On Clifford's Legacy

RECEIVED Fri., June 2, 2006

Dear Mr. Black,
    This morning, as I watched the local news over a cup of coffee, I learned of the passing of one of Austin's greatest and most defining members of the community. I did not know Clifford Antone personally. I never met him – at least, not that I can remember (to be interpreted as you will). However, his legacy left a lasting impression on me. In the late Seventies and early Eighties I was seriously into the blues, following such artists as Eddie “Clean Head” Vincent, Clifton Chenier, Muddy Waters, Professor Longhair, and other more obscure bands like the Segal-Schwall Band and the Downchild Blues Band. During this time I was living in Denton and would make frequent trips to the Bluebird Club in Fort Worth. There were always amazing blues musicians playing at the Bluebird. There was one curious, shy, “house” musician who stood out. He would take the stage for a song or two and always steal the show. The musician was a very young Stevie Ray Vaughan. A few months later I saw SRV and Double Trouble at Antone's. I returned to Antone's for many more shows since those early days. While my story is not unique, they were years that formed who I became.
    I have now lived in Austin for three years. I don't make the club scene like I did when I was in my 20s. However, I chose to move to Austin because of people like Clifford Antone. I moved here because of Austin's history and where the history has led us, and continues to lead us.
Russell Reid
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