Sunday, April 29, 2018

Guitar Picker: Spud Goodall

Spud Goodall with Gibson Super 400, San Antonio, 1950s or early '60s.

One of the more shocking and disappointing aspects of record collecting is the discovery that many of the best musicians never recorded, or only recorded a few minor, inconsequential efforts that gave no hint of their true ability. The logical course of events would lead one to assume that the record companies and bands would want to hire the finest musicians to play and record, and the musicians themselves would want to have their ability captured on disc. But this is not the case, and sooner or later a researcher learns that there is really nothing logical about either the band business or the record business in America. 

I had been researching Texas music for a long time before I heard of Spud Goodall. He was one of these guys who, like so many others, probably would have been famous had he been based in California, New York, Chicago, or Nashville. But the Siberian wilderness of Texas is almost guaranteed to ensure national obscurity, no matter how well you play. Businessmen in Texas are not interested in the entertainment industry; the profit margins in oil are much higher and far more stable than the ceaseless carnival of dumb fads that the record business lives on. That attitude has always left local talent with a terrible choice: stay home and go nowhere, or move 2,000 miles away and take your chances there. It's not coincidental that most of the well-known Texas musicians chose the latter route. 

Like Troy Passmore, Charlie Harris, J.R. Chatwell, and Rusty McDonald, Spud Goodall was famous among other Texas musicians, and to him, that was the only "fame" that mattered. He considered making records "boring" and his jazz-influenced, Les Paul-style of attack would not have been wanted by TNT, D, or Starday, anyway. Tellingly, in the 1960s, when most of his peers went to playing watered-down western swing or Nashville-style country music, Spud instead joined Jim Cullum's Happy Jazz Band (playing tenor banjo and guitar) and the Tony Rozance Band (playing lead guitar). 

Spud is most associated with San Antonio, spending about 30 years there (or so) from 1952 onwards, but he played all over Texas, earning his dues during his early professional career in Dallas and Galveston. He was in Los Angeles with the Callahan Brothers when he ran into Tex Ritter, forming an association that would last from the mid-1940s to 1951. With Ritter, Spud toured the entire country many times. Later in life, he settled in Tyler, but continued to play gigs with Willie Nelson and others. He was a cult figure among Texas musicians. For decades, they all knew him and admired him, but the general public never learned his name. 

It was impossible to interview a subject like Spud Goodall. You just turned on the tape recorder and stood back while countless entertaining anecdotes burst forth. Spud was a man of sharp wit and a keen observer of the crazy world around him. He reverenced only one thing: music. 

Jim Cullum, Jr.: "Spud was typical of many artists who reach great heights in jazz in that he was an eccentric to the extreme. When you heard him play, you knew he was obsessed with music and obsessed with the guitar. Like Teagarden, Spud could not help himself. You could tell that Spud had spent long years -- a lifetime -- with the guitar. I don't know if he actually slept with his guitar like they say Django did, but it sounded like it."

The following is based on phone conversations with Spud on May 14, 1996; June 6, 1996; and February 6, 2003. 


When my ancestors came over from Wales in the 1700s, they settled in Massachusetts. The surname was Guydel in Wales. When they came to America, they changed it to Goodell. When they moved to Alabama in the 1800s, they changed it to Goodale. I don't know why. I think they were running from the law. 

I was born Alonzo Louis Goodale (in Johnson County, Texas). When I went to get a birth certificate, they didn't have no name. They just had, "Baby boy born to Emmett and Zelma Goodale, April 8, 1925." They said, what name do you want? I said, "Alan Louis." And that is what they put on the birth certificate. Most people would mispronounce it and say "Goodall" -- after a while, they would say "Goodall?" and I would say "yes." 

My daddy worked for the railroad and they sent him to Galveston. They left Galveston, and left me down there. 

When I started playing in Galveston in 1938, everybody in the band had a nickname, like Zeke, Junior, Rusty, and so on. They used to call me "Tater," then "Spud," and it stuck. When I went to work with the Callahan Brothers, I told them my name was Spud Goodall. 

