Hello fellow players,
First of all, I’d like to thank steel players for sitting in for me, doing such a good job with these letters. Bob Hempker did one about a month ago that really intrigued me and got me thinking. This is the one about steel players in our past that are not famous but played very well, possibly great.
I have several myself and wanted to do a similar letter so I’m going to go ahead and name a couple steel players, most of which I have no idea of where they are today. I’ll give their name and where I met them because they may possibly be in the same area.
The first one is a steel player which I met in Las Vegas at 35 years ago named Bobby Lee. He is not the Bobby Lee from the Steel Guitar Forum and is not the Bobby Lee that was in Colorado. But there couldn’t be too many Bobby Lee’s, could there?
The next steel player is a very good player named David Forhand. I met this boy in Norfolk, Virginia. I heard he later went to Michigan. Number three is Alex Click from Alaska. Next is the great Fred Kelly from Norfolk, Virginia. Next one is Bill Jordan from Wichita Falls, Texas, he was previously with the Miller Brothers western swing band.
Snaz Wall of Colorado Springs was one of our first MSA customers and a very good steel guitarist. The next one is Ronny Elier. The next one is Wayne Bryant. Next one is Buddy Stevens of Dallas, Texas. Another steel player that played much like Speedy West and was fanatical about playing parts with the lead player, was a good steel guitarist named Darrell Whitehurst from the Norfolk, Virginia area.
All of these steel players were very good influential players, mostly from around fifty years or so ago. Some of them may not be with us anymore and some may be stressed. For instance, Fred Shannon of Big Spring, Texas. I’ve heard the rumor that like myself, his health is questionable. I pray for him and wish him my very best.
Another great Texas steel player is Ivan Greathouse. Like I say, these are all great steel players and have made a big impression on myself and many other young players. No telling where in the United States these guys could be today.
If any of you know of or hear about the whereabouts of any of these players, I wish you would let me know. They were all way too good to fade into oblivion. You know where oblivion is. It’s right near north Texas.
There are so many steel players out there that have worked their hearts out their whole lives and don’t realize that they have influenced other players greatly. I have realized after all these years that about everything a person plays is not really ever lost but can have a long life way beyond their own.
You may not know who you are impressing in the audience when you are playing or how much that your playing is being loved. I have people coming up to me all the time saying things like, “I saw you playing at the Western Room in 1969 and you really impressed me with that car wreck, or something equally as ridiculous.
I must have played a lot of ridiculous things in my life because they are coming back to haunt me now. What I’m asking of you all reading this is to share some moments that you have had with steel players that you have liked that you may not think are famous, but really did impress you.
Many steel players that have been playing in the United States have not been heard by millions, but really deserve some recognition. Anybody that plays steel guitar is worthy of serious recognition and this means you. You may not think you’re doing anything when you sit down to play, but I promise you, you have some fans and they are out telling other people how great you are.
Don’t take this lightly, but this is the power you have to touch the souls of many people whether you know it or not. Most of you just play something, get up and walk away and think about nothing serious, but maybe you have touched somebody very seriously.
Remember, when you sit down behind a steel guitar, you’re going to be recognized and be quietly praised by somebody.
It doesn’t matter how old or young a player is to impress someone. I went to a relatives house one time many years ago in Youngstown, Ohio. I had my little single neck Fender steel guitar with me. A little cousin of mine showed up. It was the first I had ever seen him. They called him little Jerry.
The relatives wanted us both to play something for them. I was supposed to be the star of the duo, but this little kid just tore me apart. Later on he grew up and was tearing the world apart. His name is Jerry Douglas, one of the most famous Dobro players ever.
This player is well known not because he is just a good guy that has had some good breaks, but because he is genuinely a great player. So just remember everyone, you never know where the next little superstar is coming from, but they were all young once.
This is Bobbe Seymour calling this newsletter in via telephone. Possibly sometime soon I can get back to doing it in person at my office, but thank you for treating the young stars, Bob Hempker and Vic Lawson, that I have writing for you so nicely. Remember, ole Bobbe loves you all.
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