Poets and Prophets: Salute to Legendary Songwriter Red Simpson

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February 23, 2013 - A Capitol Records artist in the 1960s and ’70s, Red Simpson appeared on the charts with truck-driving hits like “ Roll, Truck, Roll,” “The Highway Patrol,” and “I’m a Truck.” However, Simpson became known as the Bard of Bakersfield for his songwriting ability. He penned over forty songs for Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, including classics such as “Gonna Have Love,” “Sam’s Place,” “Kansas City Song,” “Close Up the Honky Tonks,” “You Don’t Have Very Far to Go,” and “Bill Woods from Bakersfield.” Still living and performing in Bakersfield, Simpson has settled into his role as an elder statesman of the Bakersfield Sound. This interview and performance is illustrated with vintage photos, film footage, and recordings.

This program is presented in support of the museum’s exhibition The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country.


  • bakersfield sound exhibit
  • poets and prophets