Contributors

John Morthland

109 Articles

Music Review |
January 1, 2000

The Texas Trumpets

This one’s a groove thang. Except for the fact that four trumpets replace a full horn section, it recalls the classic black show bands that began with post-war jump-blues combos and ended with the breakup of James Brown’s early-seventies funk powerhouse. Back then, blues and R&B musicians had to be

Music |
December 1, 1999

Songwriter

Move over, Anna Nicole Smith. Mexia’s biggest celebrity is Cindy Walker, who penned hits made famous by everyone from Eddy Arnold to Bob Wills.

Music |
June 30, 1999

Blues Brothers

Long John Hunter and his guitar-slinging friends sharpened their axes in and around Port Arthur, so their recent return was truly a homecoming.

Texana |
May 31, 1999

Hog Wild

They’re a major nuisance in rural Texas— but, boy, do they taste good.

Music |
December 1, 1998

Johnny on the Spot

Country singer Johnny Rodriguez has had a career full of highs and lows, but with a murder trial looming, his lowest day may be yet to come.

Music |
November 1, 1998

Folk Hero

He’s one of the most influential men in American music. So why haven’t you heard of Alan Lomax?

Reporter |
September 30, 1998

It’s Not Over

Okay, he isn’t exactly sexy. But he’s hot! And he’s dead! The busiest balladeer in Texas these days is… Roy Orbison.

Education |
August 31, 1998

Class Acts

Long before they were chart-topping musicians, Erykah Badu and Roy Hargrove made the grade at an arts magnet school in Dallas.

Music |
June 30, 1998

Soul Survivor

His mentor, Sam Cooke, is long dead, but Dallas’ Johnnie Taylor is alive and well and still living at the top of the charts.

Music |
November 1, 1997

Horn Free

After years in New York’s jazz trenches, trumpeter Hannibal Lokumbe has come home to Smithville in search of the simple life.

Music |
July 31, 1997

Royal Blue

For decades, Bobby Bland has personified the definitive post–T-Bone Walker Texas R&B style. Even at 67, no one can dethrone him.

Music |
March 1, 1997

Tenor of the Times

Dallas sax player Marchel Ivery has impressed jazz greats like Red Garland and Art Blakey. So why isn’t he more famous? For one thing, he won’t blow his own horn.

Music |
November 1, 1996

Golden Oldie

After playing for years in relative obscurity, 57-year-old Ronnie Dawson is the latest cult hero in the cultish world of rockabilly.

Music |
September 30, 1996

Quindon

TEN DAYS AFTER HE CELEBRATED HIS FOURTEENTH birthday by downing a seafood dinner and playing a concert in Milwaukee, Quindon Tarver is on top of the world. Actually, he’s on top of Reunion Tower in Dallas, sucking down a virgin piña colada at the Antares restaurant and talking about his

Film & TV |
April 30, 1996

To B or Not to B?

Cesar Alejandro’s low-budget action movies aren’t exactly number one with a bullet, but the El Paso director is sure he’ll be hot in Hollywood—some day.

Music |
March 1, 1996

Walser Across Texas

Beloved by bubbas and the Butthole Surfers alike, 350-pound yodeler Don Walser is country’s current cross-generational king of cool.

Music |
September 30, 1995

Wasted Days

Freddy Fender has one of the most affecting voices in the music business. So why isn’t he a star?

Music |
March 1, 1995

Come Dancing

When country hunk Billy Ray Cyrus his megahit “Achy Breaky Heart” in 1992, country dancing—or at least a modern version of it—returned to vogue. Cyrus’ novelty song was released with a video that showed a line dance specifically created for the song, and—in a flashback to the Urban Cowboy craze of

Music |
April 30, 1994

True Blues

In Houston a handful of juke joints and beer bars offers blues the way they used to be—a soulful, gritty communal rite.

Music |
February 1, 1994

Axes to Grind

When Stevie Ray Vaughan died, Texas lost its premier guitarist. Can any of these ambitious young players fill his boots?

Music |
September 30, 1993

Long Shot

A new album showcases the smoky vocals and guitar of Long John Hunter—the man who gave West Texas the blues.

Literature |
May 31, 1993

Range Writer

For years, no one took cowboy poetry seriously. But Buck Ramsey’s epic verse has taken the genre to new heights.

Music |
November 1, 1992

Out of Sync

Nearly everyone agrees that the nation’s best college jazz program is in Denton, but critics wonder if it isn’t mired in the past.

Music |
April 1, 1991

Jump Starter

The music of T-Bone Walker, the Texas guitarist who put the boogie into “jump” blues, is now definitely on record.

Music |
February 1, 1991

Yo, Y’all

Carrollton’s Vanilla Ice is the country’s coolest rapper, and several other Texas acts are hot on his heels.

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