Looking Over the MGs and a San Antonio Benefit

Let us stop and reflect for a moment on Booker T. & the MGs. They returned to Austin for the second time this year last Thursday, and it was sweeeeeeeeeeeet soul music by the chairmen of the board. That they returned with William Bell and Eddie Floyd and had Jimmie Vaughan guest on guitar was merely icing on that black-and-white confection of a band.

Plus, I got to meet Eddie Floyd by accident and thanked him for doing the show by telling him about my nephew Tyler, who attends the American YouthWorks program, the recipients of the evening’s proceeds. Naturally, the best part was the schmoozing and seeing unexpected longtime friends like Seventies Playmate Janet Quist. It was such a glittery affair, I fully expected to run into my brother, and voila! There he was, two tables down, surrounded by more beautiful women than Brad Pitt announcing he’s single.

If you know Chris Holzhaus’ name, good for you, you get points for your knowledge of Texas music history. The San Antonio-born guitarist has been one of the hotshot players since the late Sixties, having recorded with the Argyles for Huey Meaux in 1964 and then with Max & the Laughing Kind out of Port Aransas. After he left the hippie-era band the Children and started with the Eastwood Revue at the Eastwood Country Club, playing alongside Doug Sahm and Spot Barnett, he went on to perform and record with Texas notables such as Augie Meyers and Delbert McClinton.

Like far too many people, Chris Holzhaus has been diagnosed with cancer, stage 4 colon cancer in his case, and in debt up more than $50,000 for chemo, care, etc. The good news is that Augie and Delbert are playing a gig to benefit Chris in San Antonio at Sam’s Burger Joint, one of the most soulful venues in Texas, on Sunday. The Austin delegation turning out to support Holzhaus includes Eric Johnson, Stephen Bruton, Roscoe Beck, Nick Connolly, and numerous others who join me in wishing Chris good health and good vibrations.

Here in Austin, we often forget that less than an hour down the road is an entirely different music scene, fueled and inspired by a different world. That San Antonio doesn’t offer its musicians as much support is a shame, but remember that Austin is unusually progressive in programs like the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. Perhaps some of San Antonio’s musical movers and shakers could use HAAM as a model for an organization called SAHM, for San Antonio’s Healthy Musicians, or something cute and catchy like that.

If you’ve read my brother’s column this week, you know this topic is weighing heavily on my mind. My good wishes for this year’s season are for health and well-being. Peace on earth and goodwill to men can follow.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Benefits, Booker T. & the MGs, Chris Holzhaus

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