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
"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
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 3:53 PM
Subject: Stranger Than Fiction
Do you remember a group called Stranger Than Fiction
from Lubbock? They had a song called "Stop" with the
b-side "Tube Socks in Hong Kong" in the late 80's.
I would love to know how to get a copy, mine was stolen back
in 1993. Any advice you can give?
anyone knows where to find this record, please CONTACT
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 7:39 AM
Subject: Lubbock Lights UFOs
Hi Chris. Check this out: http://ufo.whipnet.org/xdocs/life.magazine/index.html
I had to pleasure of being Prof. Ducker's son's best friend.
Bill Ducker and I met in the 7th grade. Bill died from a stroke
a few weeks ago. He will be missed, terribly. He and his father
both claim the Lubbock lights were night-flying mallards--birds.
Sent: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 10:12 am
This is Trace Reddell! Wow, you got some very cool stuff going
on, and I thought I'd write to say, "Hello!" I recently
watched the Lubbock Lights film, which was just great.
Really loved it. That led me back to your Virtualubbock site,
which I hadn't looked at in quite a while, and I read about the
Reunion and checked out those video
clips. Looked like a great show, and I wish that we'd been there.
I also read about your book, and I'll be ordering a copy of that for sure.
All of these things have made me think more fondly of Lubbock
than I have in a long time.
So, I'm married to another Lubbockite friend of ours, Leah Baker
(Jennifer's younger sister) -- Leah and I have been together
for, gulp, twenty years now, married for seventeen of those.
I'm a professor of Digital Media Studies at the University of
Denver. It's a great gig, as I get to do both scholarly research
and written work and creative multimedia projects. Most of my
writing has been about sound, technology and culture with a weird
philosophy of communication focus (I've taken the liberty of
sending along a chapter I wrote for a book called Cybersounds:
Essays in Virtual Music Culture, which you might enjoy).
I released a lot of my own audio works on the Web back when that
was still fresh, and I also DJ'd for Web radio back before DMCA
and the RIAA started hosing all of that. More recently, I've
been doing "live cinema" performances, which pretty
much means that I'm using a laptop to edit sound and video live
before an audience. A couple of summer's ago, I performed at
two different venues in Amsterdam, a solo piece at the Melkweg,
and a collaboration with one of my DU colleagues, at the University
Theater of UvAmsterdam. Way too much fun!
Now I'm on sabbatical and I'm working on a book project called
Technicians of Space, which is about the history/concept
of outer space in sound since 1950. I'll be writing about space
age bachelor pad music and the early round of electronic music;
several science fiction film scores; German psychedelic rock;
afro-futurist jazz; techno; dub; and New Age music. I'm also
working with Gates Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature
& Science to develop a multimedia performance/lecture program
for digital planetariums around the same topic. So, fun stuff!
Leah's an artist in her own right; she's a professional face
painter and body artist. She does amazing work ranging from birthday
parties to corporate gigs, as well as competes on the international
face and body art festival circuit.
For your further amusement, here are our web sites:
Well, hey, man, take care, and keep up the good work of keeping
Lubbock lively and weird!
Sent: Wed, 7 Nov 2007 12:11 pm
Steve Cooper here. I think
you might have been around out at Wade Parks house back when I first
picked up the penny whistle. Anyway
that progressed into
playing the Irish timber flute, and that led to playing traditional
Irish music an awful lot. So
we just released our first
CD Last Nights Fun by our band, Johnny Faa
(king of the gypsies). If you get a few minutes, Id love
for you to check out our web site. http://johnnyfaa.com
Theres a link to CD Baby where you can hear some clips
of our music.
All the best,
From: Todd Engram
Sent: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 1:47 pm
Subject: Re: Hi Chris, Here's
I went to Coronado for my senior
year, then Tech for six! My whole family is from up there (Littlefield,
Sudan, Canyon, Amarillo, Sunray) but I only did time in Lubbock
when I was born there, then 83-90 when I was basically wearin'
a groove in the road between the strip and town.
We started the Beaumonts as a joke on a guy down here
who books bands at a really great club in San Marcos. We are
really a rock band called HOGNOSE, and we asked if we
could get our "buddies from Lubbock" to open for us,
we did, and ever since our Beaumonts shows have been a hit, while
the Hognose shows have stayed the same with our ten loyal hairy
dude fans throwing the devil horns and spilling beer on our gear.
