Friday, February 06, 2009

Four Decades, Four Hundred Albums

I've been thinking about this list now for quite some time. I compiled the list from top album lists I had compiled going back years. I have listened to all of these albums and own most of them in either record, CD or MP3 format.

When this decade is done in 11 months I will update it and rename it Five Decades, Five Hundred Albums.

The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street (1972)
The Indestructible Beat of Soweto (1986)
David Murray: Shakill's Warrior (1991)
The Grateful Dead: Live / Dead (1969)
Miles Davis: A Tribute to Jack Johnson (1971)
The Clash: London Calling (1980)
The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Bruce Springsteen: Born in the U.S.A. (1984)
Derek & the Dominos: Layla (1970)
Bob Dylan/The Band: The Basement Tapes (1975)
Al Green: Call Me (1973)
Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)
Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Rust Never Sleeps (1979)
Freedy Johnston: Can You Fly (1992)
Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde (1966)
Moby: Play (1999)
Lucinda Williams: Lucinda Williams (1988)
Iris DeMent: My Life (1994)
The Beatles: Rubber Soul (1965)
DeBarge: In a Special Way (1983)
Arto Lindsay: Mundo Civilizado (1997)
DJ Shadow: Endtroducing . . . DJ Shadow (1996)
The Band: Music From Big Pink (1968)
Television: Marquee Moon (1977)
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (1964)
The Mekons: Fear & Whiskey (1985)
The Rolling Stones: Some Girls (1978)
Tricky: Maxinquaye (1995)
X: Wild Gift (1981)
Steely Dan: Pretzel Logic (1974)
Ornette Coleman: Of Human Feelings (1982)
Prince: Sign 'O' the Times (1987)
Liz Phair: Exile in Guyville (1993)
Eno: Another Green World (1976)
Ray Charles: Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music (1962)
L.L. Cool J: Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)
The Mekons: The Mekons Rock 'n' Roll (1989)
Franco & Rochereau: Omona Wapi (1985)
Jimi Hendrix: Are You Experienced? (1967)
Fugees: The Score (1996)
Guitar Paradise of East Africa (1991)
Elvis Costello and the Attractions: Trust (1981)
Marshall Crenshaw: Field Day (1983)
Graham Parker & the Rumour: Squeezing Out Sparks (1979)
Nick Lowe: Pure Pop for Now People (1978)
Paul Simon: Paul Simon (1972)
Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul (1968)
Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
Randy Newman: 12 Songs (1970)
The Robert Cray Band: Strong Persuader (1986)
Nirvana: In Utero (1993)
Joe Cocker: Joe Cocker! (1969)
Neil Young: Tonight's the Night (1975)
Mzwakhe Mbuli: Resistance Is Defence (1992)
Luna: Penthouse (1995)
Latin Playboys: Latin Playboys (1994)
King Sunny Adé and His African Beats: Juju Music (1982)
Jimmy Cliff et al.: The Harder They Come (1973)
Laurie Anderson: Strange Angels (1989)
Red Hot and Blue (1990)
Sly & the Family Stone: There's a Riot Goin' On (1971)
Sonic Youth: A Thousand Leaves (1998)
Sonny Rollins: G-Man (1987)
Bob Dylan: Bringin' It All Back Home (1965)
Talking Heads: Remain in Light (1980)
The Magnetic Fields: 69 Love Songs (1999)
The New York Dolls: In Too Much Too Soon (1974)
The Beatles: Revolver (1966)
The Replacements: Let It Be (1984)
Amy Rigby: Diary of a Mod Housewife (1996)
Aretha Franklin: Who's Zoomin' Who? (1985)
Beastie Boys: Lisenced to Ill (1986)
Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols (1977)
Sleater-Kinney: Dig Me Out (1997)
The Wild Tchoupitoulas: The Wild Tchoupitoulas (1976)
Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue (1998)
Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (1977)
John Prine: In Spite of Ourselves (1999)
Culture: Two Sevens Clash (1987)
Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved A Man (1967)
Beck: Mellow Gold (1994)
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Willy and the Poor Boys (1969)
Bob Dylan: Highway '61 Revisited (1966)
Archers of Loaf: Vee Vee (1995)
Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band: Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band (1976)
English Beat: Wha'ppen? (1981)
Marshall Crenshaw: Marshall Crenshaw (1982)
The Rolling Stones: Out of Our Heads (1965)
Laurie Anderson: United States Live (1984)
Joni Mitchell: For the Roses (1972)
The Rolling Stones: Beggar's Banquet (1968)
James Blood Ulmer: Odyssey (1983)
Nirvana: Nevermind (1991)
Patti Smith: Horses (1975)
Rod Stewart: Every Picture Tells a Story (1971)
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation (1988)
The Wailers: Burnin' (1974)
Van Morrison: Moondance (1970)
Yo La Tengo: I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (1997)
The Clash: The Clash (1979)
Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978)
Prince: Dirty Mind (1980)
PJ Harvey: Rid of Me (1993)
The New York Dolls: The New York Dolls (1973)
Neil Young: Freedom (1989)
L7: Bricks Are Heavy (1992)
Pixies: Bossanova (1990)
Bonnie Raitt: Give It Up (1972)
Blondie: Parallel Lines (1978)
Cornershop: When I Was Born for the 7th Time (1997)
The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
De La Soul: Buhloone Mindstate (1993)
Fluffy: Black Eye (1996)
Gram Parsons: Grievous Angel (1974)
Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (1969)
Hüsker Dü: Flip Your Wig (1985)
James Carter: The Real Quietstorm (1995)
John Prine: Sweet Revenge (1973)
Buffalo Springfield: Buffalo Springfield (1966)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Dancer with Bruised Knees (1977)
George Clinton: Computer Games (1982)
Van Morrison: Astral Weeks (1968)
Gang of Four: Solid Gold (1981)
Bonnie Raitt: Home Plate (1975)
Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
Lou Reed: New Sensations (1984)
Lucinda Williams: Sweet Old World (1992)
Neil Young: After the Gold Rush (1970)
Old 97's: Fight Songs (1999)
Ornette Coleman: In All Languages (1987)
Otis Redding: Otis Blue (1965)
Linton Kwesi Johnson: Tings an' Times (1991)
Pere Ubu: Dub Housing (1979)
Ramones: Ramones (1976)
Remmy Ongala & Orchestre Super Matimila: Songs for the Poor Man (1989)
Sonic Youth: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star (1984)
The Blasters: Non Fiction (1983)
The Pogues: Rum Sodomy & the Lash (1986)
The Who: Who's Next (1971)
Aretha Franklin: Young, Gifted and Black (1972)
Bob Marley & the Wailers: Natty Dread (1975)
Pere Ubu: The Tenement Year (1988)
The Beatles: Abbey Road (1969)
The Rolling Stones: Flowers (1967)
Tom Robinson: Sector 27 (1980)
Bob Dylan: Under the Red Sky (1990)
English Beat: Special Beat Service (1982)
Graham Parker: Howlin Wind (1976)
James Brown: Sex Machine (1970)
Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Spinning Around the Sun (1993)
John Lennon: Imagine (1971)
Joni Mitchell: Court and Spark (1974)
Liz Phair: Whitechocolatespaceegg (1998)
Los Lobos: How Will the Wolf Survive? (1984)
Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland (1968)
Lou Reed: Legendary Hearts (1983)
Neil Young: Comes a Time (1978)
Paul Simon: Graceland (1986)
Pavement: Slanted and Enchanted (1992)
Nirvana: MTV Unplugged in New York (1994)
The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (1966)
Pavement: Wowee Zowee (1995)
Le Tigre: Le Tigre (1999)
Jungle Brothers: Done by the Forces of Nature (1989)
Pete Townshend: Empty Glass (1980)
Ramones: Rocket to Russia (1977)
Rosanne Cash: Interiors (1991)
Sonic Youth: Sister (1987)
The Sonny Sharrock Band: Highlife (1991)
Stevie Wonder: Innervisions (1973)
The Beautiful South: Blue Is the Colour (1996)
The Clash: Sandinista! (1981)
The Replacements: Tim (1985)
Van Morrison: Into the Music (1979)
Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique (1989)
Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks (1975)
The Flying Burrito Brothers: Gilded Palace of Sin (1974)
The Notorious B.I.G.: Life After Death (1997)
Heartbeat of Soweto (1988)
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Cosmo's Factory (1970)
Bob Dylan: John Wesley Harding (1968)
Elvis Costello and the Attractions: This Year’s Model (1978)
The Go-Betweens: Tallulah (1987)
George Clinton: You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish (1983)
Loudon Wainwright III: Career Moves (1993)
Lynyrd Skynyrd: Pronounced Leh-nerd Skeh-nerd (1973)
Ike & Tina Turner: River Deep Mountain High (1966)
Madonna: I'm Breathless (1990)
King Sunny Adé and His African Beats: Aura (1984)
The Beach Boys: Wild Honey (1967)
Hüsker Dü: Candy Apple Grey (1986)
Holy Modal Rounders: Too Much Fun (1999)
Manfred Mann's Earth Band: Manfred Mann's Earth Band (1972)
Nick Lowe: Labour of Lust (1979)
Ornette Coleman and Prime Time: Virgin Beauty (1988)
Parliament: Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome (1977)
Pavement: Brighten the Corners (1997)
Peter Stampfel: You Must Remember This . . . (1995)
Professor Longhair: Crawfish Fiesta (1980)
R.E.M.: Out of Time (1991)
Randy Newman: Good Old Boys (1974)
Richard & Linda Thompson: Shoot Out the Lights (1982)
The Rolling Stones: Tattoo You (1981)
Scritti Politti: Cupid & Psyche ’85 (1985)
Sleater-Kinney: Call the Doctor (1996)
Sonic Youth: Dirty (1992)
Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
The Coup: Steal This Album (1998)
The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers (1971)
Ambitious Lovers: Greed (1998)
Pavement: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994)
Aretha Franklin: Spirit in the Dark (1970)
Big Star: Radio City (1974)
Bonnie Raitt: Luck of the Draw (1991)
Bruce Springsteen: Tunnel of Love (1987)
The Who: Tommy (1969)
De La Soul: 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
Elvis Costello and the Attractions: Blood and Chocolate (1986)
Fleetwood Mac: Fleetwood Mac (1975)
The Byrds: Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968)
Funkadelic: One Nation Under a Groove (1978)
Hole: Live Through This (1994)
James Carter: Conversin' With the Elders (1996)
Gang of Four: Entertainment! (1980)
John Prine: Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings (1995)
Joni Mitchell: Blue (1971)
Lynyrd Skynyrd: Street Survivors (1977)
Michael Jackson: Off the Wall (1979)
Miles Davis: Agharta (1976)
P.M. Dawn: The Bliss Album . . . ? (1993)
Prince and the Revolution: Purple Rain (1984)
R.E.M.: Murmur (1983)
Kid Creole and the Coconuts: Wise Guy (1982)
The Rolling Stones: Aftermath (1966)
Latin Playboys: Dose (1999)
PJ Harvey: Is This Desire? (1998)
Psychedelic Furs: Talk Talk Talk (1981)
Neil Young: Time Fades Away (1973)
Talking Heads: Little Creatures (1985)
The Roches: A Dove (1992)
Alberta Hunter: Amtrak Blues (1980)
Andy Fairweather Low: Spider Jiving (1974)
Arthur Blythe: Lenox Avenue Breakdown (1979)
Black Uhuru: Anthem (1984)
The Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed (1969)
The Chills: Submarine Bells (1990)
The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers--A Tribute Album (1997)
The Wailers: Catch a Fire (1972)
David Bowie: Station to Station (1976)
Donald Fagen: The Nightfly (1982)
Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True (1977)
Feelies: The Time for a Witness (1991)
Iris DeMent: The Way I Should (1996)
Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill (1985)
Black Uhuru: Red (1981)
John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band (1970)
Joy of Cooking: Joy of Cooking (1971)
Kid Creole and the Coconuts: Doppelganger (1983)
John Trudell: AKA Graffiti Man (1992)
M People: Elegant Slumming (1994)
Mary Lou Lord: Got No Shadow (1998)
PJ Harvey: To Bring You My Love (1965)
Johnny Cash: At Folsom Prison (1968)
Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet (1990)
Randy Newman: Bad Love (1999)
Steely Dan: Katy Lied (1975)
Steve Earle: Guitar Town (1986)
The Neville Brothers: Yellow Moon (1989)
Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run (1975)
Aretha Franklin: Soul '69 (1969)
Archers of Loaf: Icky Mettle (1993)
Wire: Pink Flag (1978)
Steely Dan: Can't Buy a Thrill (1972)
Sly & Robbie: Rhythm Killers (1987)
Al Green: Livin' for You (1973)
Mahlathini & Mahotella Queens: Paris-Soweto (1988)
Burning Spear: Marcus Garvey (1976)
Camper Van Beethoven: Camper Van Beethoven (1986)
Eric Clapton: 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974)
Folkways: A Vision Shared--A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly (1988)
Ice-T: O.G.: Original Gangster (1991)
John Lennon/Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy (1980)
Lou Reed: New York (1989)
Marvin Gaye: Midnight Love (1982)
Ornette Coleman: Dancing in Your Head (1977)
Mary J. Blige: Share My World (1997)
Pablo Moses: In the Future (1983)
Pet Shop Boys: Very (1993)
Steely Dan: Countdown to Ecstasy (1973)
Linton Kwesi Johnson: Making History (1984)
Los Lobos: Colossal Head (1996)
P.M. Dawn: Dearest Christian, I'm So Very Sorry for Bringing You Here (1998)
Stevie Wonder: Talking Book (1972)
Sugar: File Under: Easy Listening (1994)
The B-52's: The B-52's (1979)
The Kinks: The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (1968)
Sonic Youth: Goo (1990)
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy (1985)
Q-Tip: Amplified (1999)
The Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Inner Mounting Flame (1971)
ABC: The Lexicon of Love (1982)
Al Green: The Belle Album (1977)
Aretha Franklin: A Rose Is Still a Rose (1998)
Arto Lindsay/Ambitious Lovers: Envy (1984)
Bob Dylan / The Band: Before the Flood (1974)
Chic: Real People (1980)
The Grateful Dead: Aoxomoxoa (1969)
Digable Planets: Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) (1993)
Freedy Johnston: Never Home (1997)
Joe Ely: Honky Tonk Masquerade (1978)
Papa Wemba: Emotion (1995)
The Blasters: Hard Line (1985)
Michelle Shocked: Short Sharp Shocked (1988)
The Sonny Sharrock Band: Seize the Rainbow (1987)
Tom Verlaine: Dreamtime (1981)
Beats International: Let Them Eat Bingo (1990)
The Goats: Tricks of the Shade (1992)
Yo La Tengo: Electr-O-Pura (1995)
The Vibrators: Pure Mania (1978)
The Velvet Underground: Loaded (1970)
Graham Parker: Heat Treatment (1976)
John Prine: John Prine (1971)
Mississippi John Hurt: Last Sessions (1972)
Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers: Jonathan Sings! (1983)
Pere Ubu: Cloudland (1989)
P.M. Dawn: Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience (1991)
The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy: Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury (1992)
The Grateful Dead: Workingman's Dead (1970)
The Housemartins: The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death (1987)
The Blasters: The Blasters (1981)
The Who: Quadrophenia (1973)
Toots & the Maytals: Funky Kingston (1975)
Victoria Williams: Loose (1994)
Willie Nelson: Spirit (1996)
Bill Withers: Still Bill (1972)
Bob Dylan: Time Out of Mind (1997)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle: The McGarrigle Hour (1998)
Minutemen: 3-Way Tie for Last (1985)
Muddy Waters: Hard Again (1977)
Roxy Music: Siren (1975)
The Allman Brothers: Brothers and Sisters (1973)
Tom Verlaine: Tom Verlaine (1979)
The Roches: The Roches (1979)
They Might Be Giants: They Might Be Giants (1986)
Beck: Odelay (1996)
Bonnie Raitt: Bonnie Raitt (1971)
The Band: The Band (1969)
Eno: Here Come the Warm Jets (1974)
Hurricane Zouk (1988)
John McLaughlin: Devotion (1970)
Keith Whitley: I Wonder Do You Think of Me (1989)
Kate and Anna McGarrigle: Kate and Anna McGarrigle (1976)
Mekons: Curse of the Mekons (1991)
Prince: 1999 (1982)
Public Image Ltd.: Second Edition (1980)
Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band: The Mountain (1999)
The Beautiful South: 0898 Beautiful South (1992)
Thomas Mapfumo: Ndangariro (1984)
Tom Verlaine: Flash Light (1987)
UB 40: Rat in the Kitchen (1986)
Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy (1978)
Al Green: Al Green Gets Next to You (1971)
X: More Fun in the New World (1983)
Belle and Sebastian: The Boy With the Arab Strap (1998)
John Prine: Common Sense (1975)
The Pretenders: The Pretenders (1979)
Jon Hassell/Brian Eno: Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics (1980)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Love Over and Over (1983)
Mother Earth: Make a Joyful Noise (1969)
Living Colour: Time's Up (1990)
Lynyrd Skynyrd: Second Helping (1974)
Michael Jackson: Thriller (1982)
The Robert Cray Band: I Was Warned (1992)
Van Morrison: His Band & the Street Choir (1970)
Willie Nelson: Stardust (1978)
Ani DiFranco: Dilate (1996)
Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman: Song X (1986)
Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
Rank and File: Sundown (1982)
The Pretenders: Learning to Crawl (1984)
The Go-Betweens: 16 Lovers Lane (1988)
The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground (1969)
The Robert Cray Band: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1988)
Talking Heads: Speaking in Tongues (1983)
The Modern Lovers: The Modern Lovers (1976)
The dB's: Like This (1984)
Pulp: Different Class (1996)
Patti Smith: Dream of Life (1988)
Pulnoc: City of Hysteria (1991)
Curtis Mayfield: Superfly (1972)
Richard Hell and the Voidoids: Blank Generation (1977)
The Housemartins: London 0, Hull 4 (1986)
The Insect Trust: Hoboken Saturday Night (1970)
Jimi Hendrix: The Cry of Love (1971)
Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis (1969)
Tom Waits: Swordfishtrombones (1983)
B.B. King: Live in Cook County Jail (1971)
Ramones: Too Tough to Die (1984)
Otis Redding: Love Man (1969)
Carole King: Tapestry (1971)


