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T me for REC Day Grammy Award winner


Tommy Allsup to perform at 75th REC Day


Clint Branham Communications Specialist M


embers of Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative have an opportunity to experience musical history later this month in Grove. Legendary musician Tom- my Allsup will perform at the Grove Civic Center


on Saturday, September 21, as part of the cooperative’s 75th anniversary celebration. Opening for Allsup will be two familiar faces to co-op members, Shawn Howe and Monte Gaylord, both of whom have headlined past REC Day enter- tainment. A Grammy Award winner, Allsup is perhaps best known


as the loser of the fateful coin toss that determined the last occupant of a plane that later crashed and claimed the life of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “J. P.” Richardson, Jr. (known also as “T e Big Bopper”). Holly’s impact on music and his passing were later memorialized in the words “the day the music died” from the 1971 song American Pie by Don McLean. In a career spanning more than 60 years, Allsup has


played guitar or bass in thousands of recording sessions and more than one hundred chart toppers. He has worked with artists as diverse as Buddy Holly and T e Crickets to Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Allsup also has worked with Gene McDaniels, Walter Brennan, Roy Orbison, George Jones, Bob Luman, Tanya Tucker, Buddy Knox, Asleep at the Wheel, Ventures, Kenny Rogers, Jan and Dean, Paul McCart- ney, Mae West, Charlie Rich, and Willie Nelson. Allsup has been hailed by the legendary McCartney as


“one of the fi nest guitar players in the world.” All of this is good enough for Allsup, who has few re-


grets. It has never been his intent to steal the show. "I never really wanted to be a big star,” said Allsup. “I


fi gured I'd leave that to someone else." Allsup was born November 24, 1931 in Owasso, Okla-


homa. He began his musical career in 1949 in Claremore, Oklahoma, with the Oklahoma Swingbillies. In 1950, he


6 - Northeast Connection


went to work with fi ddle player Art Davis in Miami, Okla- homa. From there, Allsup ventured to the Cowboy Inn in Wichita, Kansas, with singer/fi ddle player Jimmy Hall. In 1952-1953, Allsup moved back to Tulsa, Oklahoma,


to join the Johnnie Lee Wills Band. He had his own band, T e Southernaires, in Lawton, Oklahoma, with home base being the Southern Club, from 1953-1958. In 1958, Allsup's career would take an exciting new


course. On a trip to Clovis, New Mexico, to record at Nor- man Petty's famous studio, he met Buddy Holly. In April, he started playing lead guitar with Holly’s band. He continued playing with Holly until the fatal plane crash that took Hol- ly's life during the Winter Dance Party Tour. Aſt er Holly's death, Allsup moved to California to join


Liberty Records as A & R director of all country and western product. It was then that he began producing Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. His association with Wills lasted through Wills' For T e Last Time LP, recorded on December 2, 1973, in Dallas, Texas, at the same studio where Wills had recorded his fi rst records in 1935. Allsup used some of the original Texas Playboys on the last recording. Wills directed the ses- sions from his wheel- chair.


While at Liberty,


Allsup would produce Tex Williams, Willie Nelson, Joe Carson, Warren Smith, Billy Mize, and Cliff Crof- ford. He also worked with great artists such as Walter Brennan,


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