" C L A R E N C E W H I T E C H R O N I C L E S "
The Online Newsletter of A Guitar Virtuso
March 1, 1997 (Number 3.)
Edited by Etsuo Eito
Copyright by Bluegrass Workshop "North Field" 1997
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In this issue you'll read a very interesting story about Wayne Moore and
NASHVILLE WEST, including Clarence White on lead guitar (stringbender),
Gene Parsons on drums and Bib Guilbeau on rhythm guitar.We can know not only
about Wayne Moore but also about Clarence's pre-BYRDS era in this fine work.
This issue covers the first part of the story, and you will read the latter
half in the next issue, which is planned to be posted next weekend.
Steve Wisner kindly enough sent me not only this manuscript but also Bob
Warford's long interview article, which will be also given a coverage in
this online newsletter someday soon. Please enjoy the story.
No part of this contribution can be reprinted in any format without
the writer's permission.
Special Courtesy of Steve Wisner
******* W a y n e M o o r e ******* (#1)
the former bassist of the legendary country-rock band "Nashville West"...
Written by Steve Wisner
"I've always thought that Wayne is an incredibly
talented guy, a lot more than he even gives him-
self credit for. He could be a real songwriter.
I know what he can do. He's too good to be sitting
around." -- GIB GUILBEAU --
"I tell you, that man could sit down with you for
three hours and sing you some of the most beautiful
country songs... and Wayne writes beautiful material."
-- Eric White Jr.--
Rio Rancho,New Mexico, just a few miles north of Albuquerque, is a fairly
nondescript area musically compared to the bustling recording centers of Los
Angeles and Nashville where Wayne Moore once worked. But it is in this quiet
New Mexico community of five thousand that the former bassist of the legend-
ary country rock band, Nashville West, now calls home.
Wayne Moore, to a large degree, was responsible for bringing much of the
early rock'n roll sound to Nashville West. Unfortunately, Wayne has remained
the forgotten member of the band that rock historian Jim Bickhart wrote
(arguably) "have never been surpassed by any group in the ensuing country
rock boom." Whereas,Clarence White,Gib Guilbeau and Gene Parsons established
solid, or in Clarence's cases, brilliant careers after the breakup of
Nashville West, Wayne's musical progress stalled.
Soft-spoken and seemingly laid back, Wayne's renown as a stand out vocalist,
multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and comedian during his thirty years in
the music business nearly rivals that of the mystery surrounding his lack of
success. Wayne,though, is the first to admit that his own lack of initiative
has been in part, an adverse factor to his career advancement.
Recently, however, Wayne has been moving back into the mainstream of the
country music scene. Last year(1984) he finished up a stint as bassist in
Vern Gosdin's band and is now hoping to reunite with old friend Gib Guilbeau
to do some writing and recording and possibly join a newly formed band with
Gib and his son Ronnie Guilbeau.
The story of Wayne Moore begins in the town of Berea, Kentucky where Wayne
was born on August 24, 1938. Initially interested in country and bluegrass
music, Wayne didn't actually start playing an instrument until his family
moved to Richmond, Indiana in 1949. Starting out on the guitar,Wayne's early
influences were Mac Wiseman,Johnny & Jack and especially the Louvin Brothers
whom he heard on the radio. After meeting some local musicians and forming a
band at the age of sixteen, Wayne's attention turned toward Elvis Presley,
who would be the guitarist's biggest influence. "I started learning how to
play country," explains Wayne, "then we got a job in a club and Elvis had
come out, and we started playing rock'n roll like Little Richard,
that stuff....." Wayne's group, the rhythm Masters, played both country and
rock,and performed live on a local radio station in Richmond. By 1958 though,
Wayne had become restless and decided that California "would be a good place
to get started in music."
Heading for the West Coast took Wayne throught Fort Worth, Texas where his
plan soon changed. "I went into a club (in Ft. Worth) got up and sat in with
the band. The guys needed a guitar player and I had a job in about forty-
five minutes," he recalls. Playing music that Wayne refers to as "sort of
rockabilly" the group, whose name has long been forgotten, worked regularly
until 1960 when the young guitarist got the bug to move on again.
Wayne made it to California but ended up doing janitorial work for a few
months around Santa Ana but still had hopes of entering the highly competi-
tive musical scene in the Los Angeles area. Looking for a better line of
work,Wayne wandered into a local unemployment office one day where a picture
on one of the employees' desks caught his attention. "The girl had a picture
of Gib and Darrell and the guys on her desk. I said,'Do you know these guys?,
and she said,'Those are my boys.'" After Wayne explained that he was a
musician, the lady, who was the band's manager, suggested he get in touch
with Gib, Darrell and Ernie since they might need a lead guitarist. After a
quick phone call and a meeting with the trio, WAyne was invited to join the
group as lead guitarist.
Gib, Darrell and Ernie consisted of Opelousas,Louisiana native, Floyd "Gib"
Guilbeau on guitar and occasional "cocktail drums", Darrell Cotton from
Sioux City, Iowa also play guitar with the band and Ernie Williams, hailing
from Salt Lake City, Utah handled the bass chores.The trio had all met while
serving in the Army together and, after being discharged, had ended up in
southern California,"bouncing around, looking for club gigs," recalls Gib
Guilbeau. As Gib, Darrell and Ernie the threesome had already cut a couple
singles, among them, "I Goofed","Mirror Mirror On The Wall" and "Just Or
Unjust","Don't Bet On A Promise" for the Shasta label of North Hollywood.
