In 1956 as a junior in high school, a college combo at Oklahoma State headed by Ashley Alexander, jr. asked if I would like to try out for his band as guitarist. Somehow I made the cut and mostly played rhythm guitar as Ashley played bone, sax, trumpet and a little bit of everything else that made a sound. We played all over Oklahoma, Northern Texas, Dallas, Amarillo, Kansas, Arkansas and maybe a time or two in New Mexico. Mind you, these were Friday and Saturday night gigs. At the time, traveling late at night, WWL radio out of New Orleans broadcast a jazz program "Moon-glow with Martin" from the Ambassador Hotel. The station reached just about every where we were and would fight off sleep listening to those great selections Martin would play. In 1957 or 58, coming in from somewhere in Texas we first heard Johnny Smith. It was the greatest musical impact ever on my life. I was only 15 or 16, but I made intensive efforts to learn some of the things Johnny did. The first 2 things I worked on was "Ghost of a Chance" and "Moon Light in Vt. The impeccable tone and voicing I heard made chills run up my spine. I'm 74 now and Johnny is still my favorite and most appreciated guitarist of ALL TIME. For the past several years I have made a few jazz archtops using the D'Leco logo. I love guitar and I dearly love Johnny Smith, the greatest guitarist EVER. Thank you, James Dale, Oklahoma City, OK.
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