Bob Wills

Bob WillsJames Robert Wills (March 6, 1905 – May 13, 1975), better known as Bob Wills, was an American Western swing musician, songwriter, and bandleader. Considered by music authorities as the co-founder of Western swing,he was universally known as the King of Western Swing (after the death of Spade Cooley who used the moniker "King Of Western Swing" from 1942-1969.)

Wills formed several bands and played radio stations around the South and West until he formed the Texas Playboys in 1934 with Wills on fiddle, Tommy Duncan on piano and vocals, rhythm guitarist June Whalin, tenor banjoist Johnnie Lee Wills, and Kermit Whalin, who played steel guitar and bass. The band played regularly on a Tulsa, Oklahoma radio station and added Leon McAuliffe on steel guitar, pianist Al Stricklin, drummer Smokey Dacus, and a horn section that expanded the band's sound. Wills favored jazz-like arrangements and the band found national popularity into the 1940s with such hits as "Steel Guitar Rag", "New San Antonio Rose", "Smoke On The Water", "Stars And Stripes On Iwo Jima", and "New Spanish Two Step".

Wills and the Texas Playboys recorded with several publishers and companies, including Vocalion, Okeh, Columbia, and MGM, frequently moving. In 1950, he had two Top 10 hits, "Ida Red Likes The Boogie" and "Faded Love", which were his last hits for a decade. Throughout the 1950s, he struggled with poor health and tenuous finances, but continued to perform frequently despite the decline in popularity of his earlier music as rock and roll took over. Wills had a heart attack in 1962 and a second one the next year, which forced him to disband the Playboys although Wills continued to perform solo.

The Country Music Hall of Fame inducted Wills in 1968 and the Texas State Legislature honored him for his contribution to American music.[4] In 1972, Wills accepted a citation from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in Nashville. He was recording an album with fan Merle Haggard in 1973 when a stroke left him comatose until his death in 1975. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Wills and the Texas Playboys in 1999.

Bob Wills Official Website - http://bobwills.com/

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Radney Foster

Radney Foster crafts story songs with singular grit and grace. Clear evidence: The celebrated songwriter’s Del Rio, TX 1959. Twenty years ago, the contemporary country classic showcased a songwriter in peak form with hits brassy (“Just Call Me Lonesome”) and bruised (“Nobody Wins”) and buoyant with blues (“Easier Said Than Done”). “Del Rio’s arguably the best country record I’ve ever made,” Foster says. “So many young singers and songwriters come up to me and say, ‘I wore that record out.’” Take Darius Rucker. “I told Capitol in my second meeting that if they wanted me to record Del Rio, TX, 1959 all over I’d be fine with that,” the country superstar says. “Radney Foster’s my biggest influence.”

Two decades on, Foster’s new Del Rio, TX Revisited: Unplugged and Lonesome reinvents his hallmark solo debut as an ambitious and haunting acoustic collection.  “This time everyone was in the same room, with live takes with no fixes and no headphones,” says Steve Fishell, who produced the original Del Rio and played guitars on Revisited. “We have all new tempos and new grooves. Imagine the original version of Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’ compared to his 1992 live unplugged version and you’ll get the idea.” Gloriously transformed high watermarks include “Don’t Say Goodbye,” “A Fine Line” and “Went For A Ride.” Elegance matches endurance with favorites (“Old Silver”) and bonus additions alike (the stunning new meditation “Me and John R.”).

Foster’s extraordinary session band effortlessly achieved transcendence. In early March, Dixie Chick Martie Maguire (fiddle), Jon Randall Stewart (guitar), Glenn Fukunaga (doghouse bass), Michael Ramos (keyboard) and Fishell entered Austin’s Cedar Creek Recording with specific missions: Loosen all restraints. Shoot for the heart. Let feeling guide. Gems quickly emerged. “Things worked out beyond my wildest expectations,” Foster says. “Twenty years ago, I worried about every single detail. With this new record, you have these incredible musicians doing surprising things on the fly. There’s a looseness yet remarkable precision. You stop worrying about minutia and you start saying, ‘Does that communicate? Do you feel the emotion?’”

Foster enthusiasts can guess the answer. Others have discovered proof positive in his songs made popular by stars like Keith Urban (“I’m In,” “Raining on a Sunday”), Sara Evans (“A Real Fine Place to Start”), the Dixie Chicks (“Godspeed,” “Never Say Die”), and Gary Allan (“Half of My Mistakes’). Of course, Foster’s first work in the late 1980s country duo Foster and Lloyd (“Crazy Over You,” “Fair Shake”) alone displays his indelible portraits both timely (“What Do You Want from Me This Time”) and timeless (“Texas in 1880”). Del Rio, TX Revisited: Unplugged and Lonesome simply doubles down. “These songs are still as real to me,” Foster says. “They take on different meanings because it is 20 years later, but the stories still resonate.”

