November 15 2020

The Midnight Cowboy

Bill Mack “The Midnight Cowboy” died due to complications of Covid-19 July 31,2020.  The radio DJ/ songwriter was 91.

Mack was born in Sherman, Texas June 4, 1929. He is best known in country music for writing the songs, “Blue,” and “Drinking Champagne.”

Bill Mack worked overnights in Ft. Worth, Texas as a radio host for many years at WBAP. Beginning in 1969, his show was called The Country Roads Show. Many sleepy-eyed truckers who were traveling during late night hours would tune in to the show as they were traveling across the Lone Star State and beyond. WBAP-AM could be heard across about half of the country. Bill earned the moniker of “The Midnight Cowboy” from one of the overnight listeners. He later renamed his show that. In more recent years, Bill’s distinctive voice could be heard on XM radio channel 171. He was a radio host on the “Open Road” channel.

Blue” was written and recorded by Bill in 1958. He first pitched the song to Patsy Cline at a show in San Antonio, Texas. He had a demo tape made with a girl in San Antonio who “sounded like Patsy.” He sent the song to Patsy in hopes of her recording it. Unfortunately, she died in a plane crash before being able to record the song.

Mack composed the song within 15 minutes. His wife at the time told him it was the best song that he had ever written.

“ I had no idea what would happen forty years later”

Bill Mack

The song which had sat in a semi dormant state re-surfaced on June 4th 1996. LeAnn Rimes was only 13 years old when she recorded it for her debut album.

The song earned LeAnn Rimes a Grammy for Country Song of the Year.

“I am for ever grateful for him. (Bill Mack) and the music he created.”

LeAnn Rimes

“We will be ‘Blue’ without you Bill.”

LeAnn Rimes- Reposted from her Twitter Account.

Drinking Champagne,” released in the mid-sixties. The song first gained national attention after reaching the country charts in 1968. The Single recorded by Cal Smith reached #35 in 1968.

Artists like Faron Young, Ray Price, Dean Martin, and Willie Nelson would also release versions of the song.

In 1990 George Strait took “Drinking Champagne” to #4 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

Strait’s version was the second single from his album Livin’ it Up.

Bill Mack said that the words of the song just sort of came to him. It was easy for him to write the song he said.

Mack was inducted into the Texas Country music Hall of Fame in 1999.

The world will miss Bill Mack, but His music will live on.

So I’ll keep drinking champagne, feeling no pain ‘till early morning.

Pancho.

September 22 2020

King of Country

Dean Dillon says, “country music is going to hell if it don’t change it’s ways.”

Who is this Dean Dillon you ask? Dean Dillon is the man responsible for most of George Straits biggest hit songs. To date, he has written 62 songs for the King of Country Music. Dean is, in a sense, to George Strait who Bernie Taupin is to Elton John. The Man behind the music.

“The end game for songwriters today is just to get a song on the radio.” Dillon explains “I just want to write a great song.”

In Dean’s words he lives, eats, and breathes songwriting. He started writing his songs at the age of seven. He starts by looking for a great hook. He mostly finds his hook just by listening to other people’s conversations. This is where the country song originates.

This talent for finding the right hook scored him his first hit when George Strait recorded “Unwound” a song that almost instantly landed at #6 on the country charts.

Since then Dean has written “The Chair”, “Marina Del Ray”, “Ocean Front Property”, and many more. Hit after Hit he writes, time and time again.

Besides just writing for the King of Country, Dean Dillon has written for recording artist Brooks and Dunn, Toby Keith, Vern Gosden, and Pam Tillis.

Dean wrote the song “Tennessee Whiskey” and originally pitched it to George Strait, but he declined. Another George however decided to record it, George Jones. The song was recently re-recorded by Chris Stapleton.

A documentary detailing the story of Dean Dillon produced by Cole Claassen and released in 2017 is available now on Amazon Prime Video. It is called Tennessee Whiskey: The Dean Dillon Story.

In George and Dean’s 36-year history they have created fans from all walks of life and have created the most wonderful music and lyrics together.

Twenty-two thousand fans watched as George Strait called Dean Dillon onto stage at “Strait to Vegas” in 2016 to thank him for an amazing partnership.

George was planning another “Strait to Vegas” tour in 2021 at the T-Mobile Arena but as of now has postponed as he is prioritizing his fans’ safety through this ongoing pandemic.

~ And this is where the Cowboy rides away ~

Pancho