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On Legendary Lawrence fiddler Billy Spears dies


irvan moore 4 years, 9 months ago

rip Billy, you were one of the good guys

Deb Stavin 4 years, 9 months ago

Please note: It's Porter Wagoner, not Wagner.

Phil Minkin 4 years, 9 months ago

He was a part, not just of the Lawrence music scene, but a real part of Lawrence.

Robert Wells 4 years, 9 months ago

How SAD I have to answer some STUPID survey to read about Billy. The last two post were never put on here. Heres your chance to ignore me again LJW>>>> Any chance someone there will responed????

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

I know it is very hot, but whining is not the way to go. Someone might think you are a mosquito and swat you. Wouldn't want that to happen. It just takes a second to click and there are two questions, two seconds.

I think we should start complimenting the LJW on how good the online paper is. They have some excellent writers on staff, and an outstanding photographer. I wonder what happened to the guy who wrote the bicycle blog. I always enjoyed reading him.

I saw Billy Spears and his band a time or two at the brown bag concerts. If I am not mistaken they had a song about growing old that told of a grandpa who had to ask his grandson to tie his shoes. Great song, I loved the lyrics. It is always wonderful when someone finds something they love and are great at, and others enjoy it as much as they do. The musicians are the blessed among us.

Barb Murdoch 4 years, 9 months ago

The new Google surveys are already getting old. Guess I'll add this feature to the already LONG list of things that are annoying about LJ World's website.

he_who_knows_all 4 years, 9 months ago

And yet you continue to keep coming back and taking the time to comment....

Barb Murdoch 4 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, I guess making 2 or 3 comments in the last 20 years really does take up a lot of time.

Orwell 4 years, 9 months ago

Sympathy and condolences to Doris and the family. Billy has meant a lot to so may of us.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

Sorry to hear this news. He was a such a good musician.

915_Stroker 4 years, 9 months ago

Billy Speers Country Playhouse, anyone remeber Billys Place, Me , My Brother and sister, We Knew Billy, spent many nights playin, singing, Good times, , Damn I miss those Days.

Abdu Omar 4 years, 9 months ago

Usually at the venues he liked, I would hear him play. He was unusual to say the least. He was a good man and a great fiddler. My heart goes out to the family and hope to see you at the memorial. May he rest in peace. A man of music has died.

Dennis MacMillan 4 years, 9 months ago

I was proud to have played Pedal steel for him 80's. He'll be missed for sure by many. Rest in Peace Billy Spears.

usesomesense 4 years, 9 months ago

My condolences to the Spears family, his friends and co-musicians and to the world of music.

Sue McDaniel 4 years, 9 months ago

My deepest sympathy, I knew the family and also lost my dad to lung cancer. So very difficult, hugs and prayers...

vuduchyld 4 years, 9 months ago

May the family find peace. His was a life well-lived!!!

he_who_knows_all 4 years, 9 months ago

Enjoyed his music as well. He will be misssed.

Tom_Coleman 4 years, 9 months ago

I met Billy in the Spring of 1970. I decided to learn the fiddle and was practising on my porch at 123 E. 19th because my roommates refused to let me practice in the house - for good reason. When I would practice, a little girl would come and stand by the porch and watch. After about three or so sessions, she said, "My daddy plays the fiddle." I asked her name and she said,"Sally, I live across the street." She introduced me to her daddy and he changed my musical life. Billy taught me a number of basic fiddle tunes and was always kind enough to let me play with him around town. I would play the basic part and he would put an everchanging harmony over it. Words can't describe how much his friendship and teaching meant to me. I can still recall his "twinnin" on Maiden's Prayer. Rest easy my friend.

Clickker 4 years, 9 months ago

I saw him play with the Ebling brothers a while back...he could sure draw a crowd

sanerw 4 years, 9 months ago

Rest in Peace Billy as your music will live on forever. You will be truly missed.

Velma Holladay Flory 4 years, 9 months ago

Billy was my boss at the KU student union many years ago. He was a great man to work for always kind to everyone. Did some great ice sculptures! You will be missed! My thought and prays go out to the family.

LawrenceMagazine 4 years, 9 months ago

Good advice from Billy Spears ... here's ten points of wisdom Billy Spears put together (along with help from his family) for an interview that appeared in the winter 2010 edition of Lawrence Magazine. Thanks for all the great music, Billy. And thanks to everyone who shared their memories of him.

"Billy Spears’ Beer-Belly Guide to the Good Life in Lawrence"

  1. Don’t give up your day job. Musicians, like people in other competitive careers, want to be successful. But sometimes stable work is necessary to support your family. Billy interrupted his musical tours to work in food service at the University of Kansas union until his four daughters had grown a bit.

  2. Enjoy playing your music, wherever and for whomever. Billy’s daughter Carol Spears-Latham says her dad is just as thrilled playing in downtown Lawrence at a Brown Bag Lunch concert as he is playing in a filled auditorium or stadium.

  3. Have music wherever you go. At Thanksgiving, Billy would travel with his family back to his hometown of Hartshorne, Oklahoma. Children from the various related families would sing at Spears gatherings, so Billy would have his daughters practicing songs in the car all the way to Oklahoma. Carol remembers going to the river with her sisters and dad to fish. When Billy wasn’t fishing, he was playing his fiddle while the girls built sand castles.

  4. Include your family in your activities. All of Billy’s daughters sang or played instruments in bands. All his grandchildren have performed on stage with him or danced for him at one point during his concerts. Billy also has been known to babysit his two great-grandchildren.

  5. Go to the park. Billy says Lawrence parks have changed, but he has enjoyed them in several ways. When a baseball diamond was in South Park, he often went to watch his wife Doris play with her team. He also liked to fly a kite with his kids at a park near Hillcrest.

  6. Keep your fiddle handy; you might want to play it. Billy keeps his fiddle by his bed. If music is being played on the television, he sometimes plays along with it.

  7. Take advantage of hearing Lawrence musicians. Billy says a lot of good musicians are in Lawrence, and that he was lucky to be able to play with a few.

  8. Appreciate your spouse. Billy says his wife Doris put up with a lot over the years. Often musicians traveling with him would stay in their home.

  9. Do what feels good. “Everybody says I don’t do enough exercise. I don’t like doing it unless it feels good. I feel real comfortable sitting here or lying there. When I get up I realize how stoved up I am,” Billy says.

  10. Keep playing like Uncle Earl. Billy’s Uncle Earl Spears was a big influence on him and his fiddle playing. “He’s 94, and he’s still playing pretty good,” Billy says.

Dave Gurss 4 years, 9 months ago

I've seen Billy and the band at Johnny's at least once a month for the last 5 years. I always tried to find a spot where I could see Billy. I'll miss him.

raeandrosie 4 years, 9 months ago

Just curious....did Billy own Earl's Pizza Palace way back when. I remember Doris as a waitress there and if my memory is correct Billy was there also. They cut the pizza in squares. Great pizza.

LadyJ 4 years, 9 months ago

No, his wife Doris worked there as a waitress. Billy and the kids hung out there a lot since their family and the manager's family became close friends.

4getabouit 4 years, 9 months ago

I spent many great evening in Billy's basement....just playing the tunes. He was an inspiration to me and we are diminished by his absence. Rest Billy.

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