Spud Goodall in Galveston. 1941? (Spud Goodall Collection)

We (The Callahan Brothers) were working off of KRLD, had an early morning radio program. And Jimmy Wakely came through town, playing Interstate. They had a picture show circuit called Interstate. Jimmy Wakely and Lasses White, he was an old minstrel guy. 

The Callahan Brothers used to do a dance on Saturday night (in Dallas). This club was called the Villa. We'd pack that place on Saturday night. The guy on the drums was a guy named Boyd Little. The guy on saxophone was our regular piano player, Freddy Burkhalter. 

The Top Rail Wranglers, Top Rail Club, Dallas, early 1940s. Spud Goodall second from right. Click to enlarge. (Spud Goodall collection)

I knew Red Brown in Dallas in the '40s. He was with Hal Collins' Crazy Water Crystal Gang. They called him Smokey Stover when I knew him. Then I met him a few years later when I was with Tex Ritter. He was a disc jockey out in El Paso. He was going by the name Red Brown. When Al Dexter came out with "Pistol Packin' Mama," they booked him at the Paramount Theater in New York, and Red went with him.  

I first met Curly Williams in 1943. I played San Antonio with the Callahan Brothers at the Empire Theater. He came backstage and said, "I'm your old country cousin, Curly Williams." I went out to his house. He was playing a Gibson L5, and did until he died. He was one of the great rhythm guitar players of all-time. Curly was quite a character. We were like brothers. 

The Emilio Caceres Swing Trio, late 1930s.

Emilio Caceres was one of the best jazz violin players of his time, or any other time. The fiddle players of the '30s and '40s weren't in his class. He could read and write music, conduct a band...he played with the best: Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey. He was a little, meek guy. He couldn't drive a car. His wife would have to take him to the job. When he worked with us, I would go by and pick him up. I also worked a lot with Emilio in the Alamo City Jazz Band (in the '60s). Chuck Reily used him a lot. 

Me and Curly and Emilio worked in a western movie they made up at Bandera in the '50s, around 1956. We played barflies that hung out in the saloon and played for drinks. We went to Dallas and made the soundtrack. Like to have never got our money. 

Emilio was something. And they treated him like shit. 'Cause all he could do was play. Cliff Bruner played a song called "Jessie Polka." He learned that from Emilio. Emilio brought it up. It was called "Jesus and Chiuhuahua." Cliff and them started plying it and called it "Jesse Polka." I knew his brother Ernie. He had another brother (Pinie) that played guitar. But Emilio was world-renowned. He wound up playing piano in a damn steakhouse. And nobody was listening.  He played with the San Antonio Symphony. 

Spud with Rabbit Weehunt and Rusty McDonald, 1942. (Spud Goodall collection)

Me and Rusty McDonald worked with the Callahan Brothers. We played twin electric guitars. Rusty was playing lead guitar when I went to work with him. We were playing schoolhouses and picture show houses in West Texas. And we were one of the first twin guitar duos. The war was going on. 

Rabbit Weehunt, he was a comic. He took a tour with Len Davis. And I haven't seen him since then. 

Rusty McDonald was good -- a good guitar player, and one of the best singers. But he was a beer joint player -- that's what he wanted to play.

Me and Rusty played a lot of places together -- New York, Los Angeles, Chicago. We were in Chicago one night when we got a call when we got back to the hotel. They said, "Rusty, call Lawton." He was from Lawton, Oklahoma. His little boy drowned. About nine years old. His parents got asphyxiated, too, from a bad stove. Living in that old frame house. They just loved old Rusty. We'd be playing schoolhouses, and get through about ten or eleven o'clock at night. We'd be heading back to Dallas, and we'd go by Lawton. It'd be three o'clock in the morning, and his old mama would get up to fix us some breakfast. They were just tickled to death to see him.

Rusty had a brother and a sister. They had sort of a family band. His daddy beat on the bass, and I think his brother-in-law beat on the drums. They had a place out there in Lawton they used to play called Medicine Park.