I guess people like to laugh. I wish somebody'd told me that
twenty years ago.
We might know some of the same
people, lemme see:
- Wade Logenberger from Squat Thrust (rip)
- Jimmy Bradshaw from Squat Thrust
- Jason from Human (I saw the interview on your site, he ran sound
at a Flaming Lips hoot night (at Stubbs, funnily enough)
I played in Austin a couple of months ago and I didn't realize
it was him until I was on my way home)
- His brother is also
a badass bass player. Sean [Frankhouser].
- Brent Boepple and Russel Abbott,
both in a band called Superheavygoatass
- Trent Parker (drummer)
- Trinidad Leal, Kurt Kristensen from
Dixie Witch. There's probably more.
Anyway, man I have been a fan
of your site for a few years now. Ever since I read the interview
with Jay Boy Adams (and
died laughing at his stories of Jimmy Page and Lloyd Maines). I was actually
looking for some info on Billy
Gibbons' early gear when I ran onto that interview.
I look back on my days in Lubbock as unexpectedly and remarkably
awesome. All of those Nelsons shows, Los Tornados,
Eddie Beethoven, etc... I even saw Black Flag there
in 86. Hell, I saw probably 5 or six Bill Hicks shows
there. Lubbock is like a
bean and cheese taco, a cursory description does not do it justice.
Thanks for the kind words, and keep up the good work. Talk to
Troy Wayne (Todd Engram)
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007
Subject: Response to one of your books
To: University of Texas Press
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 a book you published titled
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. I would appreciate it if you'd please
forward this to him for me.
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.
Three Dog Night
Frazier, Director/Producer Rollins Films
SENT: Friday, May 25, 2007
SUBJECT: video tributes to Jesse "Guitar" Taylor and
Lubbock deejay Misty
I think my friend Doug Nelson over at
KTXT-TV PBS sent you some information on our website. While we are
not from Lubbock we have worked a lot with South Plaines College,
KTXT-TV PBS and a variety of Lubbock based artist. Of special
interest maybe our tribute video
of Jesse Guitar Taylor and our dear friend Misty. Bless her heart. Any way I thought you may
want to add some links back to us.
Honestly, what made me this of this
was an inquiry from Jesse Taylors son/daughter, Carrie
Young, asking for a copy of his video.
If I can answer any questions please
let me know.
Named one of the
top 100 producers in America for 2002
Chosen as the 2005 American Film Institute/Corporation for Public
Broadcasting Scholarship Recipient
SUBJECT: biographical video
I'm a son of Lubbock, and here's
a 19 min. video of my 40 year career
as a leather artist ....
From: Woods Drinkwater
Sent: Sun, 13 May 2007 6:47 PM
Subject: Lubbock Musician
is one of my professors here at Loyola New Orleans. He is from
Lubbock and was reportedly in a band there back in the late 60's
while in college. They were signed to a major label (either RCA
or MCA) and he says it's up to me to figure out the band. I know
it may be a shot in the dark, but might you have any leads? He
said he grew up with members of the Flatlanders so I think I
can say it's not them. Goolsby played bass and later organ (Hammond?
Rhodes?). To make it even more difficult, it seems he used a
pseudonym. If you could offer any help to me and all my classmates,
I'd be much obliged.
have the answer!
Wednesday, May 02, 2007 8:00 AM
Subject: Lubbock gambling history
Congratulations on the success of your
book! I am sending you an
article that in is the current issue of Bluff Magazine. They
have agreed to run a series of articles on Lubbock gambling
history. Bluff is the premier poker communication company
world-wide. There is a Bluff Europe, Bluff Australia,(my articles
are in both), Bluff Radio, and web sites. They just signed an
exclusive coverage deal with Harrah's and the World Series of
Poker for tournaments world-wide. I also write for a new Irish
publication called European Player as well as a whole slew of
I get a lot of comments about my West Texas language. This all
has a strange quality to it because this is the way lots of folks
at the truck stop talk, y'all.
