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Saturday, 17 January 2015

Grady Martin born 17 January 1929

Thomas Grady Martin (January 17, 1929 – December 3, 2001) was an American session guitarist in country music and rockabilly.

A member of The Nashville A-Team, he played guitar on hits such as Marty Robbins' "El Paso", Loretta Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter" and Sammi Smith's "Help Me Make It Through the Night". During a nearly 50-year career, Martin backed such names as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Johnny Burnette, Don Woody and Arlo Guthrie, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Bing Crosby. He is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
Grady Martin was born on January 17, 1929 in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. He grew up on a farm with his oldest sister, Lois, his older brothers, June and Bill, and his parents, Claude and Bessey; and had a horse he named Trigger. His mother played the piano and encouraged his musical talent.
At age 15, Martin was invited to perform regularly on WLAC-AM in Nashville, Tennessee, and made his recording debut two years later on February 15, 1946 with Curly Fox and Texas Ruby in Chicago, Illinois.
That same year, he joined Paul Howard's Western swing-oriented Arkansas Cotton Pickers as half of Howard's twin guitar ensemble with Robert "Jabbo" Arrington and performed on the Grand Ole Opry. When Howard left, Opry newcomer Little Jimmy Dickens hired several former Cotton Pickers, including Martin, as his original Country Boys road band. He later joined Big Jeff Bess and the Radio Playboys followed by a stint with the Bailes Brothers Band.
By 1950, Martin was a part of the rising Nashville recording scene as a studio guitarist and fiddler, and his guitar hooks propelled Red Foley's "Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy" and "Birmingham Bounce". In 1951, he signed with Decca Records with own country-jazz band, Grady Martin and the Slew Foot Five. In addition to backing mainstream acts like Bing Crosby and Burl Ives, they began to record in their own right, with later sessions under the name Grady Martin and his Winging Strings when he introduced his twin-neck Bigsby guitar. The band, with Hank Garland, Bob Moore, Tommy Jackson and Bud Isaacs made regular appearances on ABC-TV's Ozark Jubilee in the mid-1950s.
It was as a session musician starting in the late 1950s that Martin made his greatest mark on country and rockabilly music.

As a guitarist with The Nashville A-Team, he provided the guitar on the Marty Robbins hits "El Paso" (1959) and "Don't Worry" (1961), on Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" (1964) and Lefty Frizzell's "Saginaw, Michigan" (1964). His guitar work was also displayed in Johnny Horton's "The Battle of New Orleans" (1959) and "Honky Tonk Man" (1956), and especially his pure rockabilly sound on "I'm Coming Home" (1957). He shaped countless other classics, Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again", Ray Price's "For the Good Times" and Jeanne Pruett's "Satin Sheets".
Martin is credited with accidentally stumbling onto the electric guitar "fuzz" effect during a recording session with Robbins; his guitar was run through a faulty channel in a mixing console, generating the fuzz sound on "Don't Worry".
The 1960s saw Martin move to the forefront of session guitarists and also issue a pair of rock & roll instrumental singles, "The Fuzz"/"Tippin' In" and "Big Bad Guitar." He also found success as a songwriter with "Snap Your Fingers," which was recorded in hit versions by Joe Henderson and Barbara Lewis and later covered by Ronnie Milsap, among others.
In 1978, with his studio career over, Martin returned to the life of a touring musician; first with Jerry Reed and then as lead guitarist for Willie Nelson's band, appearing in Nelson's 1980 film Honeysuckle Rose. In 1994, deteriorating health forced him to retire, but he produced Nelson's 1995 honky tonk album, Just One Love.
The Nashville Entertainment Association gave him its first Master Award in 1983, and he was the 83rd inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. On April 5, 2000, he received a Chetty award for significant instrumental achievement at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium during the Chet Atkins Musician Days festival. Health problems prevented Martin from attending; Nelson, Vince Gill and Marty Stuart presented the award—named after Atkins, who attended—to Martin's son, Joshua. Grady Martin was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2007.

Martin died from a heart attack on December 3, 2001 at the Marshall Medical Centre in his hometown of Lewisburg, Tennessee; and was interred at Hopper Cemetery in Marshall County, Tennessee. (Info edited mainly from Wikipedia)
Here's classic footage of Red singing the old chestnut "Crawdad Hole" with a stellar backing band--Grady Martin on doubleneck Bigsby guitar, Bob Moore on bass, Tommy Jackson on fiddle, Bud Isaacs on steel.


boppinbob said...

For Grady Martin - Roughneck Blues 1949-1956 go here:
1. Al Terry - Roughneck Blues (2:32)
2. Autry Inman - It Would Be A Doggone Lie (2:04)
3. Bobby Lord - Everybody's Rockin' But Me (2:09)
4. Buddy Holly - Modern Don Juan (2:36)
5. Buddy Holly - Rock Around With Ollie Vee (2:16)
6. Burl Ive with Grady Martin & His Slew Foot Five - Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves (2:24)
7. Cecil Gant - Don't You Worry (2:24)
8. Cecil Gant - It Ain't Gonna Be Like That (2:39)
9. Danny Dill - I'm Hungry For You Lovin' (2:09)
10. Danny Dill - My Girl & His Girl (2:35)
11. Don Woody - Bird Dog (2:21)
12. Don Woody - You're Barking Up The Wrong Tree (2:17)
13. Dottie Dillard & Jack Shook with Grady Martin & His Slew Foot Five - (Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I (2:35)
14. Grady Martin - When My Dream Boat Come Home (2:04)
15. Grady Martin & His Slew Foot Five - San Antonio Rose (3:01)
16. Johnny Burnette - Rock Billy Boogie (2:32)
17. Johnny Carroll & His Hot Rocks - Crazy Crazy Lovin' (2:16)
18. Johnny Horton - I'm A One Woman Man (1:58)
19. Johnny Horton - I'm Coming Home (2:04)
20. Justin Tubb - I'm A Big Boy Now (2:23)
21. Little Brenda Lee - Bigelow 6-200 (2:13)
22. Little Jimmy Dickens - A-Sleeping At The Foot Of The Bed (2:43)
23. Little Jimmy Dickens - Hillbilly Fever (2:54)
24. Red Foley - Birmingham Bounce (3:01)
25. Red Foley - Chattanogie Shoe Shine Boy (2:45)
26. Red Foley with Grady Martin & His Winging Strings - My Windows Faces The South (2:37)
27. Red Sovine - Juke Joint Johnny (2:28)
28. Roy Hall - Three Alley Cats (2:28)
29. The Johnny Burnette Trio - The Train Kept A Rollin' (2:14)
30. Vernon Claud - Baby's Gone (1:55)
31. Wayne Raney - Shake Baby Shake (2:05)
32. Wayne Walker - All I Can Do Is Cry (2:05)

Donald Sevier said...

Great Blog about Grady Martin and his Bigsby Doubleneck ! I happened to hear his audio rendition of Marty Robbins 'El Paso' and it was superb !

BradBoileau said...

Can you please re-post it, I've been looking for it everywhere. Thanks. And Fantastic Blog.

boppinbob said...

No problem, Brad. here's the link

Regards, Bob

BradBoileau said...

Thanks a lot!

Fartbag said...

Well dang it copy got sold due to dire poverty back in the day - aling with my Bigsby book and a whole pie of other wondrous disks - and now I see this one's going at Amazon for $200+. Very late to the dance, but any chance of yet another repost? Eternally grateful if you could.

Fartbag said...

Oh well, it's okay - found it in two volumes on iTunes. I'll miss that booklet but it's great to have it again. :)