In 1964, musician Pete Drake appeared on The Jimmy Dean Show and played his “talking steel guitar” for a really appreciative audience. The song he chose was “I’m Just a Guitar”, an amusing ditty about how everyone picks on him. The sound of Drakes voice was so unusual, it caused one concerned viewer to ask if this contraption was attached to his vocal cords and if it hurt. Drake responded that it was just a talk box that had nothing to with the vocal cords. Drake then took the show to break.
While Drake, a session musician, didn’t particularly enjoy being in the limelight, each time he performed live, it was always with his talking steel guitar.
Peter Frampton, who famously used a talk box on the album Frampton Comes Alive, shared how Drake introduced him to this incredible sound.
Here’s the soundtrack from that legendary meeting.
Here’s vintage footage of the first known use of a talk box in music by Alvino Rey.