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The Velveteens

From Lubbock, Texas

   Strange when a quirk of fate changes a persons life for ever. The is the case for Danny Atcheson. Danny and his older brother Mike were very competitive when it came to playing the guitar. Mike Atcheson’s band got word that their drummer had left town and joined the Army. The band was in trouble, because they had to play a gig in only two weeks. Rock musicians were rare in the late 50’s. But the drummer had left his drums at the Atcheson home. So Danny gave the drums a try. It was frustrating and painful at first. But two weeks later and about eight hours a day of practicing, Danny played drums for the gig. This fate most likely changed Danny’s life forever.

   Danny still played guitar on some songs while another band member would substitute on drums. Sometimes their dear friend ‘Clyde Mann’ would set in on the drums.

   Tim Atcheson (Mike and Danny’s younger brother) joined the group later playing the saxophone and playing the guitar as well. Also Doug Walding joined as bass player.

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Left to right: Skip Upton, Danny Atcheson,

Mike Atcheson, and Willy Redden

All That Music & Video

COLLECTOR’S MARKETPLACE

6800 Gateway East, Ste. 1B

El Paso, Texas 79915

(915) 594-9900

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The Velevteens won the KSEL 950 Radio Talent Contest. Eventually Mike, Danny and Tim’s cousin ‘David Wright joined the group and played bass. In 1965, The Velveteen cut their first record.It was very exciting for a bunch of youngsters, especially when they discovered that the record jacket had their photograph on it.

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That was “really downtown” for a bunch of youngsters from Lubbock, Texas. The record was never the hit they thought it would be. But The song resurrected in an Album that was released in 2005 by “Koos Terwisscha van Scheltinga” on “Hip Shake Records in the Netherlands. The Velveteens Record Jacker photo was on the album cover.

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   Danny is a third “third generation Jerry (Ivan) Allison.” That is Jerry, ‘Buddy Holly’s drummer’ taught Ernie Hall how to play all of his hot licks, which were passed on to Danny from Ernie.

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The Velveteens backing Johnny Crawford

   The Velveteens were the back op band to Bobby Goldsboro as well as Jhonny Crawford (The Rifelman’s son on television) at the Panther Hall in Fort Worth, Texas.

After recording for RCA, they changer the name of the band to “The Traveling Salesmen”

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Mike, Danny and Tim Atcheson at home in 1967

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The Traveling Salesmen

Left to Right: Danny Atcheson, Rick Carnrick, Tim Atcheson

John Scurbrough and Mike Atcheson

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  We here at Lone Starr Music would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Danny Atcheson for giving us access to some great picture of the bands that he and his brothers played in.

Lubbock's Nightclub Music Scene:

 1940's, 1950's, 1960's

by: Robin Brown

Story Includes: The original Cotton Club / The Glassarama-Bamboo Club / Sled Allen's Arena / Pioneer Hotel Club & the Soulutions / The Box & the Sparkles / E. Broadway Club Encounter / The New Cotton Club & Tommy Hancock / Red Raider Inn Club & Larry Trider / Jimmy Blakley's Palm Room

A man named Ralph Lowe appears to have opened the original Cotton Club on the outskirts of Lubbock, Tx perhaps before Pearl Harbor or just at the end of WWII. The club originally booked big, eastern bands and probably catered to ballroom dancing for the elite of Lubbock. Initially some of America's great bands played here including the Harry James and Benny Goodman Orchestras. These were the same bands that also played the Nat Ballroom in Amarillo. Later in the mid-fifties when the club was perhaps under new management some hot rock'n roll acts played the Cotton Club including Little Richard and Elvis Presley. It is purported that Buddy Holly and his band had performed here also, before they became famous however. Holly and Roy Orbison certainly did attend one Cotton Club show that Elvis played here, as photo's prove. It is uncertain though if the club operated continiously until 1964, when Tommy Hancock and his parents took over management of the old club and operated it until it burned in 1965. Nevertheless we can speculate that Lubbock's legendary night-spot, the original Cotton Club probably was in existence for twenty to twenty-five years. Under the Hancock's breif tenure the club also booked Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys & Hank Thompson's Brazos Valley Boys. It appears that the original Cotton Club during it's era covered a wide spectrum of artist including Big Band, Race Music, Rockn' Roll, Country and Western Swing.

