Born in Henrietta, Oklahoma, in December 1948, he later grew up 30 miles west of Nashville until his family relocated to Bakersfield in 1957. In 1957 at the age of eight years old, Ronnie begins to take guitar lessons with Andy Moseley, the brother of Mosrite Guitar manufacturer Semie Moseley. The following year he appears on Cousin Herb Henson's Trading Post TV show, and at ripe old age of nine years old becomes a regular on the show for three years. His debut single "Mommy's Japanese" b/w "Bunny Rabbit Without A Tail" was recorded for the Pike label in 1958.

At the age of ten he was invited to appear onstage to sing at a Grand Ole Opry show at Bakersfield Civic Center. Ronnie's act went over so well that he is invited to finish out the tour with the rest of the troupe.

Over the next few years Ronnie appeared on The Trading Post and made guest appearances on other local television shows including The Jelly Sanders Show, The Tommy Dee Show and The Billy Mize Show. He also worked throughout Southern California and even performed in Las Vegas.

After High School he went on to study veterinary science at Bakersfield Junior College, but left to continue his career in music. At the age of 16 he began to work on Dave Stogner's Kountry Korner show.

In the mid 1960s as his career began to take off, he was still attending school, but through the 1965-1966 period he also managed to tour with the KUZZ Caravan as well as guesting at the Fresno Barn with Larry Daniels & His Buckshots. After signing with OMAC Artists Corporation in Bakersfield he opened for acts like Red Simpson, Merle Haggard, Bonnie Owens, Billy Grammer, Connie Smith and Buck Owens. In 1966 he began to work as part of The Buck Owens American Music Show.

He made some recordings for the small Starview label, before signing a record deal with Bakersfield's Mosrite Records, a new label owned and operated by the Moseley brothers, Andy and Semie in 1966. By the time Ronnie had signed, the label had built a roster of local talent ranging from Doyle Holly to Barbara Mandrell. Local deejay Larry Scott was the A&R man, while Andy Moseley was Ronnie's manager and mentor. Ronnie's mother also worked at the Mosrite offices at this stage and promo shots of the period show Ronnie playing a Mosrite electric guitar. By 1967 Ronnie had a series of Mosrite singles, "Scaredy Cat," "There Never Was A Fool," "Queen Of Snob Hill" and "Big O," the latter being a tribute number to Buck Owens.

In 1968 he signed with Gene Autry's Republic label and gained regional hits with "The Life Of Riley," then "My Daddy Was A Guitar Man" in 1969, and "More Than Satisfied" in 1970. By this stage Ronnie's career was starting to wane, and like many others he felt the need to leave the West Coast and try to make it in Nashville.

In the early 1970s he relocated to Nashville and signed as a writer with Tree Publishing in 1972. Within six months he was signed to MGM Records and cut a series of uptempo hits under producer Chip Young. He charted with "Never Been To Spain' in 1972, following with minor hits like "Tossin' And Turnin'' and "She Feels So Good I hate To Put Her Down' through 1972-1973.

By the mid 1970s his career was once more in a quiet period with little chart activity. Ronnie switched to MCA Records, and his first single on MCA "Wiggle Wiggle," climbed to No. 4 on the charts in 1976. He soon followed "Wiggle Wiggle" with a version of Bobby Goldsboro's "Me And Millie', and in 1977-1978 he scored with "Ambush," and a last big hit "Juliet And Romeo." He also recorded two albums for MCA, starting with 1977's successful 'Ronnie Sessions' (MCA 2285) as well as 'Ronnie Sessions Live.

At this time he scored a profitable songwriting credit for "When I Play the Fiddle," with co-writer Ray Willis when Kenny Rogers recorded it on his 1977 hit album 'Lucille.'

Ronnie was dropped by MCA in 1980 and recorded sparingly after leaving the major label. He continued working as a live act, continuing to please fans and critics with his live shows.

After some mid 1980s records for the Compleat label, Ronnie retired from the music business in 1987. With ten career Top 10 songs to his name, Ronnie seems to have decided to bow out gracefully, but perhaps a comeback would be a welcome treat in the new century.


Rockabilly Hall of Fame TM