Discovering Dallas Frazier

The first time I ever heard of Dallas Frazier was when I somehow found out he wrote “Elvira.” That was a big hit for the Oak Ridge Boys back in 1980. I hadn’t heard a song like that in a long time. I was no fan (and never have been) of the overly commercialized Oak Ridge Boys, but “Elvira” was a damn interesting song, and fun to sing (I’ve been to enough karaoke bars to know how popular it is among that crowd).

What I didn’t know is that Frazier also wrote one of my childhood favorites — “Ally Op.” If you know both songs, you will immediately recognize the similarities.

Over the years, I’d seen Frazier’s name pop up here and there because he’s written a long string of hit songs.

What I didn’t know until I moved to Bakersfield was that he grew up in my current home town. If you listen to enough of his music, you can catch some Bakersfield sound influences — driving beats, guitar heavy licks, in particular.

The other day I was downtown on 19th Street with a little time to kill waiting for a friend, so I popped into a used record store. There I found a Dallas Frazier record — Tell It Like It Is (interestingly, the title song is listed as a Frazier composition on the LP cover, but says it’s by George Davis and Lee Diamond), and the BMI database agrees, and credits Frazier with 481 songs). The Frazier record was priced $1.99 and the shopkeep offered it to me for a buck.

That was one well-spent dollar.

Frazier’s songs on this record are more blusy than country, and right in line with the style of Elvira, maybe not quite as silly, and the performances certainly are not as polished as the Oak Ridge Boys (thank god). There is much here that reminds me of Sean Costello. There’s plenty of material here for performers looking for songs to cover, including “Don’t Come Knocking On My Door,” “My Woman Up and Gone” (the song most suitable for Costello), “Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’ But the Leaves.”

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3 thoughts on “Discovering Dallas Frazier

  1. Dallas is an awesome songwriter. I love to listen to his music. By the way he is going back into the song writing business although I believe that he will be focusing on country gospel. He has been a pastor for several years, but has stepped down from that to continue his writing. I am looking forward to hearing his music once again. I too am from Bakersfield. I was born there. Dallas is my cousin. His mom and my mom are sisters.

  2. My sister & I were the Suttles Sisters, & sang on Cliffie Stone’s Hometown Jamboree, with Dallas. He was so very nice to us & made us feel comforable. I had not heard about him for so long & looked up a website that said he was a pastor but after serving 7 yrs. in the pulpit, that he was going back to his songwriting. My sister & I are born-again christians & was thrilled that he had found the Lord as well. Praise the Lord!! I would love to write to him & his wife Sharon, if they wouldn’t mind. An E-mail address would be fine. Of course if they don’t then I understand. I & my sis Juanita were only 15 & 17 when we met Dallas. I live in So. California & have worked for Cuba Gooding Jr. as their Nannie for 12 yrs. My son Derek is an executive at Paramount Studios. My son & Cuba have been friends since childhood. Now I sing to his babies, & teach them about the Lord. Cuba is also a Christian. I have 6 grandchildren & am Blessed beyond BLESSED!!! thanks ever so much for allowing me to write. May God Be With Each of Your Family, Berdenia Broes

  3. berdenia I am not sure when you will read this, but Dallas is coming to visit us this weekend. 8/3/07. His mom passed away a few months back, and it really got him where he wanted to connect with his family again. I will print off what you have said and give it too him this weekend.

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