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Post new topic Richmond Va steeler, Ray Garrett
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Author Topic:  Richmond Va steeler, Ray Garrett
Jay Jessup

Charlottesville, VA, USA
Post  Posted 6 Feb 2010 7:54 pm    
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Pictured above is a fellow I'd lost track of many years ago, in fact I thought he had passed away. A few weeks ago, thanks to Jason Hull's post in the classified adds alerting us to a 'Custom Sho-Bud' on Craigslist in Richmond Va, I found out he is still alive and kicking. Since I am near by and like old Sho-Buds I clicked on the link and was surprised to see Ray Garrett's phone number listed in the add for this guitar. Everyone who played steel and country music in Richmond Va in the 70's knew Ray as the manager of Metro Music on Hull Street in South Richmond. Hull street at the time was in serious decline with empty store fronts, Pawn shops, Porn shops and a few others I don't remember. Ray and his brother Dave who helped him run the store for the owners wore revolvers to and at work every day so that tells you a little about the place. Here I was, a kid just out of college with long hair and a beard, knowing very little about country music but really wanting to learn how to play steel, another Richmond steel icon, Teddy Lloyd taught steel lessons there and that's where Bruce Bouton and I first met, forumite Gary Gimble (then a hot shot young banjo player) also used to hang out there, maybe Bucky Baxter too? Ray was a Sho-Bud dealer and always had a nice selection of steels in stock. The main thing about Ray, which is why I wanted to do this post is that he was just a real nice man who always had a friendly smile for everyone who walked in the store (white, black, hippie, redneck it didn't matter) and always patiently answered whatever questions I, or anyone else, had no matter how silly. That store under Ray's control was the portal that led to my early steel ability and connections that got me gigs, introduced me to life long friends and basically opened the door to the next eight years of my life. While Ray didn't teach lessons he would show you anything you wanted to know, if he wasn't busy, he is a huge Chalker fan and a real good C6 player even though he did not have a thumb or index finger on his picking hand! Ray had a SB Crossover when I was in Richmond and I think I bought the first Pro-III to arrive in town in late 74. (Black, round front and back, wide pedals etc.) As one of the larger Sho-Bud dealers in the east he says Shot talked him into ordering a new guitar for himself but he wanted a few special features on it, the main thing being a longer scale length, so this guitar has a 24 3/8" scale length, a tone control that works only on the C6 neck and in the Lloyd Green color.
Ray has had a tough time of it recently, quad bypass, several strokes, vision trouble and is now on dialysis but if he hadn't told me I would not have guessed as he seemed fine the day we made the exchange with a great memory off all the events going on in Richmond in the 70's and even though I am still not sure he remembered me he treated me as if I was an old friend last Tuesday.
I am sure every one of us has people like Ray in our history that helped us down the road to this steel guitar world. I hope you will indulge me while I offer this public thanks to Ray Garrett who was one of those mentors for me.
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David Nugent


Gum Spring, Va.
Post  Posted 7 Feb 2010 4:20 am     Mr. Garrett
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Jay...Having been a resident of Va. for only six years, I have not had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Garrett which after reading your obviously heartfelt post, certainly appears to be my loss. Thank you for posting such a positive message.
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Bruce Bouton


Nash. Tn USA
Post  Posted 7 Feb 2010 5:59 pm    
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Ray Garret was good to everyone back in the seventies. It was through Ray that I met Teddy Lloyd who in turn introduced me to Bud Charleton.
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Gary Lee Gimble

Fredericksburg, VA.
Post  Posted 8 Feb 2010 12:57 am    
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Hangin out at Metro Music was always an adventure, even the ride down. Can you imagine driving into a part of town as Jay has just described, and parking a purple Dodge pick up on the street. Dave, Ray's brother, would occasionally greet us at the front door with his sidearm cocked and unlocked. What a treat it was to see Dave's face as this rather large and loud pick up, parallel parked in front of their store.

Assorted gear and a set of hands...
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