has been a part of Texas history from the very beginning. At San
Jacinto, musicians accompanied Houston's army on its victorious
advance (and they're still arguing over what tunes were played). Later,
immigrants brought pianos overland to San
Augustine and Galveston
began importing them from New Orleans.
Immediately after towns built their three most important buildings
and jails) they
built their opera houses. Hospitals and infrastructure could wait.
This section features tidbits of information, biographies, tributes
and letters on Texas music and Texas musicians in a historical context.
Musicians featured in Texas Escapes are
either deceased or born prior to 1950. - Editor
Mullican by Clay Coppedge 3-20-16
Texas – The Sound of Music by Michael Barr 11-3-15
Lee" by Mike Cox 10-29-15
Big Bopper by Clay Coppedge 7-1-15
S. Torbett: He Sang his Way to Heaven by Michael Barr 6-15-15
Slept Here by Mike Cox 4-30-14
in Texas: The Undiscovered King, 1954-1958 Book Review by Dr.
Kirk Bane 4-19-14
Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music Book review by Dr.
Kirk Bane 10-5-13
Man "Once Upon A Line" by d.knape 1-28-14
In memory of Pete Seeger
Best Singing Cowboy in the Movies by C. F. Eckhardt
Willie's Picnic by Murray Montgomery
Willie Nelson, for many years, has been regarded as an outlaw in
his music and his lifestyle. No doubt, he attracts many fans — but
he also stirs up feelings in some folks that are somewhat negative
to say the least. Such was the case in Gonzales County in July of
1976. Because you see, Ol’ Willie was coming to town.
Texas Dance Hall by Kathern Hogan
Oldest ongoing Texas dance hall - live bands and dances on Saturday
music in Sacul by Bob Bowman
On the fourth Saturday night each month, the Nacogdoches County
community of Sacul hosts one of the best country music venues in
East Texas--a collection of bands playing mostly bluegrass standards.
Tipica by Wanda
An all-girl orchestra composed of talented and well-trained students
from Baytown’s Mexican community -- played an important role in
local musical entertainment from here to California.
Ritter - A Texas Original by C.
Woodward Maurice Ritter was born near Murvaul, Panola County, in
the piney woods of deep East Texas in 1907. He grew up on a cotton
farm near Beaumont and graduated as Valedictorian of his high-school
class. He enrolled at what was then the only University of Texas...
Before he became world famous Elvis Presley hip-hopped all over
the map of Texas, and he made many a return trip to Magnolia Gardens
on the banks of San Jacinto River in eastern Harris County...
song inspired by John Wayne by Bob Bowman
Hamblen, the son of an itinerant preacher, wrote hundreds of songs
during his lifetime, but his most enduring composition was the gospel
classic inspired by, of all people, John Wayne.
Texas by Ken Rudine
"...A couple of years pass before Mick wrote
down the melody and his lyrics. In 2007 he found my Goodnight sign
photo in TE and sent me an email including his song telling me he
has a plan to make a future music CD."
Packin Mama’ right on target
by Wanda Orton 12-23-11
for dances brings back entertaining memories by Delbert Trew
"Growing up in a musical family, then later playing professionally
for 35 years..."
by Mike Cox
"Nero may have fiddled while Rome burned, but Davy Crockett
surely had no time for one last tune when Mexican soldiers made
their final assault on the Alamo. While Crockett did not survive
the battle, his fiddle apparently did..."
Gospel by Bob Bowman
Throughout East Texas are hundreds of gospel music venues where
people gather on weekends to hear songs that you’ll hear only in
Historical Marker for Lightnin' by Bob Bowman
The news outlets from Houston reported recently that a Texas Historical
Marker has been dedicated to Lightnin' Hopkins, whose blues music
became famous between 1946 and the 1970s...
Joe Hunter by Bob Bowman
When historians in Southeast Texas unveiled a Texas State Historical
Marker for Ivory Joe Hunter at a cemetery near Kirbyville, they
stirred memories of one of America’s greatest musicians...
Robertson by Clay Coppedge
While others might think of Texas music as the domain of guitar
players, the fiddle is the instrument that has most shaped what
we identify as traditional Texas music... Of the pioneer types who
helped establish a standard for Texas fiddle playing, Eck Robertson
deserves the most credit...
back cowboy music by Bob Bowman
Musicians today seldom play the music older folks remember best.
But, thankfully, I was able to recommend at least one place where
the old cowboy music is still played with enthusiasm. At the Camp
Street Cafe and Store in Crockett, brothers Guy and Pipp Gillette
perform traditional cowboy songs in a downtown building once owned
by their grandfather...
country legend by Bob Bowman
Someone once asked country singing legend Ray Price to name his
favorite singers. Price paused a minute and finally said, “I have
too many to name, but Gene Watson would be right at the top.”...
in an Old Gym by Bob Bowman
Lovelady's old school gymnasium - a popular country music venue
in East Texas
to the Tumbleweeds by Robert G. Cowser
My purpose in contacting Willard was to get permission to hear his
string band, the Tumbleweeds, perform at the nursing home. Once
a month the band plays bluegrass and gospel music for the residents
of the home. Willard is the lead guitarist; he is accompanied by
two men on amplified guitars and another on an acoustic guitar.
