Gary Paxton Sessions

1967 - 1968

Guilbeau & Parsons

Cajun Gib & Gene

Late 1966 - early 1967 Clarence sat in frequently with Cajun Gib & Gene (Gib Guilbeau & Gene Parsons).

Note: April/May 1967 Gib Guilbeau and Gene Parsons recorded an album for Gary Paxton in Hollywood which was released years later by "Alshire label" as "Cajun Country". Musicians on that album were: Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons, Wayne Moore, Jerry Scheff, Carl Walden, Glen D. Hardin, James Burton, Ben Benay, Bo Wagner & Gary Paxton. (Clarence does NOT play on that album!). British Big Beat label released that album on CD with bonus tracks which include Clarence White - (more about "Guilbeau & Parsons: Louisiana Rain" CD later).

Early in 1967 The Roustabouts were formed with singer-bassist Richard Arlen, Dennis Mathes on pedal steel guitar, drummer George Stevens and Clarence White.
Dennis Mathes recalls that Richard Arlen formed the band, "I joined the Roustabouts in early 1967 they had a gig at the "Arena Room" in Culver City. I was playing with Eddy Rae Prater in Inglewood when Richard Arlen offered me the job."
Richard Arlen had played with various club bands around the Los Angeles area, and travelled in the same circles as Clarence, who had immersed himself in the L.A. country clubs through 1966.

The Roustabouts were actually just as active as Nashville West, Clarence split his time between them, sessions and the Reasons/Nashville West band, the only thing was that they went through a few different line-up changes.

On March 8th 1967 Clarence was part of Rick Nelson sessions. Session crew was Rick Nelson (guitar and vocals), James Burton, Glen D Hardin, Bert Dodson (bass), Clarence White (guitar), Glen Campbell (guitar), Red Rhodes (pedal steel) and arranger Jimmie Haskell. Tracks: "Freedom and Liberty" (un-issued until 2004), "I'm Called Lonely" (issued as the 1967 b-side to 'Take A City Bride' single), "When You Are Gone" (incomplete backing track only) and "Thinkin' How You Left Me" (incomplete backing track only).
April 1967 saw the release of Rick Nelson's album Country Fever (Decca 32120) featuring Clarence White on the sessions.

Also March 67, Clarence performed with Gene Clark and the Gosdin Brothers at the Ash Grove club. Clarence is part of the Clark - Gosdins outfit with bassist John York and drummer Eddie Hoh that performed with Gene Clark, Vern Gosdin and Rex Gosdin to promote Gene's debut solo album recorded with the Gosdins.

Clarence White joined The Gene Clark Group (John York on bass & Eddie Hoh on drums) for a projected tour in spring 1967 but after a weekend gig at the "Whisky A Go-Go" in March 1967 the tour failed to materialise and the musicians went their separate ways.

In June 1967 Clarence played a showcase gig with Rick Nelson. Bob Warford remembers in an interview done by Steve Wisner: "In June of '67 I did a show with Rick Nelson at "The Shrine Auditorium" in Los Angeles. I played banjo and guitar on that, Clarence played acoustic guitar and James Burton played electric. Joe Osborn or Lynn Russell were on bass, Glen D. Hardin on piano and Junior Nicholls on drums. I really had a good time with that. I enjoyed listening to James and Clarence at that time."
The Shrine concert, was Rick Nelson's live debut as a country singer. They were part of a big package show, others including George Jones were also on the bill.
At the time, (In June 1967) Rick Nelson had a country hit with Gib Guilbeau's song "Take A City Bride" It climbed to a peak position of 58 on the Billboard Country Charts and stayed on the charts for a total of five weeks.

Spring/Summer 1967 Clarence joined The Reasons a group which was formed around Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons and Wayne Moore mid 1966.
Gib explained Wayne's and his own switch from pop oriented folk to straight country music: "We'd been trying all that stuff but actually we were both country guitarists and we started playing country".
Gib was also a good Cajun style fiddler but was playing mostly rhythm guitar in the new band. Gene Parsons was asked to learn how to play drums and Wayne the bass guitar for the group. Both musicians (Gene and Wayne) must have learned their new instruments quickly for within a brief time the band was playing six nights a week in Palmdale at the "Jack O' Diamond" club and doing session work for Gary Paxton.
Gib Guilbeau knew Clarence through having run into the Kentucky Colonels during their uncertain lounge phase.

Most time the band performed under the name THE REASONS!
They also played as "Nashville West", "Gib Guilbeau and The Reasons", "Gary Paxton Band" or "Cajun Gib and Gene"!


