July 18 2021

Lubbock Sound- Meet the Maines Brothers

The original Maines Brothers Band consisted of James Maines and his brothers, Raymond (Sonny), and Wayne Maines. The band hailed from the West Texas Cotton Farming community of Acuff, Texas. As most of the area including Lubbock County was “dry” at the time, the 1950’s, the band would often travel to places like Post, Texas, 40 miles to the southeast to play their music. Post was where the people of Lubbock would go to buy their beer and dance, generally just to blow off a little steam.

Often in my blog I have commented that Lubbock is a mecca for great music. The Maines brothers are no exception. It is fact, that one of these original “Maines,” Wayne, first began the work of teaching Buddy Holley chords on the guitar while riding the school bus from that little place called Acuff.

James Maines’s sons, Lloyd, Kenny, Steve, and Donny often went with their dad and uncles while they were playing their gigs. This group of youngsters began performing as the opener for the original group and were known as “The Little Maines Boys.”

As parts of Lubbock County began legalizing the sale of liquor, “The Little Maines Boys,” began playing each Sunday at the Cotton Club, a popular dancehall as a matinee. The older Maines brothers band which consisted of their dad and uncles would then take the reins and play late into the night. As the older Maines began fading in to the West Texas sunset and hung up their instruments, these Little Maines Boys stood up and became the next generation of the “Maines Brother’s Band.”

As a birthday gift for my brother the other day, I gave him a copy of an Album by this next generation of Maines Brothers. “Route 1, Acuff.” I am sure most everyone has heard the great works of Lloyd Maines on the steel guitar, or the solo stuff by Kenny, but hearing this band in its earliest and original form performing altogether certainly brings chills of great pleasure that will pulsate from your feet to your ears.

Lloyd Maines is probably the greatest Steel Guitarist ever to live. He started playing on a homemade steel given to him by his uncle in a little farmhouse in Acuff, Texas. Lloyd has played with Texas greats like Guy Clark, Terry Allen, Joe Ely, and Jerry Jeff Walker. He was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of fame as one of its first three members. (Along with Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughn.) In recent years, Lloyd has produced some of the greatest albums of all times. He won a Grammy Award in 2003 for his work on the album Home, by his daughter Natalie Maines band, The Chicks.

Kenny Maines was only 7 at the formation of the “Little Maines Boys.”  It is said that he had to stand on a wooden crate just to reach the microphone. After touring throughout the 80’s, Kenny and the Maines Brothers began to settle down and split up the band to pursue each one’s personal dreams. Kenny became a County Commissioner in Lubbock, a position he held for many years. More recently, Kenny has left the politics behind and once again picked up his guitar to do what he loves which is to make music.

The other night I was honored to attend a performance by Kenny Maines. He opened for the band Exile at the Cactus in Lubbock. I loved his performance. He covered much from the Lubbock music scene and represented this long-evolved Lubbock Sound well. During his set, Kenny included songs from Mac Davis, Terry Allen, and Buddy Holly. He also shared his original music. Kenny Maines newest album is, The Magic Train.  I held onto every word and each note from his guitar. He is a wonderful and very professional entertainer. I had the pleasure to speak briefly to him in the Lobby of the Cactus Theatre and he is a very down to earth sort of guy. Kenny’s music is available on his website http://www.kennymaines.com/home.html and on Apple iTunes.

This Lubbock Sound is still growing and evolving even today with acts like Brandon Adams & the Sad Bastards, Mason & The Gin Line, and Flatland Cavalry. The Lubbock Sound is and has always been one of my all-time favorite styles of music. I appreciate men like the Maines Brothers who kept this tradition alive and well.

Pancho.

June 22 2021

Travis Roberts- Add him to My List of Cap-Rock Country.

Mason & the Gin Line says it best when they call their style of music “Cap-Rock.”

I believe that “Cap-Rock” should become a sub- genre of Country Music- Most especially music that is classified as Texas Country and or Red Dirt. The Caprock region of Texas has been producing world class singer/songwriters for as long as anyone can remember. Waylon Jennings from Littlefield, Mac Davis who once sang about leaving Lubbock, Texas in My rearview, and Bury me in Lubbock, Texas in my Jeans… Delbert McClinton was born on these windswept plains as was Buddy Holly.

More recently Texas musicians like Jason Boland, William Clark Green, and Cleto Cordero who is the front man for Flatland Cavalry all have called the caprock country their home.

Terry Allen was born in Kansas but got to the Caprock as quick as he could. Many of his songs are stories about the region such as his, “Hard Amarillo Highway,” which has been covered by artists such as Sturgill Simpson, Bobby Bare and Robert Earl Keen. Terry lived in Lubbock and attended Monterey High School there. Other Monterey alumni include Texas musician Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock, thus adding to this grand list of “Cap-Rock” to honor the singer/songwriters of the Caprock of Texas.

Texas country legends Gary P. Nunn began his musical career in a garage in Brownfield, Texas shortly before Pat Green and Cory Morrow were both spending their college days at Texas Tech in nearby Lubbock, Texas.

I recently posted about Travis Roberts, one of the newest singer/songwriters from this long line of Texas musicians who calls the Panhandle region of Texas home. Today I took a look at Roberts’ newest single “This Too Shall Pass,” available for streaming now on platforms like Spotify and YouTube.

Ken Fisbeck of Spur Radio had this to say of the new tune, “This Too Shall Pass” is a story of self-sabotage in relationships and the realization that the common adage “This Too Shall Pass” applies to the best of times not just the worst of them.”

This Too Shall Pass” is a story of self-sabotage in relationships and the realization that the common adage “This Too Shall Pass” applies to the best of times not just the worst of them.”

