Sandy Holly sang Bakersfield country before she worked to keep the history alive | News – Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California 2021-06-07 23:10:00 –

She was still a teenager when she started playing country music with her brother, but when she escaped her marriage and landed in Bakersfield in 1966, Sandy Holly found a music home here.

As a singer, bandleader and stage costume designer, she then worked to preserve the city’s rich country music heritage. Holly died on May 30th at her home in Bakersfield. She was 87 years old.

“I loved her as a woman trying to succeed in country music,” says Teresa Spanke, whose history as a country vocalist dates back decades.

According to Spanke, they were born of two different generations, but she and Holly shared a common bond.

“She never gave up her desire and love for music,” Spanke said.

Born August 6, 1933, Holly grew up in a family of 10 children in Oklahoma City. It was a musical family, and Sandy soon shared the stage with his brother and his band, Art Holly and the Wranglers. Another brother, Doyle Holly, later began playing bass in Buck Owens’ band The Buckaroos.

When Holly’s marriage broke down in 1966, she remembered her daughter Sandy Neil, loading her three children into her family’s 1961 Cadillac and heading to Bakersfield.

“I had to sleep in the car until I found a place to live,” she said.

“When we first got here, we were in a welfare facility,” Neil recalled.

“It’s not embarrassing to say that now, but I was at the time.”

Sandy Holly worked in a pharmacy and then in a dry cleaner. But after she got a job at Park Lane Jewelery, she really bloomed.

It turned out that she was good at selling. But the music was calling.

“She started playing on the weekends,” the daughter said.

“She was very creative. She was a professional dressmaker and seamstress. She made many stage costumes for singers and musicians, and for herself.”

She soon started forming her own band.

“I’ve been working with her for years and with her brother,” said the 87-year-old Larry, who had long been considered a local master of pedal steel guitar.・ Petry remembered.

“She enjoyed working with her,” he said.

The musicians she hired were like the pioneers of Bakersfield Sound. One of them was Jean Malls, whose groundbreaking guitar work was featured by Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Red Simpson, Tex Ritter, The Ventures and more.

“I think my dad worked with her,” recalled Eugene Malles, son of his own highly respected picker, Jean Malles, who lives in Tennessee.

Young Malls pays tribute to Jean Malls every year after his father died in 2002.

“She assembled it all herself,” recalled Eugene. “She loved my father.”

Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall, following Holly’s instructions, declared Sunday closest to Jean Malls Day on April 28.

In 2005, Sandy Holly and Fabulous Five performed in their annual tribute.

It was another chapter in her life, an effort to keep the lights of Bakersfield’s country music burning, but this wasn’t always easy.

She was the proponent of a permanent exhibition dedicated to Bakersfield Sound. And Spanke remembered that she was there whenever there was a fundraising campaign to help a sick musician.

Holly didn’t reach the height of fame and success she wanted, Spanke said. However, there are many definitions of success.

And Holly may have found her for sure.

A memorial service will be held at the Hillcrest Memorial Chapel from 10 am on Friday.

Reporter Stephen Mayer can be contacted at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @semayerTBC.

Sandy Holly sang Bakersfield country before she worked to keep the history alive | News Source link Sandy Holly sang Bakersfield country before she worked to keep the history alive | News

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