“Afflicted with polio as a child, Peterson’s musical career began at the Warm Springs Foundation Hospital, where he sang to amuse himself as much as the other patients. His hobby revealed a four-and-a-half octave range, and once he left the hospital, he began singing in local clubs” (Paula Felps, Lone Stars and Legends, 2001). Ray Peterson “Tell Laura I Love Her” Ray Peterson “Corrine, Corrina”
“The Sharpe family lived near a seedy bar called Cocoanut Grove. Undaunted by the bar’s tough reputation, young Ray talked the owner into letting him play and sing for tips. He proved so popular that he was repeatedly asked back, and by the time he graduated from high school, music had become a lucrative alternative to train for a career as an interior decorator” (Ken Burke, Contemporary Musicians, 2005). Ray Sharpe “Linda Lu”
Born Baldemar Huerta in San Benito, Texas. “After he got out of the marines, Huerta worked South Texas bars and Chicano Funciones as a singer/guitarist, recording Spanish-language singles and American country/rockabilly tunes…” His music “began to attract national attention, but unfortunately at about the same time Fender got busted in Baton Rouge for marijuana possession and ended up with a prison term in Anglola. After jail and a variety of bottom-end jobs, Fender caught the eyes and ears of Texas music mogul Huey P. Meaux” (Rick Koster, Texas Music, 1998). Freddy Fender "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights"
“A man of many nicknames, Poovey had his first music lessons on the steel guitar, but he switched to guitar to be up front. His was a precocious talent, and his parents started teaching him about entertaining at age four…After seeing Elvis’s live shows in Dallas, Poovey was converted to rockabilly” (Craig Morrison, Go Cat Go, 1996). “Groovey” Joe Poovey “Ten Long Fingers”
“Of all the young performers to grow up on the stage of the Big D [Dallas, Texas] Jamboree, perhaps none enjoyed the kind of staying power found by Ronnie Dawson, known onstage as Ronnie Dee or The Blond Bomber. Dawson was born into the music—his father, Pinky, was a western swing bandleader…Dawson’s father spotted his son’s musical interest early on and taught him the basics on the guitar; that was all the younger performer needed. He started his first band, ‘Ronnie Dee and the D Men,’ and within two months was performing in a weekly talent contest at the Jamboree” (Paula Felps, Lone Stars and Legends, 2001). Ronnie Dee “Action Packed”
“Under the name of the Western Melody Makers, the group played country music and western swing, picking up radio appearances as well as live shows” (and recording novelty songs like “Who Put the Turtle...”). They changed their group name as they began to play more rockabilly. “One of the first songs they recorded was ‘Ooby Dooby,’ a song written by another young Texan named Roy Orbison.” A recording executive “was impressed by the song but not the singer and passed Orbison’s song onto Sid King’s outfit” (Paula Felps, Lone Stars and Legends, 2001). Sid King and the Five Strings “Ooby Dooby” Western Melody Makers “Who Put the Turtle in Myrtle's Girdle"
“Beard, a lifelong resident of Coleman County, moved to Coleman in 1953 and graduated from Coleman High School. While in high school he started doing session work in Abilene for Key City media mogul and record producer Slim Willet. He briefly attended Tarleton State College but soon opted to pursue a music career. He made his first recordings in 1955 in Abilene with the Fox Four Sevens. The same year he shared the stage with Elvis Presley whose star was rising. The two became friends, and they spent a day together in Coleman where Presley's Cadillac created quite a stir” (“Beard, Dean,” tshaonline.org). Dean Beard and the Crew Cats "Rakin' and Scrapin'"
From Fort Worth, “Curtis was a wee sixteen when he signed a rockabilly contract with King Records…He also appeared on Alan Freed’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revue at the Paramount Theater in New York before halting his career with a three-year military stint…As with many of these performers, Curtis’s records continued to do brisk business in rockabilly-happy Europe” (Rick Koster, Texas Music, 1998). Mac Curtis “If I Had Me a Woman”
“Johnny Carroll is a vocal chameleon…straining ambitious rockabilly, emotional balladeer…Gene Vincent—styled rocker,” and “dark, husky, and country, which is the voice that endured for him…At nine years of age Carroll bought his first guitar with money he made working as a water boy for German prisoners of war. His mother played fiddle and showed him the basics of music, and he started to learn country music from the radio” (Craig Morrison, Go Cat Go, 1996). Johnny Carroll and his Hot Rocks “Crazy, Crazy Lovin’”
“a singer/songwriter who had a studio that considerably predated Brian Wilson. He cowrote ‘Earth Angel,’ which was a 1955 hit for the Penguins, and in 1956 recorded four separate vocal tracks to create the illusion of a band,” called the Cliques. “[H]is incredible potential was snuffed out in an auto accident which also killed his wife” (Rick Koster, Texas Music, 1998). Jesse Belvin “The Girl In My Dreams”
“The first woman singer to wear pantsuits onstage, and utilizing a stage act that was totally wild, Arthur was a true commodity…and had it not been for her stubborn attitude toward [RCA recording artist] Mr. Atkins, she might well have been a huge star. As it is, she slowly drifted back into obscurity, and Arthur spent the remainder of her life singing in hardcore booze halls” (Rick Koster, Texas Music, 1998). Charline Arthur “Burn That Candle”
“Though Patsy Cline and Wanda Jackson are the most renowned examples of women who can sing honky-tonk, neither was from Texas. But that they were influenced by an East Texan named Charline Arthur is undeniable. Arthur was a prototypical honky-tonk singer whose belligerent attitude was a blueprint for future country outlaws, and whose libidinous stage moves were replicated by a young Mississippi singer with whom she occasionally shared the stage: Elvis Presley” (Rick Koster, Texas Music, 1998). Charline Arthur “I’ve Got the Boogie Blues”
One of the “important Texas artists [who] contributed substantially to the development of electric blues and R&B during the mid-twentieth century.” Sam Hopkins “was inspired to play music at an early age by his musician father and brother, as well as by blues greats Blind Lemon Jefferson and Texas Alexander. Hopkins got his nickname ‘Lightnin’ in 1946, when he recorded with piano player Wilson ‘Thunder’ Smith, and the duo was billed as ‘Thunder’ and ‘Lightnin’” (Gary Hartman, The History of Texas Music, 2008). Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins “T-Model Blues”
The group was formed in 1931 and featured future stars such as Bob Wills. “The Doughboys got their start on radio station KFJZ in Fort Worth, primarily as a promotional tool for Light Crust Flour, which gave the band its name…the band presented a previously unheard array of sounds, including Tex-Mex, Hawaiian, Cajun, cowboy, and jazz. Listeners could not get enough of the sound, and the Doughboys became the true trailblazer in the salad days of western swing” (Paula Felps, Lone Stars and Legends, 2001). The Light Crust Doughboys “Pussy, Pussy, Pussy”
Brown, one of the founders of Western Swing, and his Brownies “embraced a wildly improvisational style and, with the addition of jazz guitarist Bob Dunn in 1935, became the first country-rooted act to utilize an electric guitar.” They “were the most popular band in Texas” until Brown ran into a telegraph pole, killing his 16 year old passenger in 1936. He died in a hospital a few days later, and the band broke up in 1938 (Rick Koster, Texas Music, 1998).