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.
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.
The film Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove plays the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland May 17. Doug doesn’t need to get voted in. He’s playing the room.
Come join the fun. The director will buy you a beer and a shot.
link here: Crossroads of Texas Film Festival
Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove continues riding the film festival circuit, stopping in Waxahachie, just south of Dallas, on Weds evening, May 18. Sir Doug is one of several great films screening in Waxa for the fest including True Stories and Selena, plus lotsa music.
Check it out. Two other Texas screenings have been added – Sunday afternoon, June 5, at the South Texas Popular Culture Center in San Antonio, and Saturday night, June 11 at the Barnhill Center in Brenham.
Sir Doug and The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove makes its Mexican premiere on the beach of Sayulita, Nayarit on Sunday evening, January 31 to close out Festival Sayulita – details at www.festivalsayulita.com
The Roy Orbison Museum in Wink isn’t easy to get to, since it’s not close to anywhere but Wink. But we made an appointment in advance, by calling 432/527-3743, and arranged to meet Edith Jones, who would open up the museum upon our arrival, opening up the World of Roy to a couple curious visitors.
Wink is a classic oil patch town that despite the steady stream of fracking trucks in and around the community, has clearly seen more hubbin’ days. Roy Orbison’s family moved to Wink when he was in junior high school. He was born in Vernon, the same hometown of Jack Teagarden, the King of the Blues Trombone, and Paul English, Willie Nelson’s drummer. The family moved to Fort Worth before moving again to Wink following the end of World War Two.
Roy quickly found his place working on the high school annual, starting in junior high, where he illustrated annuals with his sketches.
During his senior year, the Wink Wildcats were Class A state champions in Football, whose path to state Roy illustrated here
He formed his first band, the Wink Westerners in high school which became the Teen Kings when the band switched from playing western music to playing rock and roll.
Popular throughout West Texas and the South Plains, the band had their own television show in Midland and in Odessa, and backed up Slim Whitman for a spell when that entertainer found himself stranded without a backup band. The Teen Kings first recorded in Dallas for the storied Jim Beck, then made their way to Memphis, where they recorded for Sun Records, the same label that recorded the first tracks of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis, and also recorded in Clovis, New Mexico for Norman Petty, who recorded Buddy Holly and Buddy Knox, among others.
He emerged as a solo artist under the tutelage of Fred Foster of Monument Records, who broke Roy as a singing star, taking his talent to England in 1963 where he toured with a new band called the Beatles.
Throughout his career, he never forgot where he came from.
Edith Jones moved to Wink after Roy had departed. She and her husband wanted to restore the Rig Theater next door to the museum. After that effort stalled, she’s become active in the Roy Orbison Museum and helping to organize the annual Orbison festival, which for the first time in twenty-six years, was not held in 2015. [Bands interested in appearing at Wink for 2016 should get in touch with Edith now]
Edith is a great tour guide and told some good Roy stories. She even let us try on a pair of Roy’s sunglasses, whose lenses were so coke-bottle thick, I got dizzy just putting them on.
We also bought some t shirts from past festivals and a Roy Orbison koozie. Edith graciously gave us a small sample of “Pretty Woman” perfume that was developed by Roy’s second wife and widow, Barbara, now deceased.
Edith told us about the time Carl Perkins came to the museum. He was dressed in all white and managed to not dirty himself despite the dust and the dirt that are part and parcel of the Permian Basin. Carl donated to the museum these autographs that the Beatles gave to him.
We left a donation in the jar by the door in thanks for Edith’s time and knowledge. If you go, you should too.
from the Sunday, June 8 edition of the New York Times
Willie Nelson Rode on Bus but Called Another Home
By ANDY LANGER
Me & Paul, named after a 1984 song, was listed on Craigslist as a “former Willie Nelson Tour Bus,” but it was designed for his drummer, Paul English, as a plaque states. Credit Ryan Hutson for The Texas Tribune
The entertainer Willie Nelson has a ranch in Texas and a residence in Hawaii, but the place that he calls home is a bus named Honeysuckle Rose.
Joe Nick Patoski, in an interview for his 2008 biography, “Willie Nelson: An Epic Life,” asked Mr. Nelson where he considers home. “We were on his bus,” Mr. Patoski said. “He just pointed to the table, to say definitively that this — the bus — was home.”
Even when he is at his ranch in Spicewood, Tex., Mr. Nelson is said to often sleep on the bus, which is where he frequently engages in what he calls “adjusting his personality” — or smoking marijuana.
All told, there have been five buses named Honeysuckle Rose, according to representatives at Florida Coach, where Nelson has gotten his transportation since 1979. At least two are thought to be in the hands of private collectors, said Florida Coach’s general manager, Caleb Calhoun. And if a bona fide Honeysuckle Rose hit the market today, Mr. Patoski said that it could become a viable tourist attraction.
Continue reading the main story
On May 1, in a post titled “Willie Nelson’s Old Tour Bus Is Being Sold on Craigslist,” The Village Voice suggested that such a vehicle had come up for auction. A seller in Whitehouse, Tex., had listed a 1983 Eagle tour bus on Craigslist for $29,000, describing it in the headline as a “Former Willie Nelson Tour Bus.”
