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The Billy Spears Band, 1974

Gordon and Billy

I was NOT in this band.

In addition to Billy, some of the people who were in the band during the years from 1972-1974 were:

The recordings presented here include all of the people above except for Jim Stringer.  The sound quality is not very good, but it was evidently a high-energy, freewheeling band.

These cuts are from a feature show on Lawrence's public-access TV station, Channel 6, some time in 1974:
Introduction to show
Nine-Pound Hammer medley with Steel Guitar Rag;  Gordon singing lead
Mean Woman with the Green Eyes, one of Billy's staples
Billy in the Lowground, a fiddle tune Billy played in virtually every gig
Any Old Time; Gordon sings this Jimmie Rodgers song
Rollin' in My Sweet Baby's Arms
Stony Creek, a banjo tune with Bob featured
Interview with band members;  I don't know why they went outside for this, as the noise is bad.  Maybe to smoke?
Someday Soon; Janet torch-sings
Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad; Carol sings this Tammy Wynette favorite
What I Gave Away;  Mike sings!  I don't think I've ever heard this song before.
Gypsy Song Man; Bill Berosini sings.  Another one I've never heard.
Big Joe; a fast fiddle tune.
Love, Oh Love, Please Come Home; a bluegrass standard sung by Gordon and Pat
Carroll County Blues, segueing into Orange Blossom Special

The following are cuts from a live gig on October 19, 1974, somewhere in Lawrence:
Happier Days Over Yonder Horizon - a long power ballad led by Janet
Fiddle tune, name unknown - kinda fun because the audience is stomping and Billy starts playing with the stomp tempo
speaking of tempo, Pick Up the Tempo, a Willy & Waylon song sung by Billy
Slew Foot, one of Carol's standards
Silver Wings, a Merle Haggard standard sung by Billy
Lonely Wind - Gordon sings lead with high-volume backups from Pat and Janet.  This is a great Drifters song and not one I would have expected to hear.
Truck Driving Man - Billy sings this.  When Jim Ray Law joined the band in 1975, he took over this song.
I Can't Stand Me - one of Billy's Merle Haggard standards
Billy in the Lowground
Red Haired Boy - twin fiddles with Billy and Janet
Someday Soon - Janet sings this song written by Ian Tyson and performed by many from the Kingston Trio to Suzy Bogguss
Sheetrock Two-Step - sung by Gordon, it's probably a cute song but I can't make out the lyrics
Some song by Brewer and Shipley, don't know the name of it, sung by Billy Berosini, who played with B & S earlier in the decade
I think this song is called Down Home Girl but I'm not sure - may be a Loretta Lynn number, sung by Carol
Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad - Carol
Rollin' in my Sweet Baby's Arms - Gordon, Pat, Janet
My Window Faces the South - Billy
Six Days on the Road - Gordon
Berosini introduces the band

The following information came from Jim Stringer in a couple of emails:
Just a couple of things... I played with Billy in 1973/1974... along with Janet, Billy Berosini, Mike Roark & Bob Case primarily playing steel at that point. I could never do all the gigs since I'd just started my job in the sound dept. at Centron and was out for location shoots all the time. However... I was there, though, twice for the Billy Spears Blue Grass Festival... it rained like hell both years and I think Dwight or whoever was behind it just totally had his ass handed to him financially... ... I had to get off the pot and he hired the guy who I think was named "Link" who had been doing all the gigs that I couldn't -- he played an ES335 guitar... do you remember him? I don't recall the remainder of the band at that point...
I don't think Janet ever performed with the Pat & Gordon version of the band, nor did I. I may have done a gig or two with Billy after his accident -- I recall something in a tent somewhere, but that could have been another band, another place, another time -- maybe that was just something with you and John Lomas and Buddy??? Still, I credit Billy with reviving my interest in country and western swing music. He'd start off one of those lightning quick fiddle tunes that I'd never heard, play one chorus, complete with 3 beat bars, extra 5's, etc., then turn to me and say "Take it Straaanger..." (his pronunciation of my name, of course.) My contribution to Billy was that I taught him "Sugarfoot Rag" -- we played a kick-butt duet with him on his four-string electric mandolin.

I'm a little sketchy myself about the Pat and Gordon years, except I recorded Billy down at Centron while Pat & Gordon were part of the band. It may have been actually later than that... I might have a track sheet from that session, though I doubt it. I'm really not sure who was what at this point... Pat, Gordon and Bryson Roberts had a band called "Cowboy X", too... I'll have to go back to the tapes and see if I have dates on any of them. I think I sent all the 4track stuff to Billy after I copied 'em off to digital, so I may not have ANY historical record at all. Memory is a poor record!

Obviously, Jim was mistaken that Janet wasn't in the band with Pat and Gordon... we all have to learn to deal with fewer working brain cells!

This band broke up at the end of 1974, and from listening to these tapes, it's not hard to figure out why.  There were too many people with strong talents and correspondingly strong egos, and they did not seem to gel.  The people who stayed with Billy at that point were Bob Case, Mike Roark, and, of course, Carol Spears.

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Copyright 2006 by Andy Curry