Email from Randy Dumont concerning his father Earl Dummer

HR was a big influence to my father. My fathers name is Earl Dummer, and he took private guitar lessons from Howard at Howard's home in the early 1950's for 2 years. My Dad later was a member of the Shenandoah Trio in the 1960's.

The Shenandoah Trio became Jimmy Rogers band on the L.A. Jimmy Rogers TV show for 2 or 3 years. They traveled around the world with Jimmy and as a kid I thought it was normal that my Dad was on TV every week playing his guitar with the group. Although the Trio was a folk group, my Dad's real influence was his Jazz he learned from Howard.

He is 77 now and still playing Jazz, doing his own recordings and loving it. He just bought a new amp and 2 new guitars.

My Dad sold Howard his early 1950's Les Paul gold top to him for a couple of hundred bucks. I hear they go for around $20-$50K these days.

Dad met Howard by extraordinary circumstances. He had played in a couple of bands in High School and learned to play pretty well by himself. He was a Barney Kesell fan and went to a Guitar shop in Santa Monica and told the Guitar instructor that "I want to play like Barney Kessel".

The instructor gave him the "that will take a life time" and had a laugh, then proceeded to teach my dad some real basic guitar stuff. Dad realized that he could play nearly as well as the teacher already so he ended his lessons soon after.

Not knowing any better, he called the musicians union in L.A. and asked for Barney Kesells's phone number. They gave it to him! He called Barney and said "I want to play like you and could you teach me?" Barney was impressed and between gigs so he told my dad to meet him at a guitar shop in L.A. somewhere.

My dad showed up for the lesson and Barney gave him a 2 hour lesson for no charge. He then told my dad that he had received a call since they first talked and Barney got a touring gig and would be going on the road so he would not be able to teach my dad after all. He told my dad that he was going to send him to a young guy who was really good. Howard Roberts was his name.

Dad has a million stories of his career, the people he met, the stories they told, etc. The Shenandoah Trio was pretty good in their hay day, good sound, good looks, good act. They played the Purple Onion in SF with the Smothers Brothers and Pat Paulson. They got standing ovations and 2 encores but the Smother Brothers did not. He played the Ice House in Pasadena when young George Carlin and Pat Paulson started out back when they they wore suits to tell their jokes. He loaned strings to Roger McQuinn of the Birds before they were famous and he was still Jim McQuinn. He loaned his car while playing at Harrah's in Reno to the 16 year old lead singer of the Turtles before they were famous. They headlined at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium for Surf Bands (they had a song called Surfin' Man that was a LA hit on the radio) that included a high school band named the Beach Boys-before they were famous.

I have a HR album "Mr. Roberts plays Guitar" in the garage somewhere - original. My dad said that when his lessons ended with Howard, Howard asked my dad to borrow his note book so he could copy all the notes and lessons for 2 years worth of guitar lessons from Howard. Howard never returned it! I wonder if they still exist somewhere? I'm sure some of those notes were used by Howard in the beginning of his teaching career.

You have tons of material with more names than imaginable surrounding Howard Roberts. If you want to hear some great stories about Howard and my Dad as one who was influenced by Howard you can call him. He is going to be doing a video interview at the NAMM Museum of Making Music sharing the same stories for their archives.