Johnny Hughes, author of Texas Poker Wisdom, a novel said...

Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Joe Ely, and the Cotton Club
by Johnny Hughes,
January 2009

Elvis Presley was leaning against his pink, 1954 Cadillac in front of Lubbock's historic Cotton Club. The small crowd were mesmerized by his great looks, cockiness, and charisma. He put on quite a show, doing nearly all the talking. Elvis bragged about his sexual conquests, using language you didn't hear around women. He said he'd been a truck driver six months earlier. Now he could have a new woman in each town. He told a story about being caught having sex in his back seat. An angry husband grabbed his wife by the ankles and pulled her out from under Elvis. I doubted that.
Earlier, at the Fair Park Coliseum, Elvis had signed girl's breasts, arms, foreheads, bras, and panties. No one had ever seen anything like it. We had met Elvis' first manager, Bob Neal, bass player, Bill Black, and guitarist Scotty Moore. They wanted us to bring some beer out to the Cotton Club. So we did. My meeting with Bob Neal in 1955 was to have great meaning in my future. I was 15.

The old scandal rag, Confidential, had a story about Elvis at the Cotton Club and the Fair Park Coliseum. It had a picture of the Cotton Club and told of Elvis' unique approach to autographing female body parts. It said he had taken two girls to Mackenzie Park for a tryst in his Cadillac.

Elvis did several shows in Lubbock during his first year on the road, in 1955. When he first came here, he made $75. His appearance in 1956 paid $4000. When he arrived in Lubbock, Bob Neal was his manager. By the end of the year, Colonel Tom Parker had taken over. Elvis played the Fair Park Coliseum for its opening on Jan. 6th, with a package show. When he played the Fair Park again, Feb. 13th, it was memorable. Colonel Tom Parker and Bob Neal were there. Buddy Holly and Bob Montgomery were on the bill. Waylon Jennings was there. Elvis was 19. Buddy was 18.

Elvis' early shows in Lubbock were:
Jan 6th 1955, Fair Park Coliseum. Feb 13th. Fair Park, Cotton Club April 29 Cotton Club June 3: Johnson Connelly Pontiac with Buddy Holly, Fair Park October 11: Fair Park October 15: Cotton Club, April 10, 1956: Fair Park. Elvis probably played the Cotton Club on all of his Lubbock dates. He also spent time with Buddy Holly on all his Lubbock visits.

Buddy Holly was the boffo popular teenager of all time around Lubbock. The town loved him! He had his own radio show on Pappy Dave Stone's KDAV, first with Jack Neal, later with Bob Montgomery in his early teens. KDAV was the first all-country station in America. Buddy fronted Bill Haley, Marty Robbins, and groups that traveled through. Stone was an early mentor. Buddy first met Waylon Jennings at KDAV. Disk jockeys there included Waylon, Roger Miller, Bill Mack, later America's most famous country DJ, and country comedian Don Bowman. Bowman and Miller became the best known writers of funny country songs.

