Arts History Update on June 20, 2014

21 Jun

Arts History Update on June 20, 2014 by David Cummins


Tommy Hancock: West Texas Muse (63 minute documentary film 2014) directed by Dwight Adair is being introduced at Lubbock’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema 120 West Loop 289 off North Slide Road on Sunday June 22, showings at 4:30 and 7:30 pm $20 per person that includes free admission to a later live performance at Blue Light Live 1806 Buddy Holly Avenue in the Depot District after 9:00 pm, performance by a put-together group The Sons of The Roadside Playboys


Tommy X. Hancock resides in Austin, is now 85 years of age, but way back in the day Tommy was the owner of Lubbock’s fabled Cotton Club east of town and he fiddled and led the house band The Roadside Playboys, initially with Texas Swing Music but Tommy morphed onward into various styles, and he booked the leading musicians of the day into the Cotton Club. He and his wife Charlene Condray Hancock and children Conni, Traci, Louie and Joaquin traveled the Rocky Mountain area from 1972 playing as The Supernatural Family Band that was later inducted into the Country Music Association Hall of Fame. He is an inductee in the Austin Chronicle Music Awards Hall of Fame and the West Texas Walk of Fame in Lubbock where he was born and raised and is regarded as the Godfather of West Texas Music. When he no longer could perform as a master fiddler due to arthritis, he supported Texana Dames featuring his wife Charlene and their daughters Conni and Traci. Here is a 2011 video of Charlene on keyboards and daughter Conni Hancock playing some Texas Jumbo music as Texana Dames Family picture here


There will be DVDs of the film for sale and also of Lubbock Lights (2003 documentary film 80 minutes) in which Tommy, the Texana Dames, Terry Allen, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Lloyd Maines, Jesse Taylor and others appear. Texas Tech Library Digital Media Studio 1890.L297 (2005)


Best of all, Tommy is back in town June 22 for this event and will be present to greet viewers of the film and attendees of a brief incarnation of The Sons of The Roadside Playboys at a Lubbock night spot. Also attending is film director Dwight Adair. Flags in Lubbock should fly a little higher on Sunday June 22, 2014 because Tommy, a living legend, is back in his hometown.


Here is a video of Elvis Presley singing at the Cotton Club 6410 E. US Highway 84 [Slaton Highway] on October 15, 1955 at the invitation of its owner Ralph Lowe who would later sell the Club to the house band leader Tommy X. Hancock. A very young Willie Nelson, Little Richard, Wayland Jennings, Hank Williams, Harry James, Benny Goodman, Bob Wills and so many more sang and played there. The address was outside the city limits and this club seating 1,400 patrons broke all the social rules, inviting players and audiences who were African-Americans, drifters, hippies, and social outcasts as well as good ole boy West Texas cowboys and farmers. Everyone was welcome and it was one of very few venues for live music between Dallas and Los Angeles.


The Cotton Club suffered several fires and burned down more than once but Hancock just built it back.


One of the legacies of Buddy Holly was his wallet in which was found a membership card in The Club for Unappreciated Musicians. Buddy was member # 4. The card had been issued by Tommy X. Hancock. Godfather of West Texas Music is a title no one contests.


Tommy X. Hancock, Zen and the Art of the Texas Two Step: The Book on Dancing (World Wide Pub Co 1998) Texas Tech Library GV1624.T4 H36




now out of print but available at Alibris in very good condition for $15 a paperback.

Here is a video of the late Traci Hancock singing

Rob Weiner, West Texas Musical Heritage (West Texas Historical Association 2009 Yearbook volume 84 pages 175-191

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