Gene Watson Peer’s Quote from Bobby Durham: April 2020

Gene Watson’s Peers within the country music industry believe in the sheer talent of this unassuming man from east Texas, so much so that Gene is regarded by many of them as ‘the singer’s singer’ – and rightly so!

All of Gene Watson’s Peers, who were contacted during 2020, were most gracious with their time and words.

It is here, within this special part of The Gene Watson Fan Site, that you have an opportunity to read a quote from Bobby Durham, which he submitted to this site on Monday 20 April 2020.

Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to Bobby Durham who made a special contribution to this unique part of this online ‘celebration of a Lone Star Hero’.

Sean Brady would also like to take this opportunity to say¬†‘thank you’¬†to Scott Wikle, host of ‘My Kind of Country’ at fishcreekradio.com, and Larry Sloven (Recipient of Americana Music Association ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’, which was presented in Nashville on Wednesday 13 September 2017) at Extragrande Music, without whom this Gene Watson ‘Peer’s Quote’ from Bobby Durham would not have been possible.

Bobby Durham

Bobby Durham
This quote was submitted on Monday 20 April 2020.

‘I first met Gene Watson when we both played at The Caravan East Club in Albuquerque, New Mexico around 1975.

Forty-five years later, Gene continues to be the keeper of the flame for honest country music.

Gene Watson is the real deal!’

Thank you, Bobby Durham, for your support of Gene Watson.

About Bobby Durham…

Bobby Durham

Bobby Durham was born, in Bakersfield, California with the motivation to succeed.  Bobby’s father, Virgil Durham, came out to California from Childress, Texas in the mid-1930s.  Twenty-seven family members crammed into a single Model A Ford.  The babies and small children got to ride, the rest took turns walking.  Yes, walking!

Bobby Durham was born in Bakersfield, California in 1942.  The Durhams were a musical family.  Their older brother Ray was Lefty Frizzell’s road manager, and the younger boys performed almost from the time they could walk in a pair of boots.  Bobby Durham himself once sang ‘Pistol Packin’ Momma’ in church at the age of four or five.

When Bobby Durham, the son of a dust bowl dirt farmer, was just eleven, he would hop rides with singer, William (Billy) Robert Mize (Monday 29 April 1929 – Wednesday 1 November 2017), who drove to Los Angeles five days a week for his daily television show.  Tommy Collins (Sunday 28 September 1930 – Tuesday 14 March 2000) took Bobby Durham under his wing, and Joe Maphis (Thursday 12 May 1921 – Friday 27 June 1986) showed him a few guitar licks.

Bobby Durham performed on Jay Stewart’s ‘Town Hall Party’, Cliffie Stone’s ‘Hometown Jamboree’, and Cousin Herb Henson’s ‘Trading Post’, along with a slew of other Bakersfield and Los Angeles television shows.

‘I made more money in 45 minutes doing Cousin Herb’s television show than my Daddy made in a whole day’, Bobby Durham said at the time.

‘Union scale for that show was $13.00 or $14.00 a day.  My Daddy made $12.00 for a 12-hour day – $1.00 an hour.  I knew music was the way to go for me’

Bobby Durham was a member of Cousin Ebb’s Squirrel Shooters, the house band at Pumpkin Center Barn Dance, starting in 1954, and a regular at The Rainbow Gardens Dance Hall in 1957.  By the time he entered high school later that year (1957), Bobby Durham was a veteran performer playing four nights a week with Jolly Jody & The Go-Daddies.  Bobby Durham bought himself a car and drove to school every day at Bakersfield High School (and later North High School).

By 1962, Bobby Durham was a member of Gene Davis’ Palomino Riders, the house band at Los Angeles’ Palomino Club, where the regular patrons included some of country music’s finest session players, and most noteworthy up-and-comers, among them Glen Campbell (Wednesday 22 April 1936 – Tuesday 8 August 2017), James Burton and Roger Miller (Thursday 2 January 1936 – Sunday 25 October 1992).

