May 21, 2017 – Kenny Cordray was born on July 21, 1954 in Dallas Texas and moved to Houston, Texas in 1966 where he learned to play guitar on British invasion songs from the Animals and Them (Gloria etc).
In 1968 he went to see a gig of the Children where the guitar player didn’t show up. He sat in and soon signed up.
Subsequently Cordray became the lead guitarist for THE CHILDREN under the ATCO label and later on ODE records produced by Lou Adler. He co-wrote the ZZ-Top hit song “Francine,” which peaked at 69 on the Billboard Hot 100, with Steve Perron for ZZ Top’s album “Rio Grande Mud.”
Cordray performed and wrote music with famed bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorious, and played in Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Rider band at Pastorius’ insistence. While playing with the C.C. Riders, Cordray backed up Jerry Lee Lewis on an episode of the Midnight Special and in Concert.
He moved to New Orleans to play with former C.C. Riders and Edgar Winter’s White Trash band members before forming his own self-titled group, Cordray. Members included Clay Hemphill, David Lee Watson, Allyn Robinson, and Mark Campbell. Cordray’s first national break came on January 6, 1986 in USA Today.
In 1991, Cordray formed The Civilians and recorded a CD entitled “Miracles”. In late 1992, Cordray, Dave Foster, and Todd Harrison formed a “Texas rockin’ blues psychedelic power trio”, calling themselves KENNY CORDRAY AND BLUE SCIENCE.
In March 2012, he released his final work, “It Takes Everything”. The core rhythm section for “It Takes Everything” consists of Mark Andes on bass, Tyson Sheth on drums, Paul English on keyboards, and Kenny Cordray on guitars. When the album was released, the Houston Chronicle called Cordray “one of Houston’s greatest guitarists”.
Cordray taught guitar lessons to children and adults for many years. He also ran Rock Camp Live, a summer music camp for aspiring 10-18 year-old musicians in the Houston/Galveston Bay Area.
Kenny Cordray was killed by his son Kelly on May 21, 2017, in an apparent murder/suicide in front of his wife.
He is featured in the book, Boys From Houston: The spirit and image of our music.