Wayne's addition meant a name change for the band. The Four Young Men was
decided upon and the group played what Wayne refers to as "variety music,
folk, sort of pop." This type of music was far removed from the hard core
country and bluegrass backgrounds of Wayne and Gib. "It was real different,"
says Wayne. "I really wasn't into that kind of music at the time." Still,
folk and pop were the type of music that was commercially profitable during
the early 1960's, so the Four Young Men, on the advice of their manager
continued to record and perform in that musical direction.
The Four Young Men's first single appeared on the Dore label around 1961,
"Garden In The Rain","That Man Paul". The A side was a typical early 60's
pop song while the flip was a novelty number about Paul Revere. This release
was followed by another pop effort for the Crest label,"You Been Torturing
Me","See Them Laugh", also from 1961. The group's last single as The Four
Young Men introduced them to Gary Paxton, formerly half of the Skip & Flip
recording duo. Paxton was just starting his producing career and recorded
the band for the Star Delta label. This time the results had a strong folk
flavor,"Once There Was Love","Davey Jones". Soon after this release, The
Four Young Men, looking for a more contemporary name, became the Castaways
in 1963 and recorded another folk single with Paxton for Star Delta lable,
"Poor Boy's Dream","Run Charlie Run". This record attracted the attention
of Gene Norman's GNP Crescendo label and the Castaways were subsequently
signed by the company. Jackie DeShannon produced the first single for GNP by
the Castaways,"Wild Boy", a Phil Everly composition backed with a Guilbeau -
Moore novelty tune, "Tarzan". This release was followed by a second single,
the oft-recorded, "Mack The Knife" with Phil Knuckles' "Pass It Around" on
the B side.
During this period the Castaways also recorded as the Duets for Gary
Paxton's Gaiety label.The results were little more country sounding despite
the electric twelve-string present. "Let's Not Pretend Anymore", "What a
Relief, It's All Over" are weak by today's standards, but the songs were a
vast improvement over the group's earlier efforts on wax.
Bassist Ernie Williams decided to leave the music business in 1963, and
returned to Salt Lake City. Gib Guilbeau immediately called an aquaintance
of his, Gene Parsons, a part-time banjo player from Yucca Valley,CA. who was
working in a machine shop. Gib explained to his friend that the Castaways
required another musician, but Gene didn't realize he was to become the
group's bassist until he showed up at Gib's house. With Gib's encouragement,
Gene managed to pick up the bass in time to do a series of gigs in Nevada
but a short time later while playing in Alaska, the Castaways parted company.
Folk and pop music had run its course by the mid-1960's and groups like the
Castaways were finding fewer gigs for their style of music.
Gib and Wayne returned to their rock and country roots when they recored as
a duo for Starfire in 1965. "World of Dream" (written by Wayne) and "Stagger
Lee" weren't particulary note-worthy, but the songs at least indicated the
two musicians were much better writers than their dismal folk efforts. Like
the other members of the Castaways, however, Wayne and Gib soon put music
aside for a time during 1965-66. Gib returned to Louisiana, Wayne went in a
shipyard, Gene Parsons returned to working as a machinist and Darrell Cotton,
after cutting a solo record for the Manmor label, drifted away from the
Shortly after Gib Guilbeau returned to southern California from his
Louisiana stay, he received an offer to cut a solo album for Gary Pazton's
newly formed Bakersfield International label. With the help of old friend
Gene Parsons on banjo and harmonica, Gib recorded an engaging set of country
and Cajun songs, most of them original. Wayne Moore, however, around to
participate in the project -Wayne had gone to Indiana in 1966 but he too
soon decided to give music another try in the Golden State and his arrival
back in the L.A.area prompted an offer from Gib to join a new band. The
group was formed around Gib and Gene Parsons and would be strictly country
which suited Wayne fine. 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 as he amply demonstrated on his
Paxton produced solo album (which would remain unissued for several years)
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 must have learned their new instruments quickly for within a brief
time the band was playing in Palmdale at the Jack O' Diamond club and doing
session work for Gary Paxton.
Paxton had started out with a small studio in Hollywood, but later moved
his base of operations to Bakersfield. Gib, Wayne and Gene worked steadily
for Paxton and ended up on many sessions. Paxton had re-introduced Gib to
guitarist Clarence White, a former bluegrass musician who had worked with
the legendary Kentucky Colonels. By 1966 Clarence had been playing the
electric guiatr and doing a lot of session work for quite some time. He'd
backed artists as diverse as the Monkees,Pat Boone,the Byrds and had played
on some of the Gib Guilbeau solo album sessions. "We thought he was just
incredible," says Gib of Clarence White. Gib,Wayne and Gene had been employ-
ing "anybody, local players - none of them that great" on guitar remembers
Gib. Clarence was quickly offered the lead guitar job for the band and he
accepted. The band was finally christened Nashville West, a name that came
from a club in El Monte where the group played in 1967.
[ To be continued to the next issue..... ]
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