This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a bluesman who played in corner bars and at Carnegie Hall.
T.D. Bell was born on December 26, 1892, in Lee County, Texas. He began his blues career in the 1940s, performing with piano player Roosevelt Williams, also known as the Grey Ghost. In 1950, Bell moved to Austin. With his band the Cadillacs, Bell helped build a thriving blues scene at the Victory Grill, one of Austin’s most popular nightclubs on the so-called “Chitlin’ Circuit.”
During the 1970s, T.D. Bell took time off from music to run a trucking business. In 1987, he formed the Blues Specialists with Erbie Bowser, a local piano player. Together Bell and Bowser played venues throughout the Southwest, including Austin’s Continental Club. They also toured nationally and performed at Carnegie Hall in 1994.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll go home with the Armadillo, one last time.
This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about a songwriter whose flame burned briefly but brightly.
Blaze Foley was born Michael David Fuller on December 18, 1949, in Malvern, Arkansas. He grew up in Texas, but traveled extensively, and for a while, lived in a tree house outside of Atlanta, Georgia. In 1976, he moved to Austin, where he quickly earned a reputation as a talented, if somewhat eccentric, singer-songwriter. He developed a small but devoted following performing in such local venues as the Austin Outhouse.
Blaze Foley lived a simple life, sleeping on friends’ couches and patching his boots with duct tape. Tragically, he was killed in a brawl outside a friend’s home in 1989. Foley’s songs have been recorded by John Prine, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Merle Haggard, and others. In 2011, the documentary film Duct Tape Messiah helped introduce Blaze Foley to a whole new generation of fans.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a bluesman who played in corner bars and at Carnegie Hall.
This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll celebrate an opera singer who also had the president’s ear.
Zelma Watson George was born on December 8, 1903, in Hearne, Texas. Her father was a prominent African-American minister whose house guests included such notable figures as Booker T. Washington. As a young woman, Zelma Watson George moved to Chicago to study sociology and music. In 1949, she performed in Gian-Carlo Menotti’s opera The Medium.
Zelma Watson George was involved in many other projects besides music. In 1954, she earned a Ph.D. in sociology and became a social worker, activist, and a university dean. She also advised President Dwight Eisenhower, served as an ambassador to the United Nations, and attended international conferences on African culture before she died in 1994.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about a songwriter whose flame burned briefly but brightly.
Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
Beach House – Bloom
Damien Jurado – Maraqopa
Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
Django Django – Self-Titled
Jack White – Blunderbuss
Jamey Johnson – Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran
The Lumineers – The Lumineers
Purity Ring – Shrines
Shovels And Rope – O’ Be Joyful
1. Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits
2. The Sword – Apocryphon
3. Flatlanders – Odessa Tapes
4. These Mad Dogs of Glory – Sweet Appalachia
5. …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead – Lost Songs
6. Ray Wylie Hubbard – The Grifter’s Hymnal
7. Amy Cook – Summer Skin
8. Father John Misty – Fear Fun
9. Killers – Battle Born
10. Band of Horses – Mirage Rock