Kicking the Bucket List
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Well, you knew it would happen. You publish the bucket list of things that all Texans should do before they die and e-mail messages from surly Texans proclaiming notable omissions pile up in your inbox like empty beer cans at a tailgate party [“The Bucket List,” March 2010]. As a fifth-generation Texan, I could argue that eating calf fries and spray-painting a car don’t belong on a credible Lone Star list. But holy moly, texas monthly, how could you omit the most obvious item? Every Texan should climb the highest peak in Texas! At 8,749 feet, Guadalupe Peak is a heck of a good climb. Besides, from the quiet of the summit you can almost hear the sounds of a Buddy Holly—Stevie Ray Vaughan session made in heaven.
Number 28 on your bucket list—“Order a Brown Derby at Your Favorite Dairy Queen”—triggered a memory. As a native Texan, I was driving my new wife, a native Virginian, from Denver to Austin by way of Archer City to see Larry McMurtry’s four huge stashes of previously enjoyed books. To acquaint her with some Texana, we would stay at a B&B, eat a real chicken-fried steak with white gravy, and read the plethora of Texas historical markers en route. When we got to Booked Up No. 4, I saw McMurtry through the glass front. I walked in and asked him where a visitor might find a chicken-fried steak in Archer City. He said, “Go down this street a couple of blocks; there’s a Dairy Queen on the left.” The day’s special was an eight-ounce CFS with white gravy and mashed potatoes, for $5. Mission accomplished.
Jack D. Heacock
I am near eighty years old and have started my personal bucket list, so I was interested in yours. For my money, I prefer the ribeye served by the Mesquite Pit, in Mineral Wells, to the Perini Ranch Steakhouse, in Buffalo Gap. The taste, price, and blue-collar setting is more to my liking.
Bobby E. Riggs
The Beat Goes On
Love the story of the garage bands [“Three Chords and a Station Wagon,” March 2010]. I was part of that movement and still play rock and roll. Texas music is much more special around the world than it is in Texas, and there is a need to promote Texas music both past and present to the rest of the world. God bless your efforts.
How could you overlook Mike Knust and Fever Tree, from Houston? They also made the national charts during this period.
What about the Morticians, a really tight band that won at least one battle of the bands at Westview Skating Rink, in Waco? Or Knights Bridge Quintet, from Midway? They recorded at Robin Hood and had a regional hit with “Sorrow in C Major.” And their early bass player was Dick Gimble, son of fiddler Johnny Gimble.
I know the music died with Buddy Holly, but Michael Hall apparently believes the music was not reborn until the Brits reinvaded our shores. In that belief he writes off everybody born before 1946; he nullifies and obviates and erases from history the real first wave of would-be players who picked up the various guitar configurations offered by Fender, Gibson, and even Gretsch and came out of garages and suburban dens and broke well away from Your Hit Parade to play real Texas music—good rock and roll and R&B—and continue traditions established by T-Bone Walker and Gatemouth Brown and the other R&B greats from within and outside the Lone Star State. Hall forgets or is too young to remember the bands from all over Texas who, from the fifties and well into the sixties, competed hotly for the top birthday party, high school hop, CYO, frat party, roadhouse, dance hall, club, and VFW and SPJST hall gigs. He forgets or doesn’t remember people like Delbert McClinton; Trini Lopez (and the Buffaloes and then the Big Beats); Trini’s little brother, Jesse; and the Dallas-area teen bands who played for their peers and not for their parents. He forgets the most popular “show band” in late-fifties and early-sixties Dallas, the Expressions. And that doesn’t even begin to address the Sunny Ozunas and the Doug Sahms, who came out of San Antonio garages, or the really brave people who outgrew garages to put together the big horn bands and do Bobby Bland and Junior Parker and Ray Charles and James Brown and the Famous Flames. Johnny Williams and the Jokers, Roy Head and the Traits, B. J. Thomas and the Triumphs. The Cyclones. Lord have mercy, the Boogie Kings! The Perrymates, in Houston.
I don’t begrudge Mr. Hall what may be recollections of his own glorious youth, but I am a bit put off by his thesis that Texas kids didn’t have and play music until the Brit Invasion brought a lot of their own music back to them. Mr. Hall, in effect, writes off a whole generation of Texas musicians and would-be musicians who were in the vanguard of kid-combo music and played because they loved doing that. He writes off my generation!
The Devil and Mr. Jones
I read with great interest, and profound sadness, your article on talk show host Alex Jones [“Alex Jones Is About to Explode,” March 2010]. The sadness was not so much because of this obviously deranged person and his otherworld ragings; I was confounded and appalled at the fact that two million people listen to and believe this claptrap. And we call ourselves the most educated and intelligent country on the planet?!
The exposé on Alex Jones was simultaneously entertaining and frightening. I fear that glamorizing people like him may lead to tragic events, like the recent shooting at the Pentagon. I hope texas monthly considers that in the future when writing about such polarizing figures.