Guitarist Billy Byrd – according to Ernest Tubbs‘ biographer, Ronnie Pugh – ”came from a pop and jazz background, and there were some people who were leery of the notion that he could play country with Tubb. [But] he did it and did it well. The ten years Billy was in the [Texas Troubadours] band, (1949-59) he did practically all of the instrumental breaks.”
Sometime in October 1961, Billy Byrd recorded six songs at the Starday Sound Studio in Nashville – including “Gibson Girl“:
[Pssst: Click on the triangle above to play ”Gibson Girl” by Billy Byrd.]
Billy Byrd + Hank Garland = Gibson Byrdland
With the input of guitar greats, Billy Byrd and Hank Garland, Gibson’s then-President, Ted McCarty, developed and debuted the Gibson Byrdland electric archtop guitar in 1955, three years before the better-known ES-335. Gibson.com points out that the Byrdland was reintroduced as a limited run in 1977, 1978 & 1992 – primarily as a result of the popularity of Ted Nugent, who himself wielded a Byrdland in tribute to Jimmy McCarty of Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels.