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Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends of West Texas Music
by Christopher Oglesby
Published by the University of Texas Press:
"As a whole, the interviews create a portrait not only of Lubbock's musicians and artists, but also of the musical community that has sustained them, including venues such as the legendary Cotton Club and the original Stubb's Barbecue. This kaleidoscopic portrait of the West Texas music scene gets to the heart of what it takes to create art in an isolated, often inhospitable environment. As Oglesby says, "Necessity is the mother of creation. Lubbock needed beauty, poetry, humor, and it needed to get up and shake its communal ass a bit or go mad from loneliness and boredom; so Lubbock created the amazing likes of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Terry Allen, and Joe Ely."

buy the book

"Indeed, Oglesby's introduction of more than two dozen musicians who called Lubbock home should be required reading not only for music fans, but for Lubbock residents and anyone thinking about moving here. On these pages, music becomes a part of Lubbock's living history."
- William Kerns, Lubbock Avalanche Journal

What the readers and artists are saying
about virtualubbock and Chris Oglesby

Dear Chris,
Thank you so very much for sending the book to us and for including Mac!
It is a great read and even Mac learned some things- and had fun remembering!
You did a great job Chris!!!!!!!!  Congratulations!
Sincerely yours, Lisë and Mac Davis

Honey, look at me! I'm in virtualubbock!
- Joe Ely, virtualubbock's first visitor; 3/15/00

I just wanted to say how great the piece you've written about Jesse [Taylor] is. Thanks. Best, Terry Clarke

I am Michael Allsup, guitarist with the band Three Dog Night. We just played an event in Lubbock a few days ago. Backstage was a goodie sack for each of us. One of the items included was the book titled "Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends of West Texas Music" by Christopher J. Oglesby. I read the book on flights back home to California, and finished up a day later at home. I so enjoyed the book and being familiarized with the "Lubbock Scene" that I felt the need to drop Christopher an e-mail to express that. As well as the artist/musician interviews that were so well done and informative, I found that when I got home I couldn't wait to run out and buy some STUBBS barbecue sauce. Ha. A silly truth I thought he might enjoy. Anyway, "Well Done, Chris." This old rocker really enjoyed (and learned) from the read. Keep it up.
Michael Allsup
Three Dog Night

After I left Lubbock, a lot of friends moved, a couple passed away, and others just got lost. Please accept my sincere thanks for such a great web site. It is re-assuring to see that I really didn't make up the things I lived through, and to see that the magic in Lubbock has not gone away.
-Hymie Smith

Dear Friends:
I take this opportunity to tell you how much I've enjoyed your website over the past five years. In the Spring of 2001 I was turned on to the music of Jimmie Dale Gilmore and have become his biggest fan. At least his biggest fan in Cleveland, Ohio. Since that time I have come to love and appreciate all things "West Texas Music" which logically lead me to The Flatlanders, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Townes Van Zandt and Robert Earl Keen, just to state the obvious. My fanaticism compelled me to purchase DVD's like "Lubbock Lights" and the new documentary about Townes. Your interviews have been extremely insightful and make me feel like I actually know the featured artists. In fact, on two ocassions, I had the pleasure of meeting Jimmie Dale Gilmore when he performed here and on the second occassion I also met his son Colin [Gilmore]. I also had the thrill of meeting Joe Ely and Joel Guzman. On each ocassion, I indicated to them that I had read your interviews of them and they naturally acknowledged your contribution to recognition of their musical style. As a 50-something career Public Defender and subterranean singer/songwriter (that means I write and play in my basement for no one other than myself), I don't know if I'll ever make it to Lubbock, but I do feel closer to the region having read your material. Thank you, keep up the wonderful work you're doing, and I'll keep reading!
Best Regards,
Bill Thompson

Hi, I just bumped into your web site after doing my annual 'doff of the hat'
to Buddy. I took time out of a business trip 4 years ago to make a pilgrimage to Lubbock for a couple of days over the Crossroads Festival weekend. (Why do you want to go there? they all asked! And you're driving from Phoenix!!!!) What a great, spooky two days that was (e.g. the timing was out of my hands, I had no idea there was a festival goin on, or a Buddy Holly Center + Rave On started playing over the PA the precise moment I stepped out of the hire car at Dallas airport afterwards)! Meeting Larry Holley and Echo McGuire at the BH Center, seeing Chuck Berry on stage (oh dear!) and visiting the grave. None of which is of much interest to you I guess except to say that I just read more or less every word of your site. It is a fantastic and in many ways beautiful web site that really works and it makes a big contribution to understanding the town. I run a site for my village ( and I know how many hours goes into stuff like this. And what a great idea to dig for the reasons. I might try something similar here.
Never stop!
Geoff Hodgkinson
Titchfiled, Hampshire, U.K.
Feb. 4, 2005

I live in Dublin, Ireland and for years have had a big interest in West Texas music - I guess since Butch's first album in 1978. Every so often, I go to the VirtuaLubbock website and read a few more interviews. I think I've read them all now! I wanted to say a big "thank you" to you for putting these together. They are truly insightful and a great way to get a real understanding of what Lubbock and the music is all about.
Kind regards,
Patrick Hurley

I want to extend a big pat on the back for the site. It is easy to remember the dust storms, smell of the feed-lot, and the not-so-open-minded folks you sometimes encounter in the Hub. But, to have a site like this to remind us about all the good stuff is great! It is very nostalgic to read the interviews and stories about these people we grew up with... Also, to learn more about the things I wasn't exposed to while I was there.
- Wes Burk, San Luis Obispo, CA

You have a fun website.
- Peggy Sue Gerron, (yes, that one! - c.o.)

