The 1990’s Sessions



Jerry Cupit Studio, Nashville, Tennessee:
He’s Gone But Not Forgotten

Although two other songs were submitted for recording, this was the only track actually put on tape. Jimmy was very sick, suffering from a heavy cold and working against a deadline. Issued on the various artists CD release A TRIBUTE TO ELVIS from K-Tel Records. Released version is take 3.

19th – 21st March 1990* at Stargem Studios – Nashville, Tennessee:
Only A Woman Like You*+
Love It Back Together*+
Lookin’ For A Way*+
She Wakes Me With A Kiss Every Morning*+
We Can’t Go On Living Like This*+
Plastic Saddle*+
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You*+
Hooked On A Feeling*+
Seperate Ways*+
If That Isn’t Love*+

Feel Right**
Since I Met You Baby**
Slow Hand**
Nothing Short Of Dying**
Love Is In The Air**
That’s The Thing About Love**
At This Moment**
It Only Hurts When I Cry**
Tips Of My Fingers**
Treat Me Nice**

Out Of The Blue***#
Dream On Me***#

Just A Closer Walk With Thee****
Amazing Grace****
Where Could I Go But To The Lord****
You’ll Never Walk Alone****
I’ll Fly Away****
Lead Me, Guide Me****
Peace In The Valley****
Stand By Me****
Because He Lives****
Precious Memories****

* Although it is known that a recording session took place on these dates it cannot be confirmed that all of these songs were made at this three day session.
The SPECIAL MOMENTS release featured quite a few recordings from previous sessions and it is possible that a few of those listed could be from a later session. Likewise there could also be further recordings which remain unreleased.
The songs Just A Closer Walk With Thee and Peace In The Valley had been recorded at Sun Records and included on their GLORY album but these were newly recorded versions for the Stargems album.

* These ten tracks would be released on compact disc later on the Stargem label under the title GENUINE, an album that would be issued both as an Orion release and as an Ellis James release. The Orion one having an alternate mix making the songs sound different.
** These ten tracks would be released by Stargem Records as the album THE LEGEND CONTINUES.
*** These tracks would, along with a few earlier recordings, be released by Stargem Records as the album SPECIAL MOMENTS.
**** These ten tracks would be released by Stargem Records as the album BECAUSE HE LIVES.

The bootleg release STEADY AS SHE GOES/THE LEGEND CONTINUES from Jack Daniels Records contains outtakes from around the time of this recording session as follows:

Treat Me Nice
That’s The Thing About Love
Since I Met You Baby
Tips Of My Fingers
It Only Hurts When I Cry
Love Is In The Air (Two takes)

Other tracks on this album may also be from this session but this is not able to be confirmed at this time.

Rodger Morris/Dirk Johnson – Keyboards/piano
Leo Jackson – Rhythm Guitar
Mike Severs – Lead Guitar
Rob Hajacos – Fiddle
Fred Newell – Electric Guitar
Larry Paxton – Bass Guitar
Hal Rugg – Steel Guitar
Weldon Myrick/Sonny Garrish – Steel Guitar
Tommy Wells/Owen Hale – Drums

Harmony Vocal Overdub Direction – Jerry Cupit
Produced by Wayne Hodge
Executive Producer – Jim Highley
Associate Producers – James M. Hardin; Dennis D. Ross; Gary K. Yount

Engineers – Danny Dunkleberger; Dennis Ritchie; Bob Campbell-Smith (Mixer).
****Engineer – Denny Knight.
Mix Engineers – (1st) Gary King (2nd) Allen Day. William L. Jones on #
+Mixed at: Refraze recording Studio, Dayton, Ohio.
# Mixed at Shalonda Productions, Dayton, Ohio. Mix produced by Johnnie Wilder Jr.

June 13, 1990 at Jerry Cupit Recording Studio in Nashville, Tennessee:
Mary Jane Doe

This was a special spoken recording made for the Child Abuse Organisation and available in 2002 only to members of the Orion Jimmy Ellis Music Club. Second track on the disc is an instrumental. Written by Jimmy Carr.

