Remembering Jimmy Day

Hello fellow players,

This Friday is Black Friday, you know what that means right? There will be Christmas shopping with a passion. As always, I want the steel guitar players in the family to have what they really want for Christmas. Going back through my multitudes of years, I can remember so many things that I wanted my folks to get me.

However, I try not to lose the true meaning of what Christmas is. I’m just a big softie that truly loves Christmas for what it really is. I love the Christmas spirit and I love seeing what it does to other people. That feeling that you learn when you are a youngster I don’t ever want to really go away.

There’s just something that goes way beyond the thought of getting something like a monetary surprise. However, if you’re going to get something, it might as well be something you want.

If you have any young folks in your family that have been bitten by the music bug and would like to give me a call concerning advise on what to get them to make Christmas a special time for them, just let me know and I’ll search back through my memory banks and we’ll come up with something really unique for them.

As I have said before, there are several people that have made it to the halls of the Hall of Fame that other people may not be familiar with. So I’m here to let you know super special insights to the souls that are in this hallowed organization.

James Clayton Day, better known as Jimmy Day is one of these very deserving Hall of Fame members. Jimmy was never a very fast player and was never famous for his big chords and complicated playing on the C6th neck, but oh was he ever loved for the soulful things he played on so many country hits on the E9th neck.

Jimmy worked the road with Jim Reeves and did many great recordings with Jim, one of which was called According To My Heart. Jimmy worked with Ray Price for many years and was featured on many intros and instrumental turnarounds on Ray’s songs. Tunes like Heartaches By The Number, City Lights, Loveless Mansion On The Hill and countless others.

Jimmy worked with Ray right up until or near the end of his existence. Jimmy and I were not close friends in the beginning of our Nashville days, however we were both booked to do the New York City Steel Guitar Show about twenty years ago and I almost didn’t do it because he was on the show, knowing that there would be an argument about something because Jimmy and I couldn’t get close to each other without something igniting a fuse so I got my tickets, went to the airport trying to evade seeing him in the airport and stay away from the boarding area and doing my best to compose something nice to say to him that wouldn’t start a fight, got my boarding pass, made my way down the jetway, went into the front of our 727, worked my way back into the cheap seats reading the seat numbers on top of the seats, found my seat and started to sit down and there was a gentleman already sitting in this cross row.

As I was about to perch, I looked down into his face and sure enough, to my dismay, it was Jimmy Day himself. I thought to myself, oh Lord, this plane ain’t gonna be big enough for the both of us, and he gave me a quick smile and a handshake and I gave him my preconstrued speech which I guess encouraged him to do the same.

Anyway, by the time we got to Idlewild Airport in New York City we were the best of friends and made plans to record an album together which turned out to be the greatest album that Jimmy had ever recorded which we still sell at Steel Guitar Nashville under the name of The Masters Collection.

Jimmy’s playing on E9th neck is as strange and soulful as can be imagined. He never makes a mistake and plays some of the most interesting harmonies that most people would say “That just plain won’t work.” However, Jimmy makes it work and work well. Jimmy’s dexterity with a volume pedal is part of his style.

Jimmy always played in perfect tune, but yet seldom would you ever catch him tuning. He could play the rattiest, most miserable, worn out old Sho-Bud with more soul than anyone would ever believe possible. If you went to have lunch with Jimmy and asked him where he’d like to go, he’d always say, “Whatever you can afford.”

Some of the great tunes that I remember him doing were Pick Me Up On Your Way Down, I Love You Because, and about anything Ray Price did in that era. However, he did a tune with Willie Nelson called I Let My Mind Wander that I think was one of the most beautiful, typical Jimmy Day instrumental solos I have ever heard.

For much of his career he played blue Sho-Bud guitars and then closed out his life playing a beautiful blue birdseye maple Mullen guitar. No matter what guitar he played, he got a very strange, unique tone. I’m sure you can tell that I miss him very much. I’m sorry that we didn’t get to do the last instrumental album together that we had planned.

Jimmy Day, the standard of country E9th players, the inspiration to John Hughey, some of Buddy Emmons style, myself and thousands of others that have been blessed by hearing his beautiful and strange style of playing.

Check out our monthly specials at www.steelguitar.net/monthlyspecials.html and we’ll try to save you a lot of money.

The friend to all bar holders,
Bobbe Seymour
www.steelguitar.net
sales@steelguitar.net
www.youtube.com/bobbeseymour

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3 Responses to Remembering Jimmy Day

  1. Bill Engelhart says:

    Thank you for this website. I greatly admire all of the Steel Players over the years. as someone once put it very eloquently. The Pedal Steel is the voice of the “Angels”! I had the great fortune to see Jimmy Day play one of his last shows with Ray Price at Wisconsin Dells just north of Madison, WI where I live. This was just before Jimmy passed away. As you know, Ray Price was the “standard” when it came to how a country music singer should present himself. Jimmy Day exuded the same level of class that Ray did. Both dressed in grey suit with shirt and tie. Ray was always my personal favorite. Jimmy Day ranked near the top as well. Thank you for this tribute.

  2. Art Beard says:

    Thank you for the story, i am lucky enoigh to have what is believed to be the Sho-Bud amp found in Jimmies bedroom closet after he died. I treasue it and the GREAT music he made.

  3. Marvin Pringle says:

    I was fortunate to have been a high school classmate of Jimmy’s in Glenmora, Louisiana and to have played music with him several times. Many years later I saw Jimmy with Willie in Roswell, New Mexico . Jimmy is always close in my thoughts. He was a special and talented person and I constantly remember him not so much as a musician, and he was a gifted one, but as a person who achieved his goals in life.

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