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DAYNCE OF THE PECKERWOODS

THE BADLANDS OF TEXAS MUSIC

 

Michael H. Price

 

ISBN-13: 978-0-9547068-5-2 (ISBN: 0-9547068-5-4)

Paperback, 350 pages, 123 illustrations, 2006

Availability:  Last few copies.

 

DETAILS

From a childhood spent among such key roots-music figures as Bob Wills and Big Joe Turner, and an extended dual career as a musician and journalist, Michael H. Price has forged this frenzied chronicle of life among the denizens of the vanishing borderlands of Texas' indigenous music scene over the past half-century.  Contains essays (and some interviews) on Boisec Ardoin, the Austin Lounge Lizards, Billy Briggs, Fred 'Papa' Calhoun, Zeke Campbell, Ornette Coleman, Trudy Coleman, Robert Crumb, Diddy Wah Diddy, Willie Dixon, Robert Ealey, Carroll Hubbard, Herbert Jeffries, the Light Crust Doughboys, Big Bill Lister, Spanky McFarland, Buddy Ray, Rudy Ray Moore, Mantan Moreland, Johnny Reno, Eck Robertson, Salt Lick, Ray Sharpe, Robert Shaw, Major Bill Smith, Texas boogie woogie piano, Son Thomas, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Honest Jess Williams, Windy Wood and many more.

 

REVIEWS

"In choosing to chronicle the musical landscape of Texas music through his own experiences (as a practising musician and writer for various publications), Price has inevitably produced a highly selective account...  What emerges is not only how Price developed his enthusiasm for music, but also a quirky view of Texas that illustrates why the State's music has such a distinctive flavour... But it is Price's penchant for the bizarre, especially in describing his own career as a pianist in various bands, that is most revealing, as he describes his relationship with, among others, Buddy Holly's producer, Norman Petty.  This book may not be an exhaustive account of the Texas scene, but the atmosphere is evocative and compelling."   Record Collector (November 2006)

 

"An interesting and entertaining read...  What makes the book so interesting is that [Price] writes from first hand experience of the artists covered, either from playing with them, interviewing them, or other personal contact.  His style is relaxed and easily digestible, and at times he comes across like a Garrison Keillor of rock and roll... If you read and enjoyed Robert Gordon's It Came From Memphis or Stanley Booth's Rythm Oil, or even Unsung Heroes of Rock And Roll by Nick Tosches, I'm sure you'll find much to enjoy in this book."  Blues & Rhythm (December 2006)

 

"What a bizarre artifact this book is!  Has anyone out there ever seen the word "dance" spelled like that?  And just what are Texas music's "badlands"?... Daynce Of The Peckerwoods is mostly a series of portraits of Texas musicians, some more legendary than others, although Price's autobiography looms large around the edges... Along the way, we have a definitive history of Fort Worth's fabled Bluebird Club, an interview with Ornette Coleman's blues-singing sister, Trudy Coleman Leach, a very idiosyncratic portrait of her brother, encounters with dozens of little-known Western swing players [and] everything you really need to know about Fort Worth's would-be music industry supremo, "Major" Bill Smith.... The early chapters featuring Price's uncle, Grady Wilson, who ran a movie theater in Price's hometown of Amarillo and didn't much cotton to disparaging black people, their music, or their company are very good indeed; we need to be reminded that men and women like this existed in Texas, and weren't as rare as people think.  His tributes to nearly forgotten black movie actors Mantan Moreland and Herb Jeffries (whom I recognised as one of Duke Ellington's parade of forgettable male vocalists) are revelations.  His chapter on Austin barrelhouse piano master Robert Shaw is affectionate and fact-filled... Anyone with a strong interest in Texas music should try to find this."  No Depression (January 2007)

 

"Price takes the reader on a humor-filled ride through those glory days when as a youth, he rubbed shoulders with such Texas music luminaries as Bob Wills and Big Joe Turner.  Coupled with his own experiences and drawn from a quarter century of interviews... Price spins tales of Texas nights and the stellar talents who provided the soundtracks of which these rich legends were made.  And what legends they are!  Price interviewed and/or played with such musical giants as Billy Briggs, Fred “Papa” Calhoun, Ornette Coleman, The Austin Lounge Lizards, Trudy Coleman, Johnny Reno, and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, to name a few.  Add to that an ultra-hip essay on one of the Kings of Comedy, Mantan Moreland, and you have a recipe for knee slap’n, foot stomp’n Texas Badlands reading.  This book is totally unique insofar as it also makes the connection between Texas roots music and the monster craze of the 50s and early 60s.  Price’s story of meeting Fats Domino backstage at the Nat Ballroom in Amarillo, Texas while the man himself was deeply immersed in an old Tales of the Crypt comic book throws a new light on what might have gone on, on Blueberry Hill!  There’s so much history here that to try and describe it in one review would be impossible."  Glass House Presents - The Official Site of the George Reeves Hall of Fame (February 2007)

 

"This may, at the outset, seem like a disparate group of subjects slung trogether, but there is a common thread running through it: that there were, and still are, many artists working away at their craft, ignoring popular trends and defying the commercial mainstream. Long may they thrive."  Juke Blues (May 2007)

 
 

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