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RIP: Speedy West Jr. - OKC Guitar Legend

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by buddaman71, May 18, 2011.

  1. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    Gary "Speedy" West Jr. lost his battle with cancer on May 4, 2011. I've known him and played live and in the studio with him many times over the last 20 years. He was an amazingly gifted, yet affable, kind, funny and humble person. Speedy Jr. played lap steel and guitar equally, and was just an encyclopedia of American guitar styles and sounds. He was also the son of the great lap steel icon, Speedy West.

    Here's my Speedy Jr. story relating my friendship and admiration for him:

    I met Speedy in 1990 at Granny's Music Mall. I'm just a self-taught country boy, and I finally wanted to take lessons to try and get better. I asked if I could take a few and Speedy said, "Come on back!" I walked to his little room , plugged in, Speedy hit play on a little backing track and I jammed along a bit. He hit stop and said, "I'm not taking your money man, let's just jam a bit." Over the years, every time I stopped by he'd smile and say, "Hey, Jason! Let's jam a bit."

    The first studio session I ever played on was with OKC music legends: Speedy Jr., Bill Hood, Byron Berline, John Hickman, Richard Sharpe and the Short brothers. I was intimidated to say the least. Speedy was the only one who knew me and said, "This kid can play! This will be great." He was never anything but positive and encouraging to me every time I ever played music with him.

    The last time I saw him, a few months before he passed, I walked into Friends, the OKC nightclub that Speedy's band Clique had been house band at for years, and he smiled and said, "Hey, Jason! Let's jam a bit!" We played a few tunes and had a few laughs and as I was heading home he said, "Man, I just wanted to tell you that I've always loved and respected your playing." He said that to me pretty much every time we played together and I appreciated it every single time. In true Speedy fashion, it was the last thing he ever said to me. Positive and encouraging to the end. I'll always remember him smiling and tearing it up on that old red Tele. Great player, fine gentleman and one of my heroes.

    Jason Shuck


     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  2. Phoenix59

    Phoenix59 Member

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    I remember Speedy from ages ago in OKC. R.I.P.
     
  3. Teleman77

    Teleman77 Member

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    Hell of a nice guy too................R.I.P. bro.
     
  4. Peeb

    Peeb Member

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  5. Neer

    Neer Supporting Member

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    His dad is one of my biggest heroes and Jr. bore a strong physical resemblance. I have Gary's LP somewhere.
     
  6. stratovarius

    stratovarius Supporting Member

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    Cool guy and great player. I knew him from the "Granny's" days.
     
  7. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    That vid I posted was just a sample of his last 80s rock/boogie playing, but he was a fantastic pedal steel player (actually, he was the pedal steel player on most of the sessions I played guitar on in the 90s) and a melodic and silky jazzy western swing player as well.
     
  8. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    Boy, I was just listening to 'Stratosphere Boogie' this morning. I had no idea Speedy had a son who played too!
     

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