I am the official historian of Jerry Glenn Kennedy


I don’t at all expect adults today to understand a little boy’s fascination in the late 1960s and beyond for the dobro, Tammy Wynette, Tom T. Hall, Roger Miller and The Statler Brothers.

But when you are in a small tobacco growing town of Caroline 70 kilometers from the freeway, a radio and these musicians have certainly come in handy. They are still the soundtrack of a wonderful river of memory for me.

Was there any way for me to find out who Jerry Kennedy of Shreveport was – guitarist, dobro breeder, successful record producer – at the time? Neg. He was just starting to figure it out himself.

But step forward half a century to the present reason for sharing big news, big news because it’s little news that makes all the difference in our individual lives. It’s the little things that end up being the big things, things that you hang on the wall.

A few months ago, I read, as soon as I could put my greedy little hands on it, “The Music of The Statler Brothers: An Anthology” by Don Reid. Don was a member of The Statlers, the premier country music group for over 40 years from the mid-60s, an impressionable time for those my age at the time, those like me who crawl now, maybe run. , in our 60s.

I almost have to write about the Statlers every few years, but I think about the Statlers every few days. Study and you will realize that their career has been divinely inspired. Much like their non-repeated encounter with Jerry Kennedy, who began to pluck in Shreveport under the watchful and caring eye and hands of the incomparable Tillman Franks, may God have his soul. Kennedy ended up in Nashville and ended up producing over 40 records for the Statlers.

With age and the move to Louisiana, I understood exactly who Jerry Kennedy was. You mean the guy who starred in Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” was Jerry Kennedy from Shreveport, and he only got paid to scale? You mean the guy who said it might be a good idea to stack three guitars to start “Pretty Woman” was Jerry Kennedy? The guy who played dobro on “Harper Valley PTA” was a guy who graduated from CE Byrd High? A guy who grew up on Huntington Avenue between Linwood and Southern? Go on. The guy who played dobro on “New York City” for the Statlers was the same guy who later produced all those hits for them?

“I used an odd choice for that one,” he said in August from his Nashville home on his 81st birthday, a few months after Reid’s book came out. As he always does when he talks about himself, he says it humbly, as if this big pickaxe was a gift from the music gods and he was just holding it.

“This opening pick made a strange sound,” he said. “I don’t know why I didn’t do it again and I don’t know why I thought about doing it again then. I would have liked to know where this choice was.

I tell you all this to make a point: before reading the book, highly recommended, I read the dedication. It’s here.

To allow us artistic freedom,

To share with us his incredible talent,

And for his everlasting friendship,

This chronicle of our music is dedicated to

Jerry Kennedy.

I love you my friend.

The story of the best country band, dedicated to the man who was the soul behind the sound. From experience it is as honest as old friends and old men can be.

The 414-page book is an account of every song the Statlers have ever recorded. A labor of love. Wouldn’t you have wished that your favorite band had never published such a book? Mine did.

While writing it, Don often called Jerry.

“Donnie always took good notes,” Jerry said. “If other acts like this did that, we would see better books like this written. Donnie was meticulous. While he was writing it, we were talking three, four, five times a week, laughing out loud, a few tears here and there. He would have everything gathered and managed by me. I had no idea that I had played dobro on so many things. I’m sorry, I guess … “

I hope not.

He didn’t know the book was dedicated to him until Don called him from his home in Staunton, Virginia. Jerry responded in Nashville. He had received the package in the mail the day before but had not yet opened the book. Don asked him to open it right away and read the dedication while he held the line.

“It melted me,” Jerry said. “They could have chosen anyone in their family, anyone in the business. We have been special friends for a long time. There are very few situations where creative people get together in a room and always come out as friends. But I have never had anything but joy with them. We had the best relationship of all these years and all those 40s albums. “

“… for his everlasting friendship,

This chronicle of our music is dedicated to

Jerry Kennedy.

I love you my friend.

When the hits have dried up and you can’t choose anymore, you hope that’s what’s left. And that’s more than enough.

With a cowboy hat to the Statlers and their hit “I’m the Official Historian on Shirley Jean Berrell”, we end with this. Although lame, it’s at least sentimentally honest:

“I am the official historian of our friend Jerry Glenn

I’ve been a staunch fan of him ever since only god knows when

He played guitar, produced more hits than I can tell,

And he played the dobro just as well.

Le-eee Ennnnnnnd.

He is in good faith, and we dedicate this effort to him. It’s not a book, but it’s something. Thank you sir.

Contact Teddy at [email protected]

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