Parsons Ranch. Lem and Gene


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Party at Parsons Ranch. Gene Parsons 5-string banjo, Little Butter, Mike, guitars.

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Lem Parsons on cover of The Byrds Easy Rider album. The mountain ridge, Bighorn Wilderness, in photo is directly above Parsons Ranch. Lem Parsons homesteaded the section in the late 1930s. His son Gene grew up in Yucca Valley. Gene played drums and banjo with The Byrds on the Easy Rider sessions and was a member till the end. Also in The Byrds, Clarence White, phenomenal guitar with Kentucky Colonels before playing sessions with, then joining The Byrds. Gene Parsons and Clarence White built the first  B string-bender Telecaster, which Clarence played brilliantly. Gene owns the patent and now licenses the bender to Fender.

I was at a mother’s day party at Jeanne Parsons, Gene’s stepmother, in 2013. Jeanne was Lem’s 5th wife and has lived on the Parsons Ranch homestead since Lem passed away. Gene was visiting from Caspar, CA (Mendocino coast) where he lives.  Gene also brought a prototype acoustic guitar with B-bender that we lucky pickers got to try out. He’s a fabo banjo player, too. Fun party and great getting to jam with a legend.

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