(left) The Reasons - (center) Nashville West (from Clarenc White interview) - (right) Gary Paxton Band

John Delgatto about the name: "I still have a problem with the name of the band as The Reasons. I do have buried someplace the ads from the "Nashville West" club and a story where it is clear the band name is Nashville West. Maybe back then when they played the club, it was Clarence's band so it was Nashville West. In a news story, Clarence talks about playing the club with his band "Nashville West"! Everywhere else it was The Reasons."

Gib Guilbeau remembers: "We didn't really have any name. When we played in Bakersfield we were the Gary Paxton Band, so people would call me Gary all the time, or ask "where's Gary?". We were called Cajun Gib & Gene on some occasions. Otherwise we were usually The Reasons. Gene and I were gonna be an act, Wayne was gonna be an artist, Clarence was gonna be and artist and we were gonna be a band, that was the plan."

The Reasons

Clarence - Wayne - Gene - Gib

THE REASONS aka NASHVILLE WEST were one of the first bands to approach country music from a pop perspective outside the Anglo-American ethic of the middle and late sixties. They played a lot of Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly songs. From time to time other musicians played with the band like Glen D. Hardin, Lloyd Green, Sneaky Pete Kleinow and Gram Parsons.

Wayne Moore remembers: "We played regularly with Sneaky Pete Kleinow and a few times with Lloyd Green and Gram Parsons. We did not record with Gram Parsons but we did record a few sessions with Glen D. Hardin."

Bruce Oakes owned a bar in Palmdale/California "The King's Lounge". Clarence, Gib, Wayne and Gene played at this bar and Bruce Oakes joined them on weekends (also Gram Parsons joined the band).

Nashville West Club

Nasvhille West Club

Bruce Oakes remembers: "The name of the bar was "The King's Lounge" and Gib (guitar, fiddle & vocals,) Gene (drums & vocals) Clarence (lead guitar & vocals) & Wayne (bass & vocals) were the house band and they backed alot of guests at various times who was trying to make a name in the music business.  They were also recording for Gary Paxton during this same time frame so they were really involved in the local L.A. music scene."

THE REASONS had one other favorite and frequent venue to work - the legendary NASHVILLE WEST CLUB (that's where the band name Nashville West came from!!!) in the Azusa/El Monte area east of L.A. They played seven nights a week, from noon until six, took a couple hours off, came back and played nine 'til two.
One night early 1967 Gene Parsons taped a show on his private "Sony 500" tape recorder, to get an idea of the sound Clarence was getting on his guitar. That recording was released in 1979 on Sierra/Briar records by the same name "Nashville West" and was subsequently released in Holland, England and Italy. It was re-released in 1997 on CD with four unreleased songs. The CD was released world wide with liner notes by Marty Stuart.
This live album is the only record released under the name Nashville West.

Nashville West vinyl

Original album

West CD

CD release

- NASHVILLE WEST: Nashville West (Sierra 67000)
With Clarence White, Gene Parsons, Gib Guilbeau & Wayne Moore.

Side A: Nashville West / Mental Revenge / I Wanna Live / Sweet Susanna / Green, Green Grass Of Home
Love Of The Common People / Tuff & Stringy
Side B: Washed My Hands In Muddy Water / Ode To Billy Joe / Louisiana Rain / Send Me Back Home / Memphis
By The Time I Get To Phoenix / Nashville West

Bonus tracks on CD:
CC Rider / Greensleeves / Mom &apm; Dad's Waltz / Columbus Stockade Blues

Order CD here!

Note: In 1987 "Guitar Player" magazine proclaimed the Nashville West album one of the "20 Essential Country Guitar Albums" of all time! Buy this album direct from Sierra Records!

Johnny McKnight

Johnny McKnight

By mid 1967 The Roustabouts were playing the Jefferson Bowl in Culver City. Although Richard Arlen was the bandleader and vocalist, Lee Ross and Jerry Inman shared the lead vocals as featured vocalists. At the time, Lee Ross, who had sung with Bob Wills Texas Playboys was working as a deejay, and was part of the deejay line-up at KFOX - Los Angeles.
Jerry Inman's stint with the group was short, as he was splitting his time between club bands at the "Palomino Club" and other venues.
Another semi-regular, was bassist - vocalist Jim Alley, another club regular who had recorded for Tower Records and had a deal with Dot Records. Alley, who also worked with Johnny McKnight's band, would become a guest, and sometime temp when Arlen needed an off-night.

Johnny McKnight met Clarence in mid '67, he had recently split from working with his brother Ricky, and added Jim Alley to his band. Johnny remembers: "After Ricky left I hired Jim Alley to take his place and went back to Shires Steak House. Jim Alley introduced me to Clarence White. Clarence asked me to go to a recording session he did with Gary Paxton at the recording studio Gary had at his house which consisted of a bus in the driveway and booths in the garage. I was at Gary Paxton's studio when Clarance recorded "Tuff and Stringy". The last time I saw him was at the Ace's Club in La Puente, California at an after hours gig.  He was with Chris Hilman and had just returned from playing with "The Byrds" in New York."

