A conversation with guitarist Ron Livingstone

I sat down with guitarist Ron Livingstone Sunday afternoon to have a conversation that ranged from grange hall dances in 1954, at Spring Hill Grange, the grange hall at Waverley, and half a dozen others where his brother, Neil Livingstone, and their band, The String Dusters, played with various musicians from around Spokane, including Bobby Wayne, and stories about Les Paul and Chet Atkins, two of his guitar heroes.

We talked about the beginnings of rock ‘n’ roll in Spokane. In 1955 his friend, song writing guitarist Bobby Wayne, returned from a stay in Georgia where he saw Elvis Presley and his band perform, and immediately ran down to a record store to pick up a handful of Sun Records 78s by the little known rocker who was turning the music scene in the South upside down.

Returning to Spokane Wayne and the Livingstone brothers incorporated rockabilly songs into their own performance. Wayne recorded a number of his own rockabilly songs in late 1955, some of them at Spokane’s Sound Recording Studios operated by Paul and Irene Carter.

Though it was a beginning for rock ‘n’ roll, it was not taken up soon by other musicians in Spokane. Livingstone said that the music scene in Spokane was Country and Western, and the musicians were not immediate fans of rock ‘n’ roll. It took a couple more years, and more Elvis, more Bill Haley, and a little bit of Buddy Holly to develop fully.

Copyright © 2013 Robert Schoenberg

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About Robert Schoenberg

Writer - Blog is about the history of rock 'n' roll in Spokane Washington, from 1955 to 1980 View all posts by Robert Schoenberg

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