FULLER UP
HOME
GRIM REAPER
PAGE
CAUSES OF
DEATH
SEARCH BY
NAME
GET IN
TOUCH
SHAMEFUL DISCLAIMER
 
 
Fuller Up The Dead Musician Directory
 
James Clayton Day
Jimmy Day
 Heart Failure
Jan. 22, 1999
Age 65
OBITUARY 
BIOGRAPHY  
LINKS

Selected discography

 
 
 
 

OBITUARY 
    
JIMMY DAY, 1934-1999

     If the death of Austin blues guitarist T.D. Bell on January 9 was a hard blow      for the Central Texas music scene, the loss of steel guitar player Jimmy Day      must be measured in even larger terms -- its impact resonates on a national,      even worldwide scale. Buda resident Day died of cancer Friday, January 22 at the age of 65. 

     There are a select few musicians whose talent is so highly regarded that their     names literally become synonymous with their instrument -- Jimi Hendrix on  the guitar, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker on the saxophone, Miles Davis on the trumpet. In the world of steel guitar, those names were Buddy Emmons and Jimmy Day. 

     Of course, Jimmy Day never received the fame of those other names -- he was primarily a sideman, rather than a band leader -- but like all sidemen, he helped make the sounds that made the stars famous. Day's résumé alone is mind-boggling; name a country music hall of famer from the Fifties or Sixties, any one, and chances are, he played with them. And there's a reason he hooked up with so many great musicians -- they sought him out. 

     But Day also played with some smaller names as well, which must be seen as a measure of their talent. When you're the guy who laid down the opening licks of Ray Price's "Crazy Arms," you don't have to play with also-rans. Clay Blaker, Alvin Crow, and Don Walser are among the Central Texas regional talents who received the Jimmy Day stamp of approval and benefited from his talents. 

     Day was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on January 9, 1934, and grew up in Louisiana. He heard Shot Jackson playing the steel guitar in 1948 and fell in love with the instrument, developing a friendship with Jackson (Day, Jackson, and Emmons together manufactured their own brand of pedal steel, the Sho-Bud, beginning in 1957). He quickly mastered the instrument and was soon among heady company; the same year he graduated from high school, 1951, Day auditioned for The Louisiana Hayride, the Shreveport radio show which at the time rivaled the Grand Ole Opry in importance, and backed Webb Pierce and Red Sovine. That same year, he recorded with Pierce on "Don't Do It Darlin'," which went to number one. 

     From there, there are just too many highlights to mention. Day moved among the upper echelons of country royalty until the late Seventies, when Nashville began its attempts to destroy country music, often dropping the steel guitar from recordings altogether. Day returned to Central Texas in 1978 and sought out audiences who still appreciated true country. Among his gigs were the now-legendary Monday nights with Don Walser's Pure Texas Band at Henry's Bar & Grill. He moved to Nashville in 1991 for some session work when Nashville rediscovered the steel,  but then settled down in Buda again shortly thereafter. 

     As said, the best way to understand the impact of Jimmy Day is to look at his résumé, so here it is (no, we're not making this up): Webb Pierce, Red Sovine, Hank Williams, Jim Reeves, Lefty Frizzell, Elvis Presley, Ray Price, Ernest Tubb, Willie Nelson, Johnny Bush, Ferlin Husky, George Jones, Tracy Nelson & Mother Earth, Sammi Smith, Leon Russell, Commander Cody, Clay Blaker, Alvin Crow, Don Walser, Skeeter Davis. -- Lee Nichols  
 

 
 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Jimmy Day, a steel guitarist who performed with Willie Nelson and became one of the most in-demand  musicians in Nashville, died Friday from heart failure after a battle with cancer. He was 65.  
        Day hit it big in 1956 playing steel guitar with Ray Price on the hit ``Crazy Arms.'' He played on Nelson's classic ``Shotgun Willie'' album, and hits like ``Pick Me Up on Your Way Down'' by Charlie Walker and Price's ``Heartaches By the Number'' and ``City Lights.''  Day is in the International Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, the Texas  Steel Guitar Hall of Fame and the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame. 

      He died at 3:32 Friday afternoon.  His funeral will be on Wednesday  in Houston and burial will be in Buda.

 
 

OBITUARY
BIOGRAPHY
LINKS TOP
 
 
 
 
 

 
BIOGRAPHY
 
James Clayton Day, 9 January 1934, Tuscaloosa, Alabama,
d. 22 January 1999, Houston, Texas, USA.

Day began to play guitar as a child but, in 1949, after seeing Shot Jackson playing a steel guitar on television, he was fascinated by the instrument (Jackson became his friend and greatly influenced his playing). By 1951, he was playing steel guitar for Pierce, Webb on the Louisiana Hayride on KWKH Shreveport. He made his first recording when he played on Pierce's 1952 number 1, "That Heart Belongs To Me". At KWKH, he worked with Sovine, Red and Williams, Hank and as a session musician, he played on many of Reeves, Jim' Abbott and Fabor recordings. In 1953, he played on Torok, Mitchell's hit "Caribbean". During 1954, he worked with Frizzell, Lefty and on occasions with Presley, Elvis, and with his friend Cramer, Floyd, he organized the KWKH staff band. He relocated to Nashville in 1955, because he said the Hayride had "too much rock 'n' roll", and that year played on Price, Ray's hit "Crazy Arms". In the early 60s, he, Shot Jackson and Emmons, Buddy were responsible for the manufacture of Sho-Bud pedal steel guitars. From 1958, through to the mid-60s, he played on countless sessions and worked with Tubb, Ernest, Webb Pierce, Price, Ray , Jim Reeves, Jones, George (he played on Jones's hit "The Race Is On"), Nelson, Willie and Husky, Ferlin. Between 1966 and 1973, Day mainly worked with Willie Nelson or Dickens, Little Jimmy. In the 70s, Day spent a few years playing in Texas before returning to Nashville where he played the Grand Ole Opry and also worked with Louvin, Charlie. He finally returned to Texas in 1978, where he continued to play in various bands and with different artists, including Nelson and Bush, Johnny, as well as doing session work and at one time fronting his own Texas Tunesmiths. He appeared in Europe several times and, in 1991, toured Korea with Davis, Skeeter. He was elected to the International Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame in 1982. ~AMG

 
 

OBITUARY
BIOGRAPHY
LINKS TOP
 
 
 
 

 LINKS
  
 
Memories and Condolences 
Jimmy Day Tablature
Photo w/ Buddy Emmons
 
 

OBITUARY
BIOGRAPHY
LINKS TOP
 
 
 
 
 
FULLER UP
HOME
GRIM REAPER
PAGE
CAUSES OF
DEATH
SEARCH BY
NAME
GET IN
TOUCH
SHAMEFUL DISCLAIMER
 
 
  
 Jimmy Day Discography
 
TOP