Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WTUF is tuff

Bill Black was getting pretty tired of the perpetually drunk Ace Cannon. But he liked the drunk sax player. So he let him cut a single. They took the Jimmie Davis song Columbus Stockade Blues and reworked it into a tune they called Cattywampus. Bill Justis did a version at Sun, and then Ace did a faster and meaner rendition titled"Tuff." Notice the above single is not "Tuff." That is because I don't yet own it.

Bill Black released it on his own label 'Louis records." Nobody touched it for 6 months. It was a dead single. Then a station in Mobile, AL changed their calls to WTUF and had Ace come down to play their new theme His song "Tuff." The record eventually made #17 on the Billboard pop chart. In the Book The Blue Moon Boys by Ken Burke, it was described like this:
"...Then one day somebody called me and said 'Cannon, we've got a hit on our hands.' I said, 'What do you mean?' 'Somebody in Mobile just opened up 'Tuff." They're changing the call letters on their radio station to WTUF, and there's a big celebration in Mobile and they want you there."
Anyway that's the story... The station is real. 1360 WTUF-AM was noted by Billboard magazine as an all country station in 1964 programmed by Dub Murray. I couldn't' say what happened in the interval. A fair amount of talent passed through the station over the years: Jimmy Logsdon, Romeo Sullivan Jack Cardwell, Boots Barnes, Luke McDaniels and Gene Leachman.

became WMOB in 1969 under Bellaire broadcasting. It's presently owned by the Buddy Tucker Assoc. The call letters later appeared in Thomasville, GA, where it has been since at least 1977. In 1962 Ace recorded the instrumental smash "TUFF". Since that time he has recorded 67 albums and 46 singles. He is alive today, still unstoppable. In 2007 he hosted the Ace Cannon Festival in Calhoun City, Mississippi.