Folks laughed hard and played harder throughout the three days recording. Familiarity continually greased creative wheels. “I don’t do a lot of sessions, but I was so flattered when Radney asked me,” Maguire says. “I actually had the original Del Rio on cassette and it’s one of the handful of records in my life that I really, honestly wore out. When I went back and listened to the tunes, I knew all the words and chords. This record sounds very Texas in the chord progressions and the licks and these songs feel like how I learned to play fiddle. I felt very at home.”

Spin “Louisiana Blue” for evidence. “I’m gonna pack my bags, turn up my collar, put on my travelin’ shoes,” Foster sings as Maguire nimbly balances his most lonesome landscape. “Go down to New Orleans and turn Louisiana blue.” “It was really fun to have Martie’s feminine perspective,” he says. “The timbre of her voice and the richness of the tone that she gets out of the fiddle is remarkable. She has this way of playing things that sound deceptively simple, but she’s putting a lot of emotion into the notes. When she and Jon Randall started playing bluegrass tunes in the studio before anything happened, I thought, “This is gonna work!”

Radney Foster Website http://radneyfoster.com/

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Angel Flight

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George Harvey Strait

George Harvey Strait (born May 18, 1952), is an American country music singer, actor, and music producer known as the "King of Country" and called a living legend by some critics. He is known for his neotraditionalist country style.

Strait's success began when his first single "Unwound" was a hit in 1981. During the 1980s, seven of his albums reached number one on the country charts. In the 2000s, Strait was named Artist of the Decade by the Academy of Country Music, was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and won his first Grammy award for the album Troubadour. Strait was named CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1989 and 1990, and ACM Entertainer of the Year in 1990. He has been nominated for more CMA and ACM awards and has more wins in both categories than any other artist. In 2009, he broke Conway Twitty's previous record for the most number-one hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart when his 44 number one singles surpassed Twitty's 40. Counting all music charts, Strait has amassed a total of 60 number-one hits, breaking a record also previously set by Twitty.

Strait has sold more than 70 million albums in the United States and his certifications from the RIAA include 13 multi-platinum, 33 platinum, and 38 gold albums. His best-selling album is Pure Country (1992), which sold 6 million (6× platinum). His highest certified album is Strait Out of the Box (1995), which sold 2 million copies (8× Platinum due to being a box set with four CDs). According to the RIAA, Strait is the 12th best-selling album recording artist in the United States overall. Strait's singing and acting career has earned him a net worth of $300
million so far.

George Harvey Strait was born on May 18, 1952, in Poteet in Atascosa County south of San Antonio, Texas, to John Byron Strait, Sr. (born c. 1921 - died June 4, 2013), and the former Doris Couser. He grew up in Pearsall in Frio County, where his father was a junior high school mathematics teacher and the owner of a 2,000-acre (8 km²) cattle ranch outside of Big Wells, Texas. The family worked at the ranch on the weekends and in the summers. When George was in the fourth grade, his father and mother were divorced, and his mother moved away with his sister, Pency. George and his brother John, Jr. or "Buddy" (1950-2009), were reared by their father.

Strait began his musical interest while attending Pearsall High School, where he played in a rock and roll garage band. His musical preference soon turned to country with singers Hank Thompson, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Bob Wills, Hank Williams and Frank Sinatra influencing his style. Strait did not tune to the country music radio often as a youth, usually listening to the news and the farmer's report. His introduction to country music came mostly by way of live performances, which, according to Strait, could be heard in every town in Texas. He eloped with his high school sweetheart, Norma. The couple initially married in Mexico on December 4, 1971. That same year, he enlisted in the United States Army. While stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii as a part of the 25th Infantry division (light), Strait began performing with an Army-sponsored band, "Rambling Country", which played off-base under the name "Santee".[7] On October 6, 1972, while still in Hawaii, George and Norma had their first child, Jenifer.

After Strait was honorably discharged from the Army in 1975, he enrolled at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos and received a degree in Agriculture. During his college years, he joined the country band Stoney Ridge, answering a flyer the band posted around campus looking for a new vocalist. Strait renamed the group the Ace in the Hole Band and quickly became the lead, they began to perform at different honky tonks and bars around south and central Texas, traveling as far east as Huntsville and Houston. They gained a regional following and opened for national acts such as The Texas Playboys. Soon, his band was given the opportunity to record several Strait-penned singles including "That Don't Change The Way I Feel About You", for the Houston-based D label. However, the songs never achieved wide recognition, and Strait continued to manage his family cattle ranch during the day in order to make some extra cash.

While he continued to play with his band without any real connections to the music industry, Strait became friends with Erv Woolsey, who operated one of the bars in which the Ace in the Hole band played, and who had previously worked for the major label MCA Records. Woolsey convinced some of his Music Row connections to come to Texas and to listen to Strait and his band play. Impressed with the performance, MCA quickly signed Strait to a recording contract in February 1981. The Ace in the Hole remained with Strait, performing as the backup and touring band for the now solo act.

