Guitarist Reggie Young—who played on hit recordings by the Box Tops, Neil Diamond, Dobie Gray, Waylon Jennings, Elvis Presley, and Dusty Springfield, among others—shares stories from his extensive career during a 2008 interview, part of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Nashville Cats series.
As an introduction to the Nashville Cats program, host Bill Lloyd reads a quote from Eric Clapton: “As for technique, tons of white American guitar players were better than me. Reggie Young, for example . . . was one of the best guitarists I ever heard.”
Reggie Young’s story, as recounted during this interview, ranges from playing in Johnny Horton’s backing band to touring with Bill Black’s Combo and opening for the Beatles.
The guitarist was an integral part of a studio band known as “the Memphis Boys” (including Gene Chrismon on drums, Bobby Emmons on organ, Bobby Wood on piano, and Mike Leech on bass), which contributed to hit recordings by Arthur Alexander, Arthur Conley, King Curtis, Dionne Warwick, Bobby Womack, and many others.
Later, in Nashville, Young worked rock sessions at Quadraphonic Studios for Jimmy Buffett, J.J. Cale, Dobie Gray, John Prine, and others, and soon became a go-to guitarist on country sessions as well. Among the country hits Young played on during the 1980s: Reba McEntire’s “Little Rock,” George Strait’s “The Fireman,” Travis Tritt’s “Anymore,” and Hank Williams Jr.’s “Born to Boogie.” Young became so busy, he eventually started asking double scale for his studio time in an effort to cut back.
During the program, Lloyd shares those hits and a range of others featuring Reggie Young’s contributions, including Waylon Jennings’s “Luckenbach, Texas,” Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind,” Kenny Rogers’s “Lucille,” and Merle Haggard’s “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink,” “Pancho and Lefty,” and “That’s the Way Love Goes.”
The program concludes with Young playing his signature licks from several songs—the Box Tops’ “Cry Like a Baby,” Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away,” Elvis Presley’s “In the Ghetto,” Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man,” Billy Swan’s “I Can Help,” and B.J. Thomas’s “Hooked on a Feeling”—and a performance alongside his wife Jennifer (on cello) of their co-penned instrumental “Natchez Trace.”
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