NEW PORT RICHEY — While driving down the highway with windows down and the radio pumped up, it’s likely the music drifting out of the speakers has a connection with a New Port Richey resident and community leader.
Bob Langford was an important contributor to the Atlanta music scene for nearly two decades, according to a new book chronicling that era.
“Atlanta Pop in the ’50s, ’60s, & ’70s: The Magic of Bill Lowery” has just been released by its authors, Andy Lee White and John W. Williams.
The pair recently teamed up with Langford, known to friends as “Tub,” for a book signing at the West Pasco Historical Society for what in musical terms was a “sold out performance.”
The book tells the story of the thriving pop scene in Atlanta during those years through the personal memories from some of the major characters who where there and part of the heyday of Atlanta pop music.
The authors use the influence of Atlanta music business legend Bill Lowery as the comment thread connecting each of the featured contributors to the book.
Lowery was responsible for starting the careers of artists such as Ray Stevens, Mac Davis and Jerry Reed.
“Langford was an important contributor to the Atlanta music scene during those years,” White said. “His work in Atlanta with Joe South and Lynyrd Skynyrd put him on the map with other important personalities and tremendous talent that the Atlanta music scene produced during that time.”
White noted that Langford’s work for Bill Lowery as both a sound engineer and recording artist “led to some musically historical moments that warranted an entire chapter in our book.”
Langford was with Al Kooper, one of the original members of jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears, when they first spotted Jacksonville’s Lynyrd Skynyrd playing in an Atlanta nightclub in 1972, White said. “Kooper signed the band to his label, then he and Langford recorded the band’s first album, ‘Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd,’ in Atlanta at the famous Studio One. That was the album which featured the classic rock anthem ‘Free Bird.’ ”
White said the band was so impressed with Langford’s skills, they featured a photo of him, along with special thanks, on the inside of the album’s gatefold.
Langford eventually left Atlanta and moved back to New Port Richey, where he still lives today.
He served nine years on the New Port Richey City Council and is president of the Richey Suncoast Theatre, president of the Pasco County Fine Arts Council, president and charter member of the Friends of the Hacienda Hotel and Historical New Port Richey among affiliations with several civic and public organizations.
Musician, singer and songwriter Joe South “can be a little prickly,” White credits his longtime friend Larry Bowen with saying. “If you love Joe, you’ll probably just end up hating him before the project is finished. I don’t want to be the one to ruin your love for Joe, so let’s call Bob instead.”
“It took a few years to gather the interviews and photos and to find the right publisher, but here we are with a book about music that both John and I love,” White said. “It’s also a book that gives a huge shout out to the guy that helped inspire it in the first place. He’s one of the coolest guys in the world and he’s our forever friend, Bob “Tub” Langford.”
The book is published by The History Press and is available through Amazon, Target, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Nobel and most online book retailers.