by Clay Coppedge
I have written about being "loco
on the Llanos" because in its purely linear form it has a nice
alliterative quality. It is not, however, a true alliteration because
"Llanos" is actually pronounced "Yanos."
So the true alliteration would have to be "Yoko on the Llanos" which
doesn't look as good on the page but at least is spoken as a true
alliteration, for whatever that's worth.
only Yoko I could think of was Yoko Ono but the notion always seemed
a wee bit absurd. Yoko on the Llanos? I don't think so. Then I read
Joe Carr and Alan Munde's book "Prairie Nights to Neon Lights: The
Story of Country Music in West Texas" and the idea didn't seem all
that absurd, though it retains a wistful "what if" quality that often
accompanies any consideration of Buddy Holly, rock and roll and how
it all relates back to my hometown of Lubbock.
In their book, Carr and Munde projected a mildly profound possibility,
one that never occurred to me. All of us who grew up in Lubbock
in the sixties realized that the Hub City was something less than
bursting with pride over its contribution to rock and roll history
as the hometown of Buddy Holly. The way it seems now, from the other
end of Texas, is that it took an F5 tornado
to get the city to considered paying some kind of homage to Holly.
Holly didn't live long enough to bring his lasting influence on Lubbock
home with him. His death in a plane crash in February of 1959 cut
his life and career way too short, and left people in Lubbock
to wonder what Holly would have done in Lubbock
had he lived.
theory mentioned in the Carr and Munde book, put forth by music store
and recording studio owner Don Caldwell, is that Holly might have
opened a recording studio in Lubbock
and if he had, the Beatles might have gone there to record an album.
At the very least it's reasonable to assume that the Fab Four would
have dropped in on Lubbock
for a visit to one of their inspirations. They named their band the
Beatles largely as a tribute to Holly's band, the Crickets.
That's not to say we would have had an album called "Loop 289" instead
of "Abbey Road" but we might have had a song about the Hi-D-Ho" after
the legendary drive-in. It could have happened.
Yoko Ono to be in Lubbock
the imagined recording session would have taken place late in the
Beatles' career. What Yoko's perceptions of the Llanos would have
been is anybody's guess. What, for instance, would she have made of
Prairie Dog Town in McKenzie Park? She might have said something like,
"Look, John. The prairie dogs are barking daisies at the sky."
A Beatles' visit pre-Yoko might have given us a song called "Nowhere
Land" instead of "Nowhere Man."
"Driving across a table top
Nothing's there and it never stops
Nowhere land can you see me at all?"
Something like that.
would have been witty and clever. Paul would have been a hit with
the women folk, but he might have run afoul of the same Lubbock
rednecks who tried to beat up Elvis when he played Lubbock
in the mid-fifties. My recollection is that people weren't any less
prone to jealousy or violence in the 60s than they were in the 50s,
especially when it came to their women folk.
George would have taken in the vast expanses and tuned into the mystical
hallucinatory vibe of the South
Plains but he wouldn't have said much about it, except with him
music, unless he decided to study mysticism with Tommy X Hancock instead
of the yogi he hooked up with in India. He might have traded the sitar
for a steel guitar or a banjo, and I think we all would have much
better off for it.
Ringo? Ringo would probably have enjoyed Lubbock
more than the other three combined -- four if you count Yoko. He probably
would have played a couple of sets with Hancock or Wilburn Roach and
consumed mass quantities of alcohol at the Cotton Club. He probably
would have had the best time of any of them but he might have remembered
So what that it didn't happen? It could have.
In a reluctant nod to reality, if the Beatles had come to the real
world of Lubbock,
Texas in the late 1960s or seventies they would have probably
been arrested for drugs and maybe even beaten up. Mistakes would have
been made and town's image possibly sullied on an international stage.
That this is a likely scenario we have to look no farther than the
Southwest 70 Peace Festival that took place, sort of, in a field outside
and resulted in a record number of arrests but very few live performances.
But that's another story.
© Clay Coppedge
"Letters from Central Texas"
21 , 2007 Column
More stories: Texas | Online
Magazine | Features | Music
| Columns | "Letters
from Central Texas" |