ZZ TOP, THE MOVING SIDEWALKS & THE 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS | TEXAS MUSIC LEGENDS

zz top chevy lowrider el dorado

“Our ’65 Chevy low rider convertible, flying the colors of ZZ Top’s El Dorado Bar is solidly a Texas car yet, equally at home on the streets of LA, Fresno, or Bakersfield.” –Billy Gibbons. This pic of ZZ Top has it all, in my opinion. Just checkout that custom-built Texas state Gibson guitar! The band has acquired an enviable car collection over the years, and is out and about in the custom scene. “We attend the Mooneyes Festivals in California and Japan and always make the SoCal Speed Shop summer ‘Open House’ gathering. Always a terrific time. As far as clubs are concerned, we think of ZZ Top as one.  We hang out, we shoot the breeze, we get down, we move on to the next town and, of course, it’s all about the arrival.  Loud, low, while you Rock and Roll…!” –Billy Gibbons

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Young ZZ Top Prom

“Dusty Hill, Frank Beard, and Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) playing the Senior Prom in May, 1970 at Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School in Orange, Texas. Apparently sometime between signing the contract and the actual prom itself, the band broke-out big. They tried to get out of the contract, but the school couldn’t find a replacement on such short notice so ZZ Top still performed…people were climbing through the windows, crashing the prom, just to hear the band play. This was all at a really small school with a graduating class of around 100, maybe less.” via

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ROLLING STONES FLEA MARKET FIND PHOTOS | FOUND TUMBLING THROUGH THE SOUTH IN ’65

Rolling Stones Florida 1965

Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones enjoying the pool at the Manger Motor Lodge in Savannah, GA

Just imagine your luck stumbling across this little gem… 23 original, never-before-seen photos of the Rolling Stones resting unmolested in an unmarked box? Yes, please. That’s exactly what Lauren White found herself staring at when a friendly, unassuming flea market dealer put them before her kindly with a wink and a nudge. Turns out they were taken (photographer unknown…) during the Rolling Stones American tour through Savannah, Georgia and Clearwater, Florida in 1965.

“He obviously didn’t know what he had. To tell the truth, I didn’t either. I obviously knew it was the Stones, but it took about a week of looking them over to realize that this was really a very unique circumstance. After extensive research, I came to find that these are unpublished, never-before-seen photos of one of the most legendary bands in rock ‘n’ roll history. Not only that, they are beautifully composed, candid, raw and perfect in every way. They really convey a band innocent to their destiny.

In a lot of the images, the guys are looking directly into the lens. It’s hard to get boys to be that vulnerable, especially in front of a camera. They are also sort of showing off. I think a girl is the only thing that could convince them to allow those kinds of shots. It’s hard to imagine a dude is evoking these intimate moments, but you never know.” –Lauren White

Mick Jagger Rolling Stones 1965

1965– Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones poolside in shades, Clearwater, Florida

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THE FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS, ca. 1980 | PHOTOGRAPHY OF ART MERIPOL

So I recently came across these incredible images of the Fabulous Thunderbirds taken back in the ’80s by photographer Art Meripol that really grabbed me. The shots of Jimmie Vaughan are epic, and Kim Wilson is also looking pretty damn good. The bands’ storied bassist, Keith Ferguson (July 23, 1946 – April 29, 1997), the most colorful character in the bunch (and the original hipster), was even in a few of the pics. Ferguson was an anchor in the Austin music scene whose longtime drug use and increasingly odd behavior eventually led to his separation from Austin’s legendary Antone’s and many of those he once called friends. One thing’s for certain, he will always be an Austin legend (in many ways) and a revered musician. They say that to see Keith Ferguson in his prime was unforgettable. I dug through the archives of The Austin Chronicle and Dallas Observer to get the skinny…

“…When I first saw Ferguson with the Fabulous Thunderbirds at Rome Inn in 1976, about a year after they’d formed, it was one of the most memorable musical experiences of my life. Not quite 30, Ferguson was the oldest member of the band, yet he, like the rest of them, played the blues like a grown man– and they sure as hell didn’t sound like a bunch of “white kids.” Still a decade away from commercial success (there were about 25 disinterested patrons at Rome Inn that night), Ferguson, Kim Wilson, Jimmie Vaughan, and the soon-to-join Mike Buck already showcased the indelible influence they would have on blues bands coast to coast, and around the world. Collectively and individually, the original T-Birds sired cults and mini-cults, changing the way musicians played, dressed, stood, combed their hair.

At the center of all this was Ferguson– a unique, colorful, even charismatic persona, but that was just the icing on the mystique. At its core was one simple truth– he was as good a blues bass player as there was in the history of blues bass players. Even in capable hands, the subtle art of blues bass can be the musical equivalent of the witness protection program, yet Ferguson carved out a singular niche without ever saying ‘look at me’ with his instrument.” 

–Dan Forte for The Austin Chronicle

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Austin, Texas, 1980– Blues guitar great Jimmie Vaughan playing with his band, the Fabulous Thunderbirds. “Jimmie Vaughan playing behind his head (with broken foot!)” –image by © Art Meripol. via “It’s whispered that the T-Birds were the only white blues band that intimidated the Rolling Stones, for whom they opened twice at the Dallas Cotton Bowl, and twice at the Houston Astrodome during the 1981 tour.” –Josh Alan Friedman for the Dallas Observer

ca. 1980– The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ lead singer/harpist Kim Wilson with legendary bassist and band mate Keith Ferguson in Austin, TX. –image by © Art Meripol. via “…there were knock-down, drag-out, shit-kicking fist-fights between Ferguson and Wilson — the distinguished, sharply dressed ambassadors of the blues.” via

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“Keith Ferguson died with a monkey on his back. I’m not speaking figuratively– the man literally died with a picture of a monkey on his back. It was tattooed there, the head of a fang-toothed baboon permanently inked into his shoulder. That was Keith Ferguson’s statement to the world. So, when a friend called last week to tell me that Ferguson was in the hospital and probably wouldn’t make it out alive, it didn’t come as much of a surprise. Not to me, and probably not to Ferguson, either. The obituary cited liver failure as the cause of death, and that may indeed be what’s on the death certificate– but that’s like jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge and having the resultant death termed a swimming accident. Liver failure was the cause of death in name only, because for 30 of his 50 years, Ferguson shot heroin.” 
–Dan Forte for The Austin Chronicle

YOU LOOK SO MONEY — JOHNNY CASH | SLICKED BACK STYLE OF THE ’50s & ’60s

 

Johnny Cash Martin Guitar

Johnny Cash struttin’ his stuff, jammin’ on his Martin guitar, CA. 1959.

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Now Johnny Cash’s life wasn’t exactly a cakewalk back in the day. Johnny was touring like a banshee —  the marriage was crumbling — they (he and first wife Vivian) had 4 baby girls to take care of — he was partying like a fiend — he and his badass buddies, like Waylon Jennings, were taking every pill there was — he gets busted in El Paso for possession — you get the picture, the guy lived hard. Yet, looking at these pictures, he looks simply amazing. Cash’s style during this time, with his tight, slicked back hair and crisp, clean tailoring look unbelievable compared to the 1970s ‘bigger is better’ looks that were to follow. I will say though that once you get to 1965-66 — well, you can see that the effects are definitely starting to show on Johnny’s face. All in all though, he had an amazing run even with all the crap going on, until it eventually caught up with him — and it always does.  God bless Johnny Cash.

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Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash and his awesome custom Gibson with his name inlayed in the fingerboard.

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