Walser Keeps the Top Hand

Don Walser's heard his share of comments lately about how he should dump his weekly shows at Jovita's and Babe's and concentrate on fewer, larger (and more profitable) shows. Walser will have none of that, however, claiming that "I don't care about being overexposed -- if I was in it for the money, I'd be in Nashville playing Top 40 country. I want to be on Sixth Street once a week." This doesn't mean that Walser turns a blind eye to the business side of music, though -- he's just changed management, going from T.J. McFarland to Nancy Fly Associates, in what he says was an amicable switch. "[Fly] is just better equipped to handle what I'm doing now." (McFarland, meanwhile, should be keeping his hands full with the rising star of Dale Watson).

So what is Don doing now? Well, he and his Pure Texas band have just completed their second Watermelon Records album, Texas Top Hand, and while much of it is the pure Western sound you've come to expect from the band live, there are a few added bonuses courtesy of the studio atmosphere. Walser brought in trumpets and Mexican bass to give "Mexicali Rose" a more authentic feel, and added horns to "Whose Heart Are You Breaking Now?" in a quest to recreate the "big band" sound of Thirties/Forties-era Bob Wills. While working out plans for a tour to promote the album, which is due in mid-March, Walser had a few out-of-town gigs planned for later this year, including a Washington, D.C. appearance on the Fourth of July and six nights at the Olympics. In the meantime, you can catch him playin' a li'l ol' country tune somewhere around town most nights out of the week.

Well,That Just Leaves Elvis

Working at a non-profit organization seems to be the last way to see both God and the Boss, but Pam English at the Capital Area Food Bank says she's now done both. She met Eric Clapton when the guitarist appeared in town for a show and hooked up with the charitable organization. Then, this past Thursday, she and three others from the Food Bank, along with representatives of House the Homeless, received free tickets ("Third row center -- I could see him sweating!") and backstage passes to Bruce Springsteen's packed show at the Austin Music Hall. English says she was surprised how "friendly and philosophical" the Boss, who donated money from his T-shirt and concession to the groups, was during their after-show chat. Raoul Hernandez and Michael Corcoran can confirm that, as they formed the second of the two "audiences" granted by Springsteen at the AMH that night. Hernandez is actually more taken with the Boss' speed however, as Bruce managed to play casual, genial host to the two journalists and the charity groups, and then not more than a half-hour later, burst into the front of Willie Nelson's bus (with Willie and Joe Ely), which was parked in front of Hang 'em High for Nelson's gig that night, startling the hell out of a waiting Tim Stegall (The headlines scream: Stegall Starstruck by Springsteen!). He was last seen running from a horde of screaming fans on Sixth Street -- Springsteen, that is, not Stegall.

Flying High Again

Jimmie Vaughan will be leavin' on a jet plane soon, zoomin' to N'Awlins to do some recording with his usual rhythm section of George Rains and Bill Willis in tow. Vaughan's also bringing new material, with a few tunes co-written by Paul Ray, whose KUT Twine Time show moves to prime time, from its old 6-9pm slot to 7-10pm, in February. As far as the continuing saga of the Stevie Ray Vaughan biography movie, Jimmie's manager Mark Proct says that J.L.V. is "very comfortable working with Robert Rodriguez," so the talk of Jimmie helping with the film seems to be solidifying. Another band Proct manages, Storyville, will also be heading out in a week or two to begin work on their next album with Prince engineer David Z producing. 'Tis to Memphis they're bound and plans call for the album to come out in the first week in July. The band will be doing a couple of "rehearsal shows" at Antone's tonight and Saturday to get their energies up, then plan to hop straight from stage to plane to studio.

Back Down the Roky Road

Can't get enough Roky Erickson? Well, look for a CD re-release/compilation of tracks by his Evil Hook Wild Life E.T. band from the Eighties on Sympathy For the Record Industry. It's been out for a few weeks now and assembles previous singles, EPs, and unreleased tracks to form a full-length album, peppered with gems of "Rokyspeak" every two or three songs. Oh, and here's something that slipped by me completely last year: From the Star Tribune, December 10, 1995 edition: "It certainly seems that rock & roll is the way to pull [reclusive author Thomas] Pynchon from his shell: In March 1994, the novelist agreed to let the sitcom The John Larroquette Show write him into one of the show's episodes -- but requested that the script say he was wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Roky Erickson, a 1960s Texan progenitor of psychedelic rock who later succumbed to mental illness." I'll have to look for that in the reruns.

Bunny Business

You know what rabbits do best, so you shouldn't be surprised that the White Rabbit is opening a new location in San Antonio. Located on San Antonio's equivalent of the Drag, the new building is larger than the current Rabbit, and will feature a wider variety of music (though the local Rabbit has expanded the types of bands it features as well). The club's Jordan Silber says that plans call for the new venue to open in mid-April (He should open it on Easter, whaddaya think?).

