The “Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(Tony Hatch)

Liberty 55261

No. 16   August 1, 1960




James E. Cason, “Buzz,” a.k.a. Garry Miles (b. Nov. 27, 1939, Nashville, TN), began his career as an art

student at Isaac Litton High in East Nashville. In 1956, a friend invited Buzz to the TV station, WSIX, where

the local DJ, Noel Ball, hosted a show, “Saturday Showcase.”  In an exclusive interview, Buzz recalls, “Noel

got a lot of people started down here,the CRESCENDOS, DALE WARD … Once I saw the cameras, the lights,

I got the bug, and there weren’t no stoppin’ me.”


Buzz hung out at the station, thereafter, painting sets, pantomiming R & B songs with buddies as the

Manhattans.  “Noel would take his show on the road.  There was this weird group, from East High, the

Richard Williams Trio; a piano [Williams], accordion [Chester Power] and drums [Billy Smith]. I got Noel to

let me really sing; told ’em I left my records at home.  I sang ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ with this trio.  It was good

and we decided to be a real group, the Casuals.”


With Buzz on guitar, the Casuals recorded “My Love Song for You” b/w “Somebody Help Me”; issued in ’57

on the tiny label Nu-Sound.  Dot Records put out their “Hello Love.”  Sales were local-only, but strong

enough to interest the powers that be in uniting the Casuals with the Everly Brothers.  For 60 shows they

provided back-up for the brothers-with the addition of Johnny McCreery (lead guitar) and Cary Potts (bass);

later Wayne Moss replacing the former–followed by a 15 year run as accompanists for Brenda Lee.


“Now, I hung out with the Casuals for ’bout three  years, but I always had my finger in other pots,” said Buzz.

“There was this studio above Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Globe, that I met Bobby Russell at.  He was try­ing to

get a start; had this group the Impalas… ”   We got writing together; did ‘Tennessee’ as the Todds for Paul

Coin’s Todd label.   Later on, Jan & Dean had something of a hit with it.  Then, Bobby and I and Bergen

White [noted arranger and studio member of Ronny & the Daytonas] did ‘Popside’ as the Todds.  Jan & Dean

were shadowing us and did alright with that one.”


In the late ’50s, Hugh Jarrett, an original Jordanaire rounded up Buzz, the Casuals’ Richard Williams, and

tunesmith Marijohn Wilkin [noted for “Long Black Vei,” “PT 109,” “Waterloo”] to form a vocal group. “He

said, ‘If we learn some original songs, Al Bennett will put us on Liberty.  He figured, if we were gonna be on

Liberty we ought to be the Statues.  That way they can’t expect no choreography …   We did this Tony

Bennett song, “Blue Velvet” (#80, 1960), with Snuff Garrett producing; one of the first hits that kid ever



“Call came in this one morn, Circus of Horrors [ 1960], a British movie, was hittin’ and causin’ a stir.  The

song, ‘Look for a Star,’ was actually sung by Garry Mills.  Snuff [Garrett, Liberty in-house producer] told me,

‘We got to get this song on the streets fast; cut on Saturday, mastered/pressed on Sunday, and in the stores

by Monday.  I was 21 years old; petrified.  This was to be my first solo; with Sy Waronker [label founder, co-

owner] sittin’ there, 18 players there.   Snuff asked Sy, ‘Whata we gonna call ’em?’   Sy said, ‘Hey, what’s the

other kid’s name?’   ‘Garry Mills.’   ‘Call ’em, Garry Miles.’ Nowadays, they’d be all over ya, with legal stuff;

cover­ing a guys record and covering his name, too….”


In addition to Buzz, that’s Garry Miles, “Look for a Star” also made One-Hit Wonders out of the tunes’

originator, GARRY MILLS, and DEAN HAWLEY; an event nearly without precedent in the annals of One-



After his moment passed, Buzz Cason had an EP­ a four-cut packaged named for the hit-and a few more 45s

issued as Garry Miles–“Dream Girl,” “Love at First Sight.”   “Now, the Statues had broken up when ‘Look for

a Star’ was a hit, because I was under contract as a member of a group, not as a soloist; and they were

wanting some of the money for ‘Star,'” Buzz adds.


About 1961, Snuff offered Buzz a job on the staff of Liberty Records, based in Hollywood. For the next three

years, Cason was Snuff’s assistant.  “Leon Russell worked with me, and I produced the Crickets,” said Buzz,

“then Buddy Knox, and a bunch of hot rod records…. I did a lot of background vocals for Bobby Vee, Walter

Brennan, Jackie DeShannon; ERNIE FREE­MAN was doing all the arranging.  They cleaned house, at Liberty,

and fired everybody who worked with Snuff, in ’64.”


Buzz returned to Nashville to run BILL JUSTIS’s pub­lishing company, Tuneville Music.  “Offbeat, but great

musical mind, that Justis–through which I met Bucky [Marijohn’s son John Wilkin] who already had ‘Little

GTO’ as Ronny & The Daytonas.   We wrote ‘Sandy’ and some others, when he was on this tour of Germany.

The strings were cheaper over there, so we…record­ed the Daytonas stuff there.  With Buzz and Buck Wilkin

as the prominent vocalists on the Daytona sides, it was decided to attempt a duet career as Buzz & Bucky.

Nothing charted.


Recording as Buzz Cason, Jimmy cut a number of fine 45s through the ’60s and the ’70s for Don Lewis’

Caprice, DJM, Mega, Monument, Warner Bros., Capri­corn, and Elf, the latter owned by Buzz and Bobby

Russell.  Buzz and Bob, the latter then-husband to VICKIE LAWRENCE, set up a publishing company and

built the still-functioning Creative Workshop Recording Studio in Nashville.


Cason discovered and produced the first two LPs for Jimmy Buffett and provided backup vocals for ses­sions

for John Denver, Kenny Rogers, and Elvis.  Alone–or in collaboration with such artists as Mac Gayden,

Freddy Weller, Dan Penn, Leon Russell, or buddy Bobby Russell–Cason has written such tunes as

“Popsicle,” “Fantasy Island,” “Bar Wars,” and ROBERT KNIGHT’s “Everlasting Love.”   “Me and Bobby

wrote Dolly Parton’s first 45 on Monument, ‘Don’t Drop Out.’   It was good she listened and didn’t do such.


”I’m still at it, tell folks.   I’ve still got a group–have since the ’80s–B.C. & The Dartz, an authentic slap­ back

rockabilly thing; got a couple albums–An Amer­ican Saturday Nite, and Rhythm Bound-on my

Track/America label.  My studios are still here.   And we’ve had Dolly, Buffet, Roy Orbison, DAVE LOGGINS,

Olivia Newton-John, RANDY VANWARMER record at my place.   I’m always lookin’ for the next thing.”