Before Tommy Hancock took over the Cotton Club he had managed or operated the Glassarama, a club on N. University. His band The Roadside Playboys became the houseband there and in 1959 they played behind one of Bob Will's famous musicians-singers (Tommy Duncan, I think it was). It appears that the club at this location had originally been known as the Bamboo Club but Hancock changed it's name when he took it over. It seems that the Bamboo was one of the first Lubbock clubs to cater to local rock music as in 1956 Buddy Holly had played the Bamboo Club and a sensational story had appeared in the Avalanche Journal as a result!

In the late forties, Sled Allen rented or purchased a large building in central Lubbock and turned it into an auditorium or arena for public events. It was called Jamboree Hall and could accommidate enough people that wresting events were held here, among other things. His famous son (Terry Allen) states that in the early fifties some famous black groups played here. He states that the blacks, spanish & anglos co-existed peacefully but tended to stay in groups when multi-racial events were held at his father's establishment. In the early fifties KSEL radio also sponsored a regular show at Sled Allen's arena (as it was sometimes called). This popular country & bluegrass show was called the KSEL Western Jamboree. Besides local acts that played the jamboree, some of the other musicians that played the show included the Curtis Brothers (Meadow, Tx), The Mayfield Brothers (Dimmitt, Tx), Ace Ball (New Home, Tx.) and Bill Myrick of Odessa.

In the later sixties there were several chic places to hear live, rock & soul music in Lubbock! One was a night club that was in the basement of a multi-story building in downtown Lubbock. I think the club I am referring to was in the Pioneer Hotel building! Anyway, one of the best soul groups I ever heard from this area played here. They were predominantly from Levelland, Tx and were called The Soulutions. They were fronted by a male singer that could really sing and each player handled their instrument well, which included guitars, organ & drums. I heard later that the Soulutions had moved to Las Vegas or Austin and were successful there also! Hats off to the fabulous Soulutions of Levelland, Tx!

If one travels west on 19th St. past Texas Tech, the road will eventually pass over railroad tracks and lead to a fork in the road. Near that fork there used to be a teenage night-club on the north side of the highway. It may have been called at one time The Box, but I'm not sure. Nevertheless, it was a good place to hear live music that featured local rock bands (in the late sixties). I recall hearing The Sparkles play here as well as several psychedelic groups. Lubbock's own Joe Ely called the Sparkles his favorite band during his youth and Lucky Floyd could really sing. The Sparkles played at this club on occasion as well as elsewhere around the area! This band had it's beginnings in 1958 and at one time Gary Nunn of Brownfield had also been a member. He wrote the Armadillo song that is the familiar theme of Austin City Limits. He and another Sparkle (Bobby Smith) went on to play in Jerry Jeff Walker's band, also.

Then in about 1970 a night-spot operated on East Broadway for awhile near downtown Lubbock. This was in the 'pawn shop district' and the clientele of the club seemed to have been mostly hippies. Their lead singer was a female that could really sing Janus Joplin songs. I was impressed with her the most but the band was handling the music well also. I ran across an old college buddy that was playing drums in the house-band there. I suggested to him at break that I'd like to 'sit-in' for a song or two. He told me that I wasn't qualified to play with the musicians that were onstage! My rebuttal was. "I'm certainly as good a musician as You are & you're playing!" Well, he got mad! In fact we both were fit to be tied when he suggested that he didn't like to fight but he had plenty of friends nearby that loved to. Since I was in the minority I decided it was time to vacate the premises, so I promptly left and never returned! This is all I have to say about the club on East Broadway, "Good music but also a good place to get into a brawl!"

After the old Cotton Club had burned in 1965, Tommy Hancock decided to build a new club on the Slaton highway, on the SE corner of Lubbock. He first obtained permission from the founders of the old Cotton Club to use the same name. So, after the large, metal building was completed Hancock opened the new Cotton Club in c.1967. It appears that Hancock may have used his old band the Roadside Playboys initially as the houseband, but by the late sixties he was booking Larry Trider & the Nomads on a somewhat regular basis. They were a country & western oriented band that had originated in Amarillo. I recall seeing them at the Cotton Club in 1970 and they really sounded great! Sometime about this same time Tommy Hancock and his wife Charlene started a family band with their daughters & inlaws. It was called the Supernatural Family Band and they also played regularly at the new Cotton Club during Hancock's ownership. He seems to have turned the reins over to someone else and moved to Austin in the late seventies. I am told that the new Cotton Club operated into the early eighties before closing. Tommy Hancock and his wife Charlene Condray had been part of the Lubbock music scene since the early fifties and had appeared on radio, television & in night clubs. They also made numerous records during their Lubbock era. In fact, Tommy Hancock was so multi-faceted he was a night club owner, he played in and founded many bands and he was also a great promoter of West Texas music in general. Aside from Holly and the Crickets he might be lauded as being Lubbock's most influential musician of the era. Writer & historian Rob Weiner says, "When you're talking about West Texas music, the most important musician is Tommy Hancock."