Well, I'll give you this: You didn't leave anything out! I thought that was impressive. You obviously left "the edge" in the interviews. I think that's a good idea because people don't want to read fluff; They want the straight skinny.
Keep up the good work, Chris! Good luck to you always.
- Cary Swinney, Lubbock singer/songwriter

I live in Shanghai, China now, and it is unbeleivable how much Lubbock dust is in China! I was sitting in a bar in Hong Kong, and an Aussie came up to the bar and ordered a drink. I asked him, in my stellar West Texas dialect, "Where ya' from?" He said, "Austrailia, and you?" I told him "Lubbock, Texas," and he said, "No shit! I love Buddy Holly, Terry Allen and The Flatlanders." I was naturally shocked and asked him how the hell he knew those guys. He told me that he was a die-hard Buddy Holly fan and was searching the internet on his background and discovered this website called and got into the idea of the "Magic Dust." He told me that I was from a land of magic dust. Well, we of course got drunk together... No shit, true story!
- Brent Holbert

Thought you'd like to know how valuable your VirtuaLubbock Page is to an expatriate like myself.. The whole thing is great, but especially valuable is the
links page. Thanks for your efforts!
- Dave Witt  

I'm sitting here listening to "Lubbock (On Everything)" for the first time in about 20 years and stumbled across your site. Excellent! I can't wait to take the time to read all of the interviews. I grew up in Hobbs, New Mexico, and the folks in Lubbock (Ely, Hancock, Allen, etc.) helped me understand that art can happen anywhere. Thanks for keeping that spirit alive.
- Mark Cotton

I grew up with Buddy Holly. He was part of all of us. I still miss him. Great to have technology to see all of Lubbock. Thanks.
- Jim Cavanagh, Mudgee NSW Australia

Howdy!  I am a writer and poet in Lubbock.  I have written for several years for the Lubbock Magazine and the Caprock Sun (Chronicle now).
I have to give you credit, this is a masterful page.  You have done an excellent job. You have my support here in Lubbock.  Thanks again and keep up the good work!
 -Clarence Milam 
[You can check out some of my articles at my web-page.]

I just read the interview, and I sound like a fucking genius! Good job!
- Bob Livingston, Texas Music International

I found your page on Willis Cooper and wanted to to thank you.  My name is Tim Closs, and I put together the Willis tape that was featured on the website.  Willis was a great friend and I miss him dearly.  
- Tim Closs

Hello Chris,
This is my first E mail ever.
Your pal,
- Tom X Hancock, Lubbock' original hippie

I have just spent several hours viewing your virtuaubbock web page. My heart is warmed after reading so many of the musicians who mentioned Main Street Saloon. I worked there 87'-92'. I was the manager, bartender, waitress, doorperson, sometimes bouncer, booking agent and bar fly... I ran across this page during a search for articles on Lubbock music and found this site most entertaining and was very pleased to see Main Street mentioned so many times! Any how, just wanted to let you know that your web site made my day!
- Gayla, Main Street Saloon Memories 

I've just finished going through the features in the web sight and re-living many old memories of those days when the music was fresh and original. Truly all of the ideas and styles of that time were original and pioneered much of the roots of the Lubbock sound. I played guitar back in those days and really had few people to listen to that were from that area. We all seemed to be doing our own thing and had little time to listen to each other that much. I guess my biggest influences were Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and Clyde Perkins (worked at Harrod Music, on avenue Q). I liked Buddy's rich chordal solos, Chuck's uncanny string bending techniques, and Clyde, well, he taught me how to use the right fingerings and how to feel the music when I played it.
Music was my life, I ate, drank, and lived it. My idea of a great time was to strap on my Strat and go play somewhere. Those were wonderful times for me and you have helped me to remember some of them. Keep up the good work and don't stop searching. There is much more out there and the history of "That Sound" needs to be told.
Thanks again
Stan Smith, "The Sparkles"

I checked out the interview and it is great!  I laughed my ass off.  Thanks so much for including us in your project.
- Chris Mosser, (former) Bass player for Human

I do so enjoy all your interviews, as it is like a scrapbook of all my friends, and I always find things that are new to me. It definitely demonstrates the power of the revealing interview. You are good at it so I am glad to mention you to friends.  
- Johnny Hughes, Lubbock writer & music promoter

We love the site and loved the interview, you crazy thing!
- Jo Carol Pierce & Guy Juke

You have obviously taken an incredible amount of time and care to find stories about Lubbock Music. There have been many of the same stories passed around for years while others have been totally ignored. You have found some of the untold gems out there. (My family started KLLL radio in 1957... In a previous occupation as a music retailer, I was one of the very few that sold local music and promoted local artists especially 15-20 years ago. )
- Ken Corbin

I love your website. As a local artist, I've always felt there was something special about this part of the world.
- Jean Schofield Badger

Thanks Chris for putting this site together. Very COOL! I think Lubbock is a great place to be as well. Not perfect but some of it certainly is. Joe Ely still plays frequently on my stereo and guitar. Fat Dawgs, Main Street, Stubbs, the Spoon, Cow Palace, Cold Water are all great (yet sometimes fuzzy) memories. Learned a lot about life though!! Keep the Lubbock music and culture alive!
- David Jones, Dean of Students, South Plains College

Whoooeee!!! What a site! I loved virtualubbock and look forward to
my next trip there!
- Ponty Bone

I just wanted to drop you a line an let you know how much I enjoy Although I didn't grow up in Lubbock I lived there for eight years. It is great to read through your interviews and be reminded of my adopted hometown. I am in Dallas now and this is my first spring in a long time without a dust storm. I miss them and it was good to see some pictures on the website to rekindle my memories. Lubbock is a special place that defies any kind of easy explanation. I would do anything to be back in my little abode on 16th and X.
Thanks for bringing me a little closer to "home".
- Cari Weinberg, Dallas, TX

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