b. James E. Cason, 27 November 1939, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. In the mid-50s Cason took a liking to R&B and started a band, the Casuals, which was, contrarily for Nashville, a rock ‘n’ roll group. The band included Johnny McCreery, Chester Power, Billy Smith and Richard Williams and they appeared locally on television. Cason also sang background vocals on records by artists including Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, and Bob Wills. In partnership with Bobby Russell, he wrote some songs, including ‘Tennessee’, which they recorded as the Todds, a trio of which the third member was Bergen White. Cason also worked in various pop groups, such as the Statues and the Countdowns. Under the name of Garry Miles he made a cover version of Garry Mills’ hit, ‘Look For A Star’. Later, Cason and Russell, who wrote hits such as ‘Little Green Apples’, formed a publishing company and a recording company.
In Los Angeles in the early 60s, Cason worked for Liberty Records as a producer. Among bands with whom he worked in this capacity were the Crickets and when Jerry Naylor fell ill on the eve of a 1964 UK tour, Cason deputised. The other Crickets on this tour were Jerry Allison, Sonny Curtis and Glen D. Hardin. As a producer he was involved with the early Jimmy Buffett albums Down To Earth and High Cumberland Jubilee, most of the songs on the latter being collaborations between Cason and Buffett.
In the 70s, Cason established his own recording studio, Creative Workshop, used by artists such as Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton. Among Cason’s songs are ‘My Love Song To You’, recorded by the Casuals, ‘Sandy’, recorded by Ronny And The Daytonas, ‘Soldier Of Love’, recorded by the Beatles, and best known of all, ‘Everlasting Love’, a collaboration with Mac Gayden, which was a hit for Robert Knightin the 60s and was often recorded thereafter, including an early 00s version by Jamie Cullum. Among other artists who have recorded Cason’s songs are the Derailers, Olivia Newton-John, Brenda Lee and Freddy Weller. Cason’s highly entertaining autobiography was published in 2004.