It must be something you naturally do when you reach your twilight years. You really can’t help it! What’s that, you ask? Recalling the past.
Lately, my thoughts have been filled with remembering my old friends and band mates that have left this earthly dwelling and moved on to better venues! Quickly coming to mind is Davy Baker, Jeff Gant, Tony Graham, Julie McCray, DeWayne Kinnett, Dick Stephens, Billy Musgrove, Hirth Martinez, Stephen Bruton, and Kyle Shelton. Unfortunately, the list could go on for quite a while, so I’ll cut it short and talk about Kyle Shelton, who held a special spot in the hearts of local musicians for his musicianship, his laid back ways, and his craziness as well. What a guy!
Kyle was from Iowa Park and I first met him in the early 70’s. I was hired to go to Alabama for a week with his band to play bass guitar. What a fine band it was! Ronnie Berry on drums, Bobby Peters on guitar and vocals, and Kyle on his ever impressive Hammond B-3 organ and twin Leslie cabinets. Kyle had a command of the keyboards that put him firmly on another level. This ability would eventually put him in the spotlight on stages far from North Texas.
Not long after the Alabama trip, Kyle and I managed to team up in a band with Dick Stephens and Felipe Casillas. It was a very good band, if I may say so! We worked a lot in our three years together, playing in Colorado at least a month out of each year we were together. We also landed a six night a week gig in Wichita Falls for a year, and travelled to countless gigs within about a two hundred mile radius of Wichita Falls.
It was during our tenure at the Wichita Falls six nights a week gig that fate stepped in and took Kyle from our band-not the BIG fate quite yet. Actually, it was Waylon Jennings that stepped in! Yes, the Waylon Jennings! Waylon hired Kyle to tour with him and his band of outlaws. The IP Kid was on the road to bigger and better things! Obviously, there were no hard feelings. We loved Kyle and were beyond happy that Kyle and his talent could stretch out and move on. And that he did! Thanks Waylon!
Of course, fate did finally step in and take Kyle from all of us about twenty years ago. Lung cancer cut his life short, but those of us that knew him still carry his memory close to our hearts. I’m sure that those of us that were close to Kyle wish we could carry that mighty Hammond B-3 and two Leslie cabinets to another gig with the great Kyle Shelton. We miss you, friend.