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Green, Lloyd (4 October 1937-Present)

Dobro player and steel guitarist from Leaf, Mississippi, whose family moved to Mobile, Alabama, when he was four years old.  He started out on the Hawaiian guitar and at the age of ten, he was already gigging on the local club circuit.  After graduating from high school, he matriculated to the University of Southern Mississippi, where he pursued a degree in psychology.

At nineteen years of age, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and promptly landed a spot with Faron Young’s touring outfit, remaining with him for a year-and-a-half.  Life on the road was no life for a newlywed, however, and he returned to Mobile to spend more time with his wife.  He did manage to cut a recording with George Jones, titled “Too Much Water Under The Bridge”, but it would be a long time in between sessions, as he could not afford to pay his union dues.

Sponsorship came in an unlikely fashion when Lloyd returned to Nashville as a shoe salesman, and one of his clients footed the bill.  Soon he found himself backing artists such as Jim Reeves at The Grand Ole Opry.  In the meantime, he supplemented his income by working part-time for Roy Drusky at SESAC, where he stayed for three years, waiting for his break.

He attracted some notice with his unique instrumental playing on the #1 hits, “The Bridge Washed Out”, by Warner Mack, and “Girl on the Billboard”, by Del Reeves, both released in 1965.  In 1966 and 1967, he recorded a pair of instrumental albums, The Little Darlin’ Sound of Lloyd Green and Master of the Steel Strings.  This resulted in Cashbox and Record World bestowing their “Most Promising Instrumentalist” award upon him, in 1967.

The session work came in dribs and drabs until the late ‘60s, when his career as a studio musician exploded.

From here on out, Lloyd Green became the go-to steel guitar player in Nashville and beyond.  Some of the artists and groups with whom he has worked include:  Lynn Anderson, Bobby Bare, The Byrds, J.J. Cale, Crystal Gayle, Nanci Griffith, Earl Klugh, Henry Mancini, Paul McCartney, Ronnie Milsap, Lorrie Morgan, Johnny Paycheck, Charley Pride, Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, Hank Snow, Ringo Starr, Mel Tillis, Gene Watson, The Whites, Don Williams, and Tammy Wynette.

Lloyd was wooed by Paul McCartney to go on tour with him, but respectfully declined as his plate was full of recording dates in Nashville.

In the early ‘70s, Lloyd enjoyed some success as a solo artist, charting with covers such as “Here Comes the Sun” and “I Can See Clearly Now”.  He even cracked the Billboard charts as a vocalist with “You and Me”.

It was the steel guitar that was his forte, though, and he designed his own model, the Sho-Bud LDG, the inaugural version of which arrived at his door on 9th May 1973.  It naturally underwent changes, but the fourth version became his instrument of choice, and it was featured on over 5,000 sessions from 1973 to 1988.

The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences named him their “Most Valuable Player” in 1973 and 1974.  In 1988, he was enshrined in the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, in St. Louis, Missouri.  Unfortunately, an ear infection sidelined his career for a while, but by 1992 he was back in action at the International Steel Guitar Convention, held annually in the Gateway City.

In recent years, he has revitalized his career with a music video entitled “An Evening of E-9th” with fellow instrumentalist Todd White, and a compact disc, Lloyd Green – Revisited, released in 2003.  In 2004, he waxed nostalgic with Alan Jackson on his #1 hit, “Remember When”.

For country fans who remember when the steel guitar was a staple of just about every country song, Lloyd Green’s catalogue of recordings is not just a discography, but something of a musical diary.  In total, his recordings number upwards from 30,000.  215 reached the top ten.  115 of those went to #1.  It is small wonder that he was #1 when it came time to assemble Nashville’s “A Team” in 2006.

As recently at 2008, he was back in the studio recording new material with Casey Dilworth and Jerry Douglas.

Randy Barlow recordings
Dixie Man
(J.L. Wallace/Terry Skinner/Ken Bell )

“Pig” Robbins recordings
Chunky People (Jim Vest/David Chamberlain)