Note: Clarence did not play on Johnny McKnight's singles recorded for Darrell Cotton's "ION" label. Lead guitarist on those singles was Dale Norris and J.D. Maness on steel guitar.

Paxton Studio

Paxton's studio - 1301 N. Chester

When Gary Paxton moved his operation to Bakersfield in 1967, maverick producer Paxton thumbed a nose at country convention and charted his own, heavily experimental, course, installing a studio in a disused bank vault and recording country and rock acts night and day.
Gary Paxton built a session crew that comprised Clarence White (dobro, lead guitar), Wayne Moore (bass, vocals), Gib Guilbeau (vocals, guitar, fiddle), Gene Parsons (vocals, drums, harmonica), Vern Gosdin (guitar, vocals), Rex Gosdin (guitar, bass, vocals), Ben Benay (guitar, vocals), Leo LeBlanc (steel guitar), Ken Johnsons (vocals, bass, drums, guitar) and Dennis Payne (vocals, guitar, bass).
The many resulting singles and albums were generally released on small independent labels (some owned by Paxton) to little or no acclaim despite the high quality of the material and performances.

Gary Paxton also recorded the members of Nashville West / Reasons in various combinations, as solo artists and backing other artists, releasing their records on his short lived Bakersfield International label.

Clarence White recorded two singles for the Bakersfield International label:

Clarence White single CLARENCE WHITE - singles Clarence White single
- CLARENCE WHITE: Tango For A Sad Mood / Tuff And Stringy (BIP 1003)
Produced by Gary Paxton
With Clarence White, Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons & Wayne Moore.

- CLARENCE WHITE: Grandma Funderbunks Music Box / Riff-Raff (BIP 1008)
Produced by Gary Paxton
With Clarence White, Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons & Wayne Moore.

Note: "Grandma Funderbunks Music Box" was written by Clarence White.

Both singles appear on the fantastic Big Beat release "Clarence White: Tuff And Stringy - Sessions 1966-68".

Order CD with Clarence singles here!

Note: The versions of "Tuff & Stringy" on the "Bakersfield Big Guitars: Guitar Country" album (on "Jasico Records" J 1001) and "Modern Country Friends: Country Politan" album (on Alshire 5124) and "Tango For A Sad Mood" on the "Modern Country Friends: Country Politan" album are completely different, later recordings to Clarences, and they feature Hugh Brockie and/or Dennis Payne on lead guitar!

Gary Paxton released eight singles on his Bakersfield International label and all feature Clarence White except the initial single release by "Cajun Gib & Gene: Sweet Susannah / Louisiana Rain" (BIP 1001).
Gary decided to feature Clarence as a solo act, signing him to an artist contract on 17 July 1967, Gib and Gene were already inked to Bakersfield Internationl.

BAKERSFIELD INTERNATIONAL - singles feat. Clarence White (BIP 1002-1008)
- GOSDIN BROTHERS: Hangin' On / Multiple Heartaches (BIP 1002)
With Vern Gosdin, Rex Gosdin, Clarence White, Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons & Wayne Moore

Bakersfield International - CLARENCE WHITE: Tango For A Sad Mood / Tuff & Stringy (BIP 1003)
With Clarence White, Gib  Guilbeau, Gene Parsons & Wayne Moore.

- WAYNE MOORE: Hey Juliana / Rocks In My Head (BIP 1004)
With Wayne Moore, Clarence White, Gib Guilbeau & Gene Parsons.

- LARRY SCOTT: A Little Shoe Shine Boy's Christmas / The Teacher (BIP 1005)
With Larry Scott, Clarence White, Gene Parsons, Gib Guilbeau, Wayne Moore and maybe more.

- GOSDIN BROTHERS: She Still Wishes I Were You / There Must Be Someone (BIP 1006)
With Vern Gosdin, Rex Gosdin, Clarence White, Gene Parsons, Gib Guilbeau & Wayne Moore.

- CAJUN GIB & GENE: Sweet Rosie / Your Gentle Ways Of Loving Me (BIP 1007)
"Sweet Rosie" with Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons, Wayne Moore, Jerry Scheff, Carl Walden, Glen D. Hardin, James Burton
Ben Benay, Bo Wagner & Garry Paxton.
"Your Gentle Ways Of Loving Me" with Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons, Clarence White, Wayne Moore
Kenny Johnson, Gary Paxton, Leo LeBlanc

- CLARENCE WHITE: Grandma Funderbunks Music Box / Riff Raff (BIP 1008)
With Clarence White, Gib  Guilbeau, Gene Parsons & Wayne Moore.

