TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

February 18, 2013

Keeping the Music Alive

Retired Barbourville musicians entertain for the love of the music


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN —  

By Bobbie Poynter / Community Editor

It ain’t the Ryman.

No, the Senior Citizens Center in Barbourville may not be Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, but the enthusiasm of the crowd listening to the two musicians perform was no less electric.

Robert Taylor, 66, and Bob Burnette, 73, put on a show that lasted more than an hour Tuesday before the center’s staff served everyone lunch.

Taylor, the Assistant Director of the Barbourville Senior Citizens Center, is a former member of a five-man country band, Ramblin’ Rebels, who traveled all over Kentucky, parts of Ohio and Indiana. He began recording music in 2007 and currently has 4 CDs on the market, which includes a gospel CD, two country, and most recently a tribute to Elvis, the early years.

Burnette began playing guitar when he was only seven years old. By the age of 15, he could play nearly every tune his hero, Chet Atkins, could play.

In 1957, he and a group of musicians formed a band for a one-time talent contest in Barbourville, performing Elvis songs. The band won the contest, but immediately after disbanded and never played together again.

Burnette has played with many bands and musicians over the years, including Jethro from the classic country duo Homer and Jethro after Homer had passed away.

As a member of the band Country 4, Burnette received numerous royalty checks from as far away as Australia, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany and South Africa.

Burnette and his wife Beverly are currently putting together memorabilia albums of his career to hand down to their two sons, Doug and Rod.

“It’s good to give your kids something more than pictures to remember you by,” said Burnette. “We’re a musical family, and it’s important that you record the successes you had in the field.”

Performing at the Barbourville Senior Citizens Center, Taylor and Burnette have no need to compare notes on their show. Each takes a turn performing a couple of tunes, Burnette on his guitar and Taylor singing in accompaniment to CDs.

“We don’t need to rehearse,” said Burnette. “We just sit down, and we work it out. We work good together.”

Taylor, who feels he could still be successful in the music business, is more than happy where he’s at today.

“These seniors are my second family,” he said. “I could go on the road if I wanted to, but I’d rather be happy, and I’m happy here. Riches come in many forms, and I’m as rich as I can be.”

“Besides,” added Burnette, “anytime you can get people to sit for a spell and forget about their aches and pains, it’s worth your time.”