Tommy Collins

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Listen to Tommy Collins singing "Shindig  in the barn"        
from Tower DT 5107 Shindig                                                                                                                          

 

STORY

 

Leonard Raymond Sipes, better known as Tommy Collins, was born on a farm nearby Bethany, Oklahoma on Sept.  28, 1930. The youngest of five brothers he started picking up the guitar at an early age. After graduation Tommy Collins entered college with plans to become a chemical engineer. A job singing on Radio Station KLPR in Oklahoma City (his first professional singing job) interrupted the student life and halted his engineering plans. He recorded four songs for Morgan Records.

In 1952, after spending a couple of years with the Marines, Tommy moved to California with the intention to make a living out of country music. Eventually he met a young man by the name of Ferlin Husky. At that time Husky was recording for Four Star Records under the pseudonym Terry Preston. It was Ferlin who introduced Tommy to Cliffie Stone, owner of Central Songs Inc., a leading publishing company of the west coast. Stone signed the Collins composing talent to a long term contract with Central Songs and it wasnīt long before Ferlin Husky, Faron Young, and a legion of other country artists were singing the songs of the young writer. From the pen of Tommy Collins came such songs as "Are you afraid" sung by Ferlin Husky, "If you ainīt living" by Faron Young, "No love have I" by Webb Pierce, and "Down, down, down" sung by Rose Maddox.

In 1953 Tommy stepped up to the microphone and recorded his own composition of "You gotta have a licence". This song immediately started his career as a country singer and skyrocketed him right into the charts. His most creative period both as a songwriter and a country singer were the years between 1953 and 1956. He turned out hit after hit. Buck Owens played lead guitar on his records at that time. His association with Buck Owens and Merle Haggard led to Tommy writing many hits for these artists. Buck Owens recorded a Tommy Collins album and Merle Haggard gave Tommy credit on one of his live albums. Tommy wrote "Roots of my raising" and "Carolyn" - major successes for Merle Haggard.

In 1957 Tommy entered the Golden Gate Theological Seminary at Berkeley. After completing his studies at the seminary, Tommy did his first pastoring in Colfax, California, then accepted a position in Lincoln. Tommy had continue to record with Capitol Records, even while attending the seminary and pastoring. He recorded a gospel album in the end of the 50īs.

Tommy moved to Nashville in 1976, a few years after his divorce from his wife Wanda. In spite of a lot of drinking and pill-taking problems he continued to perform, write and record.  He recorded 3 LPīs for two English labels, GW and Password, the latter recorded in Nashville.

 

LP DISCOGRAPHY

 

Capitol T 776 Words and music country style
Capitol T 1125 Light of the lord
Capitol T 1196 This is Tommy Colins
Capitol ST 1436 Songs I love to sing
Tower T 5021 Letīs live a little
Tower DT 5107 Shindig
Columbia CS 9310 The Dynamic Tommy Collins
Columbia CS 9578 On tour
Starday SLP 474 Callinī
GW 104 A Tommy Collins country souvenir
GW 105 Cowboys get lucky some of the time
Password A 0001-New patchesī
Capitol ECS 50058 Tommy Colins (Call of the country series from Japan)
Golden Country LP 2209 Sings country songs
CCL 1125 I got mine
CMH 206 Songs of Tommy Collins vol 1
CMH 212 Songs of Tommy Collins vol 2 (reissue of "Light of the lord")

 

CD BOX

Bear Family BCD 15577 Leonard (5 cdīs)