Bobby Glenn Luman was born in Nacogdoches on April 15, 1937. Throughout
his boyhood he was fascinated by sports and he excelled as a baseball player.
But music also exerted a deep appeal for Bobby Glenn. His father was an
accomplished musician who taught Bobby Glenn to play several stringed
instruments, including guitar. Impressed by Country stars of the day, he modeled
his singing style after his special friend, Lefty Frizzell. The family moved to
Kilgore, where Bobby Glenn became a star on the KHS Bulldog baseball team. The
young athlete attracted the attention of pro scouts, but he could not resist the
pull of music. Attending a country music package show, Bobby Glenn was
profoundly affected by the wild performance of young Elvis Presley. Girls in the
audience were driven into frenzies by the gyrations and rockabilly sounds of
Elvis. "That was the last time I tried to sound like Left Frizzell," recalled
Bobby Glenn formed a band and, strongly influenced by rockabilly, began
playing at school dances and in nearby clubs. After winning a talent contest, he
was booked onto the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport. Doors opened rapidly
for the handsome Texan with the rich, velvety voice. Bob Luman became a regular
member of the Louisiana Hayride. He went to Hollywood for a small part in
the 1957 motion picture, Carnival Park. In Las Vegas he performed at the
Showboat Hotel on a show with Tex Ritter and Johnny Cash. Despite these
successes, a recording contract with a major label failed to produce any hits.
Frustrated, Luman announced onstage at a performance that he had decided to
leave country music and sign a minor league baseball contract with the
Pittsburgh Pirates. Fortunately, the popular Everly Brothers were in the
audience. They persuaded Luman to give country music one more try with Let's
Think About Living--which sold one million copies.
After a 2-year stint in
the military, Bob Luman toured the United States as well as in Europe and Japan.
But Luman's heavy schedule eroded his health. In 1975, he had a heart attack and
spent 5 months recuperating at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. He was released and
resumed touring and recording, but he contracted pneumonia and died on December
27, 1978 at the age of 41.
Long known as the Cowboy Poet of Texas, Red became the first
cowboy poet to be designated as the state's poet Laureate. Russell Steagall was
born on December 22, 1937, in Gainesville, Texas. The family moved to West
Texas, settling in the ranching community of Sanford. Fascinated by cowboys and
rodeos, Red became a bull rider as a teenager. But when he was 15, he was
stricken with polio. To rehabilitate his left arm and hand, Red began playing
the guitar and mandolin, quickly demonstrating talent as a performer and
Red enrolled at the university now known as West Texas A&M, and he
organized a country band to help pay college expenses. Graduating with a degree
in animal science and agronomy, he took a job selling agro-chemicals. But at
night and on weekends he continued to perform, and in the mid-60s he moved to
Los Angeles to focus on a music career. Red performed at clubs in the LA area
and wrote songs. In 1967 Ray Charles scored a hit with Red's Here We Go Again,
which also was covered two years later by Nancy Sinatra.
Through the years more
than 200 of Red's songs have been recorded by such big name artists as Dean
Martin, Roy Clark and Johnny Duncan. While performing at the 1974 National Rodeo
Finals in Oklahoma City, Red discovered Reba McEntire. He brought her to
Nashville, introducing her to friends and helping record her first demo tape.
Red plays as many as 100 rodeos per year. Touring at least 200 days annually for
the past 30 years, Red has appeared in Europe, the Far East, South America, and
the Middle East. In 1983 he performed for President Ronald Reagan in the White
Johnny Rodriguez burst onto the music scene during the 1970s as
the first Chicano Country artist and remains the greatest and most memorable
Chicano Country singer of all time. Juan Raoul Davis Rodriguez was born on
December 10, 1951, in Sabinal, in South Texas. He was the second youngest of ten
children. The family had lived in a four-room house, and Johnny was an altar
boy. When Johnny was seven, his older brother, Andres, bought him a guitar.
Johnny became a fine performer and formed a band when he turned 16. But that
same year his father died of cancer and the next year Andres was killed in an
Although Johnny was a letterman on his high school football team,
the loss of his father and brother sent him spiraling into trouble. Jailed four
times by the age of 18, Johnny was overheard singing in his cell by famed Texas
Ranger Joaquin Jackson. Captain Jackson intervened on Johnny's behalf with Happy Shahan, who had built Alamo Village in Bracketville for John Wayne's movie,
The Alamo. Shahan operated Alamo Village as a popular tourist attraction,
and he hired 19-year-old Rodriguez as a singer and stagecoach driver.
his act was heard by Tom T. Hall and Bobby Bare, who were on tour in the area.
Hall and Bare brought Johnny to Nashville, where he became a lead guitarist in
Tom's band. Hall helped Johnny sign a recording contract. After his first
single, Pass Me By, reached the Top 10, the Academy of Country Music
voted him "Most Promising Vocalist." In 1973, all three of his releases soared
to number 1: You Always Come Back, Ridin' My Thumb to Mexico, and
That's the Way Love Goes. In 1975, all three of Johnny's releases hit No. 1:
I Just Can't Get Her Out of My Mind, Just Get Up and Close the Door, and
Love Put a Song in My Heart. During the early 1980s Johnny suffered
severe injuries in a karate accident, problems with his vocal cords, and the
personal trauma of a marriage breakup. But he struggled through these troubles
and again began producing hits. He has recorded 26 hits.