All these singer-songwriters recorded there, did live remotes with jingles, and wrote songs. Elvis went to KDAV to sing live and record the Clover's "Fool, Fool Fool" and Big Joe Turner's "Shake Rattle and Roll" on acetates. This radio station in now KRFE, 580 a.m., located at 66th and MLK, owned by Wade Wilkes. They welcome visitors. It has to be the only place that Elvis, Buddy, Waylon, and Bill Mack all recorded. Johnny Cash sang live there. Waylon and Buddy became great friends through radio. Ben Hall, another KDAV disc jockey and songwriter, filmed in color at the Fair Park Coliseum. This video shows Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Elvis, Buddy and his friends.

Wade's dad, Big Ed Wilkes, owner of KDAV, managed country comedian, Jerry Clower, on MCA Records. He sent Joe Ely's demo tape to MCA. Bob Livingston also sent one of the tapes I gave him to MCA. This led to a contract. Pappy Dave Stone, the first owner of KDAV, helped Buddy get his record contract with Decca/MCA.

Another disc jockey at KDAV was Arlie Duff. He wrote the country classic, "Y'all Come." It has been recorded by nineteen well-known artists, including Bing Crosby. When Waylon Jennings and Don Bowman were hired by the Corbin brothers, Slim, Sky, and Larry, of KLLL, Buddy started to hang around there. They all did jingles, sang live, wrote songs, and recorded. Niki Sullivan, one of the original Crickets, was also a singing DJ at KLLL. Sky Corbin has an excellent book about this radio era and the intense competition between KLLL and KDAV. All the DJs had mottos. Sky Corbin's was "lover, fighter, wild horse rider, and a purty fair windmill man."

Don Bowman's motto was "come a foggin' cowboy." He'd make fun of the sponsors and get fired. We played poker together. He'd take breaks in the poker game to sing funny songs. I played poker with Buddy Holly before and after he got famous. He was incredibly polite and never had the big head. The nation only knew Buddy Holly for less than two years. He was the most famous guy around Lubbock from the age of fourteen.

Niki Sullivan, an original Cricket, and I had a singing duo as children. We cut little acetates in 1948. We also appeared several times on Bob Nash's kid talent show on KFYO. This was at the Tech Theatre. Buddy Holly and Charlene Hancock, Tommy's wife, also appeared on this show. Larry Holley, Buddy's brother, financed his early career, buying him a guitar and whatever else he needed. Buddy recorded twenty acetates at KDAV from 1953 until 1957. He also did a lot of recording at KLLL. Larry Holley said Niki was the most talented Cricket except Buddy. All of Buddy's band mates and all of Joe Ely's band mates were musicians as children.

Buddy and Elvis met at the Cotton Club. Buddy taught Elvis the lyrics to the Drifter's "Money Honey". After that, Buddy met Elvis on each of his Lubbock visits. I think Elvis went to the Cotton Club on every Lubbock appearance. When Elvis played a show at the Johnson Connelly Pontiac showroom, Mac Davis was there. I was too.

The last time Elvis played the Fair Park Coliseum on April 10,1956, he was as famous as it gets. Buddy Holly, Sonny Curtis, Jerry Allison, and Don Guess were a front act. They did two shows and played for over 10,000 people. Those wonderful I.G. Holmes photos, taken at several locations, usually show Buddy and his pals with Elvis. Lubbock had a population of 80,000 at the time. Elvis was still signing everything put in front of him. Not many people could have signing women as a hobby.
Many of the acetates recorded at KLLL and KDAV by Buddy and others were later released, many as bootlegs. When Buddy Holly recorded four songs at KDAV, the demo got him his first record contract. It wasn't just Lubbock radio that so supportive of Buddy Holly. The City of Lubbock hired him to play at teenage dances. He appeared at Lubbock High School assemblies and many other places in town.

Everyone in Lubbock cheered Buddy Holly on with his career. The newspaper reports were always positive. At one teenage gig, maybe at the Glassarama, there was only a small crowd. Some of us were doing the "dirty bop." The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal had photos the next day showing people with their eyes covered with a black strip. Sonny Curtis mentions that in his song, "The Real Buddy Holly Story." When Buddy Holly and the Crickets were on the Ed Sullivan show, the newspaper featured that. The whole town watched.

