Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Riding The Reading Rail-Road", A Night Of Historic Country Music with Lloyd Reading:

"Riding The Reading Rail-Road", A Night Of Historic Country Music with Lloyd Reading:

Lloyd Reading came to the Buck-a-room Recording Studio and played many of his classic tunes and we filmed an hour long interview there about the old Black Board days in Bakersfield. Lloyd talked about the dust bowl days and when he fist met Buck Owens.

Dr. BLT, Lloyd Reading and Hank Ray pose for a photo after a long night of song writing and interviewing Lloyd on the old Black Board Days.

Below: Dr. BLT presents Lloyd Reading with a CD of the song "Playboy Lloyd" which chronicles Lloyd's old band "The California Playboys", co-written by Dr. BLT and Hank Ray.

BELOW: DR. BLT and Lloyd Reading write a song together about the old Black Board Days.

Lloyd Reading - "Bakersfield sound Legend"
By Hank Ray, for Bakotopia.com .
I consider myself really lucky to have met and played music with the great Lloyd Reading.

Not only is he a great singer, guitarist and songwriter, but one of the nicest fellas you’ll meet.

Lloyd has the voice of Ralph Stanley and writing skills of Hank Williams Sr.

Lloyd is also a great source of information on the early days of country music and has toured and played with many of the greats, including Bob Wills.

Country music historians consider him a living legend and an important part of the early country scene, and one of the founding fathers of the “Bakersfield sound” or “Bakersfield twang” as it was still considered country swing back then.

Lloyd Reading was born on June 2, 1919 in Oklahoma. As a teenager, Lloyd got the itch to pick the guitar and has been “picking up a storm” since 1933. Relocating to Bakersfield in 1938, during the Dust Bowl era, he began singing at the original Blackboard Cafe in Bakersfield that same year as part of the Bob Manning Trio.

According to some sources, The Bob Manning Trio, with Lloyd on the flat top box, was one of the first bands to play live country music in Bakersfield, since the area was mostly comprised of horn-oriented swing bands.

Later in his career, Lloyd played with the Rocky Mountain Cowboys near Visalia from 1940 to 1950 - that’s 10 years of honky tonkin’ (“honky,” the early1970s derogatory term for Caucasians, comes from “honky tonk,” slang for bar with live music, libation and girls). After a decade with Rocky Mountain Cowboys, Lloyd then toured with important musical figure Jelly Sanders for two years in the same area. But Lloyd’s crowning achievement came while forming The California Playboys, a group he led them and toured with for 40 years.

“I was fortunate enough to have Joe Holley - Bob Wills’s left handed fiddle player - for seven of the 40 years in the band,” remarked Lloyd.

Although Lloyd was never in a band with the great Bob Wills, he did meet the man known as “The King of Western Swing” many times while touring, and often shared band members.

Now at 89, Lloyd Reading still performs at many local venues, but considers Trout’s nightclub in Oildale his home away from home.

Our local legend takes the stage during most Thursday and Sunday night jams at the Blackboard stage inside Trout’s. On Monday and Tuesday nights he attends Green Room song writing sessions in the basement of of the historic club, where I had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time. Lloyd is always more than happy to share his experiences with a stranger.

Above: Lloyd Reading (left,) and Hank Ray (right,) during a writing session at Trout's - 2008

I hope to play music with him again soon and perhaps we can get another interview for Bakotopia! You can find Lloyd at Trout’s Blackboard and Green Room for jam session, shows and festivals. Lloyd got a standing ovation at this year’s Bakersfield Music Festival (Buck Fest), and was also honored at the recent Bakersfield Music Awards at Trout’s.

Lloyd Reading, in his own words:

“I’ve been doin’ this music since I was 14. I had a band in Visalia in 1952 and had the band for 47 years, The California Playboys. I did all the Bob Wills stuff. I grew up with that music in Okalahoma. I had Joe Holly in my band for eight years before he passed away and we did all that stuff. I always followed that trend, because I grew up with it."

“I’m going into the studio soon with my grandson, Mike, as engineer and I have a lead fiddler from the Fresno area comin’ down. She does all the Bob Wills stuff ... those long, drawn out notes. We’re going to get those recordings started and give them to Joe Streep. Yeah, I came here in 1938 and left and came back, and I’ll be here until I die. I am proud to be here.”

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