In the spring of 1981, Strait released his first single for MCA Records, entitled "Unwound", which climbed into the top ten of the Hot Country Songs chart that year, and was included on his debut album Strait Country. The record featured two more singles including "Down and Out", a No. 16 hit for Strait, and "If You're Thinking You Want a Stranger (There's One Coming Home)", which reached number three early in 1982, sparking a string of Top Ten hits that ran well into the 1990s.Strait Country was hailed by critics as a traditionalist breakthrough that broke the trend of pop-influenced country prevalent at the time. The year 1982 also saw the release of Strait's second album, the critically acclaimed Strait from the Heart, which featured the first number one single of his career, "Fool Hearted Memory", and the top five "Amarillo by Morning", regarded by many as one of the greatest country songs of all-time. In 1983, Strait made his first appearance at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo when the headlining star, Eddie Rabbitt, came down sick with the flu. Strait has since become a mainstay throughout his career, making more than twenty appearances at the Rodeo, and playing to a total of more than one million fans. Strait recorded 17 subsequent No. 1's in the decade, including a string of five that lasted from 1983–84 from his next two albums Right or Wrong, his first number one album and the CMA award-winning Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind. The next year, he won the CMA award for top male vocalist, and released his first Greatest hits compilation, which featured songs from his first three albums. Also in 1985, Strait released Something Special, the third straight number-one album of his career, featuring the number-one single "The Chair". In 1986, Strait repeated as the CMA vocalist of the year and released his fourth No. 1 album #7. Strait and his family were struck with tragedy when his 13-year-old daughter, Jenifer, was killed in a one-car non-alcohol-related accident. She was riding in a Ford Mustang driven by Gregory Wilson Allen, 18, of Staples, Texas. He was subsequently charged with a Class A misdemeanor for vehicular homicide. Mike Cox, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety in Austin, said "The responding trooper determined the cause of accident to be excessive speed and that the car did not negotiate the turn properly. Jenifer was riding in the front passengers seat and none of the four occupants were wearing seat belts at the time.[19] When the vehicle flipped over onto its passenger's side, Jenifer was partially ejected, causing her to be dead upon impact. The incident did not hinder Strait's performance, as he went on to release 11 straight No. 1 hits, starting with "Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her" in 1986 and ending with "Ace in the Hole" in 1989. The singles spanned four albums, including #7, Ocean Front Property in 1987, If You Ain't Lovin' You Ain't Livin' in 1988 and 1989's Beyond the Blue Neon, all of which reached the number one spot on country album charts. Ocean Front Property was the first country album to ever debut at No. 1 on the charts by any artist. The streak included such songs as "Ocean Front Property", "All My Ex's Live in Texas", "Famous Last Words of a Fool" and "Baby Blue", which is rumored to have been dedicated to his daughter. Strait finished the decade by winning the CMA Entertainer of the Year award in 1989. A year later, he won the award again.[13]

Strait began the decade with the release of his tenth studio album, Livin' It Up, which featured two No. 1 hits including "Love Without End, Amen", his first multi-week hit, and "I've Come to Expect It From You". Both songs remained No. 1 for five weeks in 1990. Chill of an Early Fall shortly followed in 1991, and received positive reviews. Entertainment Weekly noted that the album marked a shift for Strait from "repeating himself" in his previous works to producing different material. It produced the No. 1's "If I Know Me" and "You Know Me Better Than That", but ended his streak of 31 straight top ten hits with the cover of "Lovesick Blues", which peaked at No. 24. The record blocked his run of eight top charting albums with its peak of No. 4. In the spring of 1992, Holding My Own was released. It did not produce any No. 1s but did include two top five songs including "So Much Like My Dad". Later in 1992, Strait played the main character in the movie Pure Country, and released the film's soundtrack. It was his most successful studio album, producing such hits as "Heartland," "I Cross My Heart" and "When Did You Stop Loving Me", and peaked at No. 1 and No. 6 respectively on the country and Billboard 200 album charts. The success continued with his next album, Easy Come, Easy Go in 1993, which reached the top five on the Billboard 200 and featured the hits "I'd Like to Have That One Back", "The Man in Love with You", and the No. 1 title track. His next four albums—including Lead On in 1994, Blue Clear Sky in 1996, Carrying Your Love with Me in 1997 and 1998's One Step at a Time—all charted at No. 1, with Blue Clear Sky claiming the spot on its debut week, and Carrying Your Love with Me peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for the first time in Strait's career. This series of albums produced eight number one singles for Strait, including "You Can't Make a Heart Love Somebody" "Carried Away", "One Night at a Time", and "I Just Want to Dance with You".[13] During this period, Strait also released a four-disc box set career retrospective, Strait Out of the Box in 1995, which became the second best selling box set ever with shipments of 8 million in the United States. He also was named as the CMA's Top Male Vocalist in 1997 and 1998.[11] Starting in '97, and continuing until the first year of the 21st century, Strait headlined the George Strait Country Music Festival, which included artists such has Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson and others. In an effort to introduce these acts to as many fans as possible, the festival promised not to visit any market more than twice. It played only a small number of dates, usually no more than twenty a year, but still managed to be the ninth biggest-grossing tour of 1998. In 2009 the George Strait Country Music Festival was voted the most important tour in the history of country music and the best selling country music tour in the 90s .