Gib Guilbeau and Gene Parsons produced two singles for Bruce Oakes which includes the whole NASHVILLE WEST band and additionally Vern and Rex Gosdin. Bruce Oakes often joined THE REASONS on weekends when they played at his bar "The King's Lounge".

- BRUCE OAKES: The Lineman Song / I Don't Play Love (Boomer 1001/1002)
Produced by Gib Guilbeau & Gene Parsons
With Bruce Oakes, Clarence White, Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons, Wayne Moore, Vern & Rex Gosdin.

- BRUCE OAKES: On Pins And Needles / I'll Live Today (Boomer 1003/1004)
Produced by Gib Guilbeau & Gene Parsons
With Bruce Oakes, Clarence White, Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons, Wayne Moore, Vern & Rex Gosdin.

Both singles released on CD by Bruce Oakes on his "Picking With Friends" CD (with Gib Guilbeau, Wayne Moore etc.).

Order CD here!

THE REASONS played an important backing role for the Gosdin Brothers' classic "Sounds of Goodbye" album which appeared on Capitol Records in 1968 and was re-released with bonus tracks on CD by British Big Beat (Ace Records) label. The 24 page CD booklet compiled by Alec Palao includes interviews, rare & never seen pics and tons of new information!

Gosdin Brothers THE GOSDIN BROTHERS - album feat. THE REASONS
- THE GOSDIN BROTHERS: Sounds Of Goodbye (Big Beat 235)
Produced by Gary Paxton.
With Vern Gosdin, Rex Gosdin, Clarence White, Gene Parsons, Gib Guilbeau, Gary Paxton, Kenny Johnson & Dennis Payne.

Side A: Sounds Of Goodbye / She's Gone / Try And Catch The Wind / Let It Be Me / For Us To Find
Side B: The Victim / The First Time / Woman's Disgrace / Bowling Green / Louisiana Man / Love Of The Common People

Bonus tracks on Big Beat CD re-release:
With Vern Gosdin, Rex Gosdin, Clarence White, Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons, Wayne Moore, Chris Hillman, Michael Clarke
Gary Paxton, Kenny Johnson, Dennis Payne, Jim Troxel, Jerry Scheff & Mike Deasy.
Note: Not all bonus tracks feature Clarence White!

Tell Me / There Must Be A Someone (I Can Turn To) / Multiple Heartaches / Love At First Sight / Uncommitted Man
No Matter Where You Go (There You Are) / Hangin' On / Wishing / I'll Live Today / One Hundred Years From Now
I'll Live With God (To Die No More) / She Still Wishes I Were You / Had A Lot Of Friends

Order Gosdin Brothers CD here!

Nashville West with Jack Reeves

THE REASONS with Jack Reeves
standing: Clarence, Gene, Wayne & Gib
front: Jack Reeves

The Byrds returned to the studio in August 1967 to record the album "The Notorious Byrds Brothers" and once again Clarence played on a couple of tracks, "Change Is Now" & "Tribal Gathering". An instrumental backing track of "Change Is Now" titled "Universal Mind Decoder" was later released as a bonus track on the 1997 album re-issue on CD.
Further sessions took place in November with "Get To You" & "Wasn't Born To Follow" again featuring Clarence. He may have also played on  "Flight 713" an instrumental backing track recorded on the same day as "Get To You".

THE REASONS also did sessions with Jack Reeves. Jack Reeves remembers:

"Gene Parsons, Gib Guilbeau, Wayne Moore and Clarence White were all dear friends of mine and they did do a session with me at Gary Paxton's studio in Bakersfield in about 1967. I had gotten them the job at "Nashville West" and they were kinda helping me for doing that for them. The little "Martin Guitar" that Clarence had I gave him for doing the session because he wouldn't take anything for it."

Note: Jack Reeves released the single with "Nashville West" on a CDR with the title Jack Reeves: The Original Singles 1968-1976.

Jack Reeves about when he met Gib, Wayne, Gene and Clarence and about the musicians on the "Original Singles" CDR:

"Wayne was probably on some of them and also Gib.  We were all good buddies then and lived close together. I met Wayne in 1958 and he has played with my band "The All Americans" on and off for all that time. Gib I met about a month after meeting Wayne and my little buddy Clarence I met I think around 1967 and he was a special friend, Eric his brother was in my band for a couple of years at one time and he's a great bass player. Gene I met through Gib and Wayne about that same time. They were all twenty years ahead of everyone else in the music business. It was horrible Clarence getting killed as he was such a wonderful young fellow and we all loved him very much. I was useing all sorts of musicians back then on my records. I know Bob Warford was on a lot of those old records."

