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Photo: Flash Terry

Flash Terry: “Bus Driver Bluesman” (1934-2004)

BY http://www.okjazz.org/index.cfm?id=98

Flash was known as Tulsa’s “Bus Driver Bluesman” during the 30 years he drove for the Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority. Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Famer, Flash Terry’s kindness seeped into his blues and blues rock sound. During the years he simultaneously toured, recorded and played with talents from Leon McAuliffe to Johnny Clyde Copeland, Bobby Rush, Buckwheat Zydeco and many more.

He began his recording career in 1958 with songs such as “Big Betty” and “Her Name Is Lou.” In addition to his own music making, Flash Terry is largely responsible for the genesis of the Tulsa Sound. It was Flash who welcomed those white kids into Greenwood’s black clubs.

Rocky Frisco (Rocky Curtiss at the time) explains how he landed at the Flamingo, one of Greenwoods musical incubators. Frisco said, “I just went over there one night, a stupid crazy teenage white guy coming into the club. And Flash was just real nice to me. He’s the most color-blind man I’ve ever met.” (Wooley Rock of Ages: The race for rock)

Growing up, Tulsa Sound musician Jimmy Markham reminisces, “I remember J.J. Cale saying, ‘Man, you’ve gotta hear this cat named Flash Terry.’ So he took me over to Greenwood, to the Flamingo Club, and that was the first time I ever heard Flash. I really dug it, too. Loved Flash. And through that, we just kept meeting more cats over there.” (Wooley Rock of Ages: The race for rock) At the end of his life, Flash spent time participating in benefits and helping to raise money for many causes.