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Bud Isaacs

May 9, 1989 OHC363 96 min.


Pioneer pedal steel guitarist. Born March 26, 1928. Real name: Forrest Isaacs. First to play pedal steel guitar on a major country hit, “Slowly” (recorded by Webb Pierce, 1954). Regular musician on the Grand Ole Opry and the Ozark Jubilee. Worked for numerous artists in recording sessions and on the road. Recorded as a solo performer for RCA, 1954-1960. Later in his career performed with his wife, Geri Mapes, as part of the Golden West Singers. Member, Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.

Interview Summary

1989 May 9
(1 hour, 36 minutes)
Influential pedal steel guitar player, Bud Isaacs, talks about his career in country music. Discussion includes his family; early musical influences; auditioning for the Grand Ole Opry; his first appearance on the Opry; different performers he worked with, including Little Jimmy Dickens; other steel guitarists he knew and worked with including Jerry Byrd and Roy Wiggins; how he came up with the idea of using pedals with the steel guitar; his performance on Webb Pierce’s recording of “Slowly”; different producers he worked with as a session player, including Paul Cohen, Steve Sholes, Owen Bradley, Ken Nelson, and Chet Atkins; working for Fred Rose; worked for Red Foley; experiences working on the Ozark Jubilee; movie appearances; working on the Country & Western Caravan road show for RCA; the career of his wife, Geri Mapes; and memories from his years as a musician.

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