Strait completed the decade with the album Always Never the Same in 1999, which peaked at No. 2 on country charts and matched the cross-over success of Pure Country by reaching No. 6 on the Billboard 200. The record produced the hits "What Do You Say to That", "Meanwhile" and the No. 1 "Write This Down". Reviews of the album's material were generally moderate, but Entertainment Weekly observed that at this point in his career, Strait could record the "most lightweight" material and "make it soar" on the radio with his "grace". All in all, Strait scored 17 No. 1 hits on the Billboard country airplay charts in the decade, and carried his successes into the next century.

Strait released a self-named album in 2000, which despite a No. 1 and No. 7 showing on the country and Billboard 200 album charts, produced no No. 1 singles, and was the first studio album of his career to not be certified as platinum. The singles "Go On" and "If You Can Do Anything Else" were released from the record, with both peaking in the top five. In May 2001, The Road Less Traveled was released. Reviews for the album were mostly positive, Rolling Stone described it as sticking to the formula "but adds a few twists that make it superior to his last few releases."It featured "vocal processing," and was considered by some critics as an experimental album.Three singles were released from it, two of which reached No. 1, including "She'll Leave You with a Smile", his 50th on combined charts and "Living and Living Well", both of which reached the top 30 of Billboard Hot 100, with the former peaking at No. 23, Strait's highest rank on the chart. The single "Run" peaked at No. 2 and reached No. 34 on the Billboard 100. Strait released two records in 2003. For the Last Time: Live from the Astrodome was a recording of the last Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to take place in the Astrodome. The performance itself, set the record for paid attendance at the venue, with 68,266 people, breaking Latin superstar Selena's previous record of approximately 67,000 in 1995. His next album, Honkytonkville was described as "a fiery set of hard country", and was praised "for its mixture of the old Strait with his modern, superstar self." It didn't produce any No. 1's for Strait but included the hits "Cowboys Like Us" and a cover of Bruce Robison's "Desperately". His 2004 performance at Reliant Stadium set a new Rodeo attendance record, with 68,679 spectators. That year he issued a Greatest Hits package billed as 50 Number Ones, chronicalling the No. 1 hits of his career from all charts, starting with "Fool Hearted Memory" and ending with "She'll Leave You With a Smile." The next year, Somewhere Down in Texas arrived, which produced the hit "You'll Be There," marking Strait's first appearance on the Adult Contemporary chart. The next year, he embarked on a tour that included only 18 performances but grossed over $15 million. He attributed this success to the fact that he and his band are "musically very tight," have a large pool of songs to draw from, and perform those songs very similarly to how they sound on their albums.

George Strait on The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, XL Center, Hartford, Connecticut, February 23, 2013

On October 3, 2006, Strait marked his 30th year in the music industry with the release of a new album titled It Just Comes Natural. It featured fifteen new songs. Strait's long-time friend and songwriter, Dean Dillon co-wrote two of the songs on the album. It received generally positive reviews from critics. People, in their four-star review, remarked that "If ever there was a natural in country music, it's Strait," while USA Today raved that "he continues to make such consistent quality look easy." The first single from the album, "Give It Away" reached No. 1 and the title track, "It Just Comes Natural" became his 42nd Billboard No. 1. In 2007, "Wrapped" reached No. 1 on the Mediabase 24/7 country music charts, giving Strait his 55th overall number-one single. From January through April of that year, Strait headlined a 23-date arena tour with country music legend Ronnie Milsap and newcomer Taylor Swift. He released a new album titled Troubadour on April 1, 2008. The CD contained 12 tracks, including a duet with Patty Loveless and another with long-time songwriter Dean Dillon. The lead single from the album, "I Saw God Today", debuted at No. 19 on the Radio and Records and Billboard charts. It is the highest debut ever for a single from Strait and the fourth highest debut for a song in country music history. Troubadour debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts, selling over 160,000 copies in its first week of release. "River of Love" the 3rd single from the album became his 57th number-one song in 2009.
George Strait on The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, XL Center, Hartford, Connecticut, February 23, 2013

In April 2009, George Strait was honored by the Academy of Country Music with the Artist of the Decade Award. The artist of the decade award was presented to George Strait by the previous ACM Artist of the Decade Garth Brooks. In June of that year he headlined the first event at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Strait's single, "Living for the Night" was released on May 28, 2009, and was written by Strait, his son Bubba, and Dean Dillon. The song was the lead single from his album Twang, released on August 11, 2009. Twang has been certified gold status, for selling over 500,000 copies. In 2010, Billboard ranked Strait No. 1 in the top 25 country artists of the past 25 years. Never one to rest, Strait's newest album, Here for a Good Time, was released on September 6, 2011. It has yielded two No. 1 singles (the title track and "Love's Gonna Make It Alright") bringing Strait's No. 1 singles total to 59. Its third single, "Drinkin' Man" was far less successful, however, as it only reached No. 37, making it Strait's lowest-charting single at the time.

On September 26, 2012, Strait announced that he is retiring from touring, and that The Cowboy Rides Away Tour will be his last. The tour consists of two legs: the first leg will include 21 concerts in 2013 with Martina McBride as the opening performer; the second leg will include 20 concerts in 2014. Strait will perform with his long-time touring band, the Ace in the Hole Band.

