh track on their 1958 release, The Gospel Spirit. Recorded the same year was I Saw the Light, which hit the
shelves the following year.
In 1959, he
appeared on Flatt & Scruggs’ gospel
hit, “Cabin on the Hill”, and recorded some tracks with Moon Mullican, including “Cush Cush
Ky-Yay” and “The Wedding of the
Bugs”. He reunited with Flatt & Scruggs on 1960’s Songs of Glory.
October 1960, Elvis recorded Culley’s
original composition, “I’m Gonna Walk
Dem Golden Stairs” for inclusion on the gospel album, His Hand in Mine. The song has since been covered by
Speers and appears on their 1995 CD, Family
Affair, and by Bill & Gloria Gaither on Homecoming Texas Style, released in 1996. It is also included in the 1983
songbook, Gospel’s Best Words
In 1960, he
contributed backing vocals to Jim Reeves’ recording of “We
Could” on the album, Welcome to
My World. In 1974, MCA
pressed an LP of previously unreleased material by Bill Monroe that was
recorded during the years 1957-1970, The
Road of Life, which featured Culley as one of
two bass singers. (The other
was Bessie Lee Mauldin.)
The road of
life ended for Culley Holt on 28th
June 1980. He has left behind a
generous legacy of music, much of it available on CDs such as Flatt & Scruggs’ You Can Feel it in Your Soul, Johnnie & Jack’s For Old Times Sake, and Bill