He grew up singing gospel music with local quartets. During the hard times of his youth, the aftermath of the Great Depression, Boyd played the guitar and sang outside of the old-time Honky Tonks for whatever donations he could muster from patrons. At the age of 16, in 1941, Boyd's music career was interrupted for four years by the outbreak of World War II. While in service, he perfected the art of playing the guitar. Boyd trained at the San Diego Naval Training Center and served on different Navy troop transports. He suffered a severe leg wound in the Solomon Islands.
Unfortunately, he did not realize until later that his lungs and those of all his shipmates were filled with deadly asbestos dust from the insulation on the exposed pipes. This lethal asbestos dust disabled and eventually killed many men who served on these ships years later. Pulmonary fibrosis and mesothelioma (cancer of the lungs) became a fatal curse of the sailors that served on navy ships during World War II. Boyd is a miracle survivor, due to alternative medicine therapies and the grace of God. He survived pulmonary fibrosis for 20 years. After the war, Boyd sang in nightclubs nightly.
He continually impressed his audiences with the depth of his repertoire of songs, instrumental versatility and voice quality. He effortlessly fulfilled the audience's musical requests. During this time, Boyd worked in the music industry and performed with a number of different bands. He had a temporary gig as a drummer and singer with a band led by Francis Craig. Unfortunately, Boyd could not make a decent living playing at the nightclubs so he supplemented his income by working as a disk jockey and radio announcer for local radio stations.
Soon he was a famous local radio personality. In the early 50's, a friend in Owensboro, Kentucky who owned a record store introduced him to a Columbia Records executive. The company liked Boyd's songs and signed him to his first record contract. His big break in show business came when he was performing regularly on a local radio station as a disk jockey, announcer, and singer. He assembled a band named the "Southlanders". They created a unique sound similar to western swing.
There was a little honky tonk attitude in the music. Boyd soon reformed and renamed his band, " The Rockets". The members of "Boyd Bennett and His Rockets" were also famous musicians in their own right. They played all types of music and were considered a hotel type band, not specifically rock and roll, rockabilly or pop. Jim Muzey, known as "Big Moe", played the trumpet extremely well. At 425 pounds, he was one of the funniest men Boyd ever performed with.
M.D. Allen, quite the opposite of "Big Moe", weighed only 110 pounds. He played the guitar and was a great comedian. Kenny Cobb, played the bass fiddle and was considered one of the best in the country.
Boots Randolph, now famous for his saxophone expertise, contributed greatly to the quality music produced by "The Rockets". Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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