Interview With Buddy Long

By Dave Acker

Buddy Long is a legendary figure in the Phoenix music scene. In addition to carving out a name for himself, Buddy had the distinction of backing Duane on his first record "Soda Fountain Girl." In this interview conducted by Dave Acker, Buddy gives the story behind the historic recording. (N.B. Jimmy referred to in the interview is Jimmy Dell, the other half of the Jimmy and Duane team. An interview with Jimmy was featured in Vol. 2 #2 of Guitar Star, April 1979 issue).

DA: Give me some background on yourself.

BL: I've been playing around the valley for about twenty five years. I worked with Ray Odum back when Jimmy and all of us worked together. I had a group long before that. We worked at a place called Cactus Gardens, at the Able Hall, the old Matador Lounge on North Central which isn't even there anymore. I worked at Riverside for three years with Bob Fite and the Western Playboys. In '68 I went to Nashville and worked for Waylon Jennings. I played Bass. I worked for him for a year. I should have stayed with him. He told me I'd never do anything in Phoenix, but I got tired of the driving.

DA: What are you doing currently?

BL: I work my group in Alaska every year, in Oklahoma, now we are working in Phoenix. I worked recently with Dale Knoll. He's written some good things..."Such A Pretty World Today," Wynn Stewart recorded it...After The Storm," "Angels Don't Lie," and several that Jim Reeves recorded. I was the first western band that worked "The Mint" in Las Vegas. I've worked in Reno many times. I've worked with Johnny Western, Sammi Smith. I recorded a thing Waylon produced just before I started working for him. He played lead guitar on it. It was on the Ramco label (Audio Recorders), but it never became a hit.

DA: How did you get aquainted with Duane?

BL: I met him through Lee. Lee would bring him to the Cactus Garden. He and Jimmy were doing some things together. My band later played background on "Soda Fountain Girl" for Jimmy and Duane.

DA: Who were some of the musicians on that?

BL: Johnny Thompson, steel guitar, Dolf Payer, drums; another guy named Jim and I can't remember his last name. They were all accomplished musicians.

DA: Do you have any memories of that session that you would care to mention?

BL: Well, I've always cherished the guys. Duane was such a nice guy and Jimmy was always so funny. He still hasn't changed any. We were always super good friends, got along really good. Both Jimmy and Duane both went to work for me, worked for me about two to three years here in Phoenix. We were on the Ray Odum show every Saturday. We were sponsored by David Harmon's Chicken. That was before Harmon's became Kentucky Fried Chicken. He and John Wootenberg, a car dealer in Scottsdale, were our sponsors. We booked ourselves. We did alot of shows...Coolidge, Chandler, Casa Grande, Globe, Miami (AZ), Prescott, Mayer, the little towns like that. We'd pack some super crowds.

DA: What kind of music did you play?

BL: Mostly country/western, but then the 50's came along, we played all the current music. Jimmy did all the Presley type things. Duane and I did the Everly Brothers. Duane had a good harmony with me. I played rhythm guitar back then, now I play bass guitar.

DA: I know you're busy. Thanks for taking time out to talk to me.

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