Strait released a new single in October 2012 titled "Give It All We Got Tonight". Included on his album Love Is Everything, the song initiated a "60 for 60" movement by Strait's label, to make the song his sixtieth number-one single on all country charts while he was still 60 years old. The song reached the top of the Mediabase charts in May 2013. In 2014 he will undertaken a twenty-five show The Cowboy Rides Away Tour of North America.

Boxcar Willie

Box car willieBoxcar Willie, born as Lecil Travis Martin (September 1, 1931 – April 12, 1999) was an American country music singer, who sang in the "old-time hobo" music style, complete with dirty face, overalls, and a floppy hat.  "Boxcar Willie" was originally a character in a ballad he wrote, but he later adopted it as his own stage name.

 

 

Born in Sterrett, Texas, Martin joined the United States Air Force in 1949, and served as a pilot and flight engineer for the B-29 Super Fortress during the Korean War in the early 1950s. In Lincoln, Nebraska, Martin was once sitting at a railroad crossing and a fellow that closely resembled his chief boom operator, Willie Wilson, passed by sitting in a boxcar. He said, "There goes Willie." He pulled over and wrote a song entitled "Boxcar Willie".[citation needed] It eventually stuck and became Martin's nickname. In 1962, Martin met his future wife, Lloene, in Boise, Idaho. They would later have four children.

In San Jose, California, Martin attended a talent show as "Boxcar Willie" and performed under the nickname for the first time. He won first place, a $150 prize and a nickname that he would forever go by. That was his part-time vocation, however; he was still in the Air Force and had been flying daily missions. He later became a Flight Engineer on KC-97L aircraft in the 136th ARW in the Texas Air National Guard, including air refueling flights around the USA and overseas in Germany.

In 1976, Martin left the Air Force and became a full-time performer. He entered American mainstream pop culture consciousness due to a series of television commercials for record compilations of artists who were obscure in the United States, yet had large international followings, such as Slim Whitman and Gheorghe Zamfir. He went on to become a star in country music, selling more than 10 million records, tapes and CDs worldwide. In 1981, Martin achieved a professional landmark by being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry as its 60th member.

In 1985, Martin moved to Branson, Missouri and purchased a theater on Highway 76, or 76 Country Music Boulevard. In addition to the Boxcar Willie Theater, he opened a museum and eventually had two motels, both bearing his name. Boxcar Willie was one of the first big stars to open a show in Branson, paving the way for the other nationally-known names that followed. He performed at his theater in Branson until he died.

Diagnosed with leukemia in 1996, Martin died on April 12, 1999 in Branson at age 67. Martin was a first cousin to the actor, Tommy Lee Jones, who is also from Texas.

 

In Red Oak, Texas they have the Boxcar Willie Memorial Overpass on IH 35.

 

Janie Fricke

"All I ever wanted to do was sing." Janie Fricke has gone from Indiana farm girl to internationally acclaimed recording artist throughout her career. She was born in South Whitley, Indiana, and raised on a 400-acre farm where her father taught her how to play guitar.

From county fairs to corporate trade shows, live concerts, in recording studios, or before millions on television, Fricke's individual sound and performance personality has captivated audiences around the world.

Fricke began her career singing in a "little church up the road" where her mother played piano. She sang at local coffeehouses, high school events, as well as her way through college where she obtained her degree from Indiana University in elementary education. Fricke then chose a musical career, working in Memphis, Dallas and Los Angeles. There, as one of the marketing industry's most successful jingle singers, her voice became known to millions as the voice for such advertising giants as United Airlines, Coca-Cola, 7-Up, and Red Lobster. Her voice led her to singing sessions for Country artists such as Loretta Lynn, Eddie Rabbitt, Crystal Gayle, Ronnie Milsap, Barbara Mandrell, Mel Tillis, Johnny Duncan and others. She has also been given the privilege to sing on albums for Charlie Rich and Elvis Presley, after their deaths. It was a line in Johnny Duncan's single Stranger that ultimately gained the most attention for Fricke. When it hit the top of the charts in 1977, fans wanted to know who sang the line, "Shut out the light and lead me..." The music industry took notice as her voice was heard on duets with Merle Haggard, Moe Bandy and others, leading her to her first major recording contract.

Fricke soon began to dominate the country charts with smash hits such as Don't Worry ' Bout Me Baby, He's a Heartache and You're Heart's Not In It. It was only a matter of time before she started winning awards. Included among them are: Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year, Music City News Female Vocalist of the Year, "Billboard" Top Country Female Vocalist, "Cash Bed' Top Country Female Vocalist, Academy of Country Music Female Vocalist of the Year, British-based Country Music Round Up Most Popular International Female Solo Act, and she was chosen to the Country Music Hall of Fame Walkway of Stars. Twice she has been nominated for the coveted (Grammy Award, once for her It ain't Easy Being Easy In her recording career, Janie has released 23 albums and 36 hit singles.

