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Reggie Young, Session Guitarist Extraordinaire
Old 23rd January 2019
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Reggie Young, Session Guitarist Extraordinaire

Sorry to see Reggie Young has passed on. Had the pleasure of having Mr. Young on a record about 12 years ago. Besides being a remarkable guitar player, he was a gentleman and a kind soul.

Reggie Young, a versatile and prolific guitarist who recorded with Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson and Dusty Springfield and brought a distinctly Southern flair to a vast range of pop music, died Jan. 17 at his home in Leiper’s Fork near Franklin, Tenn. He was 82.

The cause was a heart ailment, said his wife, cellist Jennifer Young.

Mr. Young’s notable credits included Neil Diamond’s Top 10 hit “Sweet Caroline” and Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” the No. 1 pop single from a 1968 session credited with revitalizing the singer’s career.

Known as a master of hooks, Mr. Young’s song introductions inevitably caught the listener’s ear and set the tone for the lyric, whether the delicate finger picking on Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away” (1973), the slyly teasing licks on Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” (1968) or the dissonant chords on Billy Swan’s “I Can Help” (1974).

He created idiosyncratic sounds: mimicking a sitar on the Box Tops’ “Cry Like a Baby” and B.J. Thomas’s “Hooked on a Feeling,” both from 1968; imitating a chicken on Joe Tex’s “Skinny Legs and All” in 1967; and making his guitar ring with an organ-like tremolo on James Carr’s original 1967 version of the much-covered soul ballad, “The Dark End of the Street.”
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