Buddy was fighting with his manager Norman Petty over money before he died. They were totally estranged. Larry Holley told me that Norman said to Buddy, "I'll see you dead before you get a penny." A few weeks later, Buddy was dead. When Buddy Holly died in a plane crash, it was headline news in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Over 1000 people attended the funeral on February 7, 1959. Buddy was only twenty-two years old. His widow, Maria Elena Holly, was too upset to attend. The pall bearers were all songwriters and musicians that had played with Buddy: Niki Sullivan, Jerry Allison, Joe B. Mauldin, Sonny Curtis, Bob Montgomery, and Phil Everly. Elvis was in the Army. He had Colonel Tom send a large wreath of yellow roses.
In 1976, I was managing the Joe Ely Band. They had recorded an as-yet -to-be-released album for MCA Records. I was in Nashville to meet with the MCA execs. They wanted Joe to get a booking contract and mentioned some unheard of two-man shops. Bob Neal, Elvis' first manager, had great success in talent managing and booking. He sold his agency to the William Morris Agency, the biggest booking agency in the world, and stayed on as president of the Nashville branch.

I called the William Morris Agency and explained to the secretary that I did indeed know Bob Neal, as we had met at the Cotton Club in Lubbock, Texas when he was Elvis' manager. He came right on the phone. I told him the Joe Ely Band played mostly the Cotton Club. He said that after loading up to leave there one night, a cowboy called Elvis over to his car and knocked him down. Elvis was in a rage. He made them drive all over Lubbock checking every open place, as they looked for the guy. Bob Neal invited me to come right over.

Bob Neal played that, now classic, demo tape from Caldwell Studios and offered a booking contract. We agreed on a big music city strategy: Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, London, and Austin. Bob drove me back to MCA and they could not believe our good fortune. The man had been instrumental in the careers of Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Johnny Rodriguez, and many others. The William Morris Agency sent the Joe Ely Band coast to coast and to Europe, first to front Merle Haggard, then on a second trip to front the Clash. The original Joe Ely Band were Lloyd Maines, Natalie's father, steel guitar, Jesse Taylor, electric guitar, Steve Keeton, drums, and Gregg Wright, bass. Ponty Bone, on accordion, joined a little later. The band did the shows and the recording. The recorded tunes were originals from Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

However, some of the William Morris bookings led to zig zag travel over long distances to so-called listening clubs. When I complained to Bob Neal, he'd recall the 300 dates Elvis played back in 1955. Four guys in Elvis' pink Cadillac. When Buddy made some money, he bought a pink Cadillac. Joe Ely bought a pristine, 1957 pink Cadillac that was much nicer than either of their pink Cadillacs.

When I'd hear from Bob Neal, it was very good news, especially the fantastic, uniformly-rave, album and performance reviews from newspapers and magazines everywhere. Time Magazine devoted a full page to Joe Ely. The earliest big rock critic to praise Joe Ely was Joe Nick Patoski, author of the definitive and critically-acclaimed Willie Nelson: An Epic Life. After one year, MCA was in turmoil. Big stars were leaving or filing lawsuits. We were told they might not re-new the option to make a second record. MCA regularly fired everyone we liked. Bob Neal thought the band should go to Los Angeles for a one-nighter.

He booked the Joe Ely Band into the best known club on the West Coast, the Palomino, owned by his dear pal, Tommy Thomas. We alerted other record companies. They drove back and forth to L.A. in a Dodge Van to play only one night. Robert Hilburn, the top rock critic for the Los Angeles Times, came with his date, Linda Ronstadt.

The Joe Ely Band loved to play music. They started on time, took short breaks, and played until someone made them stop. Robert Hilburn wrote that Ely could be, "the most important male singer to emerge in country music since the mid-60s crop of Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson." The long review with pictures took up the whole fine arts section of the biggest newspaper in the country. Hilburn praised each of the band individually. He was blown away when they just kept playing when the lights came on at closing time. After that, several major record companies were interested.

The last time I saw Bob Neal was at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco on February 22, 1979. Little Pete, a black drarf who was always around Stubb's Bar-B-Q, was traveling with the band. To open the show, Little Pete came out and announced, "Lubbock, Texas produces the Joe Ely Band!" Then he jumped off the elevated stage and Bo Billingsley, the giant roady, caught him. Bob Neal, the old showman that had seen it all, just loved that.

This comment originally appears on Anyone may make copies of this one article or post it on any web site. Thanks to Chris Oglesby and Larry Holley.

Peter Fegan said...

I think this comment was meant to be posted to the Buddy Holly blog I wrote a few days ago. Thanks for the info; it was very enlightening.