It’s Texas, Not Tanya
As a Texas music historian of more than fifty years, I was looking forward to the piece on Tanya Tucker by Emily McCullar [“The Outlaw,” October 2023]. But McCullar’s big bone of contention seems to be that the Nashville boys didn’t like Tucker’s wild “I’m my own woman, hear me roar” act. Nashville and the Country Music Machine out of Tennessee have always ignored Texas artists, gender be damned. It took the Country Music Hall of Fame until 1996 to induct Ray Price, the man who almost single-handedly saved country music in the fifties. It inducted Texan Buck Owens that same year, decades after he was the top-selling country music artist of the sixties.
And worse than Tanya’s wait for the Hall of Fame? Al Dexter, of Jacksonville, Texas—who had seven number one hits and fourteen top-ten hits in the forties, including “Pistol Packin’ Mama”—is still waiting on his call from Nashville.
Coy Mac Rather, Montalba
One Under Par
Good work on the story about great public golf courses in Texas [“Swing Time,” October 2023]. But you failed to mention that Gus Wortham was formerly Houston Country Club, the site of many wonderful events. The routing is the same as when Bobby Jones and numerous other amateurs and pros visited.
Frances G. Trimble, Anderson County
Oil Business, As Usual
Good article by Russell Gold on the hundreds of problematic, defunct oil wells in Texas bays [“Oil’s Abandonment Issues,” October 2023]. I’ve been in the oil business for more than fifty years, and I remember when the Legislature established the Texas Economic Stabilization Fund in 1988. The industry was told that severance taxes paid into the fund by oil and gas producers would be used by the state to plug orphan oil and gas wells. Not surprisingly, as soon as revenues began to accumulate, the Legislature found other uses for the money. Those payments could have easily covered the $177 million required to plug all inactive wells in Texas. Not all the blame should be placed on the sluggish action of the Railroad Commission of Texas. The Legislature apparently disregarded both the original purpose and the source of the funds.
James A. Gibbs, Dallas
I’d Like an Afterword, Please
Thank you for deputy editor Ross McCammon’s splendid column on his visits to Recycled Books, in Denton [“For Your Next Book, Buy Used—Really Used,” October 19, 2023, texasmonthly.com]. I had similar experiences at the fine two-story Victorian used bookshop Tin Can Mailman, in Arcata, California. He nailed the importance of used books and their ability to connect strangers together. However, I find it difficult to believe McCammon never read a book for pleasure before college!
Charles Winkler, Raleigh, North Carolina
Editors’ note: An article in the November 2023 issue, “The Dispossessed,” misstated the age of Lawrence Smith in 2012. He was 65.