Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsFixme

Obituaries

Bill Woods; Key Figure Behind Country Music's 'Bakersfield Sound'

May 02, 2000

Bill Woods, 76, a country musician and talent scout who helped originate what became known as the Bakersfield Sound and boosted the careers of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Woods never had a hit himself, although he was known as a gifted musician who could sing and play piano, guitar, fiddle, drums and banjo. In the 1950s he owned a country music club in Bakersfield called the Blackboard. Early in their careers, Owens and Haggard were regulars at the club, which offered apprenticeships to emerging artists. Woods helped develop a sound that Time magazine once described as "scruffier, less polished" than mainstream country. Woods called it "Okie music"; aficionados later dubbed it the Bakersfield Sound, and it became a popular category in country music nationally. Woods, who had a band called Bill Woods and His Orange Blossom Playboys, was "the granddaddy" of the genre, Haggard said. In 1972 Haggard honored Woods by recording "Bill Woods From Bakersfield," written by country singer Red Simpson. Woods, a native of Denison, Texas, traveled with Haggard's band briefly and also worked as a deejay. He recently underwent triple bypass heart surgery. On Sunday at San Joaquin Hospital in Bakersfield.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|