Sunday , January 23 2022

Rockzilla Americana

I received a notice from Mrs. Fat Guy, the ever effervescent Cindy Chaffin, about the Rockzillaworld Music Awards:

    Sunday, February 16, 2003, 7pm
    at the
    Top Rail Ballroom
    Dallas, Texas

    The first 2 were successful beyond anything we ever expected, and we’re planning on this one being even better. We know that our ballot process is a clumsy pain in the ass, and we actually did it that way for a reason. Any artist who can motivate enough folks to go through this idiotic process to win is bound to be pretty good.

    Jay Johnson will reprise his role as MC, and has vowed to actually walk out of the hall under his own power this year, as opposed to being carried out after previous Awards Shows. We’ll see. Lots of band action this year, too. We’ve got The Domino Kings and Macon Greyson booked, and will be adding several more to the bill. Also, we’ll repeat the Texas Tag-Team Guitar Death Match, so rest up and get ready.

    Voting starts October 1, 2002, and runs through December 31, 2002. More details about the Awards Presentations Show will be posted as we get things lined up. That’s all the info we’ve got for now, so GO VOTE!

Sounds like a ripping good time if you’re in the area; but equally important, the announcement introduced me to the Rockzilla webzine, which shines a bright Texas light on all things Americana. Recent reviews include discs by the Domino Kings, David Childers, Grey De Lisle, Keith Sykes, Jason Roberts, Smokey Wilson, Mike West, Mark Olson, Tombstone Trailerpark, and Michael Martin Murphey, among many others.

There is much to behold: I loved this little “back-in-the-day” story on Saturday nights in front of the tube in the family single-wide by “Rockzilla” himself, 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….

That boy can reminisce. Give the site a good long peek.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected],, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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