Rusty was good -- a good guitar player, and one of the best singers. But he was a beer joint player -- that's what he wanted to play. I brought him on with us when I was with Tex Ritter. He called me and said, "Hey, I need some work bad." I said, okay. Tex liked him, too. He'd come on and stay about two weeks, and he'd say, "I'm going back to Oklahoma." He wasn't with Bob Wills long. 

Rusty, he might get mad and just leave. And you didn't know why. And they probably hired me to have an extra guitar player for when Rusty left the next time.

I recorded some at Jim Beck's Studio. I didn't record with no stars. We'd record with anybody who'd come in. Jim Beck had a place like Sam Phillips; anybody who wanted to make a record, you know? I was always hanging around there, and then for five dollars, I'd play the guitar on it. I heard that a doctor from Amarillo gave him his front money, a Dr. Maddox. 

I knew Hub Sutter. "Caledonia" was his big number. He was from a broken family. His mama lived in Austin, but his daddy lived in Galveston. And about twice a year, he'd come down and stay a week with his daddy. And he'd head straight for the joints we were playing. One place was Popeye's Club. It was a real rough place down on the wharf. Hub would come sit in with us. He was damn near blind. He had to wear these big, thick glasses. He copied Louie Jordan. 

Troy Passmore in Bandera, early 1950s. 

Do you know Troy Passmore? Well, Troy used to make the circuit. He'd go down to Beaumont-Port Arthur, play with Moon Mullican, and Link Davis and them. Then he'd come to San Antonio, and play with Smiley Whitley and Adolph Hofner. Then he'd go to Austin and play with Jesse James. Jesse would always hire you. Any old player that came by could play with Jesse.  

I met Troy when he was 17 years old, and I was 17. Troy came to Dallas with Eddie Caldwell. Troy could play fiddle, but he was primarily a guitar player -- and a great one. He played like Charlie Christian. He had those Christian licks down good. In about 1948, we played Austin, and Paul Buskirk was with us. I said, "Paul, there's a damn guitar player, playing with Jesse James, that I knew when I was kid in Dallas." I introduced him. I said, "Get your guitar and play for Paul." And he just knocked the shit out of Paul. Paul just flipped. He said, "I want you to work with me." 

Paul was working with Eddie Hill in Memphis. And Paul took Troy to Memphis. Well, Troy was a beer joint player. He stayed about two weeks, and he went back to the beer joints. Just like Charlie Harris. Good singer, great guitar player, but he had a bad drinking problem. I mean bad, you know? He was working with Smiley Whitley and Adolph there in San Antone. 

Roddy Bristol, he was a violinist. There was something a little weird about him, because his wife was always with him. He was a hell of a player. 

There was another guy who was a violinist -- we took him to California with us. His name was Jerry Wolfe. He was a violinist. But he was a kook. His wife was always with him. Even at 5:45 in the morning at the radio station. And we always said, "Why is she always with him?" Bill Callahan came in one morning and said, "Well, I found out why she's always with him. The son-of-a-bitch is in jail. He's a damn flasher." 

You know what a flasher is? He's a guy who stands behind the bushes at the bus stop, and when a woman gets off, he pulls his coat open and he ain't got no pants on. It was a disease. While we were in California, he got caught flashing. He got in jail out there. Spade Cooley was in jail at the same time, and he hired old Jerry.   

I met Caesare Massey in Galveston in 1938 at the Imperial Tavern. He didn't have a band. It was just one of those damn joints; usually about four people. We were making a dollar a night. But Caesare was something. Cliff Bruner used to come to Galveston every now and then. He was a true pioneer. 

When I went to San Antone...I finished my tour with Tex. I'd been with Tex seven years, and I told him, "My wife's going to have a baby, and I'm going to quit the road. This is my last tour with you." We played a rodeo in San Antonio in 1948, just me and Tex, and we used a local band. We used Red River Dave, and he used the staff band from WOAI. There was a guy named Mel Winters, who was the conductor, and he was a great piano player. He was a smart aleck, sissy little son-of-a-bitch. God, I heard him play, I said, "Melvin, if you ever need a guitar player, you call me." He said, "Well, I might do it." Two years later, we were in Mankato, Minnestoa, my wife sent me a letter saying Mel Winters is trying to get in touch with you. So I called him. He said, "You still want that job?" I said, "I sure as hell do."

