• lead vocal and piano: Doug Koempel
  • acoustic guitar and flute: Steve Logan
  • electric guitar: Jimmy Bryant
  • steel guitar: Buddy Emmons
  • bass: Bud Logan (Jim Reeve's original bass player and John Conlee's producer)
  • drums: D.J. Fontana (Elvis's original drummer)
  • strings: The Wire Choir (arranged by Kris Wilkinson)
  • background vocals: Sound Seventy Singers (including Janie Fricke)
  • recorded at: Music City Recorders / Nashville, TN
  • engineered by: Jack Logan

Doug's notes:

Record label owner "Big Jack" Rodamaker had written a bittersweet song about his daughter moving away from home - the song was "Sayin' Good-bye." When we released my first LP for the label, we placed "Sayin' Good-bye" as the lead-off song and also titled the album after it.

The song begins with the recitation: "'Saying good-bye' is a fact of life. It ranges in emotion from sweet sorrow to near devastation." It's a sentiment that we all can relate to - be it a daughter leaving home, the loss of a loved one or the breakup of a relationship.

Although it wouldn't be released on an album until 1979, this song was actually recorded in 1975. Even though this was over 40 years ago, I do remember a couple things about the session: I'd had a bit of an artistic dispute with the recording engineer, Jack Logan. I wanted to put "slap back" echo on my vocal (the effect Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis used on their early recordings.) Jack admonished me that it was "gimmicky" and tried to steer me away from the idea, but I insisted; and he put it on. Now listening to the song all these years later, I wish I would have listened to the voice of experience. I should have spent less time worrying about the "slap back" effect and put more time into learning to sing the song in key!

Aside from my questionable lead vocal, the musical arrangement and performances on this track are, as Big Jack used to say, "Fan-TAS-tic!" One notable footnote on this session is Janie Fricke's vocal break (at 1:42) during the bridge where you can hear her beautiful voice singing: "Good-bye . . . good-bye. . ." This was her first year (1975) in Nashville when she started doing backup vocals for the likes of Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell and Conway Twitty. It would be only a scant two years later in 1977 that she would score a recording contract with Columbia records and release a string of 42 singles including seven number 1 hits between 1977 and 1991!

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Doug Koempel © 2016
SONG #49

(writer: J. Rodamaker)
artist: Doug Koempel
album title: SAYIN' GOOD-BYE (1980)
label: JAROCO Records
publishing: Jaroco Music, BMI / Blue Baker Music BMI
play "Sayin' Good-bye"