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Johnny Bond

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Country Music Hall of Famer Johnny “The Singing Cowboy” Bond (1st of June 1915 - 12th June 1978) and his band the Red River Valley Boys are prime examples from the days when jazz informed “hillbilly” music (or maybe it was the hillbilly informing the jazz).

Born Cyrus Whitfield Bond in Enville, Oklahoma, he learned ukelele and guitar headed to Oklahoma City as a teen to play dances and radio shows as a member of the Singing Cowboy Trio and later the Bell Boys. Bond’s big break came in 1939 as a member of the Jimmy Wakely Trio when they were brought out to Hollywood to appear in a western called “The Saga of Death Valley, starring Roy Rogers. By 1940 Jimmy Wakely’s trio had relocated to California and become regulars on Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch radio show, the trio disbanded, but Bond stayed on air for some 16 years until the show was dropped in 1956. Bond also ended up in some 38 films between 1939 and 1947, usually as a bit player, musical interlude or sidekick. In 1947, while his film career was ending, the notoreity remained and he had three top five country hits including “Divorce Me C.O.D.”.


His legendary songcraft, healthy baritone voice and pioneering hillbilly-western swing sound is heard on enduring tracks from the 1940’s like “I’ll Step Aside” and “I Wonder Where You Are Tonight”. “Cimarron” was covered by Johnny Cash, Bob Wills, Les Paul & Mary Ford and many others. “I’ll Step Aside,” became hits for everyone from Billy Vaughn & His Orchestra to Johnny Rodriguez, while “Tomorrow Never Knows” was a hit for Glen Campbell and also was covered by Lynn Anderson,Loretta Lynn and Elvis Presley amongst others! Bond was also a gifted guitar player who appeared on records by Rosemary Clooney, Jimmie Davis, Flat & Scruggs, and Marty Robbins.

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