James’ first substansive job came when he was about 15 years, when he was recording with Dale Hawkins, who was working the Louisiana Hayride. Sometime in 1956, he wrote Susie Q, along with Hawkins and some other musicians. They recorded it in 1955, at the KWKH radio studios in Shreveport, LA. James was never credited for what became a rock ‘n’ roll standard. Looking back, he wasn’t bitter: “I didn’t get writer’s credit for it, but at fifteen, what do you know about the business? You’re doing something you really love and enjoy. The actual guitar lick was mine, but you live and learn in the business. When you’re starting out, there’s an awful lot to know, and it takes time,” as Burton explained.
A must for every Burton fan is Dale Hawkins’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Tornado, with blistering guitar solos from James Burton, Roy Buchanan and Kenny Paulsen.
Hawkins and his band played clubs and roadhouses, but James soon grew tired of it and before Hawkins hit the road, he joined Bob Luman’s band.
The Records recorded at KWKH in Shreveport were:
Susie Q Checker 863
Don’t Treat Me This Way Checker 863
If You Please Me Norton LP 256
Worried About You Baby Chess LP ACRR 703
First Love -1 Chess LP ACRR 703
Weep No More Rarin’ LP 666
The records recorded at Osborn Studios, L.A. 1969 were:
Heavy on My Mind Bell LP 6036
Candy Man Bell LP 6036
Baby, What Do You Want me To Do Bell LP 6036
The records recorded in December 1998: Fool’s Paradise Ripete #2266.