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Bobby Durham

The middle of three musical sons born to a Dust Bowl dirt farmer, Bobby Durham remains one of the last performers from the golden days of the Bakersfield sound.

Launching his music career at the age of 11, Durham appeared five days a week on a TV show hosted by vocalist Billy Mize. Performing as a soloist, or with younger brother Wayne, on local country music TV shows, including Town Hall Party, Hometown Jamboree, and Trading Post, before entering his teens, Durham joined Cousin Ebb's Squirrel Shooters, the house band for the Pumpkin Center Barn Dance in 1953. He went on to play with Jolly Jody and the Go-Daddies while still in high school, and later, with Gene Davis' Palomino Riders, the house band at the Palomino Club in Los Angeles. Signed to Capitol Records, he recorded a series of singles, including a version of Merle Haggard's first original song, "My Past Is Present," and a self-titled album, produced by Chet Atkins, in 1968.

When none of the recordings provided a commercial breakthrough, and Capitol declined to pick up an option on his contract, Durham joined the post-Buddy Holly Crickets, remaining with the group for five years.

Booked to perform in Las Vegas, in 1972, Durham continued to perform in the Nevada city for the next 11 years. He owned his own nightclub in Colorado Springs from 1975 to 1978. "I made so much money in Las Vegas," he recalled during a late-'90s interview, that I lost sight of it. Between Vegas and touring and everything else, a 20-year chunk of my life went by in a weekend."

Returning to Bakersfield to help with the care of his ailing mother in 1983, Durham resumed his collaboration with his brother, performing as the Durham Brothers. They made their debut appearance at the Grand Ole Opry a year later.

Durham's music continued to lure new fans. He performed with his band, the Tex Pistols, once a week at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace, and three nights a week at Trout's.

A single, "Do You Still Drink Margaritas," released on the Sugarfoot label, reached the top rung of Australia's country music charts. Unfortunately, the song's message underscored Durham's own struggles with alcohol. Shortly after marrying Tex Pistols vocalist Theresa Spanke in 1985, a conflict escalated to the point where Durham rammed his wife's Corvette into the back of a CHP cruiser. Although they divorced in 1988, they reconciled afterward. ~ Craig Harris
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: American Music: Hightone Records Story

Disc 1

1. Phone Booth

3. Tore Up

4. Smoking Gun

5. 747

6. Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

8. I'll Get To Heaven On My Own

9. Moaning And Groaning

10. They Call Me Sundown

11. Sugar Bee

12. The Devil's Livin' There

13. Going Down South

14. It's A Minor Thing

15. Fast Food Slow Death

17. Miss Ida B.

Disc 2

1. American Music

2. Lord Of The Highway

4. Blue Collar Blues

6. California Sun

7. Sparkling City

8. I Ain't Lyin'

9. Lonely Guy

10. Telewacker

12. Open The Door To Your Heart

14. Saturday Jump

16. Rockabilly Funeral

17. Fourth Of July

18. Hollywood Bed

19. Little Bitty Kiss

21. Eve Of Destruction

Disc 3

2. Rainin' Rainin' Rainin'

3. Goodbye Lonesome, Hello Baby Doll

5. Stay Out Of My Arms

7. Honky Tonk Queen

8. Ramblin' Fever

9. I'm Pretending

10. Corpus Christi Bay

11. Wine Don't Lie

12. The Greatest Story Ever Told

15. Sting In This Ole Bee

16. Here I Am In Dallas

17. Truck Drivin' Man

18. It Stops With Me

20. Walk Away If You Want To

Disc 4

1. Dallas

2. Blue Blvd

3. West Texas Plains

4. Link Of Chain

6. By Way Of Sorrow

8. The Wild Ox Moan

9. No Love Today

12. All My Tears

13. Padre Prays For Rain

14. Midnight And Lonesome

16. Since You Went Away

18. Tonight We Ride

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