Remembering Larry Hosford

By Christa Taylor

In 1974, I was gifted with a career that changed my life: The ability to play whatever music I wanted on a very cool and unusual radio station, KLRB, located in downtown Carmel. It was a magical time in my life, and the beginnings of a musical format that was later entitled, “Americana.”

As all new-to-the-job radio DJs were required to do at some time, I was on the air late one night and happened to be gazing at one of the most beautiful record album covers I’d ever seen, by a guy I’d heard lived somewhere in the area – Santa Cruz, I thought. It was by Larry Hosford and the album was called “AKA Lorenzo.” I was playing an especially sweet song from it that reached a special place in my heart, and when the song ended, I opened the mic and said, “Larry Hosford, wherever you are, I love you.”  Then the phone rang. Guess who?

Larry invited me to meet him at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz the next day, and thus began a friendship that lasted many years. I was impressed by his talent and attended a great number of his shows, even became roommates with the bass player in his backup band at the time, Fly by Night. Those were fun days, filled with the best music and nightlife, in one of the best places in the nation to enjoy this lifestyle.

Some of my favorite memories took place post-concerts at the Catalyst, when Larry and a bunch of folks would go hang out at what was then the office of Yeah Productions, owned by our old friend, Bruce Mason, who has also left us. We would stay up way too late enjoying the late night ambience from the porch of the Dr.Miller Building where Larry and I loved to sing our favorite song to those on the street, “Your Sweet and Shiny Eyes,” by Bonnie Raitt. We’d change the lyrics to say, “Drinkin’ salty margaritas with Lorenzo” instead of “Fernando,” as the song actually goes. Sweet memories.

We had the opportunity last summer to reminisce about these days and the other good times we had over the years while at the Redwood Mountain Faire. Larry was able to play a bit on stage with his good friends, Ken Kraft, Bob O’Neill, and Harpin’ Johnny. Although Larry was in his wheelchair, he still made the music and the audience happy with his ever-present style. I was touched. I knew somehow that it would be my last visit with my old friend, Lorenzo. May you be raisin’ a ruckus in Heaven, Lo. Thank you for all the great music you gave this world…we will never forget you.

Legendary singer-songwriter and Salinas native, Larry Hosford, passed away Saturday, November 23, 2016 at the age of 73. A concert in Larry’s honor was held at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center on Sunday, January 22 at 2:00 pm. Christa Taylor is a retired KFAT DJ and music enthusiast who now lives in Aptos, CA.

Copyright 2017 Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin. Content originally published in the SCM Bulletin January 2017 print edition; all content used by permission of the author.

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