REGGIE YOUNG, who died in January aged 82, was some of America’s top and most respected session guitarists. Based mainly in the two centres of music excellence – Nashville and Memphis – he played on countless hits, numerous albums and pursued a solo career – albeit low key. Born in Caruthersville, Missouri, he began his career in the mid 50s playing country and rockabilly before joining the legendary Bill Black’s Combo who also doubled as the Ace Cannon Band and the early Memphis Royal studio band. By the late 60s Reggie was eventually ensconced with Chips Moman at his American Sound Studios then, after that studio’s closure in ’71, he decamped to Nashville where he was the go to session guitarist for legions of leading country stars.

In tribute to the art of Reggie Young, Ace Records have just released this 24 track overview of some of his best work. The album opens with the raw rock and roll of ‘Slip, Slip Slidin’ In’ from Eddie Bond and his Stompers (Young was a young band member) and ends with Waylon Jennings’ country classic ‘Where Do We Go From Here’. In between there’s ample proof why Reggie Young enjoyed the status he did.

There is, of course, plenty of soul – from people like Bobby Bland, Joe Tex, James Carr and Dusty Springfield. Her contribution is the Goffin/King song ‘Don’t Forget About Me’ from her ‘In Memphis’ LP – Young played throughout the album. Naturally there’s also plenty of country classics including the monumental Jimmy Webb song ‘The Highwayman’ which features Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson.

Amongst the other featured artists are JJ Cale, Dobie Gray, The Box Tops, Jackie De Shannon and a certain Elvis Presley… Young played on both albums recorded by Presley for his Memphis “comeback”. It’s his guitar on things like ‘Suspicious Minds’, ‘Kentucky Rain’ and ‘In The Ghetto’ but the selected tune here is the less well known ‘Stranger In My Own Home Town’.

REGGIE YOUNG; SESSION GUITAR STAR is out now on Ace Records.