Larry Trider and his band left the Lubbock area to play in Las Vegas at the Golden Nugget for over a year (c.1973). Then when the Red Raider Inn was opened in Lubbock, it had a large capacity night-club and Trider's band played there on their return to Lubbock. I saw Trider and his band perform at the Red Raider in c.1977 but by then the band had new personal as Jimmy Pritchett and others had departed. I think Ponty Bone was playing accordian with Trider on the night I was there, but perhaps he was just sitting in. Trider was quite successful on the night club circuit and had an adequate voice but he always surrounded himself with top musicians, too.

Another club that deserves mention is the Palm Room which was located on the Idalou highway just east of Lubbock. It was operated by musician Jimmy Blakley formerly of Oklahoma & Roswell, NM. Blakley & his wife (Dorothy) began playing on radio in Roswell with Lee Bell in the early fifties. Some of the Blakley's recordings were also issued on the Starday label. They were the houseband at Scotties club in Roswell and Cliff Blakley seems to have also been part of the band. Jimmy Blakley got national exposure also by playing steel-guitar behind Charley Phillips at the Norman Petty's studio in Clovis. In c.1956 they had recorded the country version of 'Sugartime', which Phillips had co-written. Blakley then opened his own studio in Roswell before buying the Palm Room and moving to Lubbock in c.1960. I think this club catered to the champaign crowd while Blakley's band played sophisticated country music. Just before Blakley died in c.1995 his step-son told me that the Palm Room had never had a disturbance in which law enforcement had, had to be called! That is some achievement for any type night club that operates for over three decades!!

The Blakley Family of Recording Artist

Jimmy Blakley and his musician wife Dorothy began playing on radio in Oklahoma City in possibly the late forties. In 1950 Jimmy appears to have hooked-up with Cliff Bruner and Lee Bell who were playing in the Amarillo, Tx area with Rip Ramsey and a half-dozen other fine musicians. The band was so large that they soon decided to divide up. Lee Bell appears to have taken Jimmy Blakley (and wife Dorothy) and a couple other musicians to Artesia, NM where a job was open. While working at a club there Bell was approached by a Roswell businessman. This enterprising man M.C. Scott told him that he was in the process of building a big nightclub in Roswell, NM and he wanted to hire Bell's outfit. Bell appears to have talked it over with the rest of the band and when Scotty's opened in early 1951 the band moved to Roswell and became the house-band at Scotty's. The Blakeys played with Bell's band it seems until he had a couple of singles on RCA and eventually left Roswell. Then Jimmy seems to have taken over as band leader and probably had Dorothy or Cliff to front the band. At various times the band consisted of these musicians:

Jimmy Blakley-steel guitar & vocals/ Cliff Blakley- vocals & lead guitar/ Dorothy Blakley-piano & upright bass & vocals/ Red Pope & George Clayburn- fiddles/

Before Bell left the band he had established radio & televisions shows on KSWS in Roswell, for the band. These appearances appear to have continued for a number of years and it is stated that some shows were done on location, from Scotty's Club. Jimmy Blakley, Dorothy and Cliff had done some recording up in Clovis in the mid and later fifties and through his association with Norman Petty, Jimmy became interested in trying a studio in Roswell (c.1960) so he purchased a big, Berlant Broadcast recorder that Petty had retired from his studio and the Blakley's began producing their own recordings (and records) in Roswell, NM. Prior to this, between 1955-58 Starday records had already taken an interest in several of the Blakley's songs and released several 78's of them! The first record on Starday was released in 1955 and was by 'Jimmy and Dorothy Blakley'. The songs were: 'Take my heart' & 'You Left me with the Blues'. There were two more singles released by the duo on the label and one single by Jimmy alone before they were moved over to the D label. There were also two singles credited to Cliff Blakley on Starday of which one is a rockabilly collectible today. Harold 'Pappy' Daily & Jack Starnes had founded Starday records down in Beaumont way back in 1953. When he sold-out his share of the label in 1958, Daily started a new label and called it 'D' records. This Houston label wasn't anything fancy, it just had a big capital D at the top of each record which stood for Daily, I suppose. Anyway, more of the recordings that the Blakleys made during the later fifties seem to have been released on Daily's new D label including Jimmy's hit 'Honky Tonk Princess'. This song had been picked up by United Artist when it finally peaked in the country top fifty. Also, this song appears to have been recorded at Petty's studio in Clovis. By now the band was called 'Jimmy Blakley and his Western Swing Band'. They were still headquartered in Roswell but by now they appear to have traveled the tri-state area to play (Texas, NM and Colorado).

