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."
C. B. Stubblefield, Little Pete, Cuz, Ennis
name is Dee Purkeypile.
Jesse Taylor had dropped by one of our rehearsals and said he was going to bring some friends together to play at this little Bar-B-Que place on East Broadway. You've no doubt read Jesse's story about how he first met Stubb's. Well, those friends Jesse referred to, happened to be the seminal start of the original Joe Ely Band. It wasn't long before the Housenflukers made it down to Stubb's place to hear the really cool blues singles on his juke box and eat some terrific Q.
I called Jesse up and asked him if it would be alright if I brought the band over to Stubb's to jam the blues. He laughed and said sure, that would be a great idea since he had played there just a week or two earlier. I went down to Stubb's place and walked in to introduce myself and see if we could play in his restaurant. When I asked him if we could play the blues in his restaurant, he broke out in a great big old grin and said "Suuuuurre," in a long slow drawl. I'm sure he thought it pretty strange that these young white kids would want to come play "the blues" in his little Bar-B-Que joint on the East sideof town.
You have to remember, we would play anywhere people would let us setup, and yeah, this was the Eastside, where after-hours nightclubs (The Thunderbird Lounge to name one) and traveling gambling joint/bootlegger parties were held in a rotation of "residences". We were 19 to 21 and were discovering "cool" places to hang out. Lubbock was not known for its cultural mixing. But we were young people in the early seventies who recognized no racial boundaries. People were just people, right?
Well there were certainly some cultural interchange, no doubt. I still remember the black musicians coming up to me after the first jams, shaking my hand in a soul brother handshake and saying, "You're bad, man!" I looked at him and said "What? I'm sorry, I'll try to do better next time!" he just laughed and said, "No, man, bad means good". How unhip could I possibly be.
We all learned and shared and played together and realized
that Stubb's Bar-B-Que
was a great cultural cross-roads for people of all kinds. Stubb's
once told me that two middle aged white ladies pulled up on a
Sunday afternoon and came in and politely asked C.B. if he served
'White folks" in here. C.B. just smiled that big flashing
grin and said, "No Mam! We can't fit them on the plate!"
They all laughed, and the ladies sat down for a terrific lunch.
Stubb's heart was as big as the Grand Canyon. He often fed folks
who were down on their luck and hungry. I think if he could have
done any one great and lasting thing in this world, it would
have been to feed all the hungry people on the planet.
We thanked Ponte
and Sarah profusely for allowing us to intrude on their household.
You know, it wasn't much later that Ponte hooked up with Joe
Ely and Lloyd
Maines, Jesse, Gregg Wright
and other buds to jam down at Stubbs.
Little Pete was maybe 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall. Indeed, he was small in stature but huge in heart. He would make his way to our table with a pitcher of beer and take our order with smart cracks about our age. We fell right in with him and became great friends. I still remember catching a ride home with him in his huge sedan. It may have even been on old Cadillac. I looked down at the brake and gas pedal and saw that he had taped wooden blocks on them to allow his feet to operate the car. He sat on some cushions and could just barely see over the dash. I closed my eyes most of the way to our destination. We made it home, but I don't think I would have ever ridden with him again. Whew, that was one scary ride at 3:00 a.m. On Sundays for the Jam Session, Little Pete would strut up to the stage in a three piece suit and welcome the audience. When we found out he could sing, it wasn't long before he was up on stage, standing in a chair, singing and entertaining the packed little joint.
C.B. would also come up and introduce players and start telling stories. He would often hearken back to his days as a youth on the family farm in Navasota, picking cotton. That was hard, backbreaking work, but he told us he survived it through the strength of his family and especially his father, a devout Baptist minister. Stubbs soon wanted to sing a song. I had been singing "Moondance" by Van Morrison and would occasionally break out the old classic "Summertime". Stubb just got up and started singing it one time and he never stopped singing it until his last ride in Austin. We were all a little surprised to realize that Stubbs had the worst timing of anyone we had ever known. It became a custom for C.B. to sing "Summertime", and was a real art to follow him until he would tell the band to "break it on down" to tell us he was "Just a Cook, Y'all!"
When we asked what was in his sauce, Stubbs just smiles and
said, Love and Happiness". I think we all got to know the
man, C.B. Stubblefield, at that time as we were also growing
through that three or four year period. I can't begin to tell
you of the countless nights when we locked ourselves in at 2:00
a.m., with chains on the front door, the police knocking to get
our attention, the band playing until everyone was exhausted
and then everyone leaving quietly, headin' home. Those were truly
special nights when the "Lubbock Lights" were indeed
We love you guys!
30 Oct 2002 22:14 EST
Many stories remain as yet untold and indeed lurk in the memories
You may have been too young to remember "Gentle Sundays" in Mackenzie
Park. Your dad might. The City Parks and Recreation department
had at least one cool person on staff that allowed the use of
a special trailer. The site was in the park
It was Lubbock's "Summer of Love". Bell bottoms, leather fringe, halter tops, psychedelic patterns, wide belts and "long hair" were the accoutrement of choice. This was a very cool event with great music and great vibes. It only lasted one summer but it was the idea that this could happen in Lubbock. Frisbees and footballs flying, picnics spread out under the huge elms. It was a slice of freedom and a dream of what could be. We were all young and full of life's joy. What a beautiful time!
You know, I guess it was '69 or early '70, because I don't
To quote Dave Knapp who
wrote about this terrible event in a pictorial memorium of the
night, "In one frightful, seemingly endless swoop, a killer
tornado packing fringe winds of 200 mph gouged a $200 million
path of destruction through the heart of Lubbock at 9:46 p.m.,
May 11, 1970, ultimately killing a least 26 people and
Next time I'll talk about the famous Tech Getto parties that
were thrown in
Peace, Love and Happiness,
2007 Chris Oglesby
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