Friday, October 21, 2011

Texas Dave McGarry

Life at boarding school doesn't always lead you into ready made careers. Some pupils took the 'Road less traveled by - and it made all the difference", as Robert Frost wrote!

I mention this because Dave McGarry, who was at Cleobury in the mid sixties, is now better known as Texas Dave McGarry. I will let Dave (or should i say Texas) explain in his own words -

" Why I became Texas Dave.. it's a big story, but it goes a little something like this.. hope you're ready.

Back in 1972, I was in a rainforest in Northern Queensland, and some cool hippie had one of those new fangled cassette players, battery operated of course, and some strange uncool music coming out of it.. "Sir Douglas Quintet"..

Some months later I found myself back in Coventry, death in the family stuff.. I was in Virgin Records one day, and there was that 'strange' record in a sale bin. The guy in Virgin said they hated that shit music, and there was more of the same in the back of the store.. they sold me every shit record for next to nothing (they even gave me a job there.. haha.. they paid me in records and crap wages.. I saw Trev come in a few times too!)

Anyway, every album was made in Austin, Texas, and during a freezing raining Cov winter of 1973, I found TX music made me feel good, and I escaped into a world of blues, rock, country, crazee tex-mex.. the whole box and dice. I was hooked, gone.

While the rest of the world was listening to.. y'know, everything from Zappa to Zepp, Stones, etc.. I was on another planet, cactus songwriters, accordian driven rocket music, whatever..

Then I packed my bags one day and emigrated back to OZ in 1976. I became known as this strange guy who only listened to, and talked about TX music..
Around this time, the rest of the world were just catching up on ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc etc.. and of course, some of the greatest songwriters from Lubbock, Houston, Austin..

I guess my strange reputation was getting back to Texas too, coz the next thing, all my heroes wanted to tour down-under, and they needed someone to help promote the concerts, etc..

I knew nothing about promoting.. heck, my whole life was becoming a promotion for the Lone Star State.

Then I changed my name officially to Texas Dave, after the Governor of Texas made me an Honorary Texan in the early '90s.. I joined a list of dead Texas heroes.. they were looking for someone alive, someone who had done something special for their state. They chose me.

So how does a Coventry Kid who hitch-hiked to Australia in 1971, then became a citizen of OZ, end up becoming an Hon. Texan?..I blame it on my childhood, Cleobury Mortimer, cross-country running in the mud and rain.. getting hit on the head a couple of times by that outragiously fast bowler, David Partridge.. and of course, the notorious 'Initiative Test' where Peter Lund and myself learned to hitch-hike.. haha.

I think I should change my name again.. TX-OZ Dave."

Texas Dave had lived and worked in Sydney and now lives in Moruya in New South Wales - Australia. His his heroes being Butch Hancock and Jimmy Dale Gilmore. 1990 Butch and Jimmy were touring Australia and the promoter, Keith Glass, knowing he was a fan of the two, called and asked if he would like to help book them in Moruya. It was a great success with more In 1994 he traveled to Texas, staying with Butch Hancock, where he was made an honorary citizen of Texas by the Governor. He has brought 40 concert to Moruya, his last being The Flatlanders and Little Band O' Gold in 2010. he donates the profits from the concerts to organizations such as SES, hospital,and schools.

NEW Texas Dave asked me to add the following piece about his wife Jenni

I should have mentioned my wife Jenni McGarry.. she's as much the story of my life, and I would much appreciate it Trev, if you could add this little piece on her, on the blog..

I met Jenni, my Australian wife, back in 1972, in Sydney, and we've been soul mates ever since. She's been the rock of my many unsteady rolls. She even came to Coventry to rescue me, she worked as a postwoman, and even did a stint at Suttons Bakery.. and after a couple of years, in 1976, we returned to OZ.

Jenni and I have travelled all over Australia, and in our younger days, we slept with our swag under the stars, jumped freight trains across the desert.. made porridge by the side of the road.

Jenni has been with me right through the Texas thing.. without her, none of that would have happened.. she's an amazing woman.

We have 3 big Aussie sons, and the youngest, 21 yrs, Jimmie-Austin McGarry, we named after Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the great Texas musician.

Michael Billings
Dave, am i right in assuming you had the band Little Band of Gold over in Oz? I am passionate about Cajun Music and there is a band called Little Band of Gold from Louisiana which contains my favourite Cajun Artist Steve Riley, My wife and i used to teach Cajun & Zydeco dancing in the UK during the period 1996-2006. We ran The Cajun Dancers Association later renamed Cajun UK for many years after the legendary Swamp Club closed in Derby. We put on many Cajun & Zydeco dances with bands from Britain and Louisiana. I have met Steve Riley a number of times and have a photo of the two of us and his autograph and most of his recordings. Could speak for hours on Cajun Music.

Michael Billings My other love and my most heaviest passion is Rock'n'Roll. I'm talking Jerry Lee Lewis and the other Sun artists and some of those crazy weird rockabilly and obscure country come Rock'n'roll singers from Texas, Louisiana , Mississippi etc. All time favourites Duane Eddy and Bo Diddley and anything obscure, Have hundreds of songs on vinyl, cassette tape, CD, Video and DVD. When God created Rock'n'Roll he must have smiled on us all....

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