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How much can one fan of OKOM (Our Kind Of Music) accomplish in just a couple of years? Plenty, if it's Rockzilla, aka photographer Michael Johnson. From 2003 to 2005, rockzilla.net was a chronicle of the alt.country scene from a uniquely Texan perspective. But all good things must end, and Rockzilla has retired from the online 'zine scene.

This mirror site was copied from the rockzilla.net site with the express permission of Rockzilla hisself. If you don't believe me, go to the KHYI-Fans email list and ask him! Buddy will back me up, too.


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 White Trash Saturday Night     

by Michael Johnson
 
     

 

I grew up in a little single wide trailer house (much too small to be a "mobile home") and our family was poor, though I didn't realize it until I was about 30. Our family was really close, and even though it was the mid-sixties and things were in turmoil all over the world, everything was calm in our world.

I always looked forward to Saturday night. We'd always have something really good for supper on Saturday. My favorite was Frito chili pie, which Mama had learned to make from watching future Congressman Dale Milford, who was then the weatherman for WFAA, Channel 8. Frito-Lay sponsored Dale's show and he would do a commercial showing how to make a big family sized Frito Chili Pie.

But, to get on with the story, by the middle of the afternoon, we'd all start making our way to the house to get settled in for the weekly country music marathon broadcast on Channel 11.  I really looked forward to these shows. This was just a couple of years before I read a book by Hunter S. Thompson and discovered Bob Dylan. That was a weird deal. It was like one day I'm listening to Buck Owens, and the next day I can't stand him. I'm glad I recovered!

It all started in the middle of the afternoon with the "Gospel Singing Jubilee". Then there was Cowboy Weaver from the Sunset Ranch. Daddy always made fun of Cowboy Weaver, but I kind of like him. This was when he was just plain old Cowboy Weaver, and hadn't had any, well, incidents.

My memory fades here, but there was a brief parade of country spares until it was time for "Teddy & Doyle, The Wilburn Brothers".  I don't remember any of their songs off the top of my head, but I liked those boys. Maybe because this was about the time Mamma would say "Supper's ready!" We'd all walk the few feet to the kitchen and fix a plate of food, hopefully that good Frito pie, and move back to our designated TV watching spots. Daddy had his chair, Mamma had her end of the couch, and the kids just fought it out.

It was time for Porter Wagoner! We all liked Porter. Maybe it was those suits. I suspect for Daddy it was the fact that Dolly Parton was a regular on his show. He did like Dolly!

We're into prime time now! The Ernest Tubb show! Think about how great that was! THE ERNEST TUBB SHOW! ET opened and closed his show with "I'm Walking the Floor Over You". I loved Ernest Tubb, and still do. In the last years of his show, WILLIE NELSON, sporting a black turtleneck shirt, was a regular on ET's show. Daddy made fun of Willie, too, because he sang "through his nose". I like Willie.

The show we all waited for was "Cowtown Jamboree" broadcast live from the Panther Hall Ballroom in Fort Worth. It would be fantastic if someone would discover recordings of those shows. EVERYBODY played Panther Hall. We got to see Willie Nelson, George Jones, Lawton Williams, and Daddy's favorite, Purty Little Miss Wanda Jackson.

Bob Wills was on the "Cowtown Jamboree" many times. I remember seeing Leon McCauliffe play "Steel Guitar Rag", and Bob with that big cigar and that grin.  It would be hard to name a country star alive at that time who didn't play Panther Hall.

The great Bill Mack of WBAP fame hosted "Cowtown Jamboree" for a while. He would often open the show with his "Drinking Champagne" hit.

I have been looking for another copy of the album pictured above and they seem to be pretty scarce.This past weekend's show out at Southfork, the KHYI Summer Showdown 2000, made me think of this album. It was recorded in 1966. Most likely Ol' Rockzilla was sitting in that little trailer, chowing down on a big old bowl of Frito Pie, drinking a Dr Pepper, and listening to Willie record this album.

At the beginning of the record, Willie introduces "the orchestra". The drummer for this album? A young man from San Antonio named Johnny Bush. If you EVER see one of these, buy it! Hell, Willie even does an interesting cover of the Beatles' "Yesterday." Besides the historical significance, it is a great album. I urge you to click on the picture and look at the full sized image.

Anyway, Channel 11 was a big factor in my formative years. After the country music shows, came the highlight of Mamma's Saturday night, "Main Event Wrestling" from the Northside Coliseum! I'll save that for another time.There has never been anything like it.!

To let Rockzilla know how many factual errors he made in the telling of this story, you can e-mail him at:

rockzilla-at-rockzilla.net

 
 

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