I got Dick Ketner's job. I said, "Mel, I don't want to take Ketner's job." He said, "You're not taking his job. I'm firing his ass, whether you take it or not."

Spud, Bill Shomette, Curly Williams, TV Dude Ranch, WOAI-TV, San Antonio, 1950s. (Spud Goodall Collection)

But then when I got down there the union wouldn't let me go to work, 'cause Dude Skiles was on the union board and he wanted to give it to his brother Jack. But that's a long story. I ended up getting it. But I didn't go to work right then, they were going to make me sit it out six months. So me and Curly Williams went out and started playing joints. Just the two of us. Then, when I went to work at WOAI, we had a TV show called "TV Dude Ranch" on Wednesday night. 

We'd play at the Parasol Club. It was a little club out on Hildebrand and Blanco. It'd only seat about 75 people. We played behind the bar. And if you got there at 7:30 you couldn't get in, there was so many people there. Me and Curly, and Emilio and Marcus Morales. And brother, we played. That damn Emilio -- he was about 50 years old then. We were playing those Les Paul songs (like) "How High the Moon" -- hey, Emilio was something. I just loved him. Curly knew him since 1930. 

Les Paul with Spud, possibly in Chicago, 1947. (Spud Goodall collection)

I played at the St. Anthony Hotel for ten years, six nights a week. 

I knew Rusty Locke in Dallas, in the joints. We called him Sleepy. Wayne Locke's his name, he's from Corsicana. And then when he went down there to play steel, they called him Rusty. 

Troy Passmore used to come to San Antonio about twice a year, play with Adolph or Smiley. I had a little music store. That phone would ring, and I'd hear "Hey man, this is Troy, how you been? I just got into town, and I got a job on the south side. Have you got an amp I could borrow?" I'd say yes. "Well, would you drop it off at the club?" When we'd leave, he'd call me and tell me to come by the club and pick his amp up. 

I don't remember Lonnie Lillie, but that was me on the record ("Truck Driver's Special" on Marathon). That was another one of those records where I said, "Give me ten dollars and I'll come play on it." I did some (records) with Red River Dave. I played on Charlie Walker's first record, we cut it at KMAC Studios for Imperial Records. 

I never did like the recording scene. It's very boring, for one thing. You get in there and play the same thing over and don't get to to swing. It wasn't what I liked to do. 

These guys who made fun of Red River Dave, they called him "Dead Liver Dave." And old Dave would drive by in his Cadillac and wave at 'em. That's a true story. 

I did some stuff with Red River Dave. You know, somebody could fart and Dave would write a song about it. But Dave was alright. They made fun of him, but Dave was alright. Dave sold real estate. He made money a lot of ways: he made money playing, and he gave inspirational talks...I tell you, everybody made fun of him, but these damn beer joint pickers would be standing on the corner waiting for a damn bus -- these guys who made fun of Red River Dave, they called him "Dead Liver Dave." And old Dave would drive by in his Cadillac and wave at 'em. That's a true story. 

Red River Dave, 1981. 

His wife was named Alberta. She got burned up. She had tendency to drink a little too much. She passed out on the couch with a lit cigarette, burned her up. Old Dave had burglar bars put on his house. So when the house caught on fire, they couldn't get her out. 

Dave went to the World's Fair in 1939...he claimed to be the first guy to play on television. And I haven't seen no disclaimers. 

I played on a lot of his records. And he had one of the first television shows in San Antonio, and I played on it. An old fiddle player named Curley Wilson played on that also. 

Spud and Tex Ritter, 1940s. (Spud Goodall Collection)

I knew Doug Sahm when he was seven years old. He was playing with Smiley Whitley when he was seven or eight years old. Little Doug could play everything. By the time ol' Doug got to high school, he was wild. I knew his daddy. 

You know (guitarist) Jackie King? He was my pupil. I started him when he was about twelve years old, and he was showing me things when he was about twelve and a half. 

