From the pages of Texas Highways magazine, a morning at the Snake Farm with Ray Wylie Hubbard
Experience One of the Best Live Music Scenes in Texas at Houston’s Silver Slipper
Get back to your roots at this timeless R&B nightclub
My story in the September issue of Texas Highways magazine about the Silver Slipper, where every Saturday night, Houston’s Rhythm n Blues legacy is celebrated by Curley Cormier and his band, The Gladiators, along with guest singers, and all the club’s patrons. Darren Carroll captured the spirit of place in his photographs.
Click on the link to read and see the whole story.
Working at the Fetus allowed me to quit my ice cream truck gig and launch my so-called writing career. Rolling Stone magazine, the music bible, was sold at the store, and I read it religiously. I added Creem magazine at the suggestion of a distributor. Whenever there was downtime at the store, I was either listening to all the new music I cared to listen to or was reading about it. On a lark, I sent in an unsolicited review to Creem of the Sir Douglas Quintet’s Rough Edges, a quickie release by Mercury Records meant to capitalize on Doug Sahm’s Atlantic album for Jerry Wexler, which featured Bob Dylan. My review deemed the duct-taped compilation superior to the much greater hyped Atlantic product. A few weeks later, I received a check for $30 and a letter from Lester Bangs egging me on to write more. That, and snow in early May, prompted me to go back to Texas, to Austin, to write about music, which I’ve been able to do.
Memories of my days at the Electric Fetus are appropriately fuzzy: Danny and Keith, the elders; Dean, the cheery floor manager; Bob and Debby working the Other Side; Nancy the administrator watching the Watergate hearings on a tiny black-and-white TV down in the basement; the transcendent day Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book was released; discovering the wonderful world of cut-outs; getting to know Dougie at Select-o-Rax and the other record wholesalers sales people; exchanging ideas with Vern from Oar Folkjokeopus and folks from all the other indie record stores around the Twin Cities; being a willing guinea pig to consumer road test hash oil pipes for the Fetus sales reps who worked the Upper Midwest; hanging out at Keith’s farm up in the lake country (OK, that’s a joke; all of Minnesota is lake country); witnessing friend-of-the-Fetus Dave Snaker Ray playing deep Delta blues at the store’s fifth birthday; tackling my first shoplifter. I remember a whole lot, actually, considering my tenure was brief.
My successor, Bill Wade, was more stable. He put in more than 40 years at the Fetus.
I’ve been back three times. In 1981, the band I managed at the time, Joe “King” Carrasco and the Crowns, played Minneapolis and I dropped by, just as I did last summer. In 2008, I did a talk and signing at the store for the Willie Nelson biography I wrote, and had a moment. As I walked inside the door, I caught a big whiff of Nag Champa incense, that distinctive dank patchouli scent, and I got all weepy. “It still smells the same!” I said, surprised that I felt so emotional. The record department manager told me he didn’t even notice the smell anymore unless he goes on vacation and is away from the store for at least a week.
So I’m returning to the North Country for the Big Five-Oh, even though I won’t know or recognize all but about five people. I’m going to be staying with Jim Gillespie and his family and hopefully go with him to First Avenue and to the gathering for past and present staffers. Showing up is the best way I can express my gratitude. Working at the Electric Fetus really was one of those “best job I ever had” kind of deals. I’m coming back because it’s where I really learned about music. And I’m coming back because I want to know if it still smells the same.
Joe Nick Patoski is the author of biographies about Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Selena, and the Dallas Cowboys, and the director of the music film documentary Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove. He is host of the Texas Music Hour of Power 7-9 central Saturday nights on Marfa Public Radio.
- 50 facts about the Electric Fetus The Electric Fetus’s five decades are filled with encounters with musical legends and fragments of Minnesota history. To celebrate the Fetus’s fiftieth birthday, here are 50 Fetus Facts.
- Interview with Electric Fetus co-founder Ron Korsh In 1968, Ron Korsh co-founded the Electric Fetus with his friend Dan Foley. The Current recently caught up with Korsh at his home in Washington, D.C. Among several interesting facts and recollections, Korsh talks about the inspiration for the name ‘Electric Fetus,’ about what made him leave retail for architecture, and how – coincidentally – how he designed the house where drummer Bobby Z now lives.
- The incense selection at the Electric Fetus (MPR Photo/Nikki Tundel)
The price of perfection is cheap, if that’s all you spend your money on.
April 9, 20186:01 AM ET
JOE NICK PATOSKI
He walked into the restaurant with the pronounced limp of an old warrior, which he attributed to a bad back, and mentioned a history of self–medication with alcohol. A friend had given him a blister pack of steroids and a prescriptive anti-inflammatory that he examined as he slid into a booth at Threadgill’s in south Austin, Texas. The thick head of hair had turned gray and the sloe-eyes drooped a little more. But that infectious smile remained, same as ever.
That’s right. SIR DOUG & THE GENUINE TEXAS COSMIC GROOVE can now be streamed on Amazon Prime.
Click on the link above and see what you’ve been missing. And leave a review on Amazon. It’s the best way to alert all Groovers and Doug-Heads
VisitBigBend.com , the go-to website for all you need to know about visiting the Big Bend of southwest Texas, recently enlisted me to do a Top Ten for visitors headed to that faraway part of the state I like to think of as the Texas of the Imagination.
Here’s a story I wrote about my friend Margaret Moser for The Record: Music News from National Public Radio
June 18 was the beginning of a weeklong Open House at Tex Pop, the South Texas Museum of Popular Culture — a storefront wedged between a head shop and convenience store in an aging strip center at the corner of Margaret and Mulberry in San Antonio. Inside, in the largest of three rooms, museum founder and director Margaret Moser is seeing her first visitor of the day, Kathy Valentine. In an adjacent room, Moser’s mother Phyllis Stegall and a niece greet arrivals as they wait their turns. The mood is somber, which on any other day could be attributed to it being a Sunday morning, except that everyone here knows Moser is living on borrowed time. The one exception to the caliginous vibe is the day’s person of interest and honor — she’s smiling, laughing, holding hands, hugging, listening to and telling stories. Having the time of her life.
Jeremy Hobson of National Public Radio’s Here & Now program visits with the Texas Music Hour of Power for DJ Sessions
Joe Nick Patoski is our guide through the music of Texas — from western swing to zydeco to Tex-Mex.
Texas Music Hour of Power Sat nites 7-9 pm central KRTS Marfa & KXWT Odessa-Midland, 3-5 pm central KEOS.org and anytime here
Every Saturday nite, yours truly hosts the Texas Music Hour of Power, showcasing all kinds of Texas sounds created over the past century of recorded music. The show runs two hours because Texas spans two time zones and frankly, the music is too dang big to limit it to one hour. Here’s more info about listening in.
During his years as a professional memorabilia collector for the Hard Rock Cafe chain, Thomas Kreason often noticed that many of Texas’ musical treasures — from rare phonograph records to celebrity guitars — were slipping out of the Lone Star State.