May 3, 1991 at Gatlin Bros.,Music Resources, Nashville, Tennessee:
Unchained Melody

Date unknown, 1991. Possibly a local studio in Alabama:
I’ll Be With You Always (The Farewell)

Guitar – Sandy Renda
Bass Guitar – Sandy Renda
Engineer/Mixer – Phil Bruno

This recording was only sold as a CD-R from the internet by a Walt Gollender in New Jersey. It was explained to me by his assistent, John Lopacinski, that Mr. Gollender do not have the Master Tape for this song. Jimmy and Gollender never met but agreed over the phone for Jimmy to overdub his voice to a previously recorded music track. Gollender then recieved only a cassette recording from Jimmy after he supposedly recorded the vocal somewhere in Alabama. He got musical assistance from Sandy Renda for the guitar and bass overdubbing, while engineer Phil Bruno of «Early Bird Studio» in Nutley, New Jersey created the overdubbed Church bells. Gollender also informed that the original writer of the song has passed away. It excist two versions of the song; one with the overdubbed church bells and one without them.

Autumn, 1993 at the Sound Emporium Studios, Nashville, Tennessee:
Steady As She Goes
He Has His Hands On Your Heart
Love Is The Only Way Out
Between Hello And Goodbye
Rock Your Baby
I Know Where You Are Coming From
My Boogie Wants To Boogie With You
The Power Of Your Love
If You Ever Want A Fool Around
Starting Over

These ten tracks would be released by Kardina Records in 1996 as the album «Steady As She Goes»

The bootleg album STEADY AS SHE GOES/THE LEGEND CONTINUES reportedly features outtakes from both this session and tracks from the session from 1990 which produced the Stargem THE LEGEND CONTINUES album. However, as the bootleg does not include outtakes from any of the above songs it is very difficult to say for certain which tracks come from which date, if any.

December 15, 1994 at theSound Emporium Studios, 3100 Belmont Boulevard, Nashville, Tennessee:
Nobody But You
How Did We Get Here From There

Producer: Larry Butler
Engineer: Billy Sherill

October 16, 1996 at Andy Lee Lang’s Studio in Austria:
All In The Game
Puppet On A String

The above two tracks were released as “duets” on two compact disc compilations by Austrian singer Andy Lee Lang with Jimmy being credited as “Shadowman” on the sleeve. It seems possible that, if these tracks are authentic duets, they were made while Jimmy was appearing in Austria around this time. Or are they overdubbed fake “duets” using unreleased songs from earlier in Jimmy’s recording career?
The song Puppet On A String is the same song as recorded by Elvis Presley for inclusion on his «Girl Happy» soundtrack album.

7th. November 1996, Gavle, Sweden:
Young And Beautiful

The above two tracks were recorded at the home/studio of entertainer Garry Lee Taylor while Orion was on a European tour. Garry had been Jimmy’s bodyguard and security adviser as well as Jimmy’s good friend and the first track was composed by Garry. The recording of «Alibis» has been made available on the Jack Daniels label bootleg titled «In The Midnight Hour». The recording of «Young and Beautiful» has been made available on YouTube.

Studio not known:
Christmas Memory
A Christmas Filled With Love
The Funny Little Man All Dressed In Red
An Old Fashioned Christmas
Christmas Spirit
Christmas Eve
The Fireplace
You’re All I Want For Christmas

Merry Christmas Love+

Here Comes Santa Claus
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
O’ Little Town Of Bethlehem
Blue Christmas
Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me+
Holly Leaves & Christmas Trees
Silent Night
Santa Claus Is Back In Town
Jingle Bells
It Won’t Seem Like Christmas Without You

Stuck On You
Don’t Be Cruel
Crying In The Chapel
All Shook Up
Are You Lonesome Tonight
Teddy Bear
If I Can Dream
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
That’s Alright Mama
Follow That Dream

These last ten tracks above were issued in 2000 by Kardina Records on the album «Jimmy Ellis Sings Elvis – The Last Recordings».

+ These two tracks were released on the various artists album «Holliday Collection» from Kardina Records in 1997.
First eight tracks were issued in 1997 on Kardina Records album «A Christmas Filled With Love».
Latter ten festive tracks were issued by Kardina Records on the 1997 album «Holiday Tribute To The King».
Although it cannot, as yet, be confirmed, it seems likely all of these tracks were recorded at the one session.