Capitol Records

In 1963, Bobby Durham signed with Capitol Records, and recorded songs written by Buck Owens (Monday 12 August 1929 – Saturday 25 March 2006), Red Simpson (Tuesday 6 March 1934 – Friday 8 January 2016) and Wynn Stewart (Thursday 7 June 1934 – Wednesday 17 July 1985), among others.

In 1964, Bobby Durham saw the release of a non-album single, ‘My Past Is Present’, which was written by Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) and Wynn Stewart (Thursday 7 June 1934 – Wednesday 17 July 1985); Bobby Durham believes this was the first Merle Haggard song ever recorded – by anyone.

The B-side of Bobby Durham’s recording of ‘My Past Is Present’, which was written by Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) and Wynn Stewart (Thursday 7 June 1934 – Wednesday 17 July 1985) was ‘Queen of Snob Hill’, which was written by Red Simpson (Tuesday 6 March 1934 – Friday 8 January 2016).

In 1965, Bobby Durham saw the release of a non-album single, ‘It’s Too Much Like Lonesome’, which was written by Tommy Collins (Sunday 28 September 1930 – Tuesday 14 March 2000); the B-side of the single was ‘So Welcome To The Club’, which was written by Charles ‚ÄėFuzzy‚Äô Owen (Tuesday 30 April 1929 – Tuesday 12 May 2020) and Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016).

It was also in 1965 when Bobby Durham saw the release of a non-album single, ‘Let The Sad Times Roll On’, which was written by Buck Owens (Monday 12 August 1929 – Saturday 25 March 2006) and Red Simpson (Tuesday 6 March 1934 – Friday 8 January 2016); the B-side of the single was ‘Let That Be A Lesson To You, Heartache’, which was written by William (Billy) Robert Mize (Monday 29 April 1929 – Wednesday 1 November 2017).

In 1965, Bobby Durham received a nomination for ‘Most Promising Mail Vocalist’.

In 1966, Bobby Durham & Jeanie O’Neal (1939 – 1975) received a nomination for ‘Most Promising Vocal Group’.

In 1966, Bobby Durham saw the release of a non-album single, ‘Home Is Where I Hang My Head’, which was written by Liz Anderson (Monday 13 January 1930 – Monday 31 October 2011); the B-side of the single was ‘Why Don‚Äôt You Just Be You’.

Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 - Wednesday 6 April 2016)

It was also in 1966, just before Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) hit it big, Bobby Durham did Merle another favour and loaned him his $1,500 gold Nudie Cohen suit.  Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) had an important show, and apparently jeans and a white shirt wouldn’t suffice.

Bobby Durham did a five year run with the post-Buddy Holly Crickets, touring the United States, Canada and Europe.  Then, in 1972, Bobby Durham began an eleven year run in Las Vegas.

‘I worked day and night’, Bobby Durham said at the time. ‘I worked 8 o’clock and midnight shows at The Golden Nugget, then everyone would pack up and go over to The Silver Dollar for the 1:00am show.  After the late show, everybody would come over and jam – Wynn Stewart (Thursday 7 June 1934 – Wednesday 17 July 1985), William (Billy) Robert Mize (Monday 29 April 1929 – Wednesday 1 November 2017), Marty Robbins (Saturday 26 September 1925 – Wednesday 8 December 1982), Waylon Jennings (Tuesday 15 June 1937 – Wednesday 13 February 2002), you name ’em’.

‘One night in 1975, Waylon Jennings (Tuesday 15 June 1937 – Wednesday 13 February 2002) and his band came to see us, and he brought his steel guitar player, Ralph E. Mooney (Sunday 16 September 1928 – Sunday 20 March 2011), who had played on my records.  Afterward, we all went over to Alan Mead’s house – he was my steel guitar player – and we had a big party.  After a couple of hours, I went home’.

‘The next evening, I went over to see Waylon’s show.  The curtain opens and here’s Waylon kinda looking out into the crowd.  I’m way in the back, on the other side of the bar.  Waylon says, right into the microphone, ‘OK, Durham, what’d you do with my steel guitar player?’  I ran out and hopped in my car and drove over to Alan’s house, and there’s Ralph in bed, still asleep, 8 o’clock at night.  I rousted him up and brought him back to the club’.

