Garrison, Homer 1989-11-21

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Homer Garrison reviews Gospel music in West Texas region, as well as local history.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name:Homer Garrison

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: November 21, 1989

Location: Hereford, Texas

Interviewer: Richard J. Mason

Length: 120 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Garrison Homer, Gospel music, No music in country schools in Seagraves 1920, His father near Seagraves for 2 years, Moved to Brownfield 2 years Gomez 2 years, Moved to Lehey school between Brownfield and Seagraves, Moved to Lubbock County 1928 near Idalou in Liberty community, West Texas schools in 1920’s were 8-12 miles apart no busing, Deaf Smith County at one time 12 schools now 2, His first singing school at Lehey in 3rd or 4th grade, Teacher was Tomlinson of Brownfield, Basic program of sing, lines and spaces time, Singing school at Liberty community, “Professor of Music” S. V. Summers lived in Liberty near Garrison’s, He taught with assistance of Uncle Tom Nelson, Nelson became father-in-law of Garrison’s sister, No music in the rural schools just Lubbock, He finished 10th grade at Liberty, He attended Lubbock High School in 1932 to get classified for college work, Summers insisted Garrison attend a Music Formal School, Hosted by Stamps Baxter Music Company in Dallas Texas, V. O. Stamps was the leader, Garrison attended in fall 1933 for 6 weeks, 18 years old, train to Dallas, 1st time away from home, Back to Lubbock, Music training from Odis Echols of Lubbock, Echols later moved to Clovis, Stamps Baxter Music Company (again), V. O. Stamps had music studio in Oak Cliff, Above a large drugstore 40 students, He invited Garrison to be in a Stamps Quartet, Selling song books, Back in Lubbock, Echols group called Melody Boys, Odis Echols Henry Shipp Don Smith and a 1st tenor, Clyde Burleson formed another quartet with Menace Beak, Wilson Carson, Garrison sang for a month, Homer Garrison was 19 and getting married, 1932 at Texas Tech 1933 back at Tech and just married, Wife pregnant he had to work so stopped school, Worked for Clyde Burleson at $18 per week, Singing on the road, Good money for the height of the Depression, Clyde Burleson (again), He sang with Stamps for 25 years Lubbock was hometown, They sang together from 1933 to 1936, After 5-6 months they went to McKinney Texas to sing, Recruited young piano player Marion Snyder, Wilson Carson had being playing guitar for them, Piano players got most attention at conventions, They sang in Texas New Mexico Louisiana and Oklahoma, Oklahoma for 3-4 months, Baby was born, Altus Oklahoma , high school program in July, Wet baby diaper in Homer’s pocket, Singing conventions, Usually 6-8 groups promoting at a site, Altus had 4 groups, Melody Boys of Echols, Stamps Quartet of Dallas, Lubbock Stamps Quartet, A. J. Showalter of Tennessee, Each group sold song books for 25 cents, Quartet paid 12 ½ cents, plus free copies, Used profit to defray travel expenses, Clyde Burleson (again), He bought 1934 V-8 Ford for $26 per month, Group paid for car expenses, family at home, All country boys with limited training, Didn’t go after “big money”, Shaped-noted method, Garrison couldn’t read conventional music, Stamps Baxter (again), Lubbock Stamps Quartet represented them, Stamps Baxter supplied with song books and cash help, Oklahoma hotel room for 3 weeks, Rain no business, V. O. Stamps wired $50 Burleson had $20 in his shoe, Lots of good times, Two week singing schools, Teach basics, shaped-note timing, Brought singing to communities, Developed local music leaders, Lubbock Stamps Quartet disbanded after 4-5 years, Beak to California Snyder to Dallas, Garrison learned to serve people training for latter life, Clyde Burleson was high-pitched 1st tenor, Garrison’s mentor outgoing loved to entertain, Homer Garrison was lead singer, Beak was bass but could sing any part, Had been in Harley-Sadlers’s tent shows in 1920’s, Tall boy with him became a Methodist preacher, Some of the men were clean others untidy, Living with 5 men in a car, Conflicts while traveling together, Menace Beak was only one who could write music, Marion Snyder later wrote songs, He married sister of wife of V. O. Stamps, V. O. Stamps (again), He came to Lubbock 2 times for 3 week singing schools, A singing person is a happy person, They used mostly Gospel music, but also some “tricky tunes”, Stopping at a country school to promote a Friday program, Two week singing schools for $75, Year-round but better in the summer.