Ken Fisbeck

I have yet to mention, the pedal steel guitarist Lloyd Maines, who also once called the Panhandle home. Travis Roberts newest single wails out with steel strings. From the songs opening lyrics of Wish I could find the words to tell you.” I thoroughly enjoyed this tune. The steel country sound crashes into a rhythm of rock-n-roll guitars. Roberts proves his place as a lyricist when he turns the song into one of those repetitive bad dreams. Roberts lines cry out to us, Dreamin’ The Same Damn Dream two cars crashin’ out on the street.” As the storyteller, Roberts is able to reel us back in by his promise, This Too Shall Pass.”

Travis Roberts promises a full album real soon. If the rest of the album is as good as “This Too Shall Pass,” and his previous release, “Cabin Fever,” I am hooked. Two songs in, and I am already a Travis Roberts fan for life. I shall add him to my growing list of great “Cap-Rock” artists.

I’m not sure how long I am willing to wait for more Travis Roberts. I am certain that whatever is coming next will be worth the wait. I shall take the latest songs advice and try to maintain my patience. For I know, “This Too Shall Pass.”

Pancho.

June 15 2021

Ol’ Waylon We Love You and Miss You

It was on this day, June 15, that the original outlaw, Waylon Jennings was born. Waylon was born in Littlefield, not far from Lubbock, Texas in 1937. Waylon’s heritage was of Irish and Black-Dutch on his father’s side and Cherokee and Commanche Indian from his mother’s side. The name officially on his birth certificate was Wayland, but his mother later changed the spelling to Waylon.

“I didn’t like Waylon. It sounded corny and hillbilly, but it’s been good to me, and I’m pretty well at peace with it right now.” Waylon Jennings would write in his autobiography.

“I didn’t like Waylon. It sounded corny and hillbilly, but it’s been good to me, and I’m pretty well at peace with it right now.”

Waylon Jennings

I guess there isn’t a time that I have ever heard the name Waylon without thinking first of this superstar and a father of the Outlaw Country movement. I was first introduced to Waylon through my parents taste in music. I have been a fan of his music I reckon all of my life.

When Waylon Jennings was only eight years old, his mother taught him how to play the guitar. The first song he learned to play was, “Thirty Pieces of Silver.” Waylon’s first guitar was a Stella. By age 14, Jennings was performing around the local area and even had begun to play his brand of Bluegrass and Country on local television. By age 16, Waylon was a high school dropout. Around this time, He played on the radio station KDAV it was here where he began playing with rock sensation Buddy Holly.

The radio station KLLL in Lubbock hired Waylon Jennings as a radio Disk Jockey. During Waylon’s time at KLLL he produced radio jingles and began making public appearances. It was at one of these appearances that Buddy Holly’s father, L.O. Holley, requested that Waylon play Buddy Holly’s record on the radio. Buddy Holly had a desire to begin producing artists himself and visited Jennings at the KLLL station. Waylon Jennings was outfitted with new clothes and Buddy Holly arranged a session for him in a recording studio in Clovis, New Mexico. The songs “Jole Blon” and “When Sin Stops (Love Begins)” were recorded by Waylon at this session. The songs include Buddy Holly and Tommy Allsup on guitar and also feature King Curtis work on the saxophone.  Waylon Jennings and Tommy Allsup along with a drummer named Carl Bunch were soon recruited by Buddy Holly to be his own backup band for the upcoming Winter Dance Party Tour. It was while on the Winter Dance Party Tour, that Buddy Holly was tragically killed in a plane crash just after playing a show at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Waylon often blamed himself for the death of Holly. He would later write and record, “The Stage (Stars in Heaven)” as a tribute to Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens who lost their lives that cold winters night.

In 1966, Jennings released his debut album, Folk-Country, under the RCA label. Waylon soon became dis-satisfied with the Nashville establishment. Ladies Love Outlaws, was the first significant hit for Jennings in 1972 and was Waylon’s first approach to outlaw country. Jennings felt that Nashville had become too caught up with a new sound called “Countrypolitan.” He felt that he had lost creative control of his own music. Recording in Nashville he wasn’t even allowed to record with his own band. The orchestral arrangements of the music by the record producers, and the recording companies demands to bring in so called professionals to play backup on his albums took their toll on Waylon Jennings. “They wouldn’t let you do anything. You had to dress a certain way: you had to do everything a certain way…. They kept trying to destroy me…. I just went about my business and did things my way…. You start messing with my music, I get mean.” Waylon once told an interviewer.

They wouldn’t let you do anything. You had to dress a certain way: you had to do everything a certain way…. They kept trying to destroy me…. I just went about my business and did things my way…. You start messing with my music, I get mean.”

Waylon Jennings

It was 1972, when Willie Nelson had found success with Atlantic Records after re-negotiating his own contract to allow him more creative control that persuaded RCA to rethink their own contract with Jennings. This was the major turning point for Jennings career and the following year he released released Lonesome, On’ry and Mean and Honky Tonk Heroes.

Wanted! The Outlaws, considered to be the debut of Outlaw Country was released in 1976. This album featured Waylon, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter and Tompball Glaser. The album was the first country album to become platinum certified for reaching over one million sales. Wanted! The Outlaws, reached No. 1 on the country charts and peaked at No. 10 on the pop charts. Two singles from the album featuring Waylon Jennings peaked at No 1 and 2 on the charts, “Suspicious Minds” and “Good Hearted Woman.”

Summertime blues brings a happy roar and the crowd cheers loud as they holler for more.- Waylon Jennings

Today on Twitter Paula Nelson Tweeted- “ We love you and Miss You.” As did many others who remembered Waylon on his birthday. Waylon Jennings may have gone too soon but through his fans his music will live forever.

Ol’ Waylon, We love You and Miss You.

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.