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Nov 7, 2018 - 10:38:22 PM
1071 posts since 1/14/2011

I ran across this video of Larry Sparks from the late 70's. The results of my google-fu says that the dobro player is likely Tommy Boyd, who I had not heard of before finding this video. (I was unsuccessful in embedding)

Why does his face look like he's trying to pass a kidney stone when he plays? Is this common with banjo players? Reminds me of Jim Mills...

Here's a page I found about Boyd:

Edited by - Oboe Cadobro on 11/07/2018 22:41:48

Nov 8, 2018 - 4:30:54 AM
like this

1993 posts since 8/5/2008

looks like Jimmy Heffernan to me............

Nov 8, 2018 - 9:55:36 AM

1993 posts since 8/5/2008

I guess it isn't, but he did look like that back then.

Nov 8, 2018 - 3:33:33 PM

152 posts since 11/28/2012

Originally posted by Oboe Cadobro

Why does his face look like he's trying to pass a kidney stone when he plays?

Ah that’s just his “guitar face”...smiley

Ever look at yourself on video taking a lead?  I always wondered why I got chapped lips after a long session...turns out I purse my lips tightly when caught up in the drama of a solo!  I’m sure it looks silly as well.


Uncle Jack

Nov 8, 2018 - 4:59:37 PM

Andy B


121 posts since 11/4/2008

I believe that Tommy Boyd played banjo and dobro with Larry Sparks in the 1970s. He’s on Larry’s Hank Williams record from that time, and plays some very fine dobro there. The dobro playing on the video linked to above doesn’t sound a lot like what Tommy Boyd played on the Hank recording. I wonder if OT may be right that it’s Jim Heffernan in the video. It looks like he might be playing a sunburst RQ Jones reso in the video and Jim H played one of those back in the day. It is pictured on the cover of his 80s recording “Dobro,” which is another fine record that will please any reso enthusiast.

Edited by - Andy B on 11/08/2018 17:00:43

Nov 8, 2018 - 5:56:56 PM

2890 posts since 7/27/2008

I think that’s Heff - Jimmy  was “hair challenged” early in the game. But I wouldn’t commit to  a 100% positive i.d. - I’m on the small screen of an iPhone 6.

Tom Boyd still has a full head of hair - I saw him with Dry Branch Fire Squad a month ago and have seen  that band many times @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco. I believe Dry Branch and Emmylou are the only acts to appear at the huge festival every year since it’s inception in 2001. 

Tom did his usual fine job on banjo and dobro. He has a  nice touch on dobro - tasty player.

Watching the  video of Larry Sparks - he was at the height of  the vampire look  in that era.

Edited by - MarkinSonoma on 11/08/2018 17:58:04

Nov 9, 2018 - 8:01:34 AM

784 posts since 10/27/2013

From Jimmy's bio, "In 1980 Jim joined “Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers”, again as Dobro® player. He toured with Sparks for two years, helping record two albums for Rebel Records and two more for Old Homestead Records."

Nov 9, 2018 - 1:06:06 PM

668 posts since 8/8/2008

I was in Maggie Valley, NC for this taping and a lot of other Fire on The Mountain tapings.
Unfortunately I wasn't playing dobro then and didn’t know who Jimmy was. I remember the suit Larry had on and saw it again in Dahlonaga, GA.

Nov 12, 2018 - 2:03:10 PM

1248 posts since 8/4/2008

Jimmy confirmed in the comments attached to that video that it was him, and that the video was recorded around 1980-81.

Edited by - Brad Bechtel on 11/12/2018 14:03:26

Nov 14, 2018 - 7:27:56 AM

412 posts since 1/29/2013

I’m going to guess based on Jimmy’s palm blocking that he came to dobro from pedal steel. When you run tight with your palm close to the strings you can get that ghost note “plunk” that is very cool, if you know what I’m talking about.

 Very controlled picking yes but the coolest thing isn’t how he’s speaking with his instrument but what he’s saying. He generally avoids the stereotype “mandatory “ dobro licks and is very creative.

Thanks for posting, Dane.

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