Jerry Byrd was born on the 9th of March 1920, and his instrument of choice was the steel guitar, although he also played bass and sang harmony vocals on some recordings. Musically Jerry Byrd’s first love was the Hawaiian steel guitar music and in this style he was a perfectionist and to quote Guitar Player magazine "Jerry Byrd is the standard by which all steel guitarists must be measured."
Jerry Byrd led The String Dusters from 1949 to 1955, and during this time-frame they recorded for Mercury Records. Of the eleven featured Mercury tracks ten are instrumental, and these are inter-spaced between vocal performances in the running order to vary the aural appeal.Therefore the album is not in a chronological order.
The remaining twenty-one titles are graced by Byrd’s skills as a steel guitarist or bass player, and his musical dexterity in the study added to the sound of numerous hits in the Country and Western market. Byrd’s The Word cherry-picks some of the numerous songs he performed on, and where possible focuses on the less well-known titles which will interest collectors and fans alike collectors.
Here is a snap shot of the hillbilly fest in store for you. The album will get your feet moving and your spurs leaving sparks on the floor when you catch the beat of Rockin' Chair Money by Red Foley and The Cumberland Valley which inaugurates the album. Jerry Byrd and The String Dusters only vocal recording Steelin' The Blues is sang by ‘Mr Knock Knock Rattle’ Rex Allen, and the remaining instrumental titles are inter-spaced in the running order through to track number twenty. Lively recordings from revered names include; ‘Mr Rock Roll Jump and Jive’ Curtis Gordon who used Byrd‘s steel guitar for two hillbilly shufflers, If You Tell Me One More Lie, and You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet. The legendary Hank Williams used Byrd numerous times as a supporting musician and included are two pre-rock ‘n’ roll hillbilly boppers, I'm A Long Gone Daddy, and Rootie Tootie.
Red Kirk may be unknown too many but his version of Teardrops From My Eyes is a prime example of R&B entering into country music, and popular in their day Jimmy Work and His Tennessee Border Boys sing Surrounded By Water And Bars, and Ann Jones provides an inspiring version of Too Old To Cut The Mustard. For something completely different the banjo picking Grandpa Jones is hayseed hillbilly and his two recordings Old Rattler's Son, and That Memphis Train will nonetheless get your feet tapping!
The added bonus on the album are TV performances from Hawkshaw Hawkins who is featured with pre- commercial versions of, Darkness On The Face Of The Earth, Silver Threads And Golden Needles, and Bad News Travels Fast (In Our Town) which Byrd only performed on for the broadcasts. There is however one commercial Hawkins recording featuring Byrd the haunting I've Got It Again. There are three wonderful recordings from Marty Robbins, his remarkable ballad The Bend On The River, which rockabilly group The Bluecats recorded in 1992, Ruby Ann is the chart version, and Sometimes I’m Tempted is a jump tune, there is one rousing gospel song on the album I'm Gonna Sing by Porter Wagoner. Billy Walker recorded an album on which Byrd performed and from that included is a cover of a Bob Luman hit Let's Think About Living. The closing track Bye Now Baby by Mark Dinning may raise eyebrows, those of you who flipped over his hit Teen Angel would recognize the pleasing Hawaiian guitar playing of Jerry Byrd which commences the recording.
The sleeve notes from the compilation/ re-issue producer and Dee Jay Mark Armstrong provide information on the supporting band and session information. The album is topped off with the best possible sound quality possible from our mastering team at our El Paso, Texas, Studio. The concept is lavishly decorated by working musician and design artist Urban Zotel, and the sleeve is made from top-quality eco-friendly cardboard specially designed to avoid the use of plastic and be environmentally friendly.
Atomicat Records endeavours to use some lesser-known and for some, perhaps more obscure titles and adds something unexpected to every album. The album is ideal for Dee Jays to fill the dance floor with, and for home listening or while cruising around.
You are listening to music from the past and preserving the future! AtomicatRecords “often imitated, never duplicated” All that remains is to say, “Crank up the volume and dig these musical gems.
Dee Jay Mark Armstrong Bühl, Germany
Jerry Byrd Byrd's The Word Edited Artist List
01 Red Foley Rockin' Chair Money (Carlisle, Glosson) Decca 1947
02 Jerry Byrd vocal Rex Allen Steelin' The Blues (Byrd, Innis) Mercury 1949
03 Curtis Gordon If You Tell Me One More Lie (Pugh, Hendricks) RCA Victor 1953
04 Jerry Byrd Texas Playboy Rag (Wills) Mercury 1954
05 Hank Williams I'm A Long Gone Daddy (Williams) MGM 1948
06 Jerry Byrd Byrd's Expedition (Burns) Pacific LP 1954
07 Red Kirk Teardrops From My Eyes (Toombs) Mercury 1950
08 Jerry Byrd This 'n' That (Byrd) Mercury 1952
09 Jimmy Work Surrounded By Water And Bars (Work) Decca 1950
10 Jerry Byrd Steel Guitar Rag (McAuliffe) Mercury 1950
11 Grandpa Jones Old Rattler's Son (Jones) RCA Victor 1952
12 Jerry Byrd Limehouse Blues (Furber, Braham) Mercury 1952
13 Hawkshaw Hawkins Darkness On The Face Of The Earth (Nelson) TV Broadcast 1957
14 Jerry Byrd Kohalo March (Arr. Byrd) Mercury 1952
15 Hawkshaw Hawkins Silver Threads And Golden Needles (Rhodes, Reynolds) TV Broadcast 1957
16 Jerry Byrd Georgia Steel Guitar (Harris) Mercury 1954
17 Ernest Tubb Drivin' Nails In My Coffin (Irby) Decca 1950
18 Jerry Byrd Wang Wang Blues (Mueller, Wood, Johnson, Bussee) Mercury 1954
19 Hank Williams Rootie Tootie (Rose) MGM 1947
20 Jerry Byrd Byrd's Boogie (Byrd, Innis) Mercury 1949
21 Curtis Gordon You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet (Toombs, McAlpin) RCA Victor 1952
22 Jerry Byrd Turner's Turnpike (Lindsay) Mercury 1954
23 Grandpa Jones That Memphis Train (Delmore, Jones) King 1951
24 Hawkshaw Hawkins Bad News Travels Fast (In Our Town) (Bare) TV Broadcast 1957
25 Marty Robbins The Bend On The River (Robbins) Columbia LP 1962
26 Ann Jones Too Old To Cut The Mustard (Carlisle) Audio Lab LP 1959
27 Marty Robbins Ruby Ann (Bellamy) Columbia 1962
28 Billy Walker Let's Think About Living (Bryant) Columbia LP 1962
29 Hawkshaw Hawkins I've Got It Again (M & R Burk) RCA Victor 1958
30 Porter Wagoner I'm Gonna Sing (Williams) RCA Victor 1959
31 Marty Robbins Sometimes I’m Tempted (Robbins) Columbia 1961
32 Mark Dinning Bye Now Baby (Bryant) MGM 1959