When she relaxes she spends time with her Husband Jeff and her animals. She attends church near her home. Remembering from childhood the importance of her confirmation. Thankful for her blessings, Janie feels these values have helped her become the woman she is today. From an Indiana farm girl to an internationally acclaimed recording artist, she has never lost the pure heart and love of music that launched her career. And today, Janie Fricke sings on..

 

 

Website -  www.janiefricke.com

 

 

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The Big Bopper

The Bopper Jiles Perry "J. P." Richardson, Jr. (October 24, 1930 – February 3, 1959) also commonly known as The Big Bopper, was an American disc jockey, singer, and songwriter whose big voice and exuberant personality made him an early rock and roll star. He is best known for his recording of "Chantilly Lace". On February 3, 1959, a day that has become known as The Day the Music Died by Don McLean, in his song "American Pie",  Richardson was killed in a small-plane crash in Iowa, along with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.

Richardson was born in Sabine Pass, Texas, the oldest son of Jiles Perry Richardson, Sr. and his wife Elise (Stalsby) Richardson. His father was an oil field worker and driller. Richardson had two younger brothers, Cecil and James. The family soon moved to Beaumont, Texas. Richardson graduated from Beaumont High School in 1947 and played on the "Royal Purple" football team as a defensive lineman, wearing number 85. Richardson later studied pre-law at Lamar College, and was a member of the band and chorus. He sometimes played with the Johnny Lampson Combo.

He worked part time at Beaumont, Texas radio station KTRM (now KZZB). He was hired by the station full-time in 1949 and quit college. Richardson married Adrianne Joy Fryou on April 18, 1952. In December 1953, their daughter, Debra Joy, was born. Earlier that year Richardson had been promoted to Supervisor of Announcers at KTRM.

In March 1955, he was drafted into the United States Army and did his basic training at Fort Ord, California. He spent the rest of his two years service as a radar instructor at Fort Bliss, near El Paso, Texas.

Following his discharge as a corporal in March 1957, Richardson returned to KTRM radio, where he held down the "Dishwashers' Serenade" shift from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. One of the station's sponsors wanted Richardson for a new time slot and suggested an idea for a show. Richardson had seen the college students doing a dance called The Bop, and he decided to call himself "The Big Dipper". His new radio show ran from 3 to 6 p.m. Richardson soon became the station's program director.

In May 1957, he broke the record for continuous on-the-air broadcasting by eight minutes. From a remote set-up in the lobby of the Jefferson Theatre in downtown Beaumont, Richardson performed for a total of five days, two hours and eight minutes, playing 1,821 records and taking showers during five-minute newscasts.

Richardson is credited with coining the term music video in 1959, and recorded an early example himself.

Richardson — who played guitar — began his musical career as a songwriter. George Jones later recorded Richardson's "White Lightning", which became Jones' first #1 country hit in 1959 (#73 on the pop charts). Richardson also wrote "Running Bear" for Johnny Preston, his friend from Port Arthur, Texas. The inspiration for the song came from Richardson's childhood memory of the Sabine River, where he heard stories about Indian tribes. Richardson sang background on "Running Bear", but the recording wasn't released until September 1959, after his death. Within several months it became #1.

The man who launched Richardson as a recording artist was Harold "Pappy" Daily from Houston, Texas. Daily was promotion director for Mercury and Starday Records and signed Richardson to Mercury. Richardson's first single, "Beggar To A King", had a country flavor, but failed to gain any chart action. He soon cut "Chantilly Lace" as "The Big Bopper" for Pappy Daily's D label. Mercury bought the recording and released it in the summer of 1958. It reached #6 on the pop charts and spent 22 weeks in the national Top 40. It also inspired an answer record by Jayne Mansfield titled "That Makes It". In "Chantilly Lace", Richardson pretends to have a flirting phone conversation with his girlfriend; the Mansfield record suggests what his girlfriend might have been saying at the other end of the line. Later that year, he scored a second hit, a raucous novelty tune entitled "The Big Bopper's Wedding", in which Richardson pretends to be getting cold feet at the altar. He was known for his "Hello baby!"

With the success of "Chantilly Lace", Richardson took time off from KTRM radio and joined Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Dion and the Belmonts for a "Winter Dance Party" tour. On the eleventh night of the tour, Holly chartered an airplane to fly them to the next show in Moorhead, Minnesota. The musicians had been traveling by bus for over a week, and it had already broken down once. They were tired, they had not been paid yet and all of their clothes were dirty. With the airplane, Holly could arrive early, do everyone's laundry and catch up on some rest.

A 21-year old pilot named Roger Peterson had agreed to take the singers to Fargo, North Dakota, where the airport serves the twin cities of Moorhead and Fargo. A snowstorm was on its way and the young pilot was fatigued from a 17-hour workday, but he agreed to fly the trip. The musicians packed up their instruments and finalized the flight arrangements. Buddy Holly's bass player, Waylon Jennings, was scheduled to fly on the plane, but gave his seat up to the Big Bopper, who was suffering from influenza. Holly's guitarist, Tommy Allsup, agreed to flip a coin with Ritchie Valens for the remaining seat; Valens won. The three musicians boarded the red and white single-engine Beech Bonanza around 12:30 am on February 3. The musicians waved and then climbed onto the plane. Snow blew across the runway, but the sky was clear. Peterson received clearance from the control tower, taxied down the runway and took off. He was never told of two different weather advisories that warned of an oncoming blizzard ahead.

