Inspired by the roadhouse rock of Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen, O.D. Corral was a 1970s folky rock band founded by David Bradley (the Wimps, Joe Bummer & the Asswipes From Hell, A Flock of Haircuts), Gary Cooper, and Dusty Best. Players over the years included fiddler David Abbott, whose sister Liz Abbott would later become a San Diego concert promoter, and violinist Jonathan Bach, as well as pedal steel guitar player Dave Sizemore, lead guitarist Lee Barnes, guitarist Billy Garner, and drummer Warner Davis.
Early fiddle-heavy gigs were staged at area venues like the Ancient Mariner on Shelter Island, the Aspen Public House, Ledbetter’s or the Den (in El Cajon), and the Albatross and the Golden Rolling Belly (both in Del Mar), as well as a summer spent playing outdoors at Cafe Del Rey Moro in Balboa Park. "In those days," recalls David Bradley, "bands had it way easier because they would play long stints in one club, typically six weeks at a time, therefore no hellacious moving jobs nightly."
O.D. Corral started out as somewhat of a punchline. "We all grew up listening and watching our parents watching cheesy hillbilly music on TV with sequined, pompadoured morons like Porter Wagoner and Hank Williams," says Bradley. "We hated it. Then, experimental bands such as the Flying Buritto Brothers started doing over-the-top spoofs of the hillbillies we all regarded prior as cringeworthy. The wild sequins, cowboy hats, and gaudy cowboy boots started being worn by long-haired hippie dope fiends. The Burrito Brothers and Commander Cody made, what was worse than uncool, hip."
"The O.D. Corral picked up on that and injected booze-fueled reckless performing, jumping off tables, and nutty audience participation into the mix...we were so locally famous, the experience is woodburned into our minds. Oh, the girls and the partying!"
Bradley went on to play with the Maniacs and others, eventually landing in the Missouri Ozarks. His vinyl double-album The David Bradley Story was released in 1982. "Gary Cooper, founder, bassist, fiddler, died in 2016, hard living, Temecula," he told the Reader via email. "John Bach died of brain cancer at a young age, maybe 30 years ago. Dave Sizemore, steel, survived a lung cancer scare and is a thriving vegan and farmer in Indiana."
Dusty Best, whose friend Jack Tempchin wrote him a song called "The Victory Song" for a Warner Brothers demo tape that was retooled and renamed by the Eagles "Already Gone," went on to become a solo performer with mid-80s residencies at venues like Antonio's Hacienda and Tio Leo's.
According to Bradley, "Dusty Best, a founding father of O.D., lives on the Big Island of Hawaii. Drummer Warner Davis is still playing the hell out of it, [he] lives in Chula Vista."
(Photo: 1974, Aspen Public House La Jolla - David Bradley, Dusty Best, Warner Davis, Gary Cooper)