Each of these three musicians is in his late sixties...
Legendary Stardust Cowboy by Clay Coppedge
The Legendary Stardust Cowboy (real name Norman Carl Odam) from
The dance hall, which is still in business after 118 years has reached
legendary status – being a venue where some of the biggest names
in country music have performed.
Reeves and Cheyenne by Bob Bowman
As a one-time reporter, I covered the funerals of numerous East
Texans, but the one I remember the most was that of Jim Reeves,
the iconic country singer who grew up at Galloway in Panola County...
Blues Brothers by Bob Bowman
Some of the earliest blues pioneers lived and played in East Texas...
Packing Mamma by Bob Bowman
One of the most popular songs in the U.S. during the mid-1940s was
“Pistol Packing Mama,” which became Billboard Magazine’s most played
jukebox favorite in 1944. But few know that the song came from East
Texas and was written and performed by an Cherokee County musician
had a ball with newfangled electric by Delbert Trew
My father had a Western dance band called The Perryton Playboys
all through the Depression years most of which was before the arrival
of electrical power.
Lipscomb by Clay Coppedge
Songster and guitarist Mance Lipscomb spent most of his 80 years
as a tenant farmer around Navasota, in Grimes County before becoming
an overnight sensation when he was 65...
Hath Charms by Dorothy Hamm
Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, to soften rocks,
or bend a knotted oak, so said William Congreve several centuries
first Elvis impersonator<
by Bob Bowman
Former radio personality Norman Johnson of Nacogdoches holds a unique
place in East Texas history: He was the first known Elvis impersonator.
Dell: A Cowboy's Sweetheart; the life of a famous unknown
by Mel Brown
"Dell’s true importance to the state’s music history is found
in the pioneering spirit and unconventional accomplishments of her
career... in two male dominated professions, first as a rodeo star
and then as a country musician and band leader."
Killer and Me by Clay Coppedge
Jerry Lee Lewis once offered me a drink of whiskey but I turned
him down because I was sixteen years old and conducting my first
ever interview with anyone but myself. It happened in 1969 at the
Bigger ‘N Dallas nightclub...
Late" by Archie P. McDonald
"Just on the southside of the crossings sat a beer joint named
"Neva's," and there, my father said, was where Lefty Frizzell sang
about a girl who was "always late" with her kisses."
by Bob Bowman
Few things have left as much impact on East Texas history as gospel
with Elvis in the Classroom
by Robert Cowser
Elvis Presley and a band called the Blue Notes performed on the
stage of the Humble Oil Company’s recreation building in Hawkins
one evening in January, 1955...
on the Llanos by Clay Coppedge
Buddy 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...
by Archie P. McDonald
Since Shreveport and Caddo Parish were once members of the old East
Texas Chamber of Commerce, it is appropriate for the East Texas
Historical Association to consider Huddie Leadbetter, better known
as Leadbelly, as part of our past—especially since at least one
of his prison sentences was served in this region...
From "The Salesmen" by George Lester
of a cotton gin
by Bob Bowman
At Point, a small town of some 700 souls in northern Rains
county, a sturdy old gin has found a new life as an entertainment
venue that draws crowds from all over East Texas. Performers like
Mark Chestnut, Pee Wee Walker, and Gary Busey perform regularly
in the gin...
From "The Utopian Life" by George Lester
Four States Area by George Lester
"... I was told that in the old days they would have musicians
broadcasting in one studio while another group was preparing to
go on the air in another. In some rare cases all three studios would
be occupied at one time. Now the studios stood empty and unused.
It was kind of spooky to look out the control room soundproof glass
and see that haunting sight reminding us of the glory days gone
Axton: Artist Unclassified by Dorothy Hamm
Hoyt earned millions of dollars as a songwriter, singer, artist
and actor but the, everybody-knows-your-name, type of fame forever
eluded him. But maybe that did not matter to him as long as his
music could be heard. It was, and still is, in rock, folk, pop and
country history. He could never be pinned down to one genre; he
made his mark wherever he happened to land. Record companies were
unsure how to categorize his music. One catalogue listed his music
as "Unclassified." Hoyt's friends thought it was a totally appropriate
label for the music and the man.
the Advantages of Radio by George Lester
It was at my second job in radio that I began to discover some of
the great perks of being in that business. There was a country show
every Saturday night in Shreveport, about 45 miles north of our
location. It was called The Louisiana Hayride and produced by radio
station KWKH. Many of country music's biggest stars made their debut
on that show. A few come to mind such as Jim Reeves, Johnny Horton,
Slim Whitman, Faron Young, Jim Ed Brown...
