Important Notice: The materials are open for research use and may be used freely for non-commercial purposes with an attribution (This includes use on social media). For commercial permission requests, please contact the California State University, Bakersfield Historical Research Center.
Preferred citation: Bakersfield Sound Oral History Collection. [insert name of interviewee]. California State University, Bakersfield, Walter W. Stiern Library-Historical Research Center. https://hrc.csub.edu/oral-history/bakersfield-sound/. [insert date accessed].
|Lillian Haggard Rea||Lillian Rae was born in Oklahoma in 1921. Rae details her life in Oklahoma, the Dust Bowl, farming, and industrialization. Rae is Merle Haggard’s oldest sister. The Rae family arrived in Bakersfield in 1929 and details the Haggard’s family life, early history, and migration to Bakersfield. Rae details how Merle got involved in Bakersfield’s music scene, his marriage, career, and life events.|
|Jelly Sanders||Sanders was born in Oklahoma and arrived in California at the age of 17. He details the introduction to string instruments and the early influence of the fiddle. Sanders arrived in Bakersfield in 1953, with the influence of Herb Hanson and Jimmy Thomason, and details the country music scene in the 1950s to 1960s in Kern County.|
|Jim Shaw||Born in Iowa, 1946, Shaw details his early life and the musical influence of the piano and Jazz. Shaw played with Buck Owens in the late 1960s. He speaks about Buck Owen’s music, the Bakersfield Sound, the country music scene in Bakersfield, changes in the music genre over the years.|
|Joe “Red” Simpson||Simpson was born in 1934, in Arizona. The Simpson family migrated to Kern County in 1935 to work as farm laborers. He details his early life in Bakersfield, the early influences of the banjo, the local music scene, and his music career. Sanders mentions working with many important figures in Bakersfield’s country music.|
|Giles Edward “Tumbleweed” Turner||Born in Wisconsin, Turner came to California after being drafted in 1946. Turner got his start when he purchased radio advertising time and played his music. He got his start after booking some music concerts in Taft, Fresno, and Kern County. Turner speaks about working with Buck Owens and Jimmy Thomason, mentioning the changes in the musical genre of country music.|
|Oscar Whittington||Whittington was born in Oklahoma and came to Kern County at the age of 16. He details his early musical influences from his father, who played the fiddle. Wittington tells of his early local performance and the migration influence on regional music in Kern County. Red Simpson also speaks at the end of the interview.|
|Susan Wiggins||Born in Oregon in 1944, started her singing career in Portland, Oregon at the age of 17. Wiggins arrived in Bakersfield in the 1970s and recorded with Buck Owens and married Jerry Wiggins, Bucks drummer. Wiggins gives details of her early life and the later interactions with Buck and Bonnie Owens.|
|Bill Woods||Bill Woods was known as the “Grand Daddy of Kern County Country Music.” Woods was born in Texas and arrived in Bakersfield in 1945, after moving from Visalia. He recounts his time at the Blackboard. He gives details about Buck Owen’s early singing career and how he became associated with Bakersfield county music.|