Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends
of West Texas Music
"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."
-continued from page 1-
Chris: Tell me about working at the Hayloft Dinner theater.What all went on there?
Sharon: Lots of different plays. I worked there for about seven years, off and on - which was a wonderful job. I swore that I would work at that job even if I became a millionaire cause I loved it so much. Cause it was like theater and all you had to do was go out and talk to these people. It was a great, great job; First of all because I love the theater; second of all, it was great tips. You made wonderful tips for doing not a whole lot of work. Its not like a regular waitress where you have to serve all of the food. It was buffet, and all you had to do was serve drinks; and birthday cakes with little sparklers on em Youd run em out. We had different stupid little outfits that we had to wear. Back then, of course, all of us were young and had cute little figures, so it worked.
Chris: What kind of shows would go on out there?
Sharon: Well, thered be 3-Act plays. Theyd come down on that stage that was up in the ceiling, and then it would lower down for each act. There were jillions of plays so I cant remember the name of any of em.
One time, the stage did not come down because the electricity went out. There was a full house of people and the stage wouldnt come down. So I happened to have my Autoharp out there that night, and I decided to sing a little song for the people. I remember the song - it was "Reaping in the Valley, Sewing on the Mountain" - Because it was flooding outside, I sang that song: "Wont be water, Itll be fire next time." That was pretty much my first musical concert I had ever given. I sang it in my little Hayloft Dinner outfit, the little short thing, playing my Autoharp solo I got a huge applause. And then they got the stage fixed and it came down and everything was fine.
Chris: Thats like a Judy Garland movie.
Sharon: Just like the movies; but God, Im tellin ya First of all, I cant really sing really great. But I did enjoy it. I got a little taste of what my musician friends experience; that experience of - first of all - being "one with the music" and just loving the sound of the Autoharp in my ear; it's such a pure joy. Then second of all, that feeling after you play a song and people are appreciative of it. It makes you feel happy. I think I had to do that just to understand all of my friends that play music.
Chris: Well, thats what I think is one of the
great common themes with all that music from Lubbock, is it really
almost is meant to be experienced first-hand.
This is something I want to ask: Ive heard that you had an amazing ability that when anybody from out of town came to Lubbock - who was exotic or foreign - you had the ability to go find them. Musicians or dancers
Sharon: There were actually some dancers from Transylvania
that came to town. But I dont think I had that ability
more than anybody else there. Its just that we would happen
to hear that they came to town on the radio, like my friends
Debbie Milosevich and Debbie Neal, and a couple of other
girls that I knew. We were living on 14th Street at the time,
which is not very far from the university. We heard on the radio
they were coming, so we just said, "Lets go over there
and see these Yugoslavian dancers." We went over there and
were watching them warm up and they were just great! And they
gave us free tickets to the show.
Sharon: I have the most fondest, fondest memories of
The Cotton Club because there
was a dance floor there. It was THE BEST dance floor! The wood
was so smooth, and they would take care of it by putting this
sawdust on it and clean it. It was like PERFECT, perfect sized.
And then Joe and his band would play. And my dear, dear friend
Charlie Sanders who
is not living anymore; he just died last year was my dance
partner. I dont know if youve ever had a really good
dance partner; They might not be your romantic intention but
they are your best dance partner. Charlie was my best dance partner,
and we would dance in this incredible dance floor to this incredible
music that Joe would play when he was playin with the first
Ely Band with Lloyd
Maines and Ponty
Bone and Jesse
I mean, it was some of the most exquisite
ever played! And that was in a time where everybody danced.
Chris: Pretty well.
Sharon: Every time they played, I would be there. Sometimes Id even wear a formal. [Laughs] It was so funny! I would wear a formal to the Cotton Club! Cause it was like my dancing dress. And Charlie Sanders was a computer guy, and he was married to Rosie Sanders; she was so kind to let me dance with her husband. But he was just this strong, rhythmic kind of a guy, and we would pretend like we would be, yknow, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers or hed say, "Alright, you be Ann Margaret and Ill be Elvis." And we would dance, Im tellin ya it was incredible! I would run and jump into his arms, and he would swing me around and people would stand back. It was heaven!
Chris: And people say Lubbocks boring. Its not boring at all!
Sharon: Oh, No! And I figured something about the Cotton Club Listen to this theory I have: You know, on Saturday night in the old days, during the 50s, when the Lubbock Lights were discovered All over the Panhandle theres all these little honky-tonks, and everybody back then would dance in circles and go in a certain way. So its Saturday night; here you are in this flying saucer and you look down on the Panhandle. Maybe they have these sensors where they pick up energy. And maybe they see all these little circles of energy. Like, "Here it is, Saturday night again. And heres all these energy circles;" Red-heat circles is what I call em. And they would pick up on these, and they were trying to figger out what the hell they were! They really didnt know what dancing was but maybe they were looking for where those heat circles were, and they came down pretty low. What do you think?
Chris: I think thats a good theory: Dancing in circles can bring down those higher elemental intelligences
Sharon: Yes! Think of the energy thats put out! And really, every weekend thats what people would do.
Chris: Explosive energy.
Sharon: Very! I mean I felt that energy from dancing
and I know other people did, too. There was great dancers that
would come out. I would have given anything to have a moving
camera back then to catch that. Because truly those people would
come out of the woodwork, out of their little bitty homes in
Lubbock. I would give anything to see how they were decorated.
Chris: Thats about all thats out there in Lubbock: buildings and people.
Sharon: Yea. And then, one more thing: I did a little
tour thing when the Buddy Holly people started coming to town.
I got this Cadillac convertible with bullhorns on the front,
and Id take people on little tours of Lubbock.
Chris: They knew Buddy Holly was from Lubbock.
Sharon: Yes. So they wanted to come. But once they got there, they wanted much rather to be in Austin than in Lubbock. But nevertheless, I took them on a tour of Lubbock. Took em to the Cotton Club. Thats when Joe owned the Cotton Club. Took em to Buddy Hollys grave. Took em to the Prairie Dog Town; yknow, all the tourist attractions of Lubbock. Theres at least four or five. I took em to Lubbock High School. Thats where I graduated. I just love it! Thats the most beautiful school! I just went back this year, and I love going through those halls. That school is a great space.
Chris: It is. Its a great place to be in school.
Sharon: It was. I was in theater there. I climbed up in that bell tower; yknow, the one that if you get caught youll get kicked out of school for the rest of your life? I had on a clown suit and I climbed to the very top of that thing. Im tellin ya, Its a miracle Im still alive.
Anyway, that tour business my idea. I knew I was fixin to leave Lubbock because Joe was moving to Austin - needless to say I wasnt about to stay in Lubbock without Joe there. So I ended up goin to Austin. But thats about when I got the idea to take people on tours of Lubbock. That was sort of my way of saying "goodbye" to Lubbock.
Chris: So what do you think about Lubbock now? Do you ever go back there? Do you have any feeling about it, any reflections?
Sharon: My parents still live there, and I go there
about once every month or so, about
every two months.
But I'm really glad you're focusing on this spiritual aspect
of the whole thing. That's a very real thing that a lot of people
2007 Chris Oglesby
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