The Craigslist ad never explicitly said that it was selling Honeysuckle Rose or that Nelson himself had ridden in it. (In fact, a plaque stating “This coach was designed for Paul English of the Willie Nelson band” was visible in Craigslist photos.) Still, The Village Voice piece spawned dozens of stories from outlets ranging from Gawker to Britain’s Daily Mail to the concert industry bible, Pollstar, that used the misleading phrase “Willie Nelson’s bus” in their headlines or text. (Full disclosure: Even Texas Monthly used the phrase “Willie Nelson’s custom-made bus” in a post about the auction.)
“The problem is that it’s not Willie’s bus,” said Tony Sizemore, who has driven buses on Willie Nelson tours for 31 years. “It was built for Willie’s drummer, Paul English. Willie rode on it from time to time to play dominoes or poker with Paul. But it’s flat-out not true to call it Willie’s bus. It’s Willie Nelson’s drummer’s bus. It’s sort of like me: I’ve been with Willie Nelson all these years, but I’m not Willie Nelson.”
Nevertheless, the auction closed on May 3 at $100,000 — presumably inflated by the international news media attention and perhaps by the confusion with a real Honeysuckle Rose. But by all accounts, the winners — Taylor Perkins and Michael Tashnick, Austin-based entrepreneurs who own Vintage Innovations, a company that restores and rents vintage Airstreams, buses and classic vehicles — knew what they were buying. Mr. Perkins said he spoke to Florida Coach before the sale to check its provenance.
“We knew from Day 1 that it was Paul’s bus,” Mr. Perkins said. (Despite accurate reports from The Dallas Morning News and Rolling Stone clarifying that the bus was assigned to Mr. English in the 1980s, Mr. Perkins’s purchase led to another round of misleading articles about “Willie Nelson’s bus.”)
“In publicizing our purchase, we’ve been very careful to explicitly say it’s a bus used by the Willie Nelson band in the early ’80s, that there were four created and this was one of them used primarily by Paul English. It’s Paul’s,” Mr. Perkins said.
Detail of the plaque that denotes that the bus was built for Mr. English.
Mr. Calhoun confirmed that the bus that Vintage Innovations owns is a Florida Coach custom coach originally called Scout but renamed Me & Paul, after Mr. Nelson’s 1984 song of the same name. In the 1980s, it rode alongside the crew bus, Warrior; another bus for the band named Red Headed Stranger; and Mr. Nelson’s Honeysuckle Rose.
Mr. Nelson’s first Honeysuckle Rose, a 1983 bus built by Florida Coach, was totaled in a 1990 crash in Nova Scotia, Canada — its interior was salvaged and placed into a 1990 model. Mr. Nelson upgraded in 1996 to a model that his son Lukas now tours in and again in 2005 to a bus that logged over 800,000 miles before being switched out last New Year’s Eve.
Now that he owns Me & Paul, Mr. Perkins said that finding and buying a Honeysuckle Rose has become a priority. In the meantime, Vintage Innovations plans to charter its bus to festivals, concerts and private events. Some of the proceeds will be donated to Farm Aid, which Mr. Nelson has supported. Although there is often a fine legal line between paying tribute to celebrities and using their names and likenesses for profit without permission, Mark Rothbaum, Mr. Nelson’s longtime manager, said he was largely indifferent to Mr. Perkins’s plans for Me & Paul.
“Go to a Willie show,” Mr. Rothbaum said. “Enjoy the concert. Willie is here. He’s on tour. He is absolutely a great entertainer. What would you rather pay to see? Willie or his friend’s bus? The answer seems simple enough to us.”
Andy Langer is the music columnist for Esquire and the midday D.J. on KGSR in Austin.
Accordionistas! The 25th Accordion Kings and Queens is at Miller Outdoor Amphitheater in Houston this Sat nite – 6 pm, gratis! gratis! gratis! CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Rio Jordan, and tributes to Valerio Longoria, Mark Halata and Texavia, Ginny Mac, and Conteno con Los Halcones, along with winners of the Big Squeeze talent contest.
deets are at TexasFolklife.org http://www.texasfolklife.org/event/25th-annual-accordion-kings-queens-0
Come on out to the Cactus Cafe on the University of Texas campus on Monday evening, November 18 for a Views and Brews discussion about Doug Sahm, the original Austin groover moderated by Jody Denberg of KUTX and featuring Marcia Ball, Ernie Durawa, and Speedy Sparks in a panel discussion, along with a screening of a four minute sizzler reel of a proposed film documentary directed by Joe Nick Patoski. Doors 6:30, show at 7
Doors 6:30 showtime 7 pm
Bat Conservation International stewards the Bracken cave, where during warm months the largest concentration of mammals in North America – twenty million Mexican-free tail bats – emerge from the cave every evening in search of an evening meal of mosquitoes, moths, and other insects, ranging more than one hundred miles at time.
Between the overwhelming smell of bat guano, the sight of thousands of creatures swirling out of the cave, observed and coveted by snakes and raptors, may be the most miraculous event in nature I’ve ever witnessed.
The cave is a few miles from Interstate 35 north of San Antonio almost next door to the Natural Bridge Caverns and is in real danger of being encroached upon or wholly engulfed by housing subdivisions.
It’ll be interesting to see how that “progress” vs. miracle of nature battle plays out.