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As a singer, Bond was barely a notch above Burcham, but he was keyed into the new music. He’d been at KWEM, West Memphis, when Elvis came in with a copy of ‘That’s All Right’ for one of the country deejays.
Elvis, Reggie, and steel guitarist Kenneth Herman went down to the five-and-dime. “Elvis took one, asked the girl behind the counter if she was married.
Reggie shuttles between self-effacement and understated pride. As his 80th birthday approaches, he still plays every day out of love and habit, not out of necessity.
With that degree of accomplishment, you’d think he’d want his name on the records, “…featuring Reggie Young on guitar”, but not so. Inside the small circle of recording studios and even smaller circle of fans who feasted on album credits, his first name alone became shorthand for a style. Bill Black Combo’s ‘Smokie Part 2’, James Carr’s ‘Dark End Of The Street’, the Box Tops’ ‘Cry Like A Baby’ and ‘The Letter’, B. Thomas’ ‘Hooked On A Feeling’, Dusty Springfield’s ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’, Joe Tex’s ‘Skinny Legs And All’, Wilson Pickett’s ‘Midnight Mover’, King Curtis’ ‘Memphis Soul Stew’, Herbie Mann’s ‘Memphis Underground’, Neil Diamond’s ‘Holly Holy’ and ‘Sweet Caroline’, Danny O’Keefe’s ‘Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues’, Elvis Presley’s ‘In The Ghetto’, ‘Suspicious Minds’ and ‘Kentucky Rain’, John Prine’s ‘Sam Stone’ and ‘Hello In There’, Merrilee Rush’s ‘Angel Of The Morning’, Dobie Gray’s ‘Drift Away’, Jimmy Buffett’s ‘Come Monday’, Billy Swan’s ‘I Can Help’, J. Cale’s ‘Cocaine’ and ‘Cajun Moon’, Waylon Jennings’ ‘Luckenbach, Texas’, Hank Williams Jr’s ‘Family Tradition’, Reba Mc Entire’s ‘Little Rock’, Kenny Rogers’ ‘Lucille’, Willie Nelson’s ‘Always On My Mind’, Merle Haggard’s ‘That’s The Way Love Goes’ and Willie & Merle’s ‘Poncho And Lefty’.
Add to that, the Beatles’ first American tour, several trips around the world with the Highwaymen, and a starring role in Waylon Jennings’ last band. If a name or date eludes him, he has his diaries, not because he foresaw the importance of what he was doing but to ensure he got paid.
Orbison was forever saying he wanted a Cadillac by the time he was 21. Somewhere along the way, Johnny Horton fell out with his guitarist, and Reggie took over, moving to Horton’s home base, Shreveport, Louisiana. Success as a rockabilly singer was in the past, but redoubled success with saga songs was in the future. Years later, Waylon Jennings reminded Reggie that he and Horton had come by KLVT in Levelland, Texas when Waylon was a deejay there.
We were bottom of the bill.” Bond’s second Mercury record was cut at Bradley’s studio in Nashville. Reggie’s pretty sure it happened, but can’t recall it.