Assault and Bartering

Huey Meaux, producer for Ronnie Milsap, Freddie Fender, and George Jones, and the mastermind behind the formation of the Sir Douglas Quintet, was arrested this week in Houston on charges of sexually assaulting children and possession of child pornography and cocaine. According to Associated Press reports, police investigators seized "hundreds of videotapes and more than a thousand photographs" of Meaux engaged in sexual encounters with young girls. Apparently, they say, Meaux used the youths' dreams of stardom as a way to lure them to the world of drugs and then sex, and that this practice has been going so long that the statute of limitations on some the cases being investigated have already expired. My question is how someone who was dumb enough to take all those pictures (i.e. evidence) could get away with this for so long.

Mixed Notes

Last week, we couldn't even include them as "invited" guests at SXSW, but now you can add Son Volt and Randy Newman as confirmed showcasers at the music conference... Contrary to reports elsewhere, Sixteen Deluxe will be appearing at the Chronicle Music Awards show this year. Their Euro-tour plans with Steel Pole Bathtub have gone the way of the Mod movement. Rumor has it that they may play the same SXSW bill as Crown Heights, featuring their long-departed drummer Bryan Bowden (if you saw 16D's picture in last week's XLent., you might think he's still in the band). Crown fans can only hope that by March, Bowden will have ceased mourning over Alice Donut's break-up... Willie Nelson and family will be opening the fourth season of the Back Yard on March 6. Okay, so that's a ways off yet, but tickets go on sale today (Thursday), so I thought I'd let ya know... Well, it may be called Bluesiana, but according to Billboard, the big Shanachie Records four-act tour this summer includes Austin's own Sue Foley along with Rufus Thomas, Bill Doggett and the Uptown Horns... As always, Austin has its nominees in the W.C Handy Awards. This year's possible winners include ex-local Keri Leigh for Contemporary Female Blues Artist and her song "Here's Your Mop Mr. Johnson" (cowritten with Mark Lyon and Thomas Anderson) for Blues Song of the Year, Kim Wilson for Blues Harmonica, and "Sister" Sarah Brown for Blues Bass. Brown has a new album on the way, I might add, called Sayin' What I'm Thinkin', with a shipping date of March 16. Included on that you'll find new versions of a couple of songs from the Dreams Come True album she did with Lou Ann Barton, Angela Strehli, and Marcia Ball... Mighty Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-head were featured in a short cartoon before the recent AC/DC show at the Erwin Center, and insiders tell me that Judge, backstage after the show, had to sign more autographs than the band...Which reminds me, it's time for this week's Corc-O-Watch: My international network of journalism spies have let me know that, out of the-writer-formerly-known-as-Corky's "Ten Reasons that AC/DC are Better than the Rolling Stones," featured in last week's XLent., only four originally appeared in a piece by Corcoran in the Dallas Morning News in 1992. That means the XL piece contained over 50% new material!... KVRX will be having a live, on-air pledge drive next Thursday (February 8) from 7-9pm with the re-formed Power Snatch and the unreformed Laurie Freelove performing. Take a listen. Give money... Tonight (Thursday) is Dianne Scott's birthday party at the Continental Club, and these annual events are well known for the special guests they attract. Check the club listings for the non-secret part of the lineup... Root 1 have release parties for their delayed Nomad's Land CD at Pearl's on Friday and Flamingo Cantina on Saturday... Rituals '96 is at the Back Room this Saturday (which "resembles a middle school gym now" according to a tongue-in-cheek note from one of the bands playing)...Speaking of rituals, I hear Mr. Lifto's done some cosmetic work to his appearance... Dem changes: Necrofix (playing at the above Rituals fest) are now called Digit, and Altamont '69 now plan to go by the name Soulbender. Fastball, however, have reportedly not changed their name in at least a week... Daddy Longhead's Jeff Pinkus called to say that no, he's not related to Barry Manilow even though the "I Write The Songs" guy was born "Barry Alan Pinkus." Jeff says that tracing the name Pinkus back to its origins reveals that it means "tailor," so I haven't ruled out the possibility that he's related to James Taylor (or Teresa Taylor, for that matter). Daddy Longhead plays at the Hole in the Wall tonight (Thursday, again), and you can find out then if Pinkus is yanking my chain when he adds that "My guitarist Jimbo Youngis Neil Young's nephew...

-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser

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More Dancing About Architecture
Dancing About Architecture
Dancing About Architecture
The last installment of "Dancing About Architecture."

Ken Lieck, Jan. 3, 2003

So Long, Slug
So Long, Slug

Ken Lieck, Dec. 20, 2002

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