Between summer of 1967 and spring 1968 Clarence, Gib, Gene and Wayne worked dozens of sessions for Gary Paxton!

Many of those sessions were released as singles on various little labels. A lot of Clarence's Gray Paxton session work was compiled by Alec Palao and released on 4 CDs. A kind of "Bakersfield International Box Set".

The 4 CD releases were:

  • GUILBEAU & PARSONS: Louisiana Rain (More information at another part of the web-page.)
  • THE GOSDIN BROTHERS: Sounds Of Goodbye (More info above.)
  • CLARENCE WHITE: Tuff & Stringy / Sessions 1966-68 (More info next.)
  • VARIOUS ARTISTS: Bakersfield Rebels (More info next.)

    Most important of those 4 Big Beat releases is the "Clarence White: Tuff & Stringy / Sessions 1966-68" CD:

    Clarence White CD CLARENCE WHITE - CD
    - CLARENCE WHITE: Tuff & Stringy / Sessions 1966-68 (Big Beat 227)
    Produced by Gary Paxton, Darrell Cotton and Zeke Manners.
    With Clarence White, Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons, Wayne Moore, Gary Paxton, Roland White, Roger Bush
    Darrell Cotton, Jack Reeves, Richard Arlen, The Sanland Brothers, The Spencers, Dennis Payne and many more ...

    Clarence White tracks:
    Hong Kong Hillbilly aka Nashville West / Grandma Funderbunk's Music Box / Tuff & Stringy / Last Date
    Riff-Raff / Buckaroo / Nature's Child / Tango For A Sad Mood

    Electric Kentucky Colonels tracks (with Clarence on lead vocals):
    Everybody has one but you / Made Of Stone

    Other session tracks (all with Clarence):
    Gary Paxton: Mother-In-Law / The Spencers: Make Up Your Mind / Wayne Moore: Guitar Pickin' Man / The Spencers: Vaccinatin For The Blues
    Darrell Cotton: Don't Pity Me / Leon Copeland: Gotta Go See The World / Gib & Jan: She's Gone / Richard Arlen: I'm Tied Down To You
    Wayne Moore: Hey Juliana / Dennis Payne: I'll Live Today / Jack Reeves: Not Enough Of Me To Go Round / Darrell Cotton: If We Could Reed
    Wayne Moore: Rocks In My Head / LeGarde Twins (backing track): Adam & Eve / The Great Love Trip: Why Can't We Be
    Darrell Cotton (backing track): If We Could Read

    Order Clarence White CD here!

    The last of the 4 Big Beat releases was "Bakersfield Rebels - Late 1960s gems featuring Clarence White, Guilbeau & Parsons, the Gosdin Brothers, Dennis Payne and many more" CD:

    Note: The version of "I'll Live Today" (which is credited to Gib & The Reasons) comes from a backing track that Gib Guilbeau, Wayne Moore, Clarence White and Gene Parsons recorded for Paxton in March 1968 and never finished. However, Alec Palao - re-issue producer of the 4 Big Beat releases -  liked it so much that he asked Gib to put a vocal on it - which he kindly did!

    BAKERSFIELD REBELS - CD with Clarence Bakersfield Rebels
    - VARIOUS ARTISTS: Bakersfield Rebels (Big Beat 232)

    With Clarence White, Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons, Wayne Moore, Gary Paxton, The Dudes, Darrell Cotton
    The Gosdin Brothers, Dennis Payne, The Sanland Brothers, The Spencers, Jan Paxton etc ...

    Tracks with Clarence White:
    The Gosdin Brothers: There Must Be Someone (I Can Turn To) / The Spencers: Queen Of Fools / Gary Paxton: Bummer
    Gib & The Reasons: I'll Live Today / Gary Paxton: Half As Much / The Sanland Brothers: Red Roses
    The LeGarde Twins: Night Blooming Jasmine

    Other tracks on this CD do not include Clarence White!
    Kenny Vernon: Ain't That A Shame / Larry Daniels & The Buckshots: Buckshot / Dennis Payne: The Consciense Of You
    Rusty Dean (that's Gary Paxton): Saturday Satan, Sunday Saint / The Dudes: Let's Not Pretend Anymore
    Jan Paxton: She's Take Everything / Bakersfield's Big Guitars: Hugh's Brew / Guilbeau & Parsons: Your Gentle Ways Of Loving Me
    Leo LeBlanc: Hong Kong Hillbilly / Dennis Payne: Who Cares What Happens / Dee Mize: Just Leave My World Alone
    Lorene Mercer: Ballad Of A Truck Drivers Wife / Larry Daniels & The Buckshot: Bakersfield Steed / The Dudes: What A Relief, It's All Over
    Jan Paxton: The Half That's Mine / Dennis Payne: I'd Rather Live My Life Alone
    Bakersfield's Big Guitars: El Tejon Ride / Gary Paxton: Bakersfield

    Order Bakersfield Rebels CD here!

