|The Jerry Woodard Saga by Jerry Grammer
Jerry Woodard was featured in American Music Magazine, 1995
If I may copy a phrase from the late Bill Haney; "When he died, Jerry, was no older than some of the scotch he drank!" Ironic, since Bill never met a pill he didnít like! However, this story isnít about character assassination, just the facts about a dear friend and wasted talent.
Jerry Eugene Woodard was born in Anniston, Alabama on May 25, 1941. (His father was a minister.) Although Jerry didnít live this part of his life, it was always inside him. It reminded me of Elvis and his convictions. We talked about our past in the "Church" and what we really believed in on numerous occasions. Sometimes we would break into a gospel song in a club. People enjoyed it. Even if they were shocked!
Woodard was from a musical family and inherited the talent and lust for the music.(His Mom taught Jerry Reed the first chords he learned on guitar) Jerry Woodard drifted from the church to start performing; small recordings, talent shows, local TV stations and eventually forming groups for night club entertainment!
To make this story short: Jerry recorded a lot of small releases paid for by family or friends. With Bassist Henry Strzelecki as writer he finally did "Long Tall Texan". This song won him some acclaim and has been recorded afterwards by numerous artists, including the Murray Kellum, Beach boys, Kingsmen Trio, Pee Wee Crayton, Bob Luman and Conway Twitty. There were others who had modest hits with this song. The song made Henry a lot of money and launched a good career for him. He eventually ended up playng bass for the Million Dollar Band on Hee Haw. He also played on several Elvis recordings, but this is another story!
Woodard felt he needed to leave RCA ( A Mistake) He used a lot of musicians through the years who became huge stars in their field. Barry Beckett, Ronnie Eads, (The Muscle Shoals Rythmn Section), Larry Butler,Bobby Mizzell and David Vest, just to name a few! Woodard loved life and he loved music. We had so many incredible experiences together that it would take a complete book to write about it. (Maybe Someday I Will)
I started calling him Wah Wah Woodard, after he purchased a Wah Wah peddle in Atlanta. He loved using that thing. The name stuck with him and everyone else was eventually calling him Wah Wah! It ripped my heart out the day a County Deputy Sheriff came to my door to tell me Margie had been trying to reach me about his death!
I drove to St Simons Island immediately. On the the way I reminisced; on our lives together (good and Bad), the adventures, the shows, the recordings, the near hits and misses, and most of all, our friendship! His body rests forever on the Island we loved so much. There is irony there! See you in the big orchestra in the sky Pal: Jerry G.
Also see: http://jerrywoodard.home.mindspring.com
Story by Jerry Grammer