Jimmy Bryant

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Ivy J. "Jimmy" Bryant, Jr. (born March 5, 1925 in Moultrie , Georgia , †  September 22, 1980 ibid) was an American country musician . With his style influenced by jazz , he is considered one of the most influential guitarists in the genre. With Speedy West he was one of the most famous duos in the USA in the 1950s.


Childhood and youth

Jimmy Bryant, the oldest of twelve children, learned to play the fiddle as a child . Together with his father, who was also a Fiddler, he performed publicly and went on short trips. In 1941 he joined the US Army and was wounded in 1945. During his recovery he learned to play the guitar . At first he limited himself to country, later he played mainly jazz , inspired by his comrade Tony Mottola .


After his discharge from the army, he bought a guitar. He later became one of the first known musicians to play the famous Fender Telecaster . In 1946 he moved to Los Angeles and found a job on a radio station. At the same time, he began playing with a group of musicians, including Speedy West. West was a talented steel guitarist and the two musicians quickly became friends. The band they both played in began performing at Cliffie Stones Hometown Jamboree and soon became the house band. After Bryant already worked as a musician for Modern Records , he got a contract with Capitol Records , the leading label on the west coast . In addition to his role as a session musician, he has now made his own solo recordings. He accompanied country stars such as Tennessee Ernie Ford , Merrill Moore , Ella Mae Morse and Roy Rogers . He also worked on recordings of pop stars like Bing Crosby and Kay Starr ; later he also played with the band The Monkees .

He also started making records with Speedy West. Their fast boogies , polkas and rags are now considered country masterpieces. In 1954 the album Two Guitars Country Style was released. In the mid-1950s, things calmed down around Bryant as he struggled with drinking problems. Even so, he played with 124 different artists between 1955 and 1956. From 1956 he was no longer under contract with Capitol, instead he worked for other labels as a session guitarist. In the same year he accompanied Sammy Masters on his rockabilly songs. Bryant also played at times in Masters Band Rockin 'Rhythm.

At the end of the 1950s, he continued to withdraw from the music business. He had temporarily given up the successful connection with Speedy West. He was rarely active in the studio, most of his singles were released by Imperial Records at the time . In 1966 his album Bryant's Back in Town reached number 27 on the country album charts . In the next few years he rarely released records. In the early 1960s, he teamed up with Speedy West again for a few singles at Imperial; In 1976 he played their last album, For the Last Time , with West , which was only released in 1990. Three years earlier he had also released an LP with steel guitarist Noel Boggs . He moved to Nashville in the mid-1970s , but returned to Georgia in 1979.

Bryant, who was a heavy smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1979 . He died in his hometown in 1980. He was posthumously inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame . Guitarists like Buck Owens , James Burton and Albert Lee were influenced by his work .



For singles with Speedy West see Speedy West .

year title Remarks
Capitol Records
1950 Bryant's Boogie / Leetie Juan Pedro A-side from Speedy West
1951 Liberty Bell Polka / T-Bone Rag A-side from Speedy West
1952 Bryant's Shuffle / Yodelling Guitar
1952 Georgia Steel Guitar / Midnight Ramble
1952 Pickin 'The Chicken / Comin' On B-side of Speedy West
Imperial Records
1966 Julie's Gone / Lonesome
1955 Lazy Guitar / Tabasco Road


  • 1954: Two Guitars Country Style (with Speedy West)
  • 1960: Country Cabin Jazz
  • 1966: Bryant's Back In Town
  • 1966: Laughing Guitar, Crying Guitar
  • 1966: We Are Young
  • 1967: Play Country Guitar with Jimmy Bryant
  • 1967: The Fastest Guitar in the Country
  • 1990: For the Last Time (with Speedy West)
  • 1997: Flamin 'Guitars ( Bear Family ; with Speedy West)
  • 2003: Frettin 'Fingers: The Lighting Guitar of Jimmy Bryant

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