Edwards, Don 2010-07-07

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Don Edwards is a “cowboy” musician. He taught himself to play at a young age. He worked hard to pursue his much loved Cowboy persona, so much that he was a Six Flags Cowboy. That was when Six Flags had live shows for the public. Although he never sought out fame and fortune, he just wanted people to hear his music. He had a gig in the White Elephant Salon and met a lot of influential musicians from that time period. Some of the founders of the music. Edwards is unique in the sense that he knows the background history of the “cowboy” songs, and how they are rooted from the Delta Blues

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Don Edwards

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: July 07, 2010

Location: Hyco, Texas

Interviewer: Andy Wilkinson

Length: 03:11:55


Tape 1, Side 1:

Early Life, Boonton, NJ, WWII, Dad Aircraft radio man, Stayed stateside, Mom has Scottish background, Hezlitt- his real last name, He used his middle name as a last name, Mom sung in church choir, Dad – Triplet- 10 string, Taught himself to play the piano, Cowboy persona, Cowboys and the West, Will James, Huge back East, Died trying to hide who he really was, He was a “cowboy” from the East, 90 % 19th century cowboys from the South, His dad had an eclectic record collection, Drawn to Jimmy Rogers, Playing, First started at 9 to 10 years old, Local lessons in Massachusetts, Self taught after a few basic lessons, Taught him theory, Neighborhood, He came from a diverse neighborhood, They never thought of it as anything but friends playing, Categorize, Nashville, 1968, Did not know how to categorize him, Moved to Texas in 1959- 20 yrs old, Six Flags was about to open, Looking for a job, Sang Cattle call and Strawberry Row, They wanted him to play a “cowboy”, 160 bucks a week, 12 hour days, 4 shows, The live shows in Texas were the main attraction, John Wayne, Chuck Connor, Stayed until 1965, Reloaded the guns, Loaded the guns hot, The anvil (part of the gun) stuck into a man, Before Texas, Massachusetts, Put a band together, Herb Hoveen, Taught him about respect for musicians, Steele guitar, Played with Jimmy Martian, Edwards’s early mentor, The Western, Edition – Their band, Bob Wills, Ray Price, Carl Smith, Guitar/Fiddle, Drums, Pedal steel guitar, Bass drums, 1964, The Young Ranger, Recorded in Dallas, Jim Rene- producer, REN records, Distributed own records, Hi Ho ballroom Grand Prairie, Old Majestic Theater, Groovy Joe Poovy- Six Flag cowboy, Six Flag Cowboys, Kris Kristofferson (not the actor), Went into the Navy, 1992- Warner Bros – saw him again, Jim Music- Stevensville, Texas, Paul Odem, Pat Crenshaw – Cartoon actor (space helmet), Groovy Joe, After them, it was too commercialized, Cow town Jamboree, It was enough to create a little buzz, Stop records, Nashville, Custom record deal, Early 70’s, Warner Bros, Warner Western, Still owes them money, As soon as you recuperate they drop your record, Cowboy Music, Elko, Gary Morton, Wady Mitchell, Edward’s was a “professional”, Reciting poetry, The Cop Shop, Played for 20 years, Nashville wanted to make a cookie cutter version, Jim Ed- running Warner Western, Jim Reno, Kevin Welch – Reno in me, Song about a road trip, 1968, Decided to move to Nashville, Took a cassette for whoever would listen, Subliminally sounded like Marty Robins, Voice reflection, Never got into the folk music, Never went to Greenwich Village, Flat picking – never got into it until years later, Campfire concert, Before Elko, The White elephant, Leon Ralsh, Bob Bullright- Fiddle, Tom Ralls- Steele guitar, Many others, Friday and Saturday, Western Swing, Weeknights Edward’s played by himself, Once a month- big western swing party, Buck Trent, One Night, St. Patrick’s Day, William Walker, James Galloway, Had a diamond set in his flute, Alan Lomax- book, “The land where the Blues Began”, The Mormon Cowboy, Fiddle and Guitar sometimes a Banjo, But what they did was just play a guitar- cowboy stories, A lot of money at the cow towns in Texas, They saved the songs of the ranch, 19th century, Jacob Miles, Black musicians were turning mountain music into Blues, Will C. Barnes, Arizona cowboy, Founder of Longhorn Herd

Tape 1, Side 2:

Singing, He gives a sample of Lone Star trail, White Elephant, Al Strickland, His final performance, 1974-1985, After he got tired of playing saloons, Merle Haggard, Bob Wills, Western Swing, Spark, The love of history, The curiosity, Research wasn’t boring, It helps bring the song alive, Did not care for the “gun slinging ballads”, Billy the Kid- people sing to that, Sam Bass- people do not appreciate him, Sam Bass to this day has robbed more Union Pacific RR’s, Than anyone else, Round Rock, TX, (Sam Bass Road), Jack Thorp, Same Path, John Lomack, Jack Thorp, Elko, Jim Bob Tinsley-, The last guy to do that thing, In their time, He studied Lomack first before anyone else, Organic Musicologist, Blues, First was aware of the Delta Blues, When he moved to Texas, British Rock-n-Rollers influenced by the blues, That is how Andy found out about the blues, Edwards heard some of it on the radio in the Dallas area, Yale University – 1985, Paul Stone- Went to Harvard and Yale, Punk – Physically ill, Blue – Depressed, Pete Harris, Cowboy music, Repertoire rivaled Led Belly, Cowboy his entire life, Jack Thorp trained horses Family, 1st wife- did not like music, When he worked at Six Flags, Met her in New England, Both daughters born in Forth Worth, Youngest killed in car accident, Eldest – lives in Maryland, Cathy-current wife, Had a daughter from previous marriage, Raised her like one of his own, He was a loose cannon- Cathy calmed him down, He never had a desire to be a big star, He just wanted to hear someone’s opinion, He met her at the White Elephant Salon, It was more like a pub/meeting place, Not so much like a “bar”, A regular was the D.A of Forth Worth, Current day, Put out a spiritual album, Heaven on Horseback-album, Less is better to him, Saddle Songs- album, Blues project maybe eventually, Crime for daylight, Mississippi Shakes, Sitting on top of the world, 20’s-30’s, Connection, Get the younger generations attention, But do not pander them, Andy and Don talk about bringing vinyl records back, Edwards recorded on a cylinder one time, Cylinder works, Recorded on a cylinder, Put onto a CD to hear what it sounds like, Barbara Allan, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Will James, Punk Rockers- love Johnny Cash, The connections that people have with the music, Johnny Cash- Prison albums, Tribute albums, Producers don’t like to do them, They do not make any money, Merle Haggard, Emmitt Miller- started doing all of it, Founder of country music, No one knew who he was though, Band-, Jack Teagarden, Eddie Lange, Jean Croupa, Both Dorsey brothers, The studio band, This is where Hank Williams got Love sick blues from, Where dead voices gather-book, Country; the twisted roots of Rock-n-roll, Singing Cowboys and musical mountaineers – Bill C. Malone, Same author of the Definitive Cowboy

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Transcript: No transcript available

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