After buying the Berlant recorder from Norman Petty and establishing their own studio in Roswell, as early as 1962 Jimmy Blakley (as label owner) began releasing recordings on the Darsa & Midas labels. Also about this same time Jimmy Blakley came into contact with another musician in the Roswell area, Curtis Haskins. It is unclear (to the author) whether this new musician may have become a member of Blakley's band but could have. Nevertheless, it is stated that Haskins and his wife were both musicians and that Curtis had written a song for Hoyle Nix that did eventually become quite successful. Haskins stated in a recent interview that he had owned a record label in partnership with Jimmy Blakley of Roswell. It was called 'Midas' (Artesia News, April 6, 2008). This was possibly between 1960-65 as Haskins goes on to state that soon after his wife was killed in a car-wreck (in 1965) he took 100% interest of the label and Blakley departed the company. He continues to state that Blakley started the 'Darsa' label after their break-up. This obviously is an error and perhaps Haskins was just mixed-up on historical fact! The Darsa label was already in existence as early as 1962 as was the Midas label. A song titled 'Swamp Hop' dates to this year and was released on Blakley's Darsa label. While two songs by a doo wop group 'The Dellords' was released on the Midas label in the same year. (The guitar instrumental 'Swamp Hop' was re-issued on a compilation CD Germany in 2002 and was probably produced at Blakley's Roswell studio also).

It's difficult to put an exact date on when Jimmy and Dorothy Blakley moved from Roswell to Lubbock but it may have occured in the mid sixties. This could account for the break-up of the partnership in the Midas label between Jimmy and Curtis Haskins in 1965. Blakley had bought an interest in the Palm Room, a nite club on the east side of Lubbock and Jimmy, Dorothy and family left New Mexico and Roswell behind in pursuit of this new enterprise. Cliff would also move to the Lubbock area before the dust settled!

This move to Texas did not end the Blakley's ambitions of being recording artist however. The Berlant console recorder that Jimmy had purchased from Norman Petty (in c.1960) was soon installed in a private part of the Palm Room and made ready for recording. It is unclear if Blakley ever did any live recordings at the new club but he did record privately with his country-western band it appears. His band seems to have appeared weekly at the Palm Room and he ran a successful entertainment business. One such release from the Palm Room was put out on another of Blakley's labels.. PR International. We can only guess that the initials PR stood for Palm Room. Aside from crediting Jimmy Blakley as the artist, he is also credited as the producer. Blakley does a fine job of singing on this record but the music although very good seems rooted in the late fifties. But this is not surprising since Blakley's band had been playing western swing out in New Mexico for a decade before coming to Texas. It's only a guess as to how many members of the Roswell band had followed the Blakleys to Lubbock. We do know that at least three members of the old band played at the Palm Room including Jimmy, Dorothy and Cliff. Incidently, all three of these musician/singers were legitimate recording artist in their own right for all three of the Blakleys had the record releases on the Starday label!

Indications are that the Blakleys operated the club for several decades and it would not be long before other members of the family would also perform at the club. Jimmy and Dorothy's sons (Jimmy Jr. and Ronnie) also became fine musicians and surely played there on occasion, as did other members of the Blakley family. Their daughter Debbie whose first record was released at eleven did a lot of singing/recording around Lubbock also. To describe the Palm Room as a 'honky tonk' would be inaccurate. Blakley's band played sophisticated country music, western swing and catered more to the champagne crowd it seems. Phade Vader (a Blakley relative) stated that during their ownership of the club there was never a disturbance in which the law or sheriff had to be called. Folks, this is a remarkable record for any public club or dance hall! The Blakley's finally sold the Palm Room in the 1990's but it has continued to operate as a dance hall & night club for a different crowd. One recent writer states this about the Blakleys and their club, "...Jimmy and Dorothy were revered musicians in Lubbock, Las Vegas and all over the West Coast....the Palm Room was the place (to be) in West Texas for many years. That was until Dorothy became ill and passed after a long fight with cancer!" This statement seems to indicate that sometimes the Blakley band toured while some other bands carried on at the Palm Room.