I had a little guitar teaching studio. (Steel guitarist) Don Pack taught for me, and I had a classical player. Teaching guitar lessons, that's a fraud. You ain't going to teach nobody nothing. If anybody's going to play, they're going to play. That's all there is to it. You don't ever have to make a guitar player practice. 

I sold my '54 Stratocaster for $200. They gave about ten of 'em away when they came out with the Strat in 1954. They gave Eldon Shamblin one, and he played it 'til he died. But when I got mine, I couldn't play no solidbody.The Telecaster guys wouldn't switch over, like Jimmy Bryant. The guy who traveled on the road for Fender was Charlie Hayes. See, I was on television. When you was on television, they'd give you anything. 

Curly Williams and Spud in a Gretsch guitar promotion circa mid-1950s. (Spud Goodall collection)

I had a Gretsch White Falcon when they first came out. 

I sold my Super 400 for $200, and I would've taken $150. If you were a music dealer, you could buy a new one for $250. And I needed the money. Hey, back in those days, guitar players could always use $200. I sold my White Falcon too for, I don't know, a couple of hundred. They sell for $20,000 now. 

Hey, I never regretted anything. Don't look back. There ain't a damn thing you've ever done you can change. 

I knew Rex Griffin. Last time I saw Rex was at Jim Beck's studio around 1951. He was down on his luck, he'd lost all his teeth, he was a wino...I think he died in New Orleans. He was singing in the joints for drinks. That's about how far down he was. I worked with his brother Buddy. 

I knew Hank Williams in Montgomery. They were just drunk beer joint players. His old mama (Lillie Williams) used to go with him (i.e., she used to accompany the band to gigs, an unusual sight). 

Spud with the Tex Ritter Band circa 1948. L to R: Rusty Mcdonald (guitar or bass), Spud Goodall (guitar), Tex Ritter, Boots Gilbert (mandolin), Tommy Durden (steel guitar). Photo by the Lee Studio, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Click to enlarge. (Spud Goodall collection)

Tex Ritter...he was an educated man. He'd been to three universities, and I didn't get out of the 5th grade. So that puts you at a bit of a disadvantage right there. I played every town in the United States that had a picture show house -- all the provinces in Canada, too. Ain't nobody toured as much as Tex Ritter. One night stands. I enjoyed every bit of it. 

(Playing with a star like Ritter) you're in awe for the first week or two, and then you settle. I lived with him for seven years. Hell, we roomed together. I was with him when his kids were born. He wasn't a good businessman, 'cause he died broke. Gene Autry was a good businessman. But the difference was, if Tex played a place and the promoter didn't make any money, he'd say, "Oh, hell, just give me what you can." Gene Autry would say, "Look, my fuckin' lawyer will be calling you." 

Spud with Don Davis (steel guitar) and Paul Buskirk, on tour with Tex Ritter, circa late 1947. (Spud Goodall collection)

I played on quite a few of his records. I played on "Teneha, Timpson, Bobo, and Blair." (Tex) was nervous to record with. He never had a producer who could handle him, except maybe Joe Allison. 

Merle Travis got me my job with Tex. I met Merle in California, when I went out there with the Callahan Brothers. Merle had just come out from Cincinnatti.  Bill and Joe knew him. 

Me and Rusty McDonald got stuck out there (in California). We ran out of money. We went down on Main Street, and played one of them joints to get a little money, to try to get out of town. And Merle Travis would come over to the hotel and visit, and we'd sit around and play. And he said, "Tex Ritter's playing a show over in Glendale, and one in Pasadena, and he needs an act." So we went with him. Tex hired us as an opening act. Then I played the Texas tour with him. That's where I met Joe Allison, he was on that tour. Joe was working at KTSA. Phil Marx was playing steel. I knew Phil in Dallas. He was a pretty good steel player. 

I left Tex in November, 1951. 

I met Cameron Hill -- when he was with Bob Wills, I think. He got busted one time for marijuana. They set him up. 