Tape 1, Side 2: Garrison Homer (again), Territory included Wichita Falls and north and west from there, New Mexico, Oklahoma- Altus and Ardmore, Carson’s family from Gomez and Tokio area west of Brownfield, His father died early and mother moved them to Lubbock, Lehey (again), Three room school and gin, Liberty community (again), Three room school and added an auditorium, Church held in the addition, Alternating by Baptist Methodist and Presbyterian, Church of Christ usually did not participate, Garrison was a Methodist his wife Marie as a Baptist, Married by a Presbyterian minister, The marriage “took”, Texas Tech University, North side of old Administration building, Library and Registrar, New Engineering building in the corner, His classes in old barracks by the Pavilion, 8-10 cars parked each day on campus, Convention/Gospel music not included in campus Music, Many Tech students had learned shaped-note at hometown, Lubbock churchs had song books for them, Lubbock area sings, Held at local churches, Garrison was president of Lubbock County Singing Association, Slaton Idalou Liberty Shallowater, Campbell Boys Quartet nowdays, Their parents “hooked in” with a preacher Welch, Little Baptist church in Lubbock, Crowds of 200-400 in Lubbock, 40-50 at rural sings, 50% of crowd was singers, Now fewer spectators plus mostly older people, Various songbooks quite similar, Brownfield and Levelland still have good sings, Garrison lived at Hart Castro County after the Stamps Quartet years, Farmed 10-12 years, and with 2 sections and 7 wells, Moved to Plainview in farm and auto business, Sang with Plainview group about 10 years, Real estate dealer Ernie Brock, Car dealer Rylie Armstrong, Grocer Emmett White, Lincoln Mecury dealer Brunly Bracker, Sang with Light-Crust Doughboys, Helped the manager become Governor, Went around state playing accordion, They sang half Gospel half “ditty”, patriotic and barber-shop, 1930’s singing (again), They sang mostly Gospel music limited County music, Party at a farm house every Friday night, Piano, guitar and fiddle; sing and dance, Then Country singing was more in the Ranch county, Dinner on the grounds, Boys courting girls, Sometimes a whole day included preaching dinner and a sing, Popular Gospel music versus Worship music, Depended on the preacher and background, Gospel songs changed every few months to sell song books, A few continued to be popular, Convention singing would be non-denominational, Usually sitting by parts, Garrison attended one Sacred-Harp convention in Arkansas, No changes in 140 years, Techniques for singing shaped-notes, Mr. Summers (again), Odis Echols (again), Good singer and leader and in original Stamps Quartet, Moved to Lubbock after that, Frank Stamps bass singer, Frank Stamps All-Star Quartet, Echols was lead (tenor) for them, He opened studio in Lubbock to teach voice, Garrison was 19 about 6 years younger than Echols, Echols now passed away, Melody Boys (again), Odis moved to Clovis New Mexico to music studio, Later a Radio station, His son in New Mexico legislature, Put in an Albuquerque radio station, Odis’ wife died young and he re-married, He died at about age 67, Echols and V. O. Stamps did a National radio show, Effect of radio on Gospel music, Garrison sang while at Dallas music school, Three times with a group, They didn’t realize future impact of radio, When he moved to the country (?Hart), Radio to run off a car battery, Listened to Amos & Andy etc., Radio made the quality of singing better.

Tape 2, Side 1: Garrison Homer (again), County music today, It is doing better than Gospel music, Branson Missouri music is better than Nashville, Gospel quartets- Sons of the Pioneers concert, Gospel music decline and Country music, Singing schools (again), Techniques (again), All-night sings in Lubbock 25-30 years ago, V. O. Stamps did first about 1938, He died about then diabetes hard worker, J. R. Baxter printed, V. O. front man and singer, Garrison has been in Hereford 20 years, Group for 10-12 years with Eunice and Cecil Boyer and J. B. Nowlin, Garrison quit last year due to a heart problem, Lazbuddie two years ago and 51 years ago, About 6 remembered, He does community service now, He and wife Mary have 7 kids 9 great grandkids, Oldest grandson is 36 and just moved to Hereford, Gospel singing (again), In 1930’s it met a need during the depression, Limited cash South Plains and Oklahoma, Farmers owned ¼ section with home gardens and canning, They would go to town once a month for flour/meal, Shelled corn to the mill on shares, Lubbock County Singing Convention, Garrison was a former president, Meet once a month locally, Meet twice a year for big sing with 4-6 counties, Meet in churches usually, Four-Square Gospel Church most often, Nazarene and smaller Baptist, Slaton Liberty Idalou Shallowater Wolfforth Levelland,

Tape 2, Side 2: Garrison, Homer (again), “No more question” and will interview Lillie Belle Maxcey and Boyers, Old quartets (again), Brownfield 25 year reunion with Tomlinson of Lehey, Uncle Tom Nelson organized a Lubbock Quartet, He had 11 kids, Tom and Garrisons dad, Becton Texas, Garrison moved there in 1937, He sang at Methodist Church, His 1st sweetheart married Bill Becton, Son ?Yub Becton, Mac Becton, Bill Becton, 5 boys and girls, Each Becton had a section of land, Meet every Monday at Old Man Becton’s, He would dictate weeks work, When he died Becton’s were “lost”, Garrison’s told him it was “sink or swim” on your own, Singer from Clovis New Mexico, Organized and dominated several West Texas singing schools, Buster Keeton an old friend, Garrison 1st met him in Central Texas, Visited Keeton 2 years ago, Buster and Marion Snyder very similar in piano style, Bula Texas, $35 was top bid so they asked for hen donations, Box suppers and bartering, People in town had more problems in depression, On the farm, 10 acres of pinto beans corn bread buttermilk and onions, He carried a bisuit and ham or boiled egg to school for lunch, Hog killing, We are starting to get some “hog killing days” (i.e. cold weather), Two-bale cotton trailer used for killing 6-7 hogs, Vat to scald the hair off rake it clean remove guts, Keep head and feet, Breed the sows and “cut” the boars, They had 8 brood sows sold 200-220 lb. “top” pigs, Fatter hogs then lots of lard, 5-10 gallon bucket of lard cracklings cornbread, Soap with lye, Washing machine demo, 1st Maytag salesman came and gave a 2 hour demo, Garrison’s mother cried- “I don’t ask for much, but I want one”, They bought in 1930 for $6 per month, Meat canners and pressure cookers, Hog killing (again), Women used entrails for sausage, meat in salt brine, Later a sugar cure would keep until May, Beef killing in December a 400-500 lb. calf, Skin and gut hang in barn all winter, Cut off meat as needed for 3-4 months, Meat lockers in town about 1940, Refrigerator off of butane about 1938, Bill Baker of Slaton had a public meat locker, Carbide lamps about 1932 Coleman irons about 1930, Electricty in rural areas after World War II, Hart Texas (again), He moved there in 1941, Electric wired by Deaf Smith County in 1944, They bought their first fridge one week later, Planting wheat, When oldest girl was 4 and a little baby, They would park their car at edge of wheat field in the fall, Garrison would drive the John Deere D tractor with a 12-foot one-way, His wife would follow with the other tractor and a 12-foot wheat drill, The kids would wait in the car.

Range Dates: 1920-1989

Bulk Dates: 1920-1940

Access Information

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