    The Reasons

    (Old picture taken by a music magazine in Los Angeles)

    THE REASONS also made several attempt at recording on their own. Eddie Tickner, successful manager of the Byrds, The Dillards and later the Flying Burrito Brothers (with partner Jim Dickson) arranged a few sessions for the band which were not released under the name Nashville West.

    Gib explains: "We tried making records but we were way ahead of ourselves. We were doing country-rock but we couldn't get nothing happening."

    Songs that Gib remembers recording as THE REASONS / NASHVILLE WEST include:

  • Two People
  • Miles And Cities
  • Mister Somebody
  • My Robin

    Another song recorded by Gib, Clarence, Gene and Wayne was "Still A Little Something" which was released on the bootleg album "The Flying Burrito Brothers: Burrito Country". (Different version to the released song on Big Beat CD: "Guilbeau & Parsons: Louisiana Rain".

    Cartoon Gib remembers: "Clarence, Gene and I decided we should try to do a country record, but make it rock'n'roll. It had never been done before. We got this guy to put up the money and cut a few sides, three or four songs. That was about two years before "The Burritos", and nobody even wanted to listen to it. We'd take it to record companies, they'd say, "That won't sell to rock audiences, and it won't sell to country either. You guys are wasting your time". The Burritos were about ready to form then and we were all set to join them to do country rock. We had all been through that experience and said, "Hey, it doesn't sell, we tried it already. It's not happening. Look, we got the tapes here. We went and did the best we could.........". So we broke up Nashville West. Gene and Clarence went with the Byrds and I went on the road with Linda Ronstadt."

    Nashville West Logo

    Nashville West Club logo

    Around the start of November of 1967, The Roustabouts moved their residency from the "Arena Room", to the "Nashville West Club" in El Monte. Eventually drummer George Stevens left the Roustabouts, and was replaced by Bo Wagner. Dennis Mathes recalls: "George Stevens came with us from the Arena Room, but shortly he had to quit and we got Bo Wagner. Bobby Little,worked with us some while we were there, he played keyboard. I use to take Lee Ross home from the club on Tuesday nights,he was too drunk to drive. Lee had a talent contest there on Tuesday nights. We played Tuesday through to Sunday. We had a dressing room behind the stage. Bo Wagner use to ride to work with me, he lived close to Anaheim that's where I lived."
    Dennis also noted that "The Gosdin Brothers use to come in and sit in a lot."

    For his part, Bo Wagner doesn't recall who it was that first approached him to join the Roustabouts. At the time he had been working with bassist Jerry Scheff as part of the Fifth Dimension's tour band. "I was always doing recording sessions and had recorded with several of the Roustabouts bandmembers, and when the job opened up they called me. Richard Arlen ran the band. He called rehearsals, called the songs we played, he was the front man and did most of the emcee work. He was very nice, fun to work with, good musician, good singer, easy going, and never caused any issues. The whole band worked like that, we were all friends. It was a good band and cool gig."

    Johnny McKnight also worked at the "Nashville West Club" for a run of Monday nights: "Clarence worked with Jim Alley and me at the Nashville West for several months on Monday nights. Lee Ross, KFOX deejay was the emcee. Clarence was a friend, a good guy and the greatest guitar picker of all times."

    The Roustabouts

    Richard Arlen & The Roustabouts

    The Roustabouts bandmembers did some recording as a whole, mostly at Darrell Cotton's Studio, for several projects. When it came to working for Gary Paxton, it was just Clarence and Bo Wagner who worked at Paxton's Bakersfield studio.
    Bo Wagner: " Clarence was the person who introduced me to Gary Paxton and I started with him immediately and never stopped until I left town. Anytime there was vibes that was me. Gary never had another vibe player. We recorded just about every day around that time. Many, many records and LPs. Lots of Capital of Canada records. The artist would come down and we would learn their material and record and they would go home and release it as their's. It was one after the other and I never kept track of any of these. None of us really did. We just went from one track to the next track, and got so little sleep we didn't pay much attention to who the artists were."