Go to article: "Titanic Thompson & Son"
Monday, April 09, 2007 10:08 PM
My son, Cole, lost his father today. He was Tom Jones,
a bass player from Lubbock, who played with Don Jones(his brother),
Jesse Taylor, B.J. Thomas, Edgar Winter, Joe
Ely and many locals from and around
Lubbock. Tom had also worked with Jay
Boy Adams, driving tour buses for him
for a few years in the 80's. He had been living in Bedford and
worked for Bell Helicopter for the past 21 years. He had been
ill with cancer this previous year, and passed this morning at
Subject: Re: stubbs memoirs, etc.
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 5:46 PM
are a few memories which you may use,
if you wish.
I know it's a bit long but once I got started a while ago it
just comes out.
From: "dabroots of the cosmos"
Subject: the stubb's site
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 12:59 AM
Greatly enjoyed my visit to
the site of the original Stubb's here in Lubbock. Thanks for
making me aware of it.
Subject: My last day in Lubbock
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 2:51 AM
to those of you that really know me...and
those of you that don't...i LOVE lubbock texas...i have been
happy there since 1975...made good friends...enjoyed many successes...etc...
but i have moved to bucerias mexico...and i came back to lubbock
last week to empty out my house...i had a garage sale saturday
morning...and this is a video of the weather that morning...
it is amusing...and all too real...every now and again....heh
heh...the wind kicks up around here...i SHOULD have just opened
up the doors and windows and let everything disappear...cuz it
WOULD have happened...
From: Paul Pendery
Subject: Your book!
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 11:58 AM
My sister sent me an email about the Lubbock
All Star Jam and your book.
I went right away to your website and started reading interviews.
I bought the book for my Christmas gift to myself, and I have
enjoyed it thoroughly. I passed it along to one of my best friends
here in Montana who was also in Lubbock during 68-77 and knows
many of the people in the book as well. I didnt know him
in Lubbock, but when he applied for a job at this place I was
working, I knew all of his references. Welcome to the Lubbock
I lived in Lubbock 72-76. My first day
there I went with a group of people to the 14th street house,
where Joey, Butch, Sharon etc. were living. The Flatlanders recording
was hot of the press, and they were having an album release party.
I didnt know much of anybody so I just found a spot in
the bay window seat, in front of one of the speakers, and just
tried to take it all in. I was shocked at first when Jimmys
voice cleared a path through the mix, but I had no where to run
so I stayed put. My older brother had explained to me, well
it may sound like country but its really existential poetry
set to music!...youll see, it really grows
on you. He was right.
The interview with Sharon reminded me
there were lots of folks doing their own thing to help create
the magic, the show. My sister, who was seeing Eddie Beethoven
at the time, would find out when and where there was going to
be music and start rounding up people to go. It wasnt,
do you want to go? it was WE GOTTA GO!
She would spread the word, with a sense of life or death urgency,
to her family, friends and anyone that would listen. Next thing
you know there would be hundreds of people showing up at the
because there was a circle of people all spreading the word from
one circle to the next, etc. They might not know exactly what
was going to happen but they were going to be part of it when
I enjoyed the David Halley interview
and he actually mentioned me, a guy named Paul". I
owned the Supernatural food store at the time. We became pretty
good friends at a time when he was writing music in earnest and
courting his soon to be (as David put it) future ex wife Linda.
David talked about the Lubbock sense of humor, he definitely
has it. He used to have this female dog, I think her name was
Sally, which would attract a pack of male dogs at certain times
of the season. David would occasionally lose it and chase after
them yelling, waving his arms and kicking at them. The dogs would
run just far enough away where he couldnt catch them and
then drift back around, hoping opportunity would smile on them.
I would laugh and tease him about it because, well I just couldnt
help myself, but it drove David crazy. One day I saw this gleam
in Daves eye and then this look of peace slowly spread
across his face. It wasnt too long after that, he calls
me up and tells me hes going out of town for a week and
would I mind taking care of his dog? So when hes dropping
off the dog I notice the same gleam in his eye, but it doesnt
register in my brain till the next morning when I wake up to
the sound of howling, fighting dogs. I look out the window and
there are no less than 15 male dogs of all shapes and sizes,
surrounding my house. By the end of the week I was foaming at
the mouth, muttering nonsense under my breath and maintaining
a supply of stones in my pocket as ammo to clear a path. Needless
to say, David was pretty smug when he came to pick up Sally,
but I had learned my lesson so I politely informed him, NO!
she was no trouble at all, but the next time he was planning
a trip he might explore other opportunities for dog care. He
smiled and winked as he left, having duly noted the bags under
my eyes, foam on my chin and the rocks in my pocket.
