|Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico|
|The Poor Boy in 1956, from left to right: Richard Porter, |
Eddie Williams (back), Bob Hardwick, Ronnie Smith,
Carl Bunch (front)
Ronnie Smith's first single "My Babe" b/w "I've Got a Love" came out on the California based Hamilton label in 1958. It was probably recorded in Clovis with the Poor Boys and pitched to Hamilton Records by Petty. This was his usual strategy. He used to record artists and bands and then tried to bring them to a label. In case of Buddy Holly, it was the major Decca, but often the songs appeared on smaller labels, just as it happened to Smith.
The song "Lookie, Lookie, Lookie" was penned by Ronnie Smith and Carl Bunch. Norman Petty is also credited but it was common in those days - and Petty was no exception - that producers received songwriter credits and the composers received money in return. Petty also bought his name into the songwriter credits for "Lookie, Lookie, Lookie" and so was able to cash on the royalties.
The first to record the song was K.C. Grand and the Shades. Possibly the Poor Boys or one of their members were hiding behind this name because it was released on the Odessa based Matt label and was produced by drummer Carl Bunch. It also seems likely that this version was - like the following renditions - cut in Norman Petty's studio.
|Derrell Felts in the 1970s|
Hear "Lookie, Lookie, Lookie" by Derrell Felts:
Still looking for a comparison to replace Buddy Holly, Petty called Texas rockabilly singer Derrell Felts and let him record "Lookie, Lookie, Lookie" in early 1959 along with "It's a Great Big Day", Felts' own composition (he had already recorded a version in 1956 at Jack Rhodes' studio). To keep the typical sound, Petty brought in the Crickets, Holly's original backing band, to back Felts on the two recordings. Petty was able to sell the master to OKeh Records and in May 1959 released it on a single. However, the record soon went nowhere.
|Billboard review from July 1959|
Hear "Lookie, Lookie, Lookie" by Ronnie Smith:
Petty's last try to bring the song into the charts was started with Ronnie Smith, who had replaced Buddy Holly during the Winter Dance Party Tour of 1959. Carl Bunch also played on that tour: he was Holly's last drummer in his new backing band. In the summer 1959, Ronnie Smith's version of "Lookie, Lookie, Lookie", coupled with "A Tiny Kiss" appeared on Brunswick Records. As the other versions by Grand and Felts, Smith's record failed to reach the charts. Never again, any artist tried his hand at "Lookie, Lookie, Lookie".
Concerning Felts and Smith, they went their own ways. Felts remained on the Texas music scene and recorded for various small labels, switching to country. He had a hit record with "Calling Johnny Rodriguez" on MSA in the 1970s. Ronnie Smith had not such good luck. He kept on performing but was struggling with drug problems and went into a state hospital in Texas in 1962. There, he hanged himself in the bathroom on October 25, 1962.
- Matt MRC-0003/4: KC. Grand and the Shades - Lookie-Lookie-Lookie / That's the Way the Cards Fall (February 1959)
- OKeh 4-7118: Derrell Felts - It's a Great Big Day / Lookie, Lookie, Lookie (May 1959)
- Brunswick 9-55137: Ronnie Smith - Lookie, Lookie, Lookie / A Tiny Kiss (July 1959)