Glen Glenn / Rock and Roll

Glen Glenn

Born Orin Glenn Troutman, 24 October 1934, Joplin, Missouri
Died 18 March 2022

Glen Glenn was one of the many great unknown artists of the 1950s. After a hitless US career he had given up music, but returned to performing after being discovered by European rockabilly fans in the 1970s.

Glenn Troutman was 13 when his family moved from Missouri to San Dimas, some 30 miles east of Los Angeles. Three years later he bought his first guitar, practicing all the country songs he heard on the radio. He found a kindred spirit in Gary Lambert, a fellow high school student who had mastered the Merle Travis picking style on his guitar and was looking for someone to play with. Almost every Sunday they attended the Squeakin’ Deacon Show at the Riverside Rancho in L.A. The first time Glenn and Gary entered the contest, they won the prize (a wrist watch), to their own amazement. By early 1954, they were appearing regularly as “The Missouri Mountain Boys” (though Gary was born and raised in California), on local venues such as the Country Barn Dance in Baldwin Park, a TV show. Glenn and Gary started recording demos in January 1955, at KXLA Radio Studio in Pasadena. At first these were strictly country recordings, but after seeing (and meeting) Elvis Presley, Glenn was converted to the rockabilly style. At this time he performed under the name Glen Trout.

In the spring of 1956, Glenn toured the East Coast and the Midwest with his cousin Porter Wagoner. Back in California, Glenn did his first professional recording session, for which he paid himself. Although the material was excellent, he didn’t succeeed in getting a recording contract with any of the labels he played the demos for. Then he was approached by Fred Maddox of the Maddox Brothers and Rose. That group was having internal problems ; Rose and Cal Maddox had quit the band. Glenn replaced Cal as rhythm guitarist and vocalist in the group, now billed as The Maddox Brothers and Retta. He spent most of 1957 touring with the band and also appeared on their TV show, Cal’s Corral (not named after Cal Maddox, but after car dealer Cal Worthington). Some live recordings from this show were issued on the Sunjay label in 1987 and feature the classic rock n roll line-up of Glenn’s band, including Gary Lambert back on lead guitar, Connie ‘Guybo’ Smith on loan from Eddie Cochran’s band and Joe O’Dell on drums.

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