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The Fastest Guitar in The Country!
Jimmy Bryant was born March 5, 1925 in Colquitt County Georgia to Ivy and Lula Gray Bryant. Jimmy's
first musical effort, at the tender age of 2, was a snuff box with rocks in it or beating on a tin can
with a stick entertaining his baby sister while his parents worked in the fields. After his father
realized Jimmy could keep time he started teaching him how to play the guitar by chording with a closed
knife. Little did any of them know where this would lead.
Jimmy coluld also play fiddle, but was best know for his guitar work. As a child, age 5, he was taken
all over the area and made to play all night with his father. During this time Ivy and Junior went to
two World's Fairs, Govenor's functions, courthouse squares, and tobacco warehouses to entertain. This
went on for seven years.
Then the scene changed; they began playing and singing with the whole family in churches throughout
Colquitt County and other areas after Jimmy's dad started preaching. He pastored several churches
including Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. This is the church where four generations of
Bryants, includig Jimmy, are buried.
Jimmy was drafted into the Army at 18 and went through boot camp in Meridian, Mississippi. His
biggest challenge was getting out of bed early. He was used to playing all night and sleeping in the
next morning, but boot camp changed that. One time when he missed roll call the drill instructor
picked up him, mattress and all and dumped him on the grass. He didn't miss roll call after that. He
finally made it through boot camp and was sent to Europe to fight in WWII. He was assigned to the Third
Army under General Patton's command. Jimmy was wounded during this time and after he healed he was
assigned to the Special Services Unit so he could help entertain the troops. He actually got to play
with the band for the Bob Hope Show one night.
After being discharged from the Army and got started playing locally again. He met his first wife,
Gloria, at a supper club and it was love at first sight. They married and had five children,
Cookie, Donna, Tootie, Patty and Jay. They eventually divorced and he married his second wife, Charlene,
and they had no children. This marriage didn't last long and he married a third time to Patty and
they had one child, Corinna. Patty was still married to Jimmy when he died of cancer
September 22, 1980.
The story of Jimmy's life is chronicled in the book written by his
loving sister Lorene Bryant Epps.
Discography of songs Jimmy wrote is too extensive to show here. Includes Stratosphere Boogie,
Cotton Pickin', Bryant's Shuffle and Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line. Complete
list is in the book.
Jimmy Bryant - The Fastest Guitar in the Country
"... was a very entertaing book from start to finish.
Lorene knows how to make you stay interested. I was not able to put the book down. Jimmy led a very
fascinating life and this was a good look into the music scene that most people don't get to see. I would
recommend this book for anyone interested in the music industry or just for an interesting read."
(secretary Rockabilly Hall of Fame)
Posted August, 2004
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