Dunlap concert celebrates the music of bobby boyd
A reunion of friends and fans from the old Castaways Club is being organized by Billy Boyd
Billy Boyd remembers when he and his brother, Bobby, were 8 and 10, respectively, growing up in the Sequatchie Valley.
“Brush Creek where we lived was, golly, four miles to town ( Dunlap, Tenn.),” he said. “We were not rich people, but Mom and Dad always treated us right and would give us $5 to go to town. They had this pool hall oriented to kids with a pinball machine. Bob would get his in rolls of nickels and he would build his odds (essentially betting it all) off to the side every time.
“He’d get right down to almost the last (nickel), but 95 percent of the time, he would hit on it and win. Ol’ Billy, I’d
be dropping mine one nickel at a time. That, in my mind, was his whole philosophy on life. He was the same way about writing songs He’d say, ‘ The more I write, the better my odds.’ And it usually worked out for him.”
Bobby Boyd parlayed that philosophy into a successful songwriting career, and Billy Boyd wants to honor his brother with a concert on Saturday, July 29, at Harris Park in Dunlap. He has lined up 10 acts to date, including members of the Old Playboys rhythm section with Billy Dee (as his brother called him), the band that both Boyds played in along with brother Jimmy, and Bernard Tate. This version will
include Billy Dee, Tate, Glenn Riddle and Dale Roberson.
Also performing will be Don “PooBah” Mealer, the man who introduced the Boyd brothers to Willie Nelson years ago in Texas, Cody McCarver with Billy Hatfield and Jimmy Dormire, Neal Dover and Family, Tony Colton, Joey Winslett Band, Roberson Brothers and Carrie Hassler.
“Most everybody is family,” Boyd said. “We’re all cousins over here in the valley somehow. We just want everybody who knew and loved Bobby to come up and play a little bit if they want to.”
Bobby Boyd died June 22 at age 69. He moved to Nashville in 1980 and began writing songs for people like Conway Twitty, Patty Loveless and Earl Thomas Conley. He wrote “Finally Friday,” which became a hit for George Jones, and “Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House,” which was a No. 1 hit for Garth Brooks.
Billy was with Bobby the day he stopped his new Corvette in the middle of a Nashville street to chase down Jones to pitch “Friday” to him.
“He kept looking over his shoulder waiting for me to park the car. He knew I wanted to meet George. Bob never left anybody behind.”
The Boyd Brothers — Jimmy, Billy and Bobby — started playing in Chattanooga in the late ’60s and ’70s. Soon they were doing five hours a night, six nights a week at The Castaways as the Playboy Review, along with Riddle and Tate. Because of Bobby’s soulful voice, they were doing a lot of Temptations, Coasters and Little Richard material.
“Little Richard actually came in one night to hear us,” Billy said. “He later called from Miami and said he wanted to talk to that ‘ black white boy singing that music.’”
His brother ended up in Miami with the rock ’n’ roll legend and later called from the West Coast. Billy said he called and said, “Guess where I am? I’m in Los Angeles with Little Richard watching Elvis Presley.”
Billy and Bobby were always close, the younger of the two said. Even after the older brother started hitting the big time, they talked regularly.
“I couldn’t keep up with him,” Billy said when his brother moved to Nashville as his career took off. “I gave him my blessing and said, ‘Go get her done.’
“We had a thing we always said: ‘All that is good lives in the Lord.’ We knew if one of us left, we’d see each other in heaven.”
Bobby Boyd, left, is shown with Garth Brooks. Boyd wrote “Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House,” which was a huge hit for Brooks in 1991. Bobby Boyd and the Playboy Review featured Glenn Riddle on bass, Bernard Tate on drums, Billy Boyd on guitar, Bobby Boyd on vocals, Steve Young on trumpet and Dale Roberson on sax.
Bobby Boyd onstage with Willie Nelson in Texas.
Cody McCarver, along with Billy Hatfield and Jimmy Dormire, will perform Saturday.
The Boyd brothers are shown at a birthday party for oldest brother Jimmy. They are Gene, Bobby, Billy, Jimmy, Terry “Jug” and Eddie Boyd. Sister Lana (Boyd) Barker also performed in her own band, an all-female band.