The Tall Texan's Jukebox Is Not a Toy

Categories: Night Life

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Photo by Larami Culbertson
Los Skarnales singer Felipe Galvan (right) and friends at the Tall Texan in 2010
"And I'm hungry like the wooooolf..."

The music from the jukebox blares throughout this tiny bar on North Main. Although pleasing to our ears, the cheesy '80s rock has sparked a rumble of laughter from the regulars splayed across the crooked counter.

It's not often that someone comes into Alice's Tall Texan Drive Inn (4904 N. Main) and takes over the jukebox so abruptly. This old saloon is generally full of mustachioed regulars, some sporting cowboy hats. Others flash crooked smiles and Hispanic Heights charm. Usually the regulars have full run of the place.

Until some silly young bucks step in, anyway.

"Hey. You kids put on this music?"

A middle-aged man laughs heartily as he questions us about our musical choices. Duran Duran has abandoned us, but John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" is equally as amusing to these guys. Trying hard not to turn beet-red, we nod our answer.

Yes, yes we did.

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When we first stepped foot into the Tall Texan, ranchera music was blaring from the speakers, and we wondered if we weren't in the wrong bar. After all, we'd heard the Tall Texan was cheap-beer heaven, and had even set foot inside once or twice. But those were late-night, post-bar visits, so the details were a bit fuzzy.

Plus the tales of cheap beer and good times had always come from kids in rolled-up skinny jeans and pearl snaps, so we'd expected to walk into hipster heaven. What we found instead was much cooler.

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"Ha ha, guys. Nice choice on this one."

Apparently we've hit jukebox gold with our piece de resistance, Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine." The entire place becomes one big singalong, with the men in cowboy hats belting out their deepest notes. We have moved to the role of backup singer, reduced to yelling our part from across the room. Alice's Tall Texan may be small, but it ain't that small.

"And I know, I know, I know, I know..."

But even with the vocal atrocities taking place, "Ain't No Sunshine" brightens up the ambiance. Without Withers' sad tune, the Tall Texan would be decidedly sparse.


Story continues on the next page.

Location Info

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Alice's Tall Texan Drive Inn

4904 N. Main, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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