The plane stayed in the sky for only a few minutes; no one is quite sure what went wrong. The best guess is Peterson flew directly into the blizzard, lost visual reference and accidentally flew down instead of up. The four-passenger plane plowed into a nearby cornfield at over 170 mph, flipping over on itself and tossing the passengers into the air. Their bodies landed yards away from the wreckage and stayed there for ten hours as snowdrifts formed around them. Because of the weather, nobody could reach the crash site until later in the morning.

Johnny Winter III

Johnny Winters III

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Johnny Winters III Passes Away at age 70

Johnny Winters IIIOn Sunday August 3rd at 11am we said goodbye to one who was many things to so many people; a loving husband, a brother, a friend, and bandmate. as one of the greatest guitarist in the world was laid to rest.

John Dawson "Johnny" Winter III (born February 23, 1944) is an American blues guitarist, singer and producer.  Johnny and Edgar Winter were nurtured at an early age by their parents in their musical pursuits. Johnny Winter is known for his southern blues and rock and roll style, as well as his physical appearance. Both he and his brother were born with albinism.

In 2003 Winter was ranked 74th in Rolling Stone magazine list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Johnny Winter began performing at an early age with his younger brother, Edgar Winter. Johnny's first TV appearance was on a local children's television show that aired in Houston and Beaumont markets called the Don Mahoney and Jeana Claire show. Don Mahoney was a blind singing cowboy/kiddie show host in the Houston area for many years and Jeana Claire was his sidekick. Johnny and Edgar appeared on Mahoney's show when they were about ten years old, playing ukelele and singing.

His recording career began at the age of 15, when their band Johnny and the Jammers released "School Day Blues" on a Houston record label. During this same period, he was able to see performances by classic blues artists such as Muddy Waters, B. B. King and Bobby Bland. In the early days Winter would sometimes sit in with Roy Head and The Traits when they performed in the Beaumont, TX area, and in 1967 Winter recorded with The Traits releasing a vinyl 45 under the group's name, Tramp/Parchman Farm, Universal 30496. In 1968, he released his first album on Austin's legendary Sonobeat Records, The Progressive Blues Experiment.[2]
Woodstock Reunion, Parr Meadows, Ridge, NY 1979. Photo by Bob Sanderson

Winter caught his biggest break in December 1968, when Mike Bloomfield, well-established as one of the best blues guitarists in the United States, who admired his playing, invited him to sing and play a song during a "Super Session" jam concert Bloomfield and Al Kooper were to perform at the Fillmore East in New York. As it happened, representatives of Columbia Records (which had released the Bloomfield-Kooper Super Session jam album to surprising Top Ten chart success) were at the concert. Winter played and sang B.B. King's "It's My Own Fault" to loud applause and, within a few days, was signed to what was then the largest advance in the history of the recording industry---$600,000.

Winter's first Columbia album, Johnny Winter, recorded and released in 1969, featured the same core group---called Winter at the time---with whom he'd cut The Progressive Blues Experiment, bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Uncle John Turner, plus Edgar Winter on keyboards and saxophone, and (for his "Mean Mistreater") blues legends Willie Dixon on upright bass and Walter Horton on harmonica. The album featured a few selections that would be considered Winter signatures over the coming years, including his own composition "Dallas" (a striking acoustic blues, on which Winter played a steel-bodied, resonator guitar), John Lee (Sonny Boy) Williamson's "Good Morning Little School Girl," and B.B. King's little-known "Be Careful With A Fool."

The album's success coincided with Imperial Records picking up The Progressive Blues Experiment for wider release. The same year, the Winter trio toured and performed at several rock festivals, including Woodstock. With brother Edgar added as a full member of the group for the time being, Winter also recorded his second album, Second Winter, this time in Nashville, and unusual for the time in that it was a three-sided album. (The fourth side on the second disc was completely blank.) This album introduced a few more staples of Winter's concerts, including Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" and Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited," two Little Richard songs ("Slippin' and Slidin'" and "Miss Ann"), and original songs such as "Hustled Down in Texas," "Fast Life Rider," "I Love Everybody," and "I'm Not Sure."

Contrary to urban legend, however, Winter did not perform with Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison on the infamous Hendrix bootleg recording "Woke up this Morning and Found Myself Dead" from New York City's Scene Club. In his own words, "...I never even met Jim Morrison! There's a whole album of Jimi and Jim and I'm supposedly on the album but I don't think I am `cause I never met Jim Morrison in my life! I'm sure I never, never played with Jim Morrison at all! I don't know how that [rumour] got started."[3]

With brother Edgar having released his own solo album (Edgar Winter) and now going off to form his own R & B/jazz-rock group, Edgar Winter's White Trash, the original Winter trio disbanded and Winter formed a new band with the remnant of The McCoys---guitarist Rick Derringer, bassist Randy Jo Hobbs, and drummer Randy Z (who was, in fact, Derringer's brother---their real name was Zehringer)---and collaborated on songs picking up the rock and roll direction hinted by the Little Richard and Chuck Berry songs on Second Winter. Calling themselves Johnny Winter And, their album wore the same title and introduced a purely rock and roll direction, highlighted by Derringer's "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" and a nimble cover of Traffic's "No Time to Live." When they toured, however, with Bobby Caldwell replacing Randy Z, they mixed up these new rock numbers with Winter's standard blues, captured on Johnny Winter And Live. This album included a new performance of the song by which Winter had caught Columbia's attention in the first place: "It's My Own Fault."

