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Speedy West
Born:  January 25, 1924
Died:  November 15, 2003
Steel Guitar Hall of Fame (1980)
Hometown Jamboree

About The Artist

Wesley Webb ("Speedy") West was born on January 25, 1924 in Springfield, Missouri. He relocated to California in 1946, making his musical debut in the bands of Tex Williams and Hank Penny.

His artistic mastery of the Steel Guitar soon made him the busiest steel guitar player on the West Coast. Along with his partner, legendary guitar player Jimmy Bryant they were the first instrumentalists to get a recording contract with a major label—Capitol Records—solely for the purpose of recording instrumental tunes.

These recordings have a virtuosity and fire that is still unequaled today. The songs include classics like "Speedin' West", "Railroadin" and "Georgia Steel Guitar".

It is almost impossible to listen to music from the 1950's without meeting Speedy West. The artists he recorded with include names like Cliffie Stone, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Jean Shepard, Ferlin Husky and Sheb Wooley.

His musical virtuosity was also used by Jazz and Pop producers, he can be heard on records by Bing Crosby, the Andrew Sisters, Ella Mae Morse and even the weird Spike Jones!

In 1981 he suffered a stroke, ending his musical career and leaving him unable to play anymore, but he still continues to appear at Steel Guitar Shows around the country, mostly as host and emcee, still keeping audiences spellbound with his dry humor and his enormous knowledge about the history of Country Music.

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to express its appreciation and thanks to Walter F. Stettner of Vienna, Austria for contributing this article on Herb to get us started on documenting Speedy West's career. Walter is also a steel guitarist and a serious country music collector. He can be contacted at walter.stettner@chello.at.

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1464 A Stainless Steel
  1805 A Hub Cap Roll
  1805 B Truck Driver's Ride
  1991 A Roadside Rag
  1991 B Cracker Jack
  2057 A Bryant's Shuffle
  2310 B Pickin' A Chicken
  2444 B Serenade To A Frog
  2892 A Bustin' Through

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