Thursday, November 14, 2013


I've written before about ledgers. Today, as you can see above, we have a new one to look at, and it's a doozy. It comes our way from PermaRec reader Russell Ries Jr., who recently sent me the following note:

I was recently hanging out at my friend Rich's house when I saw something on his wall that I'd never noticed before. It was a gold record commemorative certificate that had been given to Rich's grandfather [for all the photos that follow, you can click to enlarge]:

Gold Record.jpeg

Turns out Rich's grandfather, Byron Bach, had been a longtime cello player in Nashville and did a bunch of studio work around town. He worked a whole lot with Johnny Cash, whom he referred to as John.

Despite knowing Rich for years, I'd never heard anything about his grandfather. After we talked about him for a minute, Rich said, "Would you like to see his ledger that he kept?" Obviously, I said yes. The ledger showed all the studio sessions he worked on, and the names inside blew me away: Elvis, "John Cash," Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Price Loretta Lynn, Clint Eastwood, George Jones, June Carter Cash, etc.

John and June.jpeg Jerry Lee Lewis.JPG Details 4.jpeg

For each entry it has the date; the names of the record company, studio, and artist; how much he was paid; how much he withheld for taxes; how much he made after taxes; and so on.

I took a bunch of photos. Rich said you're more than welcome to use them and write about them.

Man, what a trove of music history! Judging from Russell's photos, the ledger mostly covers the 1970s — not a bad time for Nashville. Here are the rest of the pics Russell sent me. The last one shows his friend Rich holding his grandfather's ledger. Enjoy!

More Activities.jpeg Details 3.jpeg Details 5.jpeg Details 2.jpeg Details 1.jpeg Details 6.JPG Rich with Ledger.jpeg


  1. What a find -- Fiddlin' the books with Johnny Cash...

    anyone have a Byron Bach Spotify playlist..?

    cool as always -- thanks Paul!

  2. There are several entries listed for Cash Show, which indicates he played in the house orchestra for The Johnny Cash Show on ABC TV. Given that Jerry Lee Lewis signing with Mercury coincides roughly with the Cash TV Show, we can plausibly You can also see changes in artists career track as well. Note the switch of Roy Orbison from Hickory to MGM Records. Fascinating stuff!