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.