By 1983, with his mother ill, Bobby Durham moved back to Bakersfield and began performing locally.

In 1984, Bobby Durham took his Mom to Nashville for a show at The Grand Ole Opry.  Bobby Durham was on the bill.  ‘That was the thrill of my lifetime’, Bobby Durham said.  ‘I just wish my daddy had been around to see it’.

Bobby Durham: 'Where I Grew Up' (United States: Hightone Records, 1987 / United Kingdom: Demon Records, 1987)

In 1987, Bobby Durham saw the release of his debut album, ‘Where I Grew Up’ (United States: Hightone Records, 1987 / United Kingdom: Demon Records, 1987), which was produced by Bruce Bromberg and Dennis Walker, and included the following tracks:

‘Where I Grew Up’ (written by Dennis Walker)
Personnel involved in the recording of this track included the following:

Bobby Durham (lead vocals)
James Burton (lead guitar)
Al Bruno and Dale Wilson (guitar)
Jaydee Maness (steel guitar)
Glen D. Hardin (piano)
Doug Atwell (fiddle)
Jerry Scheff (bass)
Ronnie Tutt (drums)
Bobby Durham, Herb Pedersen, David Morgan, Theresa Spanke-Durham, Ted Taylor and Augie Brown (backing vocals)

‘Several Hearts’ (written by Dennis Walker)
Personnel involved in the recording of this track included the following:

Bobby Durham (lead vocals)
James Burton (lead guitar)
Bernie Leadon (guitar)
Al Perkins (steel guitar)
Glen D. Hardin (piano)
Doug Atwell (fiddle)
Jerry Scheff (bass)
Cactus Moser (drums)
Bobby Durham, Herb Pedersen, David Morgan, Theresa Spanke-Durham, Ted Taylor and Augie Brown (backing vocals)

‘I Drove Her There’ (written by D. Amy)
Personnel involved in the recording of this track included the following:

Bobby Durham (lead vocals)
James Burton (lead guitar)
Al Bruno and Dale Wilson (guitar)
Jaydee Maness (steel guitar)
Glen D. Hardin (piano)
Doug Atwell (fiddle)
Jerry Scheff (bass)
Ronnie Tutt (drums)
Bobby Durham, Herb Pedersen, David Morgan, Theresa Spanke-Durham, Ted Taylor and Augie Brown (backing vocals)

‘Cheap Hotels’ (written by D. Amy)
Personnel involved in the recording of this track included the following:

Bobby Durham (lead vocals)
James Burton (lead guitar)
Bernie Leadon (guitar)
Al Perkins (steel guitar)
Glen D. Hardin (piano)
Doug Atwell (fiddle)
Jerry Scheff (bass)
Cactus Moser (drums)
Bobby Durham, Herb Pedersen, David Morgan, Theresa Spanke-Durham, Ted Taylor and Augie Brown (backing vocals)

‘You Gotta Have A License’, which was written by Tommy Collins (Sunday 28 September 1930 – Tuesday 14 March 2000)
Personnel involved in the recording of this track included the following:

Bobby Durham (lead vocals)
James Burton (lead guitar)
Al Bruno and Dale Wilson (guitar)
Jaydee Maness (steel guitar)
Glen D. Hardin (piano)
Doug Atwell (fiddle)
Jerry Scheff (bass)
Ronnie Tutt (drums)
Bobby Durham, Herb Pedersen, David Morgan, Theresa Spanke-Durham, Ted Taylor and Augie Brown (backing vocals)

‘If You Count Goodbye’ (written by Dennis Walker)
Personnel involved in the recording of this track included the following:

Bobby Durham (lead vocals)
James Burton (lead guitar)
Bernie Leadon (guitar)
Al Perkins (steel guitar)
Glen D. Hardin (piano)
Doug Atwell (fiddle)
Jerry Scheff (bass)
Cactus Moser (drums)
Bobby Durham, Herb Pedersen, David Morgan, Theresa Spanke-Durham, Ted Taylor and Augie Brown (backing vocals)