Most Interesting Shoe by Dorothty Hamm
The most interesting shoe I ever owned was a gauze and plaster cast
with a walking heel. This was not just any cast. It was a cast that
would be ogled by a pop superstar and autographed by an Oscar winning
Bosque County, Texas by Steven Fromholz
The information in this article is the background history upon which
Steven Fromholz's song, Texas Trilogy is based.
Classic Walk on The Wild Side by Clay Coppedge
One of the biggest selling country music songs of all time, "The
Wild Side of Life," has a Milam County connection. It also has a
Carter Family connection, a Hank Thompson connection and led directly
to the first million selling song recorded by a female artist...
of the Best Interviews I Never Did by Dorothy Hamm
"...I only had a half dozen interviews to my credit when the
editor called and gave me an assignment to interview a famous country/rockabilly
artist who was performing at a dinner theater in Dallas. The editor
said he would make the necessary arrangements to get me in the door
and back stage to do the interview before the performance. He also
gave me some special instructions..."
Sam Houston Song by Mike Cox
"The song, reprinted in 1928 in a long-defunct Texas magazine
called Bunker's Monthly, lies on the pages of the few surviving
copies of that publication, long forgotten. It does not show up
in a Web search or appear in the basic Houston biographies."
lubrication greases squeakiest of wheels by Delbert Trew
Many classic Old West tales are similar
in plot but different in location. The following tale has been told
many times with the same plot but featuring different ranches, different
characters and different tunes. The original story is probably true,
but where it happened is anybody's guess. Our version here supposedly
happened on the famed XIT Ranch...
Wills: The Greatest Fiddle-Player of Them All by C. F. Eckhardt
"...He was a shirt-tail kid from Turkey, where they put both
city limits signs on the same post. He had a fiddle and a Model
T, and he pushed that Tin Lizzie to anywhere anybody would pay $3
or $4 to hear him fiddle all night and sometimes well into the dawn
while they danced to old songs. Sixty years after that beginning
he was a legend-Bob Wills, the fiddle king, the man who started
the sound called Western Swing. He led the most famous dance band
in the Southwest ..."
Kristofferson and Mickey Newbury: A Texas Connection by Dorothy
"...We knew nothing about Kristofferson then. We would come
to learn that his life was far more interesting than any song he
could ever write. Perhaps that's why he had to write them. His story
is well known, born in Brownsville, Texas..."
Waltz by Clay Coppedge
Even in Texas, more people probably know more about the song 'Westphalia
Waltz' than they know about the town of Westphalia, the song's namesake.
Williams and Patsy Cline Still Mean A Lot by Dorothy Hamm
Although tragedies ten years apart ended the young lives
of Hank Williams in 1953 at age 29 and Patsy Cline in 1963 at age
30, they continue today as two of country music's best loved and
most enduring stars...
Fender by Ken Rudine
"I can understand why some people may not know much about Freddy
Fender, after all I count four other names he has performed under
and his career has started and stopped several times. But there
is no doubt Freddy is a true Texas grown talent that has left, and
continues to leave, his mark on Texas music history."
McEuen, Acoustically Speaking by Dorothy Hamm
"Few people who have seen John in concert, playing banjo, fiddle,
guitar, mandolin, etc., need an explanation as to why he is called
a string wizard. His mastery of acoustic string instruments seems
almost magical at times."
by Dorothy Hamm
"Native Texan Willie Nelson is warm, witty, talented, intelligent,
caring, loyal, and a country music icon of gigantic proportions.
He is also a humanitarian. He’s celebrated more than 70 birthdays,
yet the songwriter, actor, musician and singer shows no signs of
slowing his pace as he continues to record, tour, play golf and
lend his name and talents to causes he believes in such as a recent
benefit concert with Arlo Guthrie in New Orleans to help musicians
displaced by hurricane Katrina..."
Boll Weevil by Archie P. McDonald
Tex Ritter sang this lament decades ago:
“Oh, the boll weevil is a little black bug, come from Mexico they
say, come all the way to Texas, just looking for a place to stay,
just looking for a home, just looking for a home.” And the weevil,
actually a beetle, found it, much to the chagrin of East Texas cotton
Boogie Woogie Began by Bob Bowman
In 1939, African American historian E. Simms Campbell wrote, “Boogie
Woogie piano playing originated in the lumber and turpentine camps
of Texas and in the sporting houses of that state.”
Quebe Sisters by Bob Bowman
"If Bob Wills were around today, the chances are good
that he would be delighted with three teenage sisters from Burleson.
Listening to the Quebe Sisters play the western swing music pioneered
by Wills in the 1930s and l940s, you realize they are special musicians
who love what they’re doing..."
