Aubrey Mayhew, Johnny Paycheck’s Supporter and Producer, Dead at 81

Aubrey Mayhew, who co-founded Little Darlin’ Records with Johnny Paycheck in 1966 primarily as a vehicle for Paycheck’s own music, has died at a Nashville hospice at the age of 81. Time and cause of death have not yet been announced. Despite its focus on Paycheck, Little Darlin’ became a home to such other country artists as Bobby Helms and Jeannie C. Riley. Mayhew also served as Paycheck’s producer, manager and occasional co-writer. Paycheck’s first and highest-charting single on Little Darlin’ was “The Lovin’ Machine,” which went to No. 8 in 1966. In all, Paycheck charted nine singles on the label, four of them co-written with Mayhew. Paycheck would go on to achieve his greatest fame at CBS/Epic Records in the 1970s. He died in 2003. Mayhew’s other passion was collecting memorabilia of President John Kennedy’s assassination, a passion that extended to purchasing the Texas Book Depository building in Dallas from which Kennedy was shot. Some of Little Darlin’s extensive catalog has been released on Koch Records, including the 2004 compilation album A Little Darlin’ Christmas, featuring seasonal tracks by Helms and Paycheck. Other Little Darlin’ artists spotlighted in the Koch re-releases were Riley, Jeannie C. Riley, Don Williams, Lightnin’ Hopkins and steel guitar player Lloyd Green.