Jimmy Bryant – The Fastest Guitar In The Country (1967)

FrontCover1Ivy J. Bryant, Jr. (March 5, 1925 – September 22, 1980), known as Jimmy Bryant, was an American country music guitarist.

Bryant was born in Moultrie, Georgia, the oldest of 12 children. During the Great Depression he played the fiddle on street corners to help the family buy food, pushed to do so by his father.

After being wounded in World War II, he began working seriously on his guitar playing, influenced heavily by Django Reinhardt. After the war, he returned to Moultrie, then moved to Los Angeles county where he worked in Western films and played music in bars around L.A.’s Skid Row, where he met pioneering pedal steel guitarist Speedy West. West, who joined Cliffie Stone’s popular Hometown Jamboree local radio and TV show, suggested Bryant be hired when the show’s original guitarist departed. That gave Bryant access to Capitol Records since Stone was a Capitol artist and talent scout.

In 1950 Tex Williams heard Bryant’s style and used him on his recording of “Wild Card”. In addition, Bryant and West played on the Tennessee Ernie Ford-Kay Starr hit “I’ll Never Be Free”, leading to both men being signed to Capitol as instrumentalists. Bryant and West became a team, working extensively with each other.

Jimmy Bryant01

Bryant was a difficult musician to work with. By 1955 he left Hometown Jamboree (retaining his friendship with West) and after various clashes with his Capitol producer Ken Nelson, the label dropped him in 1956. In 1957 Jimmy Bryant was a part of one of the first integrated television shows featuring popular radio and television star Jimmie Jackson who hosted the show along with black Jazz violinist and recording star, Stuff Smith and black jazz percussionist and recording star, George Jenkins. He continued working in Los Angeles and in the early 1960s he and his trio made an appearance in the Coleman Francis film The Skydivers.

During the 1960s he shifted into music production. Waylon Jennings made a hit of his song “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line”. He can also be heard playing fiddle on the Monkees’ “Sweet Young Thing”.[1] In the early 1970s Bryant ran a recording studio in Las Vegas, but finally relocated to Georgia before settling in Nashville in 1975, the same year he reunited with Speedy West for a reunion album produced by Nashville steel guitarist Pete Drake. Bryant played in Nashville bars and did some recording work but his personality did not mesh well with Nashville’s highly political music and recording industry. In 1978, in declining health, Bryant learned that he had lung cancer; he was a heavy smoker.

He died in Moultrie in September 1980 at the age of 55. (by wikipedia)

Jimmy Bryant03

And here´s a real great album:

Fretboard fanatics…fret no more! Here at last is the album that christened Jimmy Bryant with the distinct moniker of “Fastest Guitar in the Country.” After a run of success with steel guitarist Speedy West on Capitol Records, Jimmy Bryant signed a solo contract with Imperial Records in the mid ’60s. While Bryant’s recordings with West established him as a fretboard genius, it was the 1967 release of The Fastest Guitar in the Country that left the disc jockey world wondering if his lighting speed was legitimate. Naysayers were left in awe as they witnessed Bryant’s dizzying technique at a DJ convention in Nashville. Bryant’s frenzied fretboard flair is in full effect on his rendition of the classic “Sugar Foot Rag” and “Little Rock Getaway” bearing evidence as to why this is one of the most electrifying instrumental recordings of all time. This collection of jazz-fueled country pickin’ is the ultimate testament of Jimmy Bryant’s gift to the guitar world. (Promo text)

I’m a professional musician and music educator of many years. Although it’s not my chosen style of guitar playing, Jimmy’s a heck of a picker! (Zoko)

Believe me: Country music with lots of jazz influences (listen to Duke Ellingtons “Caravan”) … enjoy this very special album !


Jimmy Bryant (guitar, fiddle)
a bunch of unknown studio musicians

Jimmy Bryant04

01. Twelfth Street Rag (Bowman) 1.41
02. Little Rock Getaway (Sullivan/Sigman) 1.52
03. Caravan (Ellington/Tizol) 2.30
04. Down Yonder (Gilbert) 1.42
05. Georgia Boogie (Harris/Turner) 1.51
06. Orange Blossom Special (Rouse) 2,24
07. Tico-Tico (Abreu) 1.59
08. Indiana (Back Home Again In Indiana) (MacDonald/Hanley) 2.04
09. Ten Wheels (Harris/Turner) 1.49
10. Stumbling (Confrey) 1.58
11. Voxwagon (Harris/Turner) 1.52
12. Sugarfoot Rag (Garland/Vaughn) 1.29



Jimmy Bryant with the voxmobile:
Jimmy Bryant02


Jimmy Bryant – Country Cabin Jazz (1960)

FrontCover1 Along with his frequent partner, pedal steel guitarist Speedy West, Jimmy Bryant was one the most in-demand session players in country music. Recording mostly behind Capitol’s considerable lineup of artists during the ’50s and ’60s, Bryant augmented his frequent work for the likes of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Kay Starr, and Buck Owens with a fair share of solo dates, often featuring West. This classic Capitol release from 1960 finds the two jazz-influenced players wending stealthily through 12 incredible instrumentals, most of which were penned by JimmyBryant2Bryant. Bryant and West turn in a bevy of complex, yet swinging solos over a mix of blues (“Whistle Stop”), country ballads (“Deep Water”), polkas (“Hometown Polka”), and bebop-country swingers (“Stratosphere Boogie”).

Along with several exciting exchanges between Bryant and West, the whole band turns in a fine round of call and response solos on “Jammin’ With Jimmy”; figuring prominently in the mix are guitarist Billie Strange, pianist Billy Liebert, bassist Cliffie Stone, and an unlisted violinist.

While many of these tracks can be found on Razor & Tie’s two fine Bryant and West collections, Country Cabin Jazz still qualifies as a very good first-disc choice for newcomers. (by Stephen Cook)


Speedy West – Steel Guitar
Billy Liebert – Piano
Billy Strange – Rhythm guitar
Cliffie Stone – Bass
Roy Harte – Drums

01. Frettin’ Fingers 2.02
02. The Night Rider 2.24
03. Deep Water 3:00
04. Jammin’ With Jimmy 2.29
05. Whistle Stop 2.16
06. Stratosphere Boogie 2.12
07. Pickin’ Peppers 2.11
08. Pushin’ the Blues 3.11
09. The Rollin’ Sky 2.26
10. Yodeling Guitar 2.08
11. Bryant’s Bounce 2.21
12. Hometown Polka 2.20