‘Dance Real Slow’ (written by Dennis Walker)
Personnel involved in the recording of this track included the following:

Bobby Durham (lead vocals)
James Burton (lead guitar)
Al Bruno and Dale Wilson (guitar)
Jaydee Maness (steel guitar)
Glen D. Hardin (piano)
Doug Atwell (fiddle)
Jerry Scheff (bass)
Ronnie Tutt (drums)
Bobby Durham, Herb Pedersen, David Morgan, Theresa Spanke-Durham, Ted Taylor and Augie Brown (backing vocals)

‘Playboy’, which was written by B. Morris and Eddie Miller (Wednesday 10 December 1919 – Monday 11 April 1977)
Personnel involved in the recording of this track included the following:

Bobby Durham (lead vocals)
James Burton (lead guitar)
Al Bruno and Dale Wilson (guitar)
Jaydee Maness (steel guitar)
Glen D. Hardin (piano)
Doug Atwell (fiddle)
Jerry Scheff (bass)
Ronnie Tutt (drums)
Bobby Durham, Herb Pedersen, David Morgan, Theresa Spanke-Durham, Ted Taylor and Augie Brown (backing vocals)

‘Let’s Start A Rumor Today’ (written by Bobby Durham, Theresa Spanke-Durham and Wayne Durham)
Personnel involved in the recording of this track included the following:

Bobby Durham (lead vocals)
James Burton (lead guitar)
Al Bruno and Dale Wilson (guitar)
Jaydee Maness (steel guitar)
Glen D. Hardin (piano)
Doug Atwell (fiddle)
Jerry Scheff (bass)
Ronnie Tutt (drums)
Bobby Durham, Herb Pedersen, David Morgan, Theresa Spanke-Durham, Ted Taylor and Augie Brown (backing vocals)

‘Comin’ Back’ (written by D. Amy)
Personnel involved in the recording of this track included the following:

Bobby Durham (lead vocals)
James Burton (lead guitar)
Bernie Leadon (guitar)
Al Perkins (steel guitar)
Glen D. Hardin (piano)
Doug Atwell (fiddle)
Jerry Scheff (bass)
Cactus Moser (drums)
Bobby Durham, Herb Pedersen, David Morgan, Theresa Spanke-Durham, Ted Taylor and Augie Brown (backing vocals)

The executive producer of Bobby Durham’s debut album, ‘Where I Grew Up’ (United States: Hightone Records, 1987 / United Kingdom: Demon Records, 1987) was Larry Sloven, and the album was dedicated to Tommy Collins (Sunday 28 September 1930 – Tuesday 14 March 2000) and Wynn Stewart (Thursday 7 June 1934 – Wednesday 17 July 1985).

Following the release, in 1987, of his debut album, ‘Where I Grew Up’ (United States: Hightone Records, 1987 / United Kingdom: Demon Records, 1987), an album which claimed ‘Gold’ sales status, Bobby Durham essentially stopped recording.  Going back to his roots, Bobby Durham focused on his first love, that of live performing.

With the passing of Buck Owens (Monday 12 August 1929 – Saturday 25 March 2006), Bobby Durham was possibly Bakersfield’s last performing honky tonk singer from the Golden Age of the Bakersfield Sound.¬† Still performing several nights a week, on the road and at home, Bobby Durham kept a busy schedule at a number of venues, including Academy of Country Music ‘Night Club of The Year’, Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace.

In early 2007, following a twenty-year absence from the recording scene, Bobby Durham was persuaded to return to the recording studio, embarking on a project, which ultimately resulted in a twelve song album, ‘The Last of The Golden Era’.

In 2010, Mayor Harvey Hall officially declared Tuesday 24 August 2010, as ‘Bobby Durham Day’, in celebration of his dedication to the Bakersfield Sound.

Bobby Durham

‚ÄĘ Bobby Graham