Winter's momentum was throttled when he sank into heroin addiction during the Johnny Winter And days. After he sought treatment for and recovered from the addiction, manager Steve Paul courageously put Winter in front of the music press to discuss the addiction candidly. By 1973, he returned to the music scene with Still Alive and Well, a basic blend between blues and hard rock, whose title track was written by Rick Derringer as a salute to Winter's overcoming his addiction. The follow-up album, Saints & Sinners, continued the same direction; this was followed by another concert set, Captured Live!, which featured an incendiary extended performance of "Highway 61 Revisited." In 1975 Johnny returned to Bogalusa, Louisiana to produce Thunderhead's album, for ABC/Dunhill, which featured future band members Pat Rush and Bobby "T" Torello.

In live performances, Winter often tells the story about how, as a child, he dreamed of playing with the blues guitarist Muddy Waters. By 1977 he got his chance. With his manager creating Blue Sky Records to be distributed through Columbia, Winter got the chance to bring Waters into the studio for Hard Again. The album became a best-seller, with Winter producing and playing support guitar on the set that included Waters veteran James Cotton on harmonica. Winter produced two more studio albums for Waters, I'm Ready (this time featuring Big Walter Horton on harmonica) and King Bee. The partnership produced Grammy Awards, a best-selling live album (Muddy "Mississippi" Waters – Live), and Winter's own Nothin' But the Blues, on which he was backed by members of Waters' band.

Waters himself told Deep Blues author Robert Palmer that Winter had done remarkable work in reproducing the sound and atmosphere of Waters's vintage Chess Records recordings of the 1950s. The albums gave Waters the highest profile and greatest financial successes of his life.

Winter produced two Grammy Award-winning albums by Muddy Waters, Hard Again and I'm Ready . At least three of his own albums were also nominated for Grammy Awards.

  • He was one of the many acts to perform at the Woodstock Festival, playing a nine-song set that featured his brother Edgar on two of the songs.
  • He was on the cover of the first issue of Guitar World in 1980.
  • In 1988, he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame.
  • He is the 'Johnny' in the Smashing Pumpkins b-side "Tribute to Johnny," off the single "Zero."



More information - wikipedia/Johnny_Winter

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Note:

 

by Charles Flowers

 

After Johnny and Edgar Winters became famous, everyone in Beaumont, where these boys grew up, claimed to have known them or hung out with them.  I was no exception.  Although I did not know them personally, I encountered them on several occasions.

One such occasion was in 1956-57 in the South Park area of Beaumont, where I lived.  I went to a barber shop on Highland Park Avenue next to the Lamar Theater.  Going in to get my haircut,  I met two young boys there also getting hair cuts. Who would have know that these two young fellows would grow up to both be world class musicians!,   I was only seven years old and had no idea they would someday be famous.

After I grew up, I was part owner of The Guitar and Banjo Studio in Beaumont.  We kept up with the local musicians in case they might come into our shop.  Johnny Winters was becoming famous for his bluesy music and played at many local dives around Beaumont.  This was in 1969-70 and Johnny played many times at a joint out on Hwy 105 called the Hayseed Tavern.  It was a pretty rough place.  I heard they had to hang chicken wire up in front of the bandstand to protect the musical groups from getting injured by flying beer bottles during bar fights.

One Friday night after midnight I stopped in for breakfast at the Dobb's House Restaurant on Calder Avenue in Beaumont.  The counter was packed with 15 to 20 fraternity men from nearby Lamar Tech, our local college. A purple Packard hearse parked out front and Johnny Winters came inside and stood at the counter to order food to go.  I looked outside at the car, which had the windows rolled down and spotted members of his band. One man sitting near the open window reminded me of the Russian  man in the movie Doctor Zhivago, popular at the time, since he looked very much like actor Rod Steiger and was wearing a Russian-style fur cap.

As Johnny tried to place an order, the frat boys got unruly and started calling him all sorts of names and making fun of him.  The taunting was extremely rude and got so bad Johnny let the restaurant and walked around to the drive-through window to complete his order and wait for his food. Even though the taunts were falling on deaf ears after Johnny left the restaurant, the boys continued.  As I was paying my tab, I told the boys I thought it was rude of them to be doing this and acting like idiots but they shrugged me off as I left.

Shortly after that incident, Johnny Winters went on to New York as the newest music sensation and became famous.  I have often thought about that night and considered Winters new found fame to be poetic justice.