Clyde is Back in Grand Junction to Celebrate His 82nd Birthday
Happy birthday, Clyde! One of Western Colorado's musical icons is celebrating his 82nd trip around the sun on Saturday, July 13. Let's catch up with Clyde Jorgensen, half of Grand Junction's "Ralph N' Clyde."
I've never known a world without Clyde. He was bouncing me on his knee back in 1970. Hey, that rhymes. In any event, everybody in Grand Junction knows Clyde Jorgensen and his brother Ralph Smith.
Let's take this opportunity to clear something up. Somewhere around 1993 I finally had to ask Clyde a question which had been bugging me. If he and Ralph are brothers, why do they have different last names? Are they half brothers? As it turns out, they are full brothers. According to Clyde, his original last name was Smith. When their mother remarried, Clyde chose to take his stepdad's last name.
Chances are the name "Ralph N' Clyde" probably rings a bell. I first remember hearing them at the old Jungle Bar at the Cafe Caravan back in the 1970s. Don't ask me what I was doing in a bar while under the age of 10. I don't recall.
Later, I would catch them out on Horizon Drive at the lounge at the Holiday Inn. After that, it was JJ's Lounge and The Branding Iron. Somewhere along the line, you could catch them at Chaser's in Fruita, and at a number of establishments around Montrose, Delta, Steamboat, and Craig.
I never caught Ralph N' Clyde at the Flamingo. That was a little before my time. I know both Ralph and Clyde were very close to Hazel Jensen, the proprietor. I did know Hazel, but only because she was on my paper route when I was six.
What is Clyde up to nowadays? I see him from time to time. He's still busy songwriting and recording. It seems he spends the bulk of his time in Sun City, Arizona. Every once in a while you'll hear one of Clyde's songs on the radio. He's on the Daffy Dane Music label, cranking out Country albums and the occasional Gospel album.
There's one more burning question to address. As you may already know, Clyde used to play bass for Waylon Jennings back in the Phoenix days. Was Jennings' hit tune "Clyde" written about Clyde Jorgensen?
I hate to say it, but no. I asked Clyde a few years ago. The tune was written by J.J. Cale. According to Clyde, the song, unfortunately, has nothing to do with him. I do recall, however, back in 1993, Waylon Jennings giving a big shout out to Clyde via the JumboTron at Country Jam.
It just so happens Clyde is in Grand Junction to celebrate his birthday. He's been on the phone contacting all his old buddies, inviting them to come hang out. He's not throwing a birthday party on Saturday, but he did say, "No gifts unless you want to bring cash."
Happy birthday, Clyde. We've been talking shop for 49 years now. It's been a pleasure. Here's wishing you many more joyous birthdays.