by John Ingman writing for Now Dig This

    Roy Orbison's first professional recordings, 'Ooby Dooby' and 'Trying To Get To You' were made at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico as vocalist for the Teen Kings but the various memories of these events from late 1955 are contradictory.
    The tracks were released on the Je-Wel label (101); a contraction of the Christian names of Jean Oliver and her boyfriend Weldon Rogers and perhaps inspired by Petty's Nor-Va-Jak label.
    Weldon recalls that he and the Teen Kings each had a tv show on Midland-Odessa's Channel 2 (KMID-TV) and that he approached Jean's father, Chester, a businessman with Exon Oil, to co-finance a recording.

    The Oliver's lived in Seminole, Texas which is about 60 miles north of Odessa and 150 miles south-east of Clovis. According to Kevin Coffey's liner notes for Bear Family CD (BCD 16165), Roy's contract with Oliver and Rogers was invalid as he was underage when he signed it.
    Therefore, Sam Phillips told Orbison's father to take legal action to have the Je-Wel contract voided; thus allowing Roy to record for Sun.  Weldon went on to say that the saga so disgusted Chester Oliver that he had no more to do with the record business, allowing Weldon to become sole owner of Je-Wel.
    This cannot be true as Je-Wel 101 was the first of six Norman Petty produced discs which Chester Oliver financed. Weldon changed his label to 'Jewel' and the Olivers confirm they had no involvement with it.


Jean Oliver was a singer and accordion player who frequently performed with the Teen Kings although she was never an actual member.
    In 1993, Chester's wife Acia told me that it was Jean who persuaded her parents to finance The Teen Kings' recordings with Weldon making little contribution apart from supplying three letters from his name for the label credit.
    At that time I was unaware Jean and Weldon had gone through a marriage ceremony which was rapidly annulled at the insistence of her parents.  The scars from the ill-fated romance may well have caused Chester and Acia to play down the importance of Weldon in the saga.
    Teen Kings member James Morrow also dated Jean Oliver and he too has made claims of financing the Je-Wel session. I'm not aware of anyone explaining how the Teen Kings discovered Norman Petty's studio and the precise recording date is unknown. Sadly, the Je-Wel tape box was taken from Clovis to California by MCA's Steve Hoffman in 1984 and never returned.
    MCA had no rights to the tapes and have no knowledge of what happened to them. 'Ooby Dooby' was composed by future Sun Artists Wade Moore and Dick Penner and filed with BMI in either February 1955 (according to Colin Escott) or May 1955 (Mick Perry) whilst 'Trying To Get To You' was first recorded by the Eagles (Mercury 70391, released in mid-1954).
    It has been claimed the Teen Kings based their version of 'Trying To Get To You' on an unissued Elvis Presley acetate; perhaps an Elvis concert performance is a more likely source.
    There's general agreement that the Teen Kings session took place towards the end of 1955 with Roy Orbison (vocal/lead guitar), Johnny 'Peanuts' Wilson (rhythm guitar), Jack Kennelly (bass), Billy Pat Ellis (drums) and James Morrow (mandelin).
    Although Je-Wel 101 is now accepted as one of the world's rarest and most collectible rarities, it exists in both 78 and 45 rpm versions and with at least three label variations: the first pressing misspells Roy's surname "Oribson" and many copies credit 'Trying To Get You' instead of  'Trying To Get To You'.
    The album "Roy Orbison - The Sun Years' (Charley CDX 4) claimed to contain both sides of the single but doesn't; 'Ooby Dooby' is quite different whilst 'Trying To Get To You' is close enough to be an alternate from the Je-Wel session. A bootleg album, 'Hillbilly Rock' (Jewel 13011-2), claims to contain a Clovis alternate of  'Ooby Dooby' but to my ears it is the original with extra instrumentation crudely overdubbed. Whatever the circumstances of the recording, it is clear that 'Ooby Dooby' led Roy to a Sun contract.

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