February 13 2021

BLUE WING

BLUE WING- WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY TOM RUSSELL

He had a blue wing tattooed on his shoulder

Well, it might have been a bluebird, I don’t know

but he’d get stone drunk and talk about Alaska

The salmon boats and 45 below

Well, he got that blue wing up in Walla Walla

and his cellmate there was a Little Willy John

and Willie, he was once a great blues singer

so Wing & Willie wrote him up a song

It’s cold out today. Been sleet and snow all day. Currently, it is 19 degrees outside. The West Texas winds are making it feel like 8.  Too cold for this desert rat. I am glad I’m in Texas and not in Alaska. Plenty cold here without 45 below..

I have been thinking for years about a cover up tatoo. I currently have this ugly Salamander or Lizard looking thingy on my left shoulder. It was one of those drunken nights many years ago. Hey that looks bad ass. So I did it. One of those things you regret when you get sober. I would like to get the Blue Wing on top of it. I love the chorus of the song and what the Blue Wing tattoo meant to the blues singers.

They sang, it’s dark in here, can’t see the light

but I look at this blue wing when I close my eyes

and I fly away, beyond these walls

up above the clouds, where the rain don’t fall

on a poor man’s dreams

I would like to close my eyes sometimes and just fly away. Life gets stressful. I am grateful today that I have found ways to deal with it. Writing this blog is one way and My music.. Flying high above the clouds. I love to drift away in a song.

Blue Wing” was written by Tom Russell. The song was released in 1989 on Tom’s album, Poor Man’s Dream. The song has also been covered by Dave Alvin, Thad Beckman, and many others. It is said that Johnny Cash once recorded it, but I have been unable to find the video or audio for the Cash cover.

Well, he drank his way to L.A., and that’s where he died

and no one knew his Christian name, and there was no one there to cry

but I dreamt there was a funeral; a preacher and a cheap pine box

and halfway through the sermon blue wing began to talk

He said, it’s dark in here…

I do hope Blue Wing flew away. High above the clouds. I hope he found a better place and he is still making his music on the other side.

Pancho.

February 11 2021

Your Smile Takes My Breath Away

From Facebook Memories.. My cousin’s single Your Smile Takes My Breath Away Dropped on Apple ITunes a year ago today. IF you don’t have it you need to go get it. The song is proudly living forever on my personal Wedding Playlist I created last March 4th.

Proud of my cousin and the man he is becoming.

Go check him out!

You take me to my knees with just one wink.. Your smile takes my breath away.

Pancho.

February 11 2021

Can’t be Wrong

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner I was thinking about various love songs and then a thought occurred to me, “Heard it in A love song.. Heard it in a love song.. Heard it in a love song…… Can’t be wrong.”

Toy Caldwell of the Marshall Tucker Band wrote the song “Heard It in a Love Song.” The song was released in March of 1977. It appeared on the bands album Carolina Dreams.

The song is recognizable due to it’s intro by flutist Jerry Eubanks. Jerry was an original member of the band incorporated in the early 70’s. His instrumentals on the flute and saxophone and keyboards were signature components of the music of the Marshall Tucker Band.

Besides Toy and Jerry, the Marshall Tucker Band’s other original members were vocalist Doug Gray, rhythm guitarist George McCorkle, and drummer Paul Riddle. Lead Guitarist/ Steel guitarist and the band’s primary songwriter Toy Caldwell’s younger brother, Tommy Caldwell played bass.

Tommy Caldwell was killed in a car crash in 1980 and Franklin Wilkie stepped on board to play the bass.

In the early 1980’s the band membership began to change. The current structure consists of Doug Gray on vocals. Marcus James Henderson is now the keyboard player, saxophonist, and flautist. Chris Hicks and Rick Willis are the bands guitarists. The bassist is Tony Black and the drummer, B.B. Borden.

The band got it’s name during a moment in rehearsal. In a rented warehouse the band was using one of the members noticed a name on the door key “Marshall Tucker.” Later it was revealed that Marshall Tucker was a blind piano tuner from Columbia, South Carolina.