The thing that I enjoyed most was playing a small club where people are listening. I never played many dance halls. Nobody's listening. People spilling beer on you, that damn smoke filled...I liked to play things like we did at the Parasol club. Where people are listening. 

Emilio, he liked me, 'cause I always showed him high respect. I'd go over to his house, and just me and him would sit around for a couple of hours, just playing old standards. Just fiddle and guitar. 

I told Chuck Reily, "It's a damn dirty shame that San Antonio is so full of shit -- they ought to name a park after Emilio." But the Mexicans didn't like him. 'Cause he was famous, and world-renowned, and they didn't like that. 

(Saxophonist) Ernie Caceres, he come down with cancer of the tongue. They had to cut his tongue out, and he died. Old Man Jim Cullum buried him. 

Curly Williams and Spud, 1950s, San Antonio. (Spud Goodall collection) 

Curly Williams was an ornery bastard. We played in the Happy Jazz Band at the same time. Two banjo players. We'd have battle of the bands, they bring Louie Armstrong in, Pete Fountain...Cullum started playing at college at SMU, went to work with Jack Teagarden. Teagarden had a boy who was a room clerk who worked at the St Anthony when I was there. 

I still get up and practice three hours every morning. That's the most pleasant time of my life. I'm playing some things now that I couldn't play 30 years ago. I'm doing some classical stuff, some Bach. 

Spud with 1954 Fender Stratocaster. (Spud Goodall collection)

I took up the banjo as a necessity. There wasn't many banjo players around. So when guitar work got a little slow, I'd play banjo. When I was recording, I'd carry an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, a banjo, and a ukelele, and a mandolin. Whatever they needed. You know the difference between a banjo and a chainsaw? You can tune a chainsaw. 

You know the difference between a banjo and a chainsaw? You can tune a chainsaw. 

I knew (steel guitarist) Bob Symons. Little bitty guy. He sort of lost his mind there in later years. Me and Curly were playing out at the psycho ward of Fort Sam Houston Hospital one time and he was a patient. Me and Curly would play there once a month. Then we'd play the burn ward. It was horrible. We got a big citation from the Red Cross for playing the army hospitals. Me and Curly had a wide repertoire. We could play anything. This was '52, '53. 

Bob Symons worked for a guy named Red Barry, who had the Turf Club. 

I played with Bill Boyd for a short time. Everybody did. He bought time on WRR, then he'd sold the ads himself. And anybody who needed a job would go play it. He'd say, "You play a song," and about every eight measures he'd break in and do an ad: "Go on down to Earl's and get your mattress fixed." He had his office at Wittle's Music Company in Dallas, 1108 Elm. It was the big store. It was like Parker's in Houston. That's where I met my wife. 

When I'd get off tour with Tex, I'd go to Galveston and play the whorehouses. Down on Post Office Street. 

I met (pianist) Peck Kelley. He was playing in Galveston at the Tremont Club, and I was playing at the Imperial Tavern. I played with Caesare Masse at the Imperial Tavern. 

We played John T. Flore's Country Store for years on Sunday, just me and Curly. 

Al Dexter, his folks were bootleggers. What they'd do is get a dance at the house, and then sell a little whiskey. Al was a paper-hanger -- not a hot-check writer, a wallpaper-hanger. A painter. Of course, after he got successful, he said he was an interior decorator. (Laughs) Al played the oil fields over here (in East Texas), the beer joints. They made fun of Al 'cause he played with blacks. That's where he'd learn his songs. 

Leon Payne at WOAI in San Antonio, 1950s. 

I knew Leon Payne about as good as anybody. All the blind guys I ever played with had an inferiority complex. We used to call 'em "blinkers." It wasn't a derogatory remark, we just called 'em that. A lot of them, being blind was the biggest thing they had going for 'em, and they played it to the hilt. Leon wrote in Braille. On Radio Rodeo on WOAI, they brought him in as a singer. Leon could see a little bit out of one corner of his eye. We had a saying about those blinkers, we'd say, "Those son-of-a-bitches could see a 'Free Beer' sign clear around the corner." Old Leon, he could drag a five dollar bill across that corner of his eye and tell you what it was. I'd pick him up every morning and take him to the radio program. But every Friday, when we got off the air, he'd get on that bus, just him and his guitar, and he'd head to Shreveport, Houston, or anywhere. He'd play shows on Saturday. Them damn blinkers, they think they can do anything. 

