Curators of Genuine American Music
billy tarpon years
THE TARPON YEARS - from Billy “The Kid” Emerson - 2017 Florida Folk Life award winner, Rockabilly Hall of Fame inductee, and earliest surviving Sun Records artist!

Sun Records is recognized as the birthplace of rock and roll. Of all African-American artists that recorded on Sun, it was Billy that has the most influence on rock and roll. No other African-American artist had as many releases on Sun as Billy “The Kid.”

Billy toured and performed with Ike Turner, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and countless others. His songs have been covered by world renown artists including Ann Margaret, Brian Setzer, Rod Stewart and Elvis Presley.

In the mid-1960's, Billy formed the Tarpon Records label. He released several 45's of his music, as well as songs by Matt "Guitar" Murphy and the debut recordings of Denise LaSalle.


After retiring from secular music in the early 1980’s, Billy entered the ministry.
Reverend Emerson’s work in the church began at the Christ Temple Apostolic Church in Chicago.

Now in his early 90’s, Billy’s ministry continues today at the Holy Praise Apostolic Church of Jesus and the Good Spirit Music Ministry located along Florida’s Gulf Coast. He is currently working on “The Sacrifice of Praise” - spiritual music that he says will be his best work yet!

This release focuses on Billy’s recorded works from his Tarpon Records label.