Clarence J. White
1944 - 1973
Footprints of Clarence
A rock musician with a bluegrass background, guitarist Clarence White was born in Lewiston, Maine on June 7, 1944. Raised in California, he played with the Country Boys at the age of ten, the group's other members being his brothers, Roland (16) and Eric (12).
A bluegrass unit, working at various barn dances and local functions in the Burnbank area, the Country boys materialised into the Kentucky Colonels in 1962, the line-up then being Clarence (guitar), Roland (mandolin), Roger Bush (bass), Billy Ray Latham (banjo), and Leroy Mack (dobro).
The Kentucky Colonels was one of the most siginificant urban bluegrass group of the Sixties.
Two albums were recorded, one for World Pacific and other for Briar, before Clarence left in 1965 to became a sessionman, appearing on disc with Ricky Nelson, Everly Brothers, the Byrds, Gene Clark, Flying Burrito Brothers, Wynn Stewart, Arlo Guthrie, Rita Coolidge, The Monkees, Joe Cocker, Pat Boone , Randy Newman, Jackson Browne,Delaney & Bonnie, The Country Gazette,Skip Battin,Tut Taylor,Joel Scott Hill, Rose Lee & Joe Maphis, Eric Weissberg, Johnny Bond, Scotty Stoneman, Rusty Dean(Gary S. Paxton), Johnny Darrell, Marc Benno, Paul Siebell, Mother Hen(Jane Getz), Phil Ochs, Maria Muldaur, The Earl Scruggs Revue , Terry Melcher,Linda Ronstadt and many others, and Clarence played perfect on coutry music, bluegrass, fiddle tunes, rhythm or lead, electric or acoustic, rock or roll for them.
Clarence and Gene Parsons have collaborated as inventors of guitar shoulder strap tremulo device ( called "string-bender") to be a marketed by Fender Electric Instruments.
After cutting a never-released solo album for the Gary S.Paxton's Bakersfield International label and working sporadically with The Gosdin Brothers, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Cajun Gib and Gene (Gib Guilbeau and Gene Parsons), White formed Nashville West, a short-lived country-rock unit that featured both Guilbeau and Parsons plus bassist Wayne Moore.
But in september, in 1968, he moved on to become a regular member of the Byrds, remaining with the group until its final demise.
Returning to session work once more, White began fashioning a new solo album, also putting in some gigs with the reformed Kentucky Colonels.
However, the solo album was never completed; White was knocked down and killed by a drunken womam driver while loading equipment on to a van following a gig on July 14, 1973.
The more there is not one to compare, the bigger loss his death is.
The life of Clarence White was brilliant, but too, too, too short.
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