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    Wertz, Kenny (4 February 1942 – Present)

    Banjo player, guitarist and vocalist who started out playing clarinet and singing at church.  He became involved in the San Diego music scene and performed in groups such as Avery Pitts, Les Baxter’s Balladeers, and The Shady Canyon Boys. 


    Then he joined The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, a band that was rounded out by Gary Carr, Ed Douglas, Chris Hillman, and Larry Murray.  They recorded one album, entitled Blue Grass Favorites.  Kenny was drafted into the Air Force and was replaced by Bernie Leadon. 


    He re-emerged in 1971 with Country Gazette, an outfit that included Byron Berline and Roger Bush.  They were recruited by The Flying Burrito Brothers and appeared on the album, Last of the Red Hot Burritos.  It was, at the time, aptly titled.  Country Gazette then recorded under their name on the 1972 album, A Traitor in Our Midst.  Kenny was making noises about quitting the band, but the success of the album and the subsequent tour encouraged him to stay on.  They went on a European tour with The Flying Burrito Brothers and much of this was captured on the 1973 album, Six Days on the Road:  Live in Amsterdam.  Don’t Give Up Your Day Job appeared the same year.  Kenny did give up his day job, however, at least for a couple of years.  In 1975, he was back with the band in the studio to record six tracks, and Country Gazette went on to release two more albums, Out to Lunch and Sunny Side of the Mountain.  Kenny also pitched in on Roland White’s 1976 effort, I Wasn’t Born to Rock’n Roll, and Chris Hillman’s 1982 album, Morning Sky. 


    In the new millennium, he has spent a lot of time performing with the bluegrass outfit, 117 West, and appeared on their debut CD, Neon Streets.  In 2003, The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers reunited for a series of live appearances, including the 30th Annual Roots Festival in Normal Heights, California.  Then it was Country Gazette’s turn to get back together at the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival in 2007.  In 2008, Kenny took part in something called the Toxic Generation Project and their recording of “It’s My Planet”.  Another SSB reunion took place in 2009, with Ed Douglas, Chris Hillman, Bernie Leadon, and Larry Murray. 


    If you would like to hear what Kenny sounded like back in the day, check out Hello Operator….  This is Country Gazette and Hot Burritos!  The Flying Burrito Brothers Anthology:  1969-1972. 



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    14. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/johnpeel/sessions/1970s/1975/Jul22countrygazette/
    15. http://www.voxpopmusic.com/Country_and_Folk.asp?Cat_Code=2&Subcat_Code=119&categoryname=Country+and+Folk++-+Alt+Country
    16. http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/kendo_ob/33899179.html
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    21. http://canada.mymusic.com/product.asp?muzenbr=93022
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    29. http://www.tagsrwc.com/ebullet/archive/20070921.html
    30. http://www.myspace.com/toxicgenerations
    31. http://thedoubleeaglestore.com/squirrel.html












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