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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:

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"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


Subject: C. B. Stubblefield, Little Pete, Cuz, Ennis
Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2002 21:58 EST
From: "Dee Purkeypile"

My name is Dee Purkeypile.
I first met Stubbs when I was skipping chemistry lab at Tech in 1972. I was also playing in a band at the time called Weldon Housenfluk. We were an underground rock band in the early seventies comprised of Tech students that basically threw parties at our rehearsals and bought the beer for our gigs at the Cotton Club. A couple hundred of our best friends would show up for the Hosenfluker gigs.

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.

Now, since Jesse Taylor and Joe Ely had already broken ground at his place a few weeks before, we were just extremely honored to play on a Sunday night. Most folks in the restaurant that night were older middle aged (jeez, that's me now!) blue collar workers from the cottonseed de-linting plant behind the club (I guess you could've call me a "no collar worker", as a T-shirted Tech student), and some Sunday evening church goers who stopped in for some Bar-B-Que for dinner. We set up on a little patch of red checkered linoleum near the cash register. We played about two hours that night and eventually some of our friends showed up. Well, the next week the word started spreading. "Hey man! Check this cool place out on East Broadway." It wasn't long before the musicians from all parts of town started showing up.

I have to stop right here and tell you that the Housenflukers were not known for the blues. We played Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, etc. But it was a short step from rock to blues. We actually got turned on to the blues when we heard a single of 'Hound Dog" performed by a local mysterious female vocalist, Sarah Bone. Sarah had supposedly recorded this single while she and her husband had a band in Arizona. I mean she was wailin' like I had never heard anyone but Janis Joplin do. So we just had to meet her when we found out she lived in Lubbock. We met Sarah at a time when she wasn't singing anymore and we were very disappointed. However, her husband had the most incredible blues album collection I had ever seen (remember, I was 19). I asked him to play a few tunes from the albums and asked what instrument he had played in the band. Well, this guy had short hair and looked pretty square to us, so we really didn't know what to think of him. He said he had played the accordion. His name of course was Ponte Bone, but we met him at a time when he was not playing.

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.

Now, when I first met C.B., he had several guys who would hang out at his place. After several great meals while skipping class, I became pretty good friends with them. Cuz was a soft spoken elderly man with a deep warmth of soul radiating outward to all people. He only had one arm, but that didn't stop him from helping C.B. He would even bring in some equipment on Sunday evenings just before the jam. Ennis worked at the de-linting plant and had one gray eye. Now that I think about it, I'm sure he was blind in that eye. Ennis was a regular patron and would have a dinner and beers and stay and watch the jam until he had to leave.

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 brightly shining.

Hey, maybe next time I'll tell you about Crazy Charlie and Mad-dog, heisting the beer truck after sitting at Stubb's place all morning drinking beer, or Joe Ely playing "percussion" on a pair of Tabasco bottles, or Smokey Joe Miller taking a twenty minute solo on his baritone sax, or this skinny little 19 year old kid named Stevie Ray Vaughn recording tunes off the juke box and making them huge hits years later as he ascended to massive stardom. Stevie, Stubbs, Little Pete, Cuz, Ennis, Mad-dog and others have all passed on to that great Bar-B-Que joint in the sky! That's where I want to go when its my time and meet all my old friends.

We love you guys!
"Love and Happiness", ya'll!


Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 22:14 EST
From: Dee Purkeypile
To: virtualubbock

Many stories remain as yet untold and indeed lurk in the memories of
countless wonderful inhabitants of the Llano Estacado. I have a story about
wild dog packs near the Caprock that harried young Boy Scouts at the Post
camp. Crazy Charlie is a wild story. He was a "square" newspaper editor in
the 60's who "turned on, tuned in and dropped out" of normal society. In the
seventies, he was a Viet Nam War protestor. He protested by dynamiting an
electrical substation that blacked out the City of Slaton, while we were
playing a teen dance. It was pretty weird not having any light anywhere. We
tried to pack up in complete darkness by cigarette lighters. Don't ask me
why he did the deed, he was Crazy.

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
near Broadway. The side of the trailer folded down and acted as a stage for
bands to play on. This must have been around 1969 to 1971. It was a short
period of time, one summer. It didn't take long for some folks to think the
kids were having too much fun and the activity was "banned". During that
period, many local bands played for free in the park on a Sunday afternoon.
I remember maybe 1500 to 2000 people showing up.

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 remember those
elms being topped off by the May 11th Tornado that hit Lubbock in 1970. Man
oh man, I was up on my parents house on 70th and Slide when the Tornados
hit. I could see nothing but an angry red dust cloud over Downtown with
wicked lightning bolts lancing through the roiling cloud of dust. I remember
my good friend, Bill Perkins (who later became the Housenfluker's bass
player), relating his family's experience. He lived over by the Lubbock
Country Club area. They were in the living room watching TV when they heard
the sound of a hundred freight trains heading straight for their house. They
acted almost immediately and ran to the bedroom furthest from the sound and
pulled a mattress over them as they huddled in the corner. The house
screamed and shook in agony for maybe half a minute, which must have seemed
like ages. The storm raged outside as all power was lost and rain fell in
torrents. The winds eventually died down and that incredible sound grew ever
more faint as it moved closer to downtown.

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
injuring 2000 by conservative count." Bill and his family survived by making that crucial move to the bedroom. When they finally felt safe to move, they dicovered the garage, kitchen and living room where the entire family had been, was gone... vanished...obliterated. Many people lost their lives that night. The Perkins' were glad to counted among the survivors.

Next time I'll talk about the famous Tech Getto parties that were thrown in
the early seventies.

Peace, Love and Happiness,


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