Carter: Local Honky Tonks

Local Honky Tonks

Richard Carter

I received an e-mail from Kenny Mayo the other day about an exhibit he is starting to put together for the North Texas History Museum downtown. His idea is to put together an exhibit of honky tonk music in Wichita Falls from 1950 to 1970. You might not be able to tell it now, but Wichita Falls used to have some ace honky tonk bands back in the day and musicians who spent a lot of time playing for some big names. If you don’t believe me, go by Dwayne Kinnett’s shop some time and he can show you some pictures and connect some area faces to some major bands. And a lot of those guys were serious characters back in the day. Some of them still are.

Anywho, he asked me if I could help put him in touch with some people who might provide some pictures and some of the old microphones and things that people used to use back in the day. If you think you might be able to help him, I suggest you contact the museum (on Indiana St) and they can put you in touch with Mayo. The cool thing about the exhibit is that you’ll be able to see guitars, stand-up basses (or what they once called dog house basses) and old sparkly drums as well as the old tube amps that normally only get seen in museums or guitar shows with huge prices on them. Plus, there will be those old-fashioned promo black and white 8 by 10 inch images—some of which can be really colorful (and humorous). There will be all sorts of other things displayed. But I think the best thing will be the people who show up for the opening. That opening should bring musicians from all over Texas who can tell stories that are up to 60 years old and retell stories that may have been passed around longer than that, and some of those stories may be embarrassing for some people.

When you think that Hank Williams used to come through Wichita Falls fairly often and that Elvis Presley and any number of early country guys (whose named you would recognize) would come through and play shows at clubs like the MB Corral, I think it’s going to be a fabulous evening. And I think the show will remind people what Wichita Falls once was, and perhaps what it might become one day again.

So, if you have something or know someone who might have something interesting from back in the day, please contact the museum to pass it along to Kenny Mayo.

Who knows? One day we might see an exhibit of the all-ages scene in Wichita Falls that drew a bunch of bands that a lot of people might not have heard but that were known by music aficionados across the country. There is still a possibility of the recently reformed Paulsen playing a show locally. It would appear they are playing in New Jersey at this point. Cross your fingers already and Facebook these guys.