    Nashville West Benefit

    Benefit at Nashville West

    However, with Richard Arlen absent from the Paxton sessions, The Roustabouts missed the chance to carve an identity on record.
    Bo Wagner: "I don't understand why they don't recognize the Roustabouts. They all knew we were together, but really we were just a club band collecting a check and not really trying to be a recording group. So maybe they just don't see us in the same light. But we were together and had a lot of fun playing together."

    The Roustabouts continued to work the Nashville West through late 1967.

    On Sunday November 12th, 1967 The Nashville West club hosted a benefit for Delores Stewart, the wife of country singer Wynn Stewart. The music started at 10:30 am and lasted all day. For the evening, the house band was the Roustabouts, their set started at 9:00 pm. Their normal house band slot, until 2 am the following morning. The guests that appeared include the Phil Baugh Trio, Sandy Knox, Curly Owens, Reb Allen, Bobby Little, Wynn Stewart, Jack Simmons, Lee Ross, Johnny Barnett, Clara Palmer, Jack Powers, Johnny McKnight, Jack Reeves and Judy Lang.

    On November 27th and 28th of 1967, Bob Warford, saw The Roustabouts play the Nashville West Club, and recollects: "I went to see them in November of the year. By then, Bo Wagner was playing drums and adding some vocals. When I saw them, Jim Alley was playing bass at least part of the time, Lee Ross was no longer around, but Richard Arlen was. Bobby Little sang a couple of songs sitting in, but was not regularly with the band then."

    Three songs from The Roustabouts (Dennis Mathes on pedal steel, Bo Wagner on drums, Clarence on lead guitar, Jim Alley on bass and Richard Arlen on rhythm guitar) can be heard on the Sierra Records release from 2009 "White Lightnin'".
    (These rare recordings were recorded by Bob Warford!).

    CLARENCE WHITE - White Lightnin' White
    - CLARENCE WHITE: White Lightnin' (Sierra Records SXCD 6030)

    With Clarence White
    and Eric Weissberg, Marshall Brickman, Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons, Wayne Moore
    Dennis Mathes, Bo Wagner, Jim Alley, Richard Arlen, Skip Battin, Freddy Weller, Joe Cocker
    Glen D. Hardin, Red Rhodes, Keith Allison, Dennis St. John, Leon Russell, Joe Cocker
    Don Everly, Phil Everly, Jerry Scheff, Ron Elliott, Gram Parsons etc  ... .

    Roustabouts tracks:
    Tango for a sad mood / Buckaroo / Tuff & Stringy

    Other tracks is Clarence with: Eric Weissberg & Marshall Brickman
    "Nashville West aka The Reasons" with Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons and Wayne Moore
    The Byrds, Freddy Weller, Joe Cocker, The Everly Brothers.

    Order White Lightnin' CD here!

    On December 31st 1967 into the first of January 1968, the Roustabouts perform at the Nashville West Club's New Years Eve show. The band was Clarence, Dennis, Richard Arlen and Bo Wagner.

    The January 6th issue of Billboard Magazine (Vol. 80, No. 1) listed Richard Arlen's single "I'm Tied Down to You" (ION 104) feat. Clarence on guitar, as a spotlight single, predicted to reach the Hot Country Singles chart. Although the single reportedly attracted impressive sales around the El Monte area, it failed to catch on.

    It was about this time that Clarence White and Gene Parsons invented the StringBender, a mechanical device that allowed White's guitar to imitate a pedal steel by raising the pitch of the B string a whole step as he pulled downward on the next and returning the pitch to normal as he released pressure on the neck.

    Visit Clarence White's gear list!

    In the early part of 1968, the Roustabouts were no longer the full-time house band, as Gib Guilbeau's Reasons, the Nashville West band had taken over playing six nights a week. Richard Arlen and the Roustabouts were reduced to playing the Tuesday night, this of course meant that, for a time, Clarence was playing every night of the week at the Nashville West.

    Bo Wagner: "As long as I was in the band Clarence played every show. He never missed one night. He was definitely a full time member. Yes he played elsewhere too, so did all of us. Clarence and I recorded in the daytime, played with the band at night and played with other groups on our off nights. We both never stopped. The other members didn't do as much other stuff as Clarence and I but they were busy doing other gigs too. Clarence put his heart and soul into our band the same as he did with each group he played with. He was always 100% with whatever he did."

    During 1967 the Byrds had undergone several personnel changes with David Crosby & Michael Clarke both departing the band and Hillman's cousin Kevin Kelley joining on drums. In early 1968 more radical changes were afoot with Gram Parsons joining the band and with strong backing from Chris Hillman they persuaded Roger McGuinn to record a Country album with, of course, Clarence being the obvious choice to provide much of the lead guitar work. In March 1968 the band, along with Clarence (at this time as a session musician) and top session musicians such as Lloyd Green, J.D Maness,  Roy Huskey & John Hartford, began sessions for the album to be titled "Sweetheart Of the Rodeo" at Columbia Studios in Nashville.

