May 27, 2021 Rock & Roll, Entertainment, Sports and Americana
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/27/2021

Offered is the Rogers drum set of legendary drummer WS "Fluke" Holland, played while on tour in the 1960s and 70s with Johnny Cash, as well as at the White House in a historical 1970 performance for President Richard Nixon. The set was in front of Holland for some of the most iconic moments in music history, such as when Johnny Cash played Folsom Prison on January 13, 1968, and San Quentin Prison on February 24, 1969. 

In addition to the hundreds of concerts, Fluke would have played this set during any number of Johnny Cash recording sessions during the period. Sessions in this era would produce albums such as Blood, Sweat and Tears, Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, Orange Blossom Special, Hello, I'm Johnny Cash, and Man in Black, and songs like "The Ballad of Ira Hayes", "Orange Blossom Special", "If I Were a Carpenter", "Man in Black" and "Singin' in Viet Nam Talkin' Blues", to name just a few. 

When Holland set up the offered drum set on April 17, 1970, he was doing it in the East Room of the White House in preparation for a Johnny Cash performance for President Nixon. Though Cash historically toed the line of politics, he did use his platform that evening to perform one particularly stirring number: “What is Truth?” Rather haunting in tone, the song’s verses shift between various scenarios of young people questioning why the world is the way that it is: from a little boy asking his father why war exists, to a young man on a witness stand who tells the truth but is not heard because of his appearance. For the uncomfortable moments this song caused, it didn't ruin the mood of what was a triumphant, historic night for Johnny and the band. 

The drum set can be clearly seen in still photographs and video of The White House Concert and the Folsom and San Quentin Prison shows, as well as in photographs of many, many live performances during the 1960s and 70s. 

While several stands, cymbals and other various parts have naturally been replaced over the years by a drummer that relentlessly toured and worked in the studio, the original early to mid 1960's core of the set remains intact, with the bass drum, floor tom, and two small toms all maintaining their "Rogers Holiday Model" serial number stickers on the interior. The "Holiday" model drums, with this "pearl" finish, was available as early as the mid-1950s, but the specific "Rogers" logo on the offered set date it to no earlier than 1962, when the logo first appears in the Rogers catalogs. The snare drum itself is also a Rogers brand, but may be from a slightly later period, but only slightly. All the pieces of the set are in working condition, technically, but the set would certainly require some servicing to be ready for stage action. The set shows the expected amount of wear from a working drummer using it over the course of many years. Excellent condition overall. 

The Collection of WS "Fluke" Holland

The drum set, as well as the rest of the WS "Fluke" Holland collection offered in this auction, emanates directly from Holland's estate. The set is accompanied by a letter signed by Fluke prior to his passing that reads simply "Silver metallic Rogers drums WS Holland played during the Johnny Cash concert 'An Evening at the White House' for President Richard Nixon April 17, 1970." It is also accompanied by a letter of authenticity from the Holland's family, signed by his daughter Kim Lovelace, that reads in part:

My father, WS Holland, had a career that spanned more than 60 years. He played drums at Sun Records for Carl Perkins in the mid-1950s, including on the legendary track "Blue Suede Shoes." He also performed on the "Million Dollar Quartet" session that featured Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Perkins, and Johnny Cash, as well as with the Carl Perkins band in the 1957 rock and roll movie Jamboree, performing "Glad All Over". WS spent more than 35 years playing drums for Johnny Cash, and he was a founding member of Johnny's band The Tennessee Three, as well as drummer for The Great Eighties Eight, and The Johnny Cash Show Band.

Country music legend Marty Stuart wrote the forward to Fluke's 2018 autobiography, Behind the Man in Black: The WS Holland Story, and it's as fitting a summation of the life and impact of WS Holland as anyone could write. It reads in part:

W.S. (Fluke) Holland is an American original. I consider Fluke to be one of the greatest natural musicians that I have ever known. I cherish the times that we've played music and traveled together. Fluke remains one of my all time musical heroes. If he had stopped playing after recording "Blue Suede Shoes" with Carl Perkins or "Ring of Fire" with Johnny Cash, his legacy would have been forever sealed. However, those songs are only two of the legendary drum parts he's contributed in a recording and performing career that has spanned over six decades and counting.

Fluke was on the front lines playing his drums at Sun Records in Memphis as rock & roll was being born in American in the 1950s. From the early 1960s on, he spent forty plus years playing behind Johnny Cash as a member of Cash's original Tennessee Three. From the first note they played together., Luther Perkins, Fluke Holland, Marshall Grant and John R. Cash created history by making the rules, breaking the rules, and then defying them all over again. They laid waste to any musical boundaries that had nerve enough to cross their path. Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three created a staggering body of work that gave universal appeal to country music, all the while creating a chapter for themselves as major twentieth century contributors to the great American songbook. 

One of the key ingredients of the Tennessee Three was the sound of Fluke Holland's drums. Fluke has a style and feel all his own. It is his sonic signature, a signature that comes from his heart. Listen to Fluke's playing on Johny Cash's original recordings of "The Legend of John Henry's Hammer" or "Folsom Prison Blues" then "Orange Blossom Special" from the Live at Folsom record. Any drummer will tell those parts cannot be duplicated, only imitated and anyone's imitation will pale in comparison to the original. 

Back in the mid 1950s at a little country juke joint on the outskirts of Fluke's hometown of Jackson, Tennessee, Fluke found his groove. He began his musical career by slapping his hands bongo-style, keeping time on the side of Clayton Perkins' bass fiddle. He simply followed the feeling of the songs and played along with the rocking beat that Carl, J.B. and Clayton Perkins were laying down for the folks in the room to dance to. Not long afterwards, Fluke bought some drums and joined the Perkins band. That little quartet of southern boys went on to become internationally famous and made music that inspired the whole world to dance. People called their music rockabilly. The truth of the matter is, it was just homegrown, country, feel good music from Jackson, Tennessee. The lives that beat has since touched and inspired is incalculable. One of those lives is mine. Flukes beat and the sound of his drums is an essential part of my musical DNA. I can close my eyes at any point and hear that clattering train sound that only Fluke can play. It sounds like some old, black, steamer rattling through the southern darkness, headed straight for my heart. It's a beautiful sound; so pretty that it sometimes makes me cry. It's Fluke's groove, eternally fixed, smiled upon by the hands of time. 

I smile when I think of Fluke. There's not another soul in the world like him. God made only one. 

We could not have said it better ourselves, Marty.

W.S. “Fluke” Holland “ Rogers” Drum Set Played at Folsum Prison, San Quentin Prison, On Tour With Johnny Cash and at The White House in 1970
Bidding
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $5,000
Final prices include buyers premium: $8,625
Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Number Bids: 6
Auction closed on Thursday, May 27, 2021.
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