In closing, it should be stated that during his lifetime Jimmy Blakley appears to have owned an interest in at least three record labels Darsa, Midas and PR International. Aside from these labels and the two Pappy Daily labels (Starday & D) some of the Blakley's recordings also appeared on the mail-order label 'Dixie' out of Chicago. The releases on Dixie were from the Starday catalogue and appear to have been a compilation of current hits, as sung by Starday artists. Several of the Blakley's songs appeared on Dixie but they were not given credit except on those listed in the discography below.

Partial Discography of The Blakleys:

Starday #200: Artist: Jimmy & Dorothy Blakley / Songs: Take My heart / You left me with the Blues / year of release: 1955 / Possibly recorded in Clovis, NM

Starday #221: Artist: Jimmy & Dorothy Blakley / Songs: Ping Pong / Sorry for You / year of release: 1956 / Possibly recorded in Clovis, NM

Starday #299: Artist: Jimmy Blakley / Songs: Crazy Blues / Runaway Heart / year of release: 1957 / Possibly recorded in Roswell, NM

Starday #318: Artist: Jimmy & Dorothy Blakley / Songs: A Pair of Crazy Hearts / Making Beleive you are Mine / year of release: 1957 / Possibly recorded in Roswell, NM

Starday #369: Artist: Cliff Blakley / Songs: Get off my Toe / Not going steady anymore / year of release: 1958 / Recorded in Clovis, NM at N. Petty Studio. (source: John Ingman) /

Starday #352: Artist: Cliff Blakley / Songs: High Steppin / I want to be with You / year of release: 1958 / Recorded in Clovis, NM at N. Petty Studio.( source: John Ingman) /

Starday #594: Artist: Dorothy Blakley / Songs: Yodeling Ivory Waltz / year of release: c.1960 ? / Recorded in Clovis, NM /

Dixie #526: Artist: Jimmy Blakley / Songs: Lovesick Blues / My arms are a House / year of release: 1958 / Note: These two songs may be on an album with other artists included. / Possibly recorded in Roswell, NM

D (records) #1175: Artist: Jimmy Blakley / Songs: Island Paradise / Honky Tonk Princess / year of release: 1959--65 ? / Recorded in Clovis, NM

United Artist # ? : Artist: Jimmy Blakley / Songs: Island Paradise / Honky Tonk Princess / year of release: 1959--65 ? / Recorded in Clovis, NM /

PR Intermational #1001: Artist: Jimmy Blakley / Songs: A Tribute to Tex Ritter / Her House / year of release: c.1965--70 / Probably recorded in Lubbock, Tx / Note: PR stands for 'Palm Room' (Lubbock, Tx.) /

Releases by various other Artists on Blakley owned labels include:

Midas_ (label): location: 607 S. Aspen, Roswell, NM.. / original owners: Jimmy Blakley & Clyde Haskins / active date: c.1962--65 / Artists: The Dellords .../ songs: In Togetherness / September Song / Note: Alfay music is listed (and associated) with this label as well as other Blakley labels. Therefore Alfay (BMI) may have also been owned by the Blakley family. /

Darsa_ (label): location: Roswell, NM.. / owner: Jimmy Blakley / active date: c.1962 / Artists: Bob Buster , Debbie Blakley.../ songs: Swamp Hop (by Buster), Behind that Wall (by Buster), Teen Twistin Tommy (by Blakley), Tell Billy (by Blakley) / note: The 'Swamp Hop' instrumental was re-issued in Germany in 2002, on an album titled 'Jungle Rock'.

 

Note #1: Jimmy Blakley, Sr. was born probably between 1925--30. He died c.1996 while a resident of Lubbock, Texas.

Note #2: Cliff Blakley died in 1998 at Wolforth, Tx (Lubbock county) and was 63 yrs. old. His song 'Get off my Toe' on Starday is now considered a rockabilly classic!

Note #3: Cliff Blakley had his first session in Clovis in 1956. The unissued songs were: You have my Heart, I always Knew. Cliff also recorded in Clovis in February 1959 (according to John Ingman).

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