This American rock band from Spartanburg, South Carolina helped establish the Southern Rock genre. The band has had some crossover success throughout other genres but their mixture of rock, blues and progressive country along with an eclectic musical style has predominately been categorized as Southern rock.

Heard it in a love song.

Can’t be wrong.

Pancho.

February 10 2021

South Texas Tweek- Count on me

I have been following and interacting some with the South Texas Tweek on Twitter recently. The guy puts out some insightful tweets and shares some of the most fantastic music. Some of the stuff he shares are by other artists, but he also does a bang up job of promoting his own music and style. He is creating a brand of music that takes me down some of those country back roads into my own memory lane. Tweek’s music reminds me of the music I love, music that still sounds like country music. His current song “Count On Me” rings of a classic. He isn’t playing this country rap crap that is found in Nashville today. This is real Texas music from a true Texan.

STT’s Instragram profile describes him –

Folks call me Tweek. Poet of twang and drunken lullabies. Tejano w/ Tourette’s.

His Twitter home page reads:

Texan. Father. Husband. Poet of twang and drunken lullabies. PHD in honky tonkin.

Both are pretty accurate descriptions if you ask me. The South Texas Tweek calls Brazoria County home. Down South in between Houston and the Gulf of Mexico. He has no where to go but up from there. His song “Count On Me” recently reached the top 25 in the Texas Music Pickers Spotify charts. I have a feeling his music is going to keep on climbing. I have not heard a bad song yet by this Cowboy.

I am looking forward to following South Texas Tweek to see what he throws at us next. Check out his stuff.

He did reply to my comment the other day, He did not intentionally match his shirt to the train’s caboose..

Check it out and I hope you enjoy it.

A classic country love song recorded live in Brazoria county Texas.

Pancho.

February 9 2021

Dave Alvin first album in eleven years

The day was kinda cloudy and the wind was blowing hard. The sky was a little dusty on my way home from work and I was pretty sure I saw Lamesa blowing by. I was scrolling through the music on my phone I guess I was on Spotify and something kinda catchy sounded through my speakers and I knew that I heard the tune before, but I was not sure when or why. It wasn’t the original voice I was hearing belt the lyrics out over the rhythm and bluesy guitar rifts that were a welcome accompaniment for my drive at five.

The song that was playing tonight was called “Highway 61 Revisited.” I later recognized it as a Bob Dylan tune. The version I heard today was by Dave Alvin.

From An Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings, came out this past November 20 on Yep Roc Records. It is Dave Alvin’s first release in eleven years. Today the album is sitting at the number 12 spot on Americana Music Association’s Americana fest albums chart.

The 16 songs on Alvin’s latest album ,includes songs written by Alvin and songs written by Alvin’s friends. Peter Case, Bill Morrissey and, Chris Smither. Other cover songs on the album include song writing talents from Bob Dylan, Earl Hooker, Doug Sahm, Marty Robbins, Bo Carter and more.

The album definitely brings a hard hitting sound of an all star selection of great country, folk and rockabilly music.

Dave Alvin originally did the song, “Highway 61” for a tribute to Dylan CD. He was asked to do the song by Uncut magazine.

“The guys and I had an absolute blast reimagining this version of Mr. Dylan’s classic, and I sincerely hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we did playing it.”

Dave Alvin

Wikipedia has this to say about the artist:

David Albert Alvin (born November 11, 1955) is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, music producer and poet. He is a former and founding member of the roots rock band the Blasters. Alvin has recorded and performed as a solo artist since the late 1980s and has been involved in various side projects and collaborations. He has had brief stints as a member of the bands X and the Knitters.

I have heard the name Dave Alvin before, mainly as a producer. He has worked with a personal favorite of mine, the singer- songwriter author and artist Tom Russell. Alvin has worked as a session musician for Katy Moffatt and has even accompanied Ramblin’ Jack Elliot.

In this version of “Highway 61 Revisited,” Alvin who is doing the vocals and plays the electric guitar is joined with electric guitarist Greg Leisz, Bass player Gregory Boaz and Drummer Don Heffington. The recording is done at Craig Parker Adams’ Winslow Studios in Los Angeles, California. The cool video was created by Victor Krummenacher.

As Dave Alvin told the press, he hopes you enjoy listening. I sincerely hope that you do as well. I sure did.

Pancho.

February 8 2021

Everything That Glitters

McCamey, Texas is a city in Upton County Texas. As of the last census it had a population of just under 1900 people. McCamey is known today as the “Wind Energy Capitol of Texas,” because of the many wind farms in the area. Dan Seals was born on this day, February 8, 1948 in McCamey, Texas.

Big Wheels In The Moonlight,” by Dan Seals is about McCamey, or as I have always been told It could be about Rankin, Texas. Rankin is another small town in Upton county only minutes away from McCamey. Either way, I have been to both of these towns many times in my life and the song fits.  Even as of today, Rankin only has one red light. In between these two towns lies the shell of a building. A place long gone before my time. This old roadside beerjoint was once known as The Girvin Social Club. I have sat many times looking at that old abandoned rock structure and have imagined dancing the night away to the music of Dan Seals.

I came from a town that was so small

You look both ways, you could see it all

All I wanted was some way out

Every evening I’d slip into town

And stand around by the caution light

And watch the big trucks rolling by

For me it was a beautiful sight

Big wheels in the moonlight

Big Wheels in the Moonlight -Lyrics by D. Seals and B. McDill

Danny Wayland Seals began his career in music as “England Dan” a nick name he had received from his older brother Jim Seals. He got the nickname because of his fascination with the Beatles. He even tried to speak and reflect an English accent.

Older brother Jim Seals also had musical fame in the American rock duo of Seals and Crofts. The group is best known for their singles, “Summer Breeze” (1972), “Diamond Girl” (1973), and “Get Closer” (1976).

“England Dan” was one half of the soft rock duo England Dan & John Ford Coley. The two charted nine singles between 1976 and 1980. After the duo disbanded, Dan Seals dropped the “England Dan” moniker and went solo in country music.

As Dan Seals he released more than 16 albums. He had over 20 singles on the country charts in the 1980’s and 90’s. Eleven of those singles reached number one, including “Big Wheels in the Moonlight.”

One of my favorite country songs ever written is “Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold).” This is also a Dan Seals #1 hit song. The song was released in March 1986 on the EMI label. The song appeared on the album, Won’t Be Blue Anymore. It was cowritten by Dan Seals and Bob McDill.

The song is about the story tellers estranged relationship with his wife who is also on the Rodeo Circuit. In the song the storyteller has custody of a daughter and he is obviously not the star he once was. He is getting older. He fails at answering the questions of what his daughter is asking him. He feels resentful towards a woman he once loved so much.

I cannot hear the song even today without feeling a bit of heartache and sadness inside myself. The story in the song is a story that I can easily put myself into. Throughout the song Dan Seals has this most beautiful high octave voice. “But ohh sometimes I think about you..” I do not know if it’s his voice that is able to bring me to tears, the story behind the voice, or a combination of the two.

Dan Seals last studio album was Make It Home in 2002. A greatest Hits Album, The Best of Dan Seals was released in 2005. Seals battled cancer for several years in the mid to late 2000’s. He received cancer treatments at M.D. Anderson in Houston and at Vanderbilt in Nashville. Sadly he passed away in Nashville at his daughters home on March 25, 2009 at the age of 61.

Seals may be gone, but his songs will carry us through forever..

 And oh the crowd will always love you

But as for me I’ve come to know

Everything that glitters is not gold

Everything that glitters, Happy Birthday “ENGLAND DAN”

Pancho.

February 6 2021

For the Last Time

On the fortieth anniversary of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, in 1973, the Man and his band that created “Western Swing” got together to make music. As a result, The album, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys For The Last Time Was Born.

For The Last Time was recorded December 3rd and 4th 1973 at Sumet-Burnet Studio, Dallas Texas. Besides The King Bob Wills, personnel listed in the record include a great line-up of Country and Western musicians.

The musicians on the album include Merle Haggard, Hoyle and Jody Nix and more.

Tommy Allsup produced the album and is also listed as one of the bass players. Tommy was that guy, the one who lost a coin toss to Ritchie Valens and lost his seat on the plane that crashed, killing Buddy Holly, Ritchie, and the Big Bopper. Investigators originally thought that Allsup had perished in the crash. Allsup had given his wallet to Buddy Holly prior to that fateful flight so that Buddy could use his I.D. to claim postage on his behalf. Allsup was expecting a package sent General Delivery from his mother.

The Winter Dance Party tour continued even after the death of the star musicians. Allsup finished the tour with Waylon Jennings the bass player of the band singing Buddy Holly’s songs. Dion and the Belmonts were brought in as headliners.

One of Tommy Allsup’s most noted accomplishments in music is his guitar solo in Buddy Holly’s, ”It’s So Easy.” It has become a classic.

Allsup is known for his associations with Buddy Holly and Bob Wills. Tommy Allsup a rockabilly and swing guitarist also played back up for Kenny Rogers.

Besides producing The Last Time, he also produced Bob Wills 24 Greatest Hits. He spent time in Odessa, Texas working with Roy Orbison and Willie Nelson. Tommy Allsup also produced for Asleep at the Wheel and Produced the Zager and Evans hit, “In the Year 2525.” As a session musician, Tommy played on nearly 7000 sessions. Later Tommy would open a club in Dallas he called the club “The Heads Up Saloon”

Thomas Douglas Allsup was born in Owasso, Oklahoma. He was a member of the Cherokee Nation. Allsup died in Springfield, Missouri on January 11, 2017, the last surviving member of Buddy Holly’s “touring” Crickets for the 1959 Winter Dance Party.

THE COIN TOSS

“Everything in life is subject to the will of God.”

Hal Looney.

Tommy and Ritchie Valens coin toss on the night of February 2nd 1959 in the Surf Ballroom, Clearlake, Iowa changed history. What if Tommy had been on that plane and Ritchie had not? I’d like to think that Valens would have had a long and productive career. I think his crossover talents from Mexican folk music to rock and roll would have been more evolved than he had already done with “La Bamba.”

This morning my wife and I were talking about this event. How many times has my own life changed direction at the “flip” of a single coin? I would like to say that my life isn’t necessarily controlled by me. I believe in divine direction. A belief in God’s will and not my own. It is usually when my own self will gets involved that I get into trouble. My wife reminded that a man named Hal Looney once told us that everything in life is subject to the will of God.  Sometimes I feel that my life is traveling along in the right direction and then in a single event that happens everything changes. Life is complicated like that at times.

Perhaps, Tommy and Ritchie’s coin toss was the will of God. I would like to think that it was more than just coincidence.

I want to believe that the coin keeps landing on the right side up for me and my life. I know that when it’s over it will be over even if my coin lands on tails, I will accept it.

Pancho.

February 4 2021

The Day the Music Died: Part 3

When I originally created this blog, I had grand intentions of focusing Mostly only on musicians who were Texas born and bred. As time has gone on, I have strayed away from my original idea of blogging only Texan. This week I have focused on “The Day the Music Died.” To try to hold true to my original idea of this blog, I want to point at that two out of three of the musicians who died during the plane crash in the Winter Dance Party tour were Texans.

Buddy Holly- born Charles Hardin Holley in Lubbock Texas during the Great Depression, September 7, 1936. His first demo albums were recorded just across the state line in Clovis, New Mexico. Buddy Holly is buried in the City of Lubbock, Texas Cemetery. A simple marker offers a carving of of a Fender Stratocaster guitar and Buddy Holley, his surname in the original spelling, H-O-L-L- E-Y, marking the spot.

Jiles Perry “J. P.” Richardson Jr. known as The Big Bopper was born in Sabine Pass, Texas where his father was an oilfield worker. Later the family moved to Beaumont, Texas.

JP Richardson began a career in radio. At KTRM radio in Beaumont, Richardson decided to start calling himself, The Big Bopper. He came up with the name because the college students at the time were doing a dance called The Bop.