    Sweetheart Of The Roadeo THE BYRDS - Clarence only a sessions musician
    - THE BYRDS: Sweetheart Of The Rodeo (Columbia 63 353)
    Produced by Gary Usher.
    With Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons & Kevin Kelley.
    Guests: Clarence White, Earl P. Ball, Jon Corneal, Lloyd Green, John Hartford, Roy Huskey, JayDee Maness.

    Side A: You Ain't Going Nowhere / I Am A Pilgrim / The Christian Life / You Don't Miss Your Water
    You're Still On My Mind / Pretty Boy Floyd
    Side B: Hickory Wind / One Hundred Years From Now / Blue Canadian Rockies / Life In Prison / Nothing Was Delivered

    Bonus tracks on CD re-release (Columbia Legacy 486752 2):
    You Got A Reputation / Lazy Days / Pretty Polly / The Christian Life / Life In Prison / You're Still On My Mind
    One Hundred Years From Now / All I have Is Memories (Instrumental)

    Order CD here!

    Nashville West Benefit

    Benefit at Nashville West

    A total of eight tracks were recorded in Nashville and although no individual track musicians are listed it is safe to assume that Clarence probably plays on them all albeit more evident on some songs than others. Clarence played his "Blonde mid 50ęs Fender Telecaster" on that album, now owned by Bob Warford.
    The album was completed back in Hollywood during April / May when a further seven songs were recorded.
    However before the album release legal problems meant that a number of Gram Parsons lead vocals had to be replaced and the backing tracks were overdubbed with new vocals by Roger McGuinn. "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" was released on August 30, 1968.

    Note: The double CD Legacy Edition of "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" released 2003 contains unreleased alt / rehearsal versions featuring Clarence White.

    May 27th 1968. Performers at the Skeets McDonald Benefit at the Nashville West in El Monte. ""Big" Mike Hall’s" press on the event in his Califonia Country magazine reports the following: "The crowd was not as big as expected, but the talent was terrific."
    Of the performers, Wayne Moore, Gene Parsons, Gib Guilbeau and Clarence White are listed as "from the Nashville West". Other performers on the night included emcees Jim Thornton and Jack Reeves, and the musical contributions of Jack Tucker, guitarist Lou Martin and Ed Coombe from the Panama Club, Carrol and Loretta Sander from The Keg, Richard Arlen "who holds the Tuesday night slot at the Nashville West", Bill Lengrum, Johnny Allen, Jack Reeves from The Clubhouse, Beverly Gay, Red Long, Patsy Montana, Billy Armstrong from the Bandbox, Jack Laux from Fino’s, Jerry Wade from the Ponderosa, The Gosdin Brothers, Virgil Gifford and his band from Walt’s Club, as well as Johnny McKnight from the Shires.

    Circa June or July of 1968 The Roustabouts left the Nashville West club.

    Note: I don't know how Clarence could do it ... in 1967/68 Clarence played with The Reasons/Nashville West, The Roustabouts (Bo Wagner, Bob Warford, John Delgatto and Dennis Mathes consider the Roustabouts a full-time band).
    Wayne Moore remembers: "I really don't know much about the second band (The Roustabouts) Clarence played with. The only name I remember is Richard Arlen."
    Gib Guilbeau remembers: "Clarence really didn't have a second band (The Roustabouts). He did play a few gigs with these guys, same as he played some with the Reasons. The only bands that he was an active member of was "The Bakersfield band with same members as Nashville West" and of course "Nashville West".
    There was some sort of rotation of the Roustabouts and the Reasons at the Nashville West through 1967-68, y'know, six weeks on, six weeks off, so they hardly ever met in the middle. Bo Wagner claims to have known Gib, Gene and Wayne, he's certain he actually played on sessions with them, they weren't buddies, but their paths did cross in Paxton's studio.
    Clarence did lots of sessions for other musicians, working for Gary Paxton, with the White Brothers at the Ash Grove, and the Gene Clark Group in 1967! Looks like he worked day and night!!

    In June 1968 The Byrds organisation made Clarence an offer he couldn't refuse.

    Wayne Moore remembers: "I kinda missed working with Clarence but I backed him up all the way. We figured we'd just keep playing, we'll find some other people, and we did" (differing line-ups of The Reasons continued for another year or so). But Gene Parsons left (to the Byrds), and then Linda Ronstadt hired Gib Guilbeau and the rest of the band.

    Special thanks to Jason Odd for the THE ROUSTABOUTS information!

    Go to the table of contents again | ............. continue the Clarence White biography