Your book is wonderful therapy. Its so uplifting
to hear of the well deserved
successes of the Lubbock (west Texas) folk. And yes there is
something cosmic about that area and people. The natives in Alaska
and Montana, where I have lived, are very tuned into that kind
of thing, special places(or people) where the dividing line between
the spiritual and material world is particularly thin. Lubbock
is a paradox, it is higher in altitude than where I live in Montana,
but since everything is flat there, most people dont realize
they are standing on the mountain top, only without the mountain.
The folks there always struck me as kind of like the weather,
extreme. Not much middle of the road, incredibly amazing or incredibly
Thanks! And much success in your writing,
Subject: The Picks
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 12:34 PM
Dear Mr. Oglesby,
I saw the mention of you and your book "Fire
in the Water..." in Texas Highways February magazine.
It was very interesting to read about you and the book. My husband,
John and I are looking forward to reading it.
I graduated in the LHS class of '55 with Buddy
Holly and several of the people
associated with him in his life and career. That was the last
year there was just the one white high school in Lubbock, so
we knew kids from all parts of town. There was not much to do
in Lubbock except go to the movies, watch Football in the Fall
or get involved in music.
In August of 1957 I married John
Pickering who was a member of
"The Picks" who were Buddy Holly's vocal backup group
on 9 of the 12 songs on the 1957 "The Chirping Crickets"
Brunswick album. Their voices are on Oh Boy, Maybe Baby and 7
other songs. In 1984 The Picks went back into the studio and
put harmony voices on a lot more of Buddy Holly solo masters
that were provided by MCA Records. Those songs are on CDs found
worldwide credited as "Buddy Holly And The Picks".
We invite you to visit our web site: www.buddyhollyandthepicks.com
for more detail information.
I am sorry that before you published your book, you were not
able to speak with John about his involvement in the music industry
in Lubbock, the South Plains, Clovis and Portales NM. John began
singing on the radio and in personal appearances in the South
Plains and other areas of Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico in
1939 when he was 5 years old. He joined his Mom, Pop and brother
Bill to form "The Pickering Family" quartet. They sang
on several stations in these areas.
While John was attending Texas Tech he also sang with men's quartets
including The Plainsmen with pianist Lawrence
Happy Rhythm Boys and The Debonairs
who won the Horace Heidt Show in about 1955. John's brother was
doing DJ work in the area. Jerry
DJ in Lubbock in the 50s was installed in the Country Music Hall
of Fame in Nashville in 2004. Jerry sang with the Pickering Family
when Bill was in the Navy and after Mr. Pickering died. If he
is not mentioned in your book, he deserves a mention. He died
December 10, 2006 in Kent Ohio where he was a well respected
DJ for over 28 years.
The summer of 1957 after John graduated from TT with a degree
in Petroleum Geology he and The Picks did a lot of vocal backup
work in Clovis for Norman Petty. The most memorable was the recording
of "Oh Boy" in July followed in October by 8 other
songs to complete the only group-sound album recorded and released
while Buddy was alive.
John was hired to work in Corpus Christi, Texas by the Humble
Oil and Refining Company August 28, 1957 making if difficult
to return to Clovis (670 miles one way) to continue doing backup
work. John had to serve in the military from May 1, to November
1, 1958. That is the reason The Roses did the work for Buddy
John is writing a book about all his family's musical experiences
from the time his father began performing in about 1920 and his
mother in 1925.
The days of recording in Nashville as The Pickering Brothers
and in Houston continued the story until the 1970s when Bill
suffered an aneurism and was unable to perform for 10 years.
Bill died in January of 1985 just six months after they had done
more overdubs. The third Pick is Bob Lapham of Abilene, Texas,
a retired newspaper editor with the Abilene Reporter News.
John continues to record and perform in the Houston area. Recently
he did backup vocals for Sonny West on 10 new Rock-a-Billy songs
The days of singing on the South Plains and Eastern New Mexico
set the stage for a career of singing. Including the careers
of his parents before him, his is an interesting story of 87
years of music including many years in the Lubbock area.
Thank you for your time.
Pick Records, Inc.
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