Leo Jackson – Acoustic Guitar
Kelly Back – Lead Guitar
Mike Leech – Bass Guitar
Gene Chrisman – Drums
Walt Cunningham – Keyboards
Gary Prim – Keyboards on A CHRISTMAS FILLED WITH LOVE recordings.
Steel Guitar – Weldon Myrick
Fiddle – Bob Hajacos

Backing Vocals – Billy Davis; Karen Morley; Amaleia Ruble; Debra Paxton.
Additional Backing Vocals on HOLIDAY TRIBUTE TO THE KING recordings – The Jordanaires
Background Vocal direction on HOLIDAY TRIBUTE TO THE KING recordings – Melody Paxton; Billy Davis.

Producer – Dan Mitchell
Engineer – Ronny Light
Additional engineering on last ten tracks – Kurt Storey; Terry Alldaffer; Logan Patton
«A Christmas Filled With Love» recordings mastered by – Hollis Flatt, Custom Mastering.

Possibly early, 1997 (Possibly) Jerry Cupit’s Studio, Nashville:
Are You Sincere
Give Me The Right
It Hurts Me
Until It’s Time For You To Go
I Really Don’t Want To Know
My Boy
King Of The Whole Wide World
Follow That Dream
And I Love You So
The Wonder Of You
Anything That’s Part Of You
Without Love
It’s Midnight

These recordings were released on a fan club cassette titled «Orion Sings Elvis – The Man With The Voice Of a King» in 1997. Jimmy sold these at his shows at least in October, 1997 introducing them as his latest recordings. All tracks have been made available on bootleg CD.


Aproximatly one week before Jimmy was murdered (early December 1998) he was in Jerry Cupit’s studio in Nashville and recorded music there. To this day they have not been heard or released.

My mother Brenda Starr Garner was the Executive Producer of “Unchained Melody”. Radio Active label. At Gatlin Brothers Studio in Nashville TN. Was recorded on May 3rd 1991 under the name Orion.


Jackie, I knew Brenda Starr….she was a sweet Southern woman! I remember the back story she told me on the phone about the recording of “Unchained Melody.” Brenda’s hidden agenda was to find out who actually recorded the song. She paid something like $5000 from her own pocket to have ORiON record it. It was during a time when many people thought Elvis was still alive since the release of Gail Brewer-Giorgio’s “Is Elvis Alive?” in 1988. Since she was paying for it, she wanted to be in the studio when it was cut. The day of the recording, there was some kind of a mix-up, and somehow she missed getting to the studio on time. She was very upset that she never got to know if it was Orion or actually Elvis in the studio. True story.


Many thanks for your great work in listing and tracing Jimmy’s recordings. I hope that Bear Family Records will release another boxed set.


The first “Genuine” album was in my opinion the best album Jimmy ever did.He was very proud of it.He played the cassettes to me at one of his shows in his hotel room.I instantly liked “We Cant go on living like this”.That song had hit record all over it.Same thing with the song ” Lookin’ for a way” .Grest vocals and good material.


Jack, its been a long time! Yes, I agree! The original mix of “Genuine” was on cassette tape and really sounded different than the CD released shortly after. I gave the cassette to my sister…I wonder if she still has it? “Hooked On A Feeling” was my favorite track.


“I’ll Be With You Always (The Farewell)” was released soon after his death. I didn’t understand at the time, it seemed like he knew he was gonna be leaving us. It made me question the veracity of the story…until I found out there was surveillance video at the Pawn Shop that caught the whole horrible thing. Now I find out it was actually recorded in 1991, 7 years before his untimely death. I just located “Young & Beautiful” on YouTube…its a sparse nightclub sounding arrangement…heavy on piano. I’m not feeling it. “Merry Christmas Love” should have been on the “A Christmas Filled With Love” CD. It had A-side potential…maybe they were holding it back for a 45rpm release?? Getting back to “Unchained Melody”, I remember being at Bearcreek Farms and Orion invited my wife and I into his van to listen to the new song he’d just recorded. I remember he was excited about it and told us he used a similar arrangement that Ronnie McDowell had just used. I taped the whole incident with my VCR but it would take some effort to locate. I know understand that Orion was NOT Elvis, but may have been Elvis’ half brother. His mother’s name was Gladys Bell and father was named Vernon on his birth certificate. He was later adopted by the Ellis family according to Wikipedia. Truth is stranger than fiction!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *