True story: Yellow Rose of Texas saved Texas at the Battle of San Jacinto

April 21, 2015

This is mostly an encore post, for the 179th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto.

After suffering crushing defeats in previous battles, and while many Texian rebels were running away from Santa Anna’s massive army — the largest and best trained in North America — Sam Houston’s ragtag band of rebels got the drop on Santa Anna at San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836. Most accounts say the routing of Santa Anna’s fighting machine took just 18 minutes.

San Jacinto Day is April 21. Texas history classes at Texas middle schools should be leading ceremonies marking the occasion — but probably won’t since it’s coming near the end of the state-mandated testing which stops education cold, in March.

Surrender of Santa Anna, Texas State Preservation Board

Surrender of Santa Anna, painting by William Henry Huddle (1890); property of Texas State Preservation Board. The painting depicts Santa Anna being brought before a wounded Sam Houston, to surrender.

San Jacinto Monument brochure, with photo of monument

The San Jacinto Monument is 15 feet taller than the Washington Monument

How could Houston’s group have been so effective against a general who modeled himself after Napoleon, with a large, well-running army? In the 1950s a story came out that Santa Anna was distracted from battle. Even as he aged he regarded himself as a great ladies’ man — and it was a woman who detained the Mexican general in his tent, until it was too late to do anything but steal an enlisted man’s uniform and run.

That woman was mulatto, a “yellow rose,” and about whom the song, “The Yellow Rose of Texas” was written, according story pieced together in the 1950s.

Could such a story be true? Many historians in the 1950s scoffed at the idea. (More below the fold.) Read the rest of this entry »

Quote of the moment: Doug Sahm on Texas music

April 14, 2011

Doug Sahm, Magnet Magazine photo

Doug Sahm, 1941-1999, Magnet Magazine photo

“I’m a part of Willie Nelson’s world and I love it, but at the same time, I’m part of the Grateful Dead’s world. One night I might be playing twin fiddles at the Broken Spoke and the next night I’ll be down at Antone’s playing blues. In that way Texas is a paradise, because all that music is here.”

Doug Sahm, 1975

Tip of the old scrub brush to Un Perla, Por Favor.

Big balls in Cowtown . . .

February 7, 2011

”]Farm trucks at the Worthington, Ft Worth Stock Show 2011 - Import 01-22-2011 029Photographer error makes these less than perfect — but I still like them.  Panorama shots in very bad light of four enormous farm pickups, parked in the valet parking area usually reserved for the Jaguars, Mercedes and occasional Bentley, at the Worthington Hotel in Fort Worth.  Stockmen come to Fort Worth every January and February for the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show — these are the Caddillacs and Lincolns and Mercedes of the big-money farm set.


”]Trucks at the Worthington, during the Ft. Worth Stock Show 2011 - Import 01-22-2011 030None of these trucks was as small as a Ford F-250.  These are duellies, crew-cab monsters.


When I saw them I immediately heard Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys singing:

Big balls’ in Cowtown!  We’ll all go down.
Big balls’ in Cowtown!  We’ll dance around.

I wish the sound on this clip were better, featuring several of the original Texas Playboys performing in 1999 (Bob died in 1974):

Listen to Asleep at the Wheel’s true-to-Bob’s-spirit version, featuring Johnny Gimbel, one of the Texas Playboys:

If you can afford to gas one of those rigs, you can afford to dance a bit.

Reason enough to vote Bill White, Texas Governor: Robert Earl Keen fan

October 22, 2010

Every major newspaper in Texas endorsed Bill White for governor, over incumbent Republican Rick Perry.  For the rest of us, Robert Earl Keen’s endorsement should be reason enough, no?


Robert Earl Keen and a Texas highway - Keen endorsed Bill White for governor of Texas

Robert Earl Keen, in this publicity photo standing on a Texas highway, endorsed Bill White for Governor of Texas -- no doubt to keep the Texas road going on forever.


Release from Bill White’s campaign:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bill White bands together with Robert Earl Keen

White, Keen ask students to vote for Bill White

DENTON — On Friday, Bill White and Robert Earl Keen, legendary Texan singer and songwriter, will roll into Denton, Nacogdoches, College Station and San Marcos for special early vote concerts. The concerts are free and open to the public on a first come basis.

To see a list of where the concerts will be, visit:

“College students have a huge stake in the governor’s race,” Garry Jones, Students for Bill White Director, said. “For many of us, Rick Perry is the only governor that we’ve ever known, and we don’t like what we’ve seen. College tuition rates have jumped by 93 percent under Perry’s reign, and we understand that our teachers are being forced to teach us how to take multiple choice tests and not prepare us for college or careers.”

“Texas students are lucky that we have a candidate who will put our needs first,” continued Jones. “Someone who will be more concerned with fighting for our future here in Texas than battling the federal government to raise a national profile. That candidate is Bill White!”

Robert Earl Keen is one of Texas A&M’s most famous graduates. Last weekend, the Bryan-College Station Eagle, endorsed Bill White. The editorial board wrote:

“[W]hy any loyal Aggie would vote for Rick Perry is beyond us . . .  Ten years of Rick Perry as governor are more than enough. It is time for a change and Bill White is that change. He is a strong fiscal conservative who proved as mayor of Houston that it is possible to do more with less. We’ve had the less. Now it is time for the more.”

Early voting started Oct. 18 and continues through Friday, Oct. 29. To find a polling location near you, visit


Chess games of the rich and famous: Willie Nelson

October 11, 2009

Willie Nelson playing chess on the band bus - Texas School of Music Collection

Willie Nelson playing chess on the band bus - Texas School of Music Collection

Did Willie ever play Ray Charles in chess?  Did anyone get a photo of the game?

Patoski’s bio on Willie Nelson wins TCU Texas Book Award

April 12, 2009

As Joe Nick Patoski put it on his blog, and I have been remiss in failing to mention, Patoski’s book on Willie Nelson won the TCU Texas Book Award.  The book is Willie Nelson, an epic life.

Friends and neighbors, please click on the letter and it’ll make it big enough so you can actually read what it says.

Woo hoo and Yee haw!

Good news!  Now, can we get Willie’s houses in Fort Worth noted on some tour?


50 years since the music died: Buddy Holly

February 4, 2009

Buddy Holly died 50 years ago, February 3.  NPR gives the basics:

Morning Edition, February 3, 2009 – Fifty years after his death at 22, rock ‘n’ roll founding father Buddy Holly is still cool. On Feb. 3, 1959, Buddy Holly, along with J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens, died in a plane crash while touring the Midwest. Holly would have been 72 by now — and probably still rocking and rolling. Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Elvis Costello have all paid tribute to Holly as a major influence.

But the music itself wasn’t his only contribution. Holly was among the first artists to use the studio as an instrument: He spent days crafting songs and experimenting with techniques that were still new in the recording business.

History is an odd business.  Holly’s old hometown is Lubbock, Texas.  Lubbock, itself in an odd, welcomed Prairie Renaissance, features a Rock and Roll Museum and a set of Buddy Holly glasses that would dwarf the Colossus at Rhodes.  But his family is at odds with the city on the use of his name on local streets and promotional materials.

Sculpture of Buddy Hollys glasses, at the Buddy Holly Center, Lubbock -

Sculpture of Buddy Holly's glasses, at the Buddy Holly Center, Lubbock -

Waylon Jennings, probably the most famous survivor in Holly’s old band, died in 2002 (on February 13).  Who is left to study Holly and his work, to keep the flame of historic remembrance alive?

%d bloggers like this: