Wednesday, September 7, 2016

"That'll Be Day" - Buddy Holly Would Have Been 80 Today

Isn't it amazing that in a just 18 month long "career," Lubbock's most famous son, changed the future of rock'n'roll, music, well even how a band performs in general. His vast influence on everybody from The Beatles and Rolling Stones to the later emergence of Punk is well documented.

Two decades ago my former PD Jürg Hofer and I ventured to Lubbock to interview Buddy's brother Larry Holley (correct spelling of the last name). We met Larry at the second coming of the Hi-D-Ho, a reincarnation of the original downtown grill, where Buddy played to the people of Lubbock from the roof of the building. The original was also the place where Peggy Sue Gerron would hang around and listen to the "new" music. It was at the end of a cruisin' loop where the youth met and mingled and where Rock'n'Roll was tolerated. Later that day, we visited Larry at his home, where he showed us family pictures and some of Buddy's memorabilia. He also showered us with family recordings, including songs by his daughter (Buddy's niece) Sherry, who among other compositions recorded several odes to the old stomping grounds, like "Don't Say Hello, Say Hi-D-Ho."

Nashville had issued (Feb 1996) a somehow ill-made tribute "NOT FADE AWAY" to Holly for his 60th birthday with TV special and everything. But Nashville still didn't understood Holly 40 years after he started out in that town and left disgusted. They wouldn't even let him play his own guitar on his own recordings. So he went to Clovis, New Mexico and to New York to record. It was the typical riding the bandwagon scenario, there were a couple of decent tracks on that tribute, Waylon Jennings pairing with Mark Knopfler on a unfinished song fragment of Holly - "Learning The Game", the son of Bob (producer, friend and former duo partner with Buddy) Kevin Montgomery, who teamed up with Mary Chapin Carpenter to do "Wishing." Texas stand-outs Joe Ely and Todd Snider teamed up for quite a raunchy version and true the spirit of Buddy of "Oh Boy!."

But most of that record was dominated by big names and not enough energy recordings. It sounded like the put a governor on the bands while they were in the studio and therefore completely missing Buddy Holly's point.

Peggy Sue Gerron, who finished high school in California, but came back to Lubbock to be and even marry Cricket member Jerry Allison, got immortalized in one of the first world wide hits. Peggy Sue - upto this day - keeps a website, still soothing in her 15 minutes of fame.

Sources: YouTube,, personal recollections

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The !!!! Beat - Goes On

Austin journalist Michael Corcoran recently had a cool facebook post which sent me looking for a rather obscure TV show from 1966 that played a lot of Rhythm'n'Blues, Blues & Soul called "The !!!! Beat." Trying to find some footage of Freddie King to celebrate his birthday on September 3, he stumbled upon the series - but read for yourself:

Watching several shows on youTube I was hooked and watched all shows that were available, some wouldn't play, as they were taken down due to obvious copyright infringement. But bits and pieces, even single clips with some of the performances of the 26 episodes can be found all over the internet. Spending some time with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown in 1980 in Bern, Switzerland, he was always a favorite of mine, glad to see him being the leader of the backing band, The Beat Boys, which also included saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman.

Through Dallas journalist Robert Wilonsky and his piece in the Dallas Observer, I later found that Dallas was chosen as a production hub, because Nashville at that point in time didn't had any color TV station / production yet. After the show disappeared, the tapes were thought lost, but as to Wilonsky, rumor has it that they were bought at one time by Willie Nelson:

... for decades the show was thought to be lost -- till, that is, Willie Nelson began going through and selling off his personal belongings when he had the taxman breathing down his neck in the early '90s. Rumor is, the entire collection was in his possession.

Bill "Hoss" Allen, originally a radio DJ out of the Tennessee area was one of the first DJs to spin black music on the radio, according to some sources as early as in the mid 1940s. Unfortunately the show didn't last but a year, and the story has it, that "Hoss" didn't take the end to lightly:

Allen hosted all but the final episode: Legend has it he was so distraught over its cancellation he fell into a bottle and couldn't make it to say farewell. Which is why Otis Redding is seen below hosting an episode -- the final one, which appears to have been shot in October '66. Yes, Otis Redding hosted a show taped at WFAA.

I also found out that prestigious German re-issue label Bear Family bought the whole series and released a 6-DVD set for the greater public in 2005 with extensive liner notes in the booklets accompanying the sets. A search revealed that the discs are currently on sale (and much cheaper than at amazon). Well, the whole set is now in my Christmas wishlist.

Sources: Michael Corcoran,, youTube, Robert Wilonsky,