King Biscuit Time


Blues radio lost a legend when host Sonny Payne of the show King Biscuit Time passed away at 92 years of age. I spoke with Mr.Payne in 2014 about King Biscuit Time.

I have a passion for the blues. You could say I have lived the blues. Six years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare viral infection, which led to failure of my organs and a coma. Slightly unrelated, while driving back from rehabilitation a year later, I was hit by an 18 wheeler.

So, for the last few years, I’ve been working my way back from a serious illness that left me with some memory loss, but I’ll never forget this interview. I can still see that studio and remember how I felt as I entered the room. He was reluctant to give that interview. I recall how lucky I was to get an interview with Mr. Payne It was a treasure and more so now. The studio was big and he was in the corner at the front window, broadcasting KFFA’s daily show King Biscuit Time from Helena, Arkansas.

He shared with me the magic of radio and and radio of current and past times.

“I told some of my guys hanging around. I’m going to [to be] on the air, man, eat your heart out.”

And with that over 60 years of the King Biscuit Time radio show came about.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Payne shared that in radio, “the less you talk the more music you play…although [myself,] Sonny Boy played it more. That’s fine….I’ll go to my grave and swear by that, leave that voice alone….People want to hear the music.”

To stay current, King Biscuit Time streamed on the internet so the show had many fans from around the world. They’d stop by and say, according to Payne “Hey I’ve heard that on the internet…he’s in heaven or one of the other places, I don’t know.”

Folklore or fact, Payne has a story that Led Zeppelin, star Robert Plant stopped by to check out King Biscuit Time. Payne, not knowing who the musician was, asked if Plant “played anything” and Plant replied “I play a little.”

For those blues men that “play and played a little”, Sonny Payne and The King Biscuit show featured and promoted many blues players in Mississippi and beyond and Sonny Payne will be a great loss.

Besides Payne teasing me by saying “send me a check” for the interview he shared:

“I wouldn’t miss it. I won’t miss it. I wouldn’t miss it for all. You can believe that. “He will be greatly missed.

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Julia Cruz

Had a pleasure of speaking with this vagabond of sorts.