As a songwriter Richardson wrote, “Running Bear” for his friend Johnny Preston. The song was based on The Bopper’s childhood memories and Indian tribes along the Sabine River in Texas. He also wrote and first recorded “White Lightning.” The song would later become George Jones first number one hit.

J.P. Richardson is also credited with creating the first music video. Filming and recording his early works in 1958.

The Big Bopper, J.P. Richardson, is buried in Beaumont, Texas. Rumors of foul play caused concern for his son. In 1987 at the request of The Big Bopper’s son, Jay Richardson the body was exhumed and an autopsy was performed by Dr. William M. Bass, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Jay Richardson was present during the entire procedure. Dr. Bass’s findings indicated no signs of foul play.

“There are fractures from head to toe. Massive fractures…. Richardson died immediately. He didn’t crawl away. He didn’t walk away from the plane.”

Dr. William M. Bass

The Big Bopper was placed in a new casket and buried next to his wife at Beaumont’s Forest Lawn Cemetery. For a time Jay Richardson, allowed the original casket to be on display at the Texas Musicians Museum.

Due to success with his song “Chantilly Lace,“ The Big Bopper took off from KTRM radio to join Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens on the Winter Dance Party Tour. The Tour began on January 23rd 1959. The eleventh night of the tour, Buddy Holly booked a plane to fly his band to the next venue, Moorehead, Minnesota. Waylon Jennings voluntarily gave his seat to The Big Bopper. Through a coin toss, Ritchie Valens won his seat from guitarist Tommy Allsup.

“Well, I hope your ol’ bus freezes up again.” Buddy Holly bantered at Waylon Jennings.

Jennings jokingly replied, “Well, I hope your ol’ plane crashes.” Those words haunted Jennings for the rest of his life.

The Eleventh show ended at around midnight, in Clear Lake, Iowa. The Headliners of the Winter Dance Party Tour, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. Richardson drove to the Mason City Airport, and boarded the red and white single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza. At around 12:55 am on Feb 3rd 1959, the pilot, Peterson, received clearance from the control tower. They took off—but the plane remained airborne for only a few minutes. Shortly after taking off, the Bonanza slammed into the ground at full throttle…The cause for the crash remains a mystery. Some theorists speculate Peterson may have lost his visual reference and thought that he was ascending while he was actually descending. The right wingtip of the Beechcraft Bonanza hit the frozen ground first, which sent the aircraft cartwheeling across a cleared cornfield at approximately 170 miles per hour. The pilot, Peterson’s mangled body was found inside the wreckage with Holly and Valen’s bodies nearby the main body of the wreck. JP Richardson, The Big Bopper was hurled approximately 100 feet from the crash site. His body cleared a barbed wire fence and was found in the next cornfield from the crash.

Chantilly Lace had a pretty face

And a ponytail hangin’ down

A wiggle in her walk and a giggle in her talk, Lord

Make the world go ’round, ’round, ’round

Chantilly Lace- Written and Performed by the Big Bopper J.P. Richardson

“The Day the Music Died,” is what February 3rd is now known as. Don McClean wrote the lines in his song “American Pie.” The song is about how music changed in McClean’s life after the death of these inspirational musicians. We will always remember Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and of course The Big Bopper.

“I’m glad that my music has helped other people as it’s helped me. It makes me glad that I did what I did with my life.”

Don McClean

Pancho.

February 3 2021

The Day the Music Died: Part 2

One of my all time favorite movies has always been La Bamba. Lou Diamond Phillips portrays singer Ritchie Valens. I have seen the movie a million times my favorite character of the movie was Ritchie’s Bad Boy brother Bob played by Esai Morales. My most memorable line in the movie is of Ritchie’s mother Connie, who was played by Rosanna de Soto.

“Not my Ritchie Bob, Ohh Bob not my Ritchie” Connie cried.

I feel like the movie La Bamba was a realistic portrait of the musician Ritchie Valens ( Richard Steven Valenzuela) actual life.