Light Crust Doughboys are on the air! by Archie P. McDonald
"Truett Kinsey’s voice came out of Philcos and Zeniths and
other radios all over East Texas, and eventually much of the South,
each day at noon to announce the beginning of a performance of the
most popular fiddle band ever assembled..."
Favorite Song by Sandy Williams Driver
Excerpted from "Haunted Encounters: Departed Family and Friends"
"... The late 1940s brought the haunting voice over the airways
of the man my daddy always proclaimed to be "the best country music
singer of all time" -- Hank Williams..."
at Sacul by Bob Bowman
"...On the fourth Saturday night of each month, amateur pickers
and singers travel to Sacul -- a Nacogdoches County town that almost
became a ghost town -- in search of appreciative audiences..."
Told Him It Would Not Work by Dorothy Hamm
"... In 1975, when Johnnie High, a handsome, super-personable
entertainer who had been picking and singing since his early teens,
dreamed of establishing a wholesome, quality, country music show
using local “unproven” talent, his friends told him there was no
way it would succeed..."
Willie by Dorothy Hamm
"... Lecil Travis Martin, who would someday be known
around the world as Boxcar Willie, was born in 1931 in Sterrett,
Texas, a wide place in the railroad tracks between Dallas and Waxahachie..."
Tex by Clay Coppedge
"Dancer Alvin Ailey has always been considered the most famous
person to come from Rogers, but fans of that sweet soul music of
the '60s and '70s might beg to differ once they find out that singer
Joe Tex drew his first breath and sang his first words in Rogers...."
East Texan by Bob Bowman
Dooley Wilson, the piano player who sang As Time Goes By in Casablanca
the Biscuits, Pappy by Bob Bowman
His Texas homilies, radio broadcasts, hillbilly music and affinity
for rural Texas propelled him into the governor’s office for two
Eerie Demise of Johnny Horton by Clay Coppedge
Despite Johnny Horton's wild-at-heart looks and voice, he was a
man haunted for years by ominous premonitions of his own death.
He often promised those close to him he would contact them from
beyond the grave.
Old Fiddler by Bob Bowman
Way back in the l930s, Henderson County storekeeper John Hatton
leaped from obscurity into statewide prominence when Athens started
its annual Old Fiddlers Reunion.
Paint's ride started in Bartlett by Clay Coppedge
Identifying who actually penned the classic trail drive song "Goodbye
Old Paint" is about as easy as trying to figure out which horse
on which cattle drive inspired the song. One thing we can say with
certainty is that the song's journey from trail drive ditty to enduring
American classic passed through here.
Celebrities by Bob Bowman
Lemon by Bob Bowman
Big Bopper by Archie P. McDonald
Statue for Lightnin' by Bob Bowman
Texas Song Writer Ted Daffan by Bob Bowman
Light Crust Doughboys are on the air!" by Archie P. McDonald
a Gospel Classic by Bob Bowman
Songwriter Stuart Hamblem
s Cafe and Music Hall by Bob Bowman
Timpson, Bobo, and Blair by Archie P. McDonald
Pearl Blue Grass Jam
Poems for George Jones
"If we all could sound like we wanted to, we'd all sound
like George Jones." - Waylon Jennings
Possum by David Knape 4-27-13
Picture of Us Without George by Luke Warm
to Caldwell With a Boogie Woogie Beat
by Frances Giles
Mama's name was Estelle and that woman loved music. She liked Big
Band, Country and Western, especially Western Swing, “church music”
and gospel, rhythm and blues, almost any genre, and she heavily
favored anything with a lively beat...
or Coffee by Peary Perry
There was a story going around a few weeks ago had to do with some
famous violin player in Washington, D.C. Anyway, this accomplished
musician (Joshua Bell) set up shop in a subway and played some of
his most difficult pieces for a couple of hours. I checked this
story out on one of the urban legend websites and it came back as
Tunes Bring Back Memories by Murray Montgomery
It’s funny how different things can remind us of the past and bring
back old memories...
Seen This Kind Of Cat Before Poem by David Knape
Ernest Tubb the
singer was born in Crisp
back in 1914 and lived there till family moved to Kemp some years
later where his folks later separated. - November 30, 2010
I just found your great web site and it has much to explore! I would
like to add a short bit of info. My father was Charles James Davis,
known as "Blackie Davis", in Bell County , TX. ( Belton,
TX). In the 1940's, he had a band called, " Blackie Davis and
the Rhythm Rascals" and they played in Belton on East Central Ave.
As Belton was "wet" in those days. Now the date may be before the
1940's? He was born May 13, 1890 and was 57yrs. of age when I was
born. He died in 1946, in Belton. Thanks, for your time. - Anna
Pearl Thomas, Belton, TX, June 08, 2004