In addition to their One Square Mile documentary series, first reported here, married Fort Worth filmmakers Carl and Betsy Crum are tackling a project that’s inherently lighter though much more likely to result in bloodshed in public forums. The Crums are putting together a doc on “Texas music legends” (and by “Texas music,” I’m pretty sure they don’t mean only of the Pat Green variety). “Obscure or not,” the Crums say on their Facebook page, doesn’t matter. What they’re looking for are Texas artists who’ve “made a significant impact or contribution to music on a large level.” The first dozen or so names should rattle off your tongue: Willie, Ornette, Bob Wills, Buddy Holly, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Stevie Ray, Townes, Janis, ZZ Top, Waylon Jennings, Roy Orbison, and Lyle Lovett. As for the “obscure,” well, let’s see. You’ve got the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, who was born in Lubbock but perfected the fine art of howling over horrible guitar playing and drumming to achieve legendary cult-like status in Fort Worth. You’ve got Jandek, the Houston-area recluse whose out-of-tune acoustic ramblings reportedly influenced the highly in-tune ramblings of no less a groundbreaking act than Nirvana. Who else? Hmmm. Well, there’s Pantera. “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and company weren’t groundbreaking, but they were extremely proficient at metal music. And popular. One Texas artist whose groundbreaking qualities are not in question is Roky Erickson, mainly for his work as bandleader of the ’60s-era psych outfit the 13th Floor Elevators. Lastly, you’ve gotta get some hip-hop in there, and the undisputed epicenter of Texas hip-hop was and remains H-town, birthplace of DJ Screw, an artist who forever influenced the sound, the actual audio qualities, of hip-hop. I guess you could also throw Houston’s Geto Boys in there. Any other suggestions?
Lefty Frizzell from Corsicana has got to be included. His unique singing style spawned many imitators, most notably Merle Haggard, who went on to become the voice of country music for many years.
Good suggestion. And I don’t envy the Crums, who are just asking for hate mail by undertaking this project. There’s no way they’re going to please all of us. But, I guess, debate is half the fun …
Mr. James Robert (Bob) Wills. Western swing, anyone?
His is the third name I mention. You must have overlooked him.
big boys, butthole surfers, the dicks, theres a lot of 70’s and 80’s punk in there thats flying beneath the radar.
Little Jack Melody. One of the finest songwriters in North Texas (and bassist for Brave Combo to boot).
Butthole Surfers have subject potential, for sure, though I don’t think anybody can credit them with reinventing any wheels. I understand, however, that forming and operating a wheel is just fine and dandy. I’m also assuming the Crums aren’t planning a five-hour Ken Burns epic and won’t be able to fit in every suggestion.
man, the butthole surfers were considered weird for the new york no wave scene. they didnt sound like anyone else, and all of the punk bands up north and out west were nuts for them and thought it was the oddest thing theyd ever heard.
I’d never heard of Jandek. I listened to some of his stuff. That’s some bunk shit.
Yeah, but what’s interesting (legendary?) about Jandek is the mystique that he created. Up until recently, no one knew what he looked like or where he was from, yet he continued producing self-recording after self-recording. His only form of correspondence was a P.O. box for something called Corwood Industries. He’s kind of legendary not necessarily for his music but for his prolificacy and persona.
I’m going to suggest T Bone Burnett and Johnny Reno.