Lefty Frizzell: It All Began on Ross Avenue

by Paula Bosse

lefty_promoThe Man

by Paula Bosse

Lefty Frizzell was born on this day in 1928 in Coriscana. His Dallas connection? He was “discovered” by Dallas producer Jim Beck and recorded many of his early hits at Beck’s downtown studio. He played a lot of gigs around town, including several appearances over the years on the Big D Jamboree. But even if there weren’t any iron-clad Dallas connections, I’d have to mention him anyway. Not only is he one of country music’s most influential artists (up there in the Holy Trinity with Hank Williams and George Jones), he’s my favorite singer. Of any genre. EVER.

Take a listen to his first single, recorded on July 25, 1950 at the celebrated Jim Beck Studio at 1101 Ross Avenue: “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time” (which the Dallas Morning News — a bit dismissive of the “hillbilly” set — weirdly mangled into “I’ve Got the Money If You Can Spare the Time”). It was an incredible smash hit, and it kicked off a spectacular career, during which he was at almost Beatles-level popularity, with four singles in the top ten at the same time.

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And another clip, this time a live performance from “The Porter Wagoner Show.”

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And, lastly, something I just found today, an ad for an appearance by Lefty in January 1963, when his career had dipped a bit (he would have a big come-back hit with “Saginaw, Michigan” at the end of the year). I’ve never heard of The Chalet (a supper club, I think), but its address of 6400 Gaston means that it was in the space where the Dixie House is now, in Lakewood. Maybe it’s only exciting to a superfan such as myself, but knowing that Lefty performed in my neighborhood, in a place in which I’ve actually spent a not insignificant amount of time, well … that’s just damn cool. Happy Birthday, Lefty!

lefty-chalet_dmn_012563January, 1963

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To read my post on  the untimely death of Jim Beck (and see photos of him, which are few and far between), click here.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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