Greg Gwardiak aka Greg Richards

01/04/2011

By Chip Taylor

Greg Gwardiak – (changed his name to Greg Richards)

If it wasn’t for Greg, I wouldn’t be making music today. Here’s the story:

When I was in high school, Greg was the lead guitarist for one of the only country bands in New York’s Westchester County area. Like me, he lived and breathed country music. And through that connection, we became friends.

Greg wasn’t a schooled player and he wasn’t about flash of any sort. He played up-tempo songs so understatedly cool & warm and the ballads so soulfully sad. Unexpectedly, the lead singer of his group quit. Greg said I could take over his job if I learned to play guitar in three days. Up until then I played only ukulele.

So Greg taught me three chords, gave me a capo & let me borrow his “second” guitar. The show went on as scheduled. I started writing songs for the band and we made some rockabilly demos. When all the major labels turned us down with a form letter, Greg walked the streets of New York trying to get us a deal -which he did! It was with KING RECORDS, a New York all black label run by legendary A&R man/producer, Henry Glover (from Hank Ballard & The Midnighters and James Brown fame). Henry was personally involved in all our King recordings.

In the 70s and 80s Greg often played with Tammy Wynette on her East Coast tours.

Greg passed away in the late 1996 – Here’s a big toast to my old friend. THANKS GREG!

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