Strap in for the Cowpunk Ballad of T. Tex Edwards

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The Nervebreakers in the year they tried to hijack the radio, T. Tex Edwards in foreground
The gig is flying a bit under the radar, but Saturday the Big Top hosts T. Tex Edwards, one of the legends of early Texas punk. Known as one of the earliest cowpunks, Edwards was butchering George Jones songs when Jason and the Scorchers were still sloppin' hogs in Iowa.

He has always specialized in goofball eccentricity and exhibited a big jones for country murder ballads done in a spirit of deranged delight. As a teenager, Edwards was the vocalist for the now legendary Nervebreakers, a post-garage Dallas ensemble that feared no band. Although they never hit the big time nationally, Nervebreakers are probably best known for backing Roky Erickson at Dallas' Palladium in 1979, a performance eventually released as Erickson's Dallas Live album in 1992.


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Top 10 Songs to Download While Drunk

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Photo by Gina Carteciano via flickr
Boozy playlists are the very best, better still when they randomly appear on your playlist the day after you've knocked back a few beers. Your drunk brain always knows what kind of music the sober you needs. Or most of the time, anyway.

Unfortunately, sometimes drunken downloading can be just about as beer-goggle dangerous as anything we can think of. For example, we may know a certain writer who has a penchant for downloading Billy Idol songs while inebriated. The "Rebel Yell" singer only released so many songs, and that idiot may own them all. But thanks to that mishap, we've learned our lesson...sort of.


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The 10 Worst Musical Comebacks of All Time

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We'll get to you in October, Vince, Tommy, et. al.
Don't call it a comeback...because it sucked.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that "less is more," especially when you're a retired musician. It can be easy to find yourself pining away for the spotlight and those glory days of old, but we really would advise you to think twice before hitting the comeback circuit, lest you become one of these poor folks below. So many things can go wrong and, apparently, very little can go right.

So our wayward, nostalgic musician friends. Please make sure you're good and ready to face the world again before you emerge from the bowels of a previous decade, or else this could happen.


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How to Play a Vinyl Record

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Photo by acidpix via flickr
So you want to play a vinyl, eh?

Perhaps you've come across your grandma's old record player, or maybe you've found a sweet stash of vinyls at your local Goodwill that would look perfect in your hipster pad, and you want to test them out to impress your moustachioed friends.

There's only one problem, though. You're well out of the demographic that remembers 8-track players, much less those strange, disc-looking things you're holding haphazardly, and you can't just ask the dude in skinny pants that won't get off your couch. You'd lose way too much street cred.

Well, you're in luck. An official old is here to teach you the ways. Watch and learn, childrens.


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10 Bands So Bad You Forgot About Them

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Photo by Sam Howzit via flickr
There are two kinds of reactions to a long-forgotten song. First, and most optimal, are the obscure bands whose music hits your iPod and brings on the euphoria of resurrected-music magic.

But then there are the ones that play over the loudspeaker in the dusty aisles of your local discount store as you shop for marked-down electronics, and that when you hear them cause immediate claustrophobia.

These are not the bands that give you the happy-happy joy-joy's when you hear them again. These bands cause total discount-electronics-aisle meltdown, and you'd probably forgotten about them until this blog. We're sorry.


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The Rice Hotel Speakeasy: Houston Music During Prohibition

Note: This is Part 2 in a series that timelines through bits of the first century of Houston's nightlife until about the start of what was found to be Houston's oldest running bar.

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Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Rice Hotel dining room
The Rice Hotel (now the Post Rice Lofts) is located where the first capital of the Republic of Texas once stood. The Rice Roof at the Rice Hotel was one of Houston's top dance clubs among local elite and whatnot for some time.

By the time Prohibition came about in the early 1920s, the Rice Roof was where much of Texas' elite supposedly kept their private stocks of alcohol in individual cabinets. The Rice Hotel Dining Room Orchestra played here as well as several jazz "territory bands." One such group was Peck's Bad Boys, an influential local group led by Houstonian John "Peck" Kelley. They never recorded, though they were said to be largely popular while remaining generally ahead of their time. They possibly played at the Rice Roof and at college nights at the Lamar Spanish Dining Room, too.

Prohibition-era nightclubbing in Houston was said to happen in speakeasies made out of houses located in the Neartown area along present-day Westheimer, better known today as Montrose.


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Gunfights and Ragtime: The Houston Music Scene of 100 Years Ago

Note: This is a two-part series that timelines through bits of the first century of Houston's nightlife until about the start of what was found to be Houston's oldest running bar.

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Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
City Hall and Market House, 1904
For the first century since Houston's birth in 1837, happenings of music and revelry were advertised word-of-mouth. Music journalism generally consisted of classical reviews, and most of those who could chat about those times have passed, making it harder to find what's left today.

What's left are library reserves of research volumes alongside torn pictures and captions tucked and scattered throughout a small variety of nice, browned scrapbooks. Looking through dozens of those, this is what we found.


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Spud Boys' Revenge: Devo's Innovative Videos Drive U of H Crowd Nuts

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ebay.com
lenticular Devo pin, 1982
On November 30, 1982, two years after "Whip It" made its rounds through radio and television airwaves, Devo's spazzy music had become the encapsulation of everything pop culture at the time had to offer. Though their catchy synths and calculated kitsch had brought them to fame, come the band's second performance in two back-to-back shows at the Cullen Performance Hall in the University of Houston, a good chunk of the crowd could care less. The venue was far over capacity, and few expected to hear Devo's one Billboard hit.

But on this night, a brand-new technology was expected to premiere to many eyes. It was going to be a video-synchronized concert, with Devo performing in tune to their own video clips projected on large screens behind them, equipped with simultaneously moving props and lighting.


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Behold, Our Concert Calendar In All Its Beefed-Up Glory

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Notice something different about us lately? No? Well, come a little closer and let us show you. Don't be scared; we won't bite. We just want to flex for you. We think you'll be impressed.

We know we're not usually this forward, but we've worked hard to get in shape, and we would like to take a minute to toot our own horn. We're lookin' a bit more toned, a bit more refreshed, and just a tiny bit more nipped and tucked, and no, it's not in our faces. It's in our concert calendar area.

That's right, our concert calendar area. Not sure where that is? Here, we'll show you. Don't be intimidated. We still look a lot like we used to, but we've bulked up a bit and added a bit more muscle, giving our calendar the power it needed to make it the best calendar ever.


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At the Alamo: A Band Called Death, A Band of Brothers

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In the end, A Band Called Death is less about its namesake or even about the music at all; it is the journey of three brothers bound by love and driven by faith. The sounds that they made together upstairs in a small house in Detroit in 1974, while revolutionary, take a back seat to the story of David, Bobby and Dannis Hackney, brothers.

Encouraged by their parents, the youngest three Hackney brothers grew up like so many American teenagers since the birth of rock and roll, listening to a wide spectrum of popular music from folk to funk. But even in the heart of Motown, it was ultimately bands like The Who and The Beatles that would speak to David and his brothers.


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