Remembering Jack Green and ET’s Texas Troubadours

This is Bob Hempker. First the news of the day. We have two brand new Little Walter Standard 50 amps in stock and ready to ship. Come on in and give them a try. You need to hear the sound these amps give. Your ears will love it.

I heard the news that one of my favorites passed away, Mr. Jack Green. Jack of course was the singer on the mega-hits There Goes My Everything and Statue of a Fool. My main memories of Jack were of him being the great drummer with the Texas Troubadour’s in the early sixties.

That band with Leon Rhodes, Buddy Charleton, Jack Green and Cal Smith in my opinion was the greatest band ever put together for a country music artist. They were so far ahead of their time. They played Ernest’s material as great as it could ever be thought of being played and they could turn around and play swing or jazz instrumentals and leave you with your mouth hanging open.

Leon and Buddy had their intricate parts worked out so well you had to listen real close sometimes to figure out who was playing the lead and who was playing the harmony. About the time you figured that out for a certain passage, they would switch and the other would be playing lead and the other be playing harmony.

They had a version of Steel Guitar Rag that was so cool I’ve yet to hear anything to compare to it. They did a lot of Duke Ellington and big band instrumentals where the lead guitar and steel guitar would be the lead instruments instead of the horn section.

When I was a teenager that was the group to listen to and I still listen to them to this day. Jack Green could swing with any drummer. He was as good as it got. Then they would feature Jack singing. The band recorded several albums on their own and Jack sang songs like The Last Letter, Since You’ve Gone.

Leon, Cal Smith and Jack sang several trio try things that were really great. Jack was a class act in every sense of the word. The last time I saw him was in 2010 at Loretta’s 50th anniversary of being in country music. I introduced him to a friend of mine as “Jack Green, my favorite drummer.” I think he got a kick out of that because I didn’t mention him singing or being a recording artist.

After Jack left Ernest, he had a brilliant career of his own. He also had some great bands of his own too. The music world has suffered a great loss.

Larry Sasser was in last week. He is a walking, talking country music history lesson. He came to town in 1969 and worked with Del Reeves, Ray Stevens and others before becoming the steel player on Nashville Now. He also played on a lot of recordings for people during the era. It was really great seeing Larry and visiting with him.

Pat Severs was also in and traded in a beautiful Emmons push pull. Pat was one of the rockin’ members of The Pirates of the Mississippi. He played with Eddie Rabbitt, Narvel Felts and is now working with Bill Anderson. Pat is a really good solid player, the kind you can learn from if you pay attention.

Dan Galysh was in. He is also excellent player who works with Rodney Atkins.

A while back a young man in his late teens came in with his father looking at steel guitars. He sat down and immediately started playing some Leon McAuliffe type things on the C6th neck. It really caught my attention needless to say because you don’t normally come across young people who even know who Leon was.

He started strumming across the E9th neck and told me he didn’t understand that tuning. I went through a brief tutoring session showing him the major string groupings and what the pedals did. I saw the light bulb flick in his head. He sat there and played some Bud Isaacs things like Bud’s Bounce and the classic lick from Slowly.

My curiosity got the best of me so I asked him what he’d been exposed to, to learn these things. He told me he only played in church and the only country music he’d been exposed to was some old 78 records his dad had, consisting of Webb Pierce, Hank Williams, Cowboy Copas and vocalists from that era.

He told me that he played a Gibson Multi-Harp. It was a guitar Gibson made for awhile in the last forties and early fifties. Anyway, this was a great trip back in time that I enjoyed from a young teenager of all people. It’s good to see young people out there who respect the roots of steel guitar as much as this young man.

We have word from GFI that prices are going up effective May 1st. If you have been contemplating a GFI, try to get at least a deposit on one before then.

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