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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

From: Brock Mayo
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?

Brock Mayo

Editor's note: If anyone knows where to find this record, please CONTACT US.

From: Dan Atcheson
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.

From: Trace Reddell
Sent: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 10:12 am
Subject: virtualubbock

Hey Chris,
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
Lubbock All-Stars 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!


From: Steve Cooper
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 Night’s Fun” by our band, Johnny Faa (king of the gypsies). If you get a few minutes, I’d love for you to check out our web site. http://johnnyfaa.com There’s 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 the Beaumonts!

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 you later

Troy Wayne (Todd Engram) Delco

Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 14:15:27 EDT
Subject: Response to one of your books
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 "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. 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.

Michael Allsup
Three Dog Night

FROM: John 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 Taylor’s son/daughter, Carrie Young, asking for a copy of his video.

If I can answer any questions please let me know.

John Frazier
Named one of the top 100 producers in America for 2002
Chosen as the 2005 American Film Institute/Corporation for Public Broadcasting Scholarship Recipient

FROM: Colorado Bob
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

Jerry Goolsby 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.

Woods Drinkwater

Editor's note: We have the answer!

From: Johnny Hughes
Wednesday, May 02, 2007 8:00 AM
Subject: Lubbock gambling history

Hey Chris:

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 web sites.

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.

Johnny Hughes

Go to article: "Titanic Thompson & Son"

From: Landa Hardin
Subject: Tom Jones
Monday, April 09, 2007 10:08 PM

Hi all,
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 11a.m.
God Bless,
Landa Hardin

From: Mark Gunderson
Subject: Re: stubbs memoirs, etc.
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 5:46 PM
Attached 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.
"Stubb's Memoirs"
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.

From: Miz Ayn
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...

please...watch...and enjoy...


From: Paul Pendery
Subject: Your book!
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 11:58 AM

Dear Chris
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 didn’t 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 Zone.”

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 Flatlander’s recording was hot of the press, and they were having an album release party. I didn’t 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 Jimmy’s 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 it’s really existential poetry set to music”!...”you’ll 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 wasn’t, “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 Cotton Club, 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 it did.

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 couldn’t 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 couldn’t help myself, but it drove David crazy. One day I saw this gleam in Dave’s eye and then this look of peace slowly spread across his face. It wasn’t too long after that, he calls me up and tells me he’s going out of town for a week and would I mind taking care of his dog? So when he’s dropping off the dog I notice the same gleam in his eye, but it doesn’t 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. It’s 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 don’t 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 awful.

Thanks! And much success in your writing,

Paul Pendery

From: Vicky Pickering
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 Ivey, The 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 "Jaybird" Drennan, 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 in 1958.

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 he recorded.

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.

Vicky Pickering
Pick Records, Inc.
Houston TX

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