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Bobby Durham one of the last remaining Bakersfield Sound pickers

Bobby Durham shares his life story.(KBAK/KBFX photo)

Bobby Durham is one of the only remaining members of the Bakersfield Sound and continues to play the music that put the city on the music map.

Durham was born and raised in Bakersfield.

"My daddy was a farmer out at Mettler. I was raised out there on that farm. I know what it's like to pick potatoes and pick cotton and do all of that stuff, and I would whole lot rather play that guitar," said Durham.

His family taught him to play music, and by the age of 11 he was working for Cousin Herb's show. It was during this show that he met all the famous pickers.

"They just raised me in the music business. They took me under their wing and taught me everything. Tommy (Collins) used to come over to my house, and he would work on me with my phrasing and how to really put your heart and soul into your music, and that's what I always did," said Durham.

Durham signed with Capitol Records and went on to have many popular singles, such as "My Past is my Present." He played at the Grand Ole Opry and toured for many years.

After touring, he had the opportunity to play at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas for close to 10 years. However, while working in Las Vegas, he found out his father was sick and came back to Bakersfield to take care of his family. He's been in Bakersfield ever since and plays at the Crystal Palace from time to time.

Although, he is one of the last remaining souls of the Bakersfield Sound, he still plays his music to remember all his friends who have passed on.

"It's so sad for me to be the last of the original Bakersfield Sound, because all of my friends and everyone I was raised with is gone. In my mind, it breaks my heart, because they are not here anymore, and I can't give Red a call as always. I'd call Red whenever I was at the Palace, and he always got up and played with me," said Durham.

Mayor Harvey Hall officially declared Aug. 24, 2010, as Bobby Durham Day in celebration of his dedication to the Bakersfield Sound.

"It was low key. A lot of fiddle music and different things like that, not a lot of upbeat stuff, but it just took you back to the days of the beginnings of country music. This is where country music got its start, was from neighborhood honky-tonks and local people getting to have an opportunity to perform in front of their neighbors and their community," said Mayor Harvey Hall.

There are also plans to have Durham inducted to the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame.

"It doesn't matter how old we get, the people that are in this generation for the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame we plan to make sure they will never be forgotten and that they are recognized forever in the Bakersfield community," said Kim Mcabee Carter, executive director with the Bakersfield Hall of Fame.

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