We had a saying about those blinkers, we'd say, "Those son-of-a-bitches could see a 'Free Beer' sign clear around the corner."

We played a dirty trick on Leon. He didn't have all of his songs memorized, so he would write 'em out in Braille overnight and bring 'em in the next morning. He'd run his fingers across there while he was singing 'em. And we'd take a ball point pen and punch them little holes in. He'd get down to that line and he couldn't tell what it was. He'd nearly shit. 

Back in those days, the Union was on your ass, especially with television and radio. I never was a fan of the Musician's Union. They wanted to make Mel (Winters) hire another guitar player in San Antonio. They had a rule that said if there was anybody in San Antonio that belonged to that local and could play that job, you can't bring nobody in. I belonged to the Union, but I belonged to the Dallas Union. We stayed there 'til everybody started getting rid of staff bands. You know, every station had a staff band -- KPRC, WOAI, WFAA. And you did all their shows. But they all went to disc jockeys. 

Spud, George Pryor, Joe Gomez, Tony Rozance. San Antonio, 1970s. (Spud Goodall collection)

Me, Tony Rozance, and Curly went to the St. Anthony Hotel for two weeks, and I ended up staying there for ten years. 

J.R. Chatwell said, "There's more music in an inch-and-a-half of playing than there is in three yards of singing."

Rook Kirk was from Louisville, Kentucky. Gus Foster brought him down (to Dallas). He was a third partner with the Callahans. He came down with Smilin' Eddie (Hill), and Smilin' Eddie got drafted. So that left Rook with the Callahans. He played with Clayton McMichen, Natchee the Indian, Cowboy Copas, all those guys. In later years he went to Albuquerque and played with Dick Bills.  

Life expectancy for a beer joint guitar picker is about 30 years old, so I'm doing pretty good. 

You know, I never planned a damn thing in my life. Except be a guitar picker. That's all I wanted to do. 

Spud with the Blue Ridge Mountain Folks (Callahan Brothers) and Freddy Burkhalter and Fiddlin' Rook Kirk, Dallas, early 1940s. (Spud Goodall collection)

Spud with Floyd Tillman and Bucky Meadows, 1990s. (Spud Goodall collection)

Spud with Willie Nelson, 1990. 

Spud's Christmas Card for 2001. 

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Blogger Unknown said...

nice one Mr.B. spud is a monster. harold"curley" Wms was schoolmate of my mother in Harlingen - when it was still called sixgun junction, gave me banjo lessons.the saga of bucky meadows is yet to be told.

May 19, 2018 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger Scotdini said...

Great article. I started taking lessons from Spud at Caldwell Music, when I was about 6 years old. Even at that age I could tell he was amazing.

May 22, 2018 at 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Thomas (Tommy Clark) McMahon said...

Spud was my guitar instructor at Caldwell School of Music. When he was teaching me the F chord he gave me a week to learn it. I came back the following week without having it down. When he asked me why I hadn't learned it I told him my fingers were too small. I was 12 years old and I thought I had a great excuse. He said, "Son put your hand up here against my hand." When I did, I could see my fingers were longer than his. He said, "I would kill to have your fingers. Go home and learn the chord or don't come back!" I did and I came back. I went on to play professionally for many years. Thank you Spud. R.I.P.

August 7, 2018 at 6:37 PM  
Blogger Bill S. said...

As a San Antonio resident, I found this fascinating! Many thanks!

November 26, 2018 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Love the rambling interview. I knew Spud through my dad in East Texas. Have some photos of him later in life. Here’s a Xmas song from a tape he gave my dad. Pure Spud:

December 6, 2018 at 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is Spud playing on Dan Virva`s Duck Tail Cat. The guitar style is very similar to the one on the Lonnie Lillie record.

February 17, 2019 at 7:11 AM  

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