Only 8 months after signing his recording contract, Ritchie Valens was dead. Valens was only 17 years old on the day the music died. February 3, 1959 a plane crash claimed his life along with rock rollers, Buddy Holly, and JP Richardson known professionally as the Big Bopper. The pilot of the chartered airplane, Roger Peterson also died that fateful day during a tour that was named, The Winter Dance Party headlining the 3 rock musicians.

Ritchie Valens recorded several hit songs including La Bamba. La Bamba was originally a Mexican Folk Song. It was a song that Ritchie made famous to America even though the song lyrics were entirely in Spanish. It was ironic, that even though Ritchie Valens was of Mexican heritage he had to first learn the phonetics of the Spanish language in order to re compose and then record the song. Selena would later do the same with her crossover blend of music.

In May of 1958, Bob Kuhn, known professionally as Bob Keane signed Ritchie Valens to a contract with Del Fi Records. Together the two would record several records. Come on Lets Go an original score by Valens and Kuhn and Framed would be the first record to release.

La Bamba coupled with Donna on it’s flip side was the final record to be recorded in the artists life. The record quickly sold over a million copies and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Valens’ was successful in blending the songs Latin American roots to rock music. It is said to be his most successful song. Ritchie Valens was the first musician to attempt such a recording. The formula of blending the Mexican roots music with the rock in roll culture inspired other artists to do the same. Selena and Gustavo Santaolalla, ( who won academy awards for Best Original Score two years in a row in movies Brokeback Mountain and Babel) among many others were inspired by Valens.

Valens guitar style influenced artists like Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana.

In recent years Ritchie Valens songs have been recorded by Los Lobos.

It was partly just dumb luck that Ritchie Valens was even on that plane that cold winter night in February of 1959. A coin toss with Buddy Holly’s back up guitarist Tommy Allsup sealed Ritchie’s fate by “winning” him a seat on that flight. Waylon Jennings who was Buddy Holly’s bass guitar player at the time also could have, should have, would have been on that flight, but he volunteered his seat on the plane to JP, The Big Bopper, as he had been battling the flu during the tour and was uncomfortable on the bus.

Ritchie Valens is buried next to his mother Concha “Connie” Valenzuela, who died in 1987, at San Fernando Mission Cemetery, Mission Hills, Los Angeles, California.

In 2001 Valens was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He also has a “Hollywood Star” in his honor located at 6733 Hollywood Boulevard.

A club in Dallas opened by Musician Tommy Allsup in 1979, “Tommy’s Heads Up Saloon.” The club was named for the fateful coin toss between Valens and him twenty years prior.

They were singin’, bye-bye, Miss American Pie

Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry

Them good ol’ boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye

Singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die”

American Pie by Don McClean

The song commemorates the event that took place in Clear Lake Iowa on Feb. 3rd 1959. “The Day The Music Died”

Pancho.

February 2 2021

The Day the Music Died

We have all heard Don McClean’s one hit wonder “American Pie.”  

But February made me shiver

With every paper I’d deliver

Bad news on the doorstep I couldn’t take one more step I can’t remember if I cried

When I read about his widowed bride But something touched me deep inside

The day the music died

The day the music died. Tonight is the night. February 3rd at around 12:55am Central Time, a chartered Beechcraft Bonanza crashed in a frozen corn field near the town of Mason City, Iowa. Aboard the plane were rock legends Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper (JP Richardson), and Ritchie Valens.

Buddy Holly is one of the most influential musicians to ever exist. His musical talents and songwriting influenced many other artists including Elvis Presley. Buddy Holly left behind dozens of unfinished recordings. He basically pioneered the standards still used today, the use of two guitars, bass and drums by rock bands.

Encyclopedia Britannica stated that Holly “produced some of the most distinctive and influential work in rock music”. AllMusic defined him as “the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll”. Rolling Stone ranked him number 13 on its list of “100 Greatest Artists”. The Telegraph called him a “pioneer and a revolutionary […] a multidimensional talent […] (who) co-wrote and performed (songs that) remain as fresh and potent today”. – WIKIPEDIA

Buddy Holly was one of the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame noted his large quantity of material he produced during his short career. They stated that he made a major and lasting impact on popular music, and called him an “innovator.”

Pancho.