04 July

In Search of Jim Cuomo!!!

Billy Bucher, Dallas, TX, July 4, 2005
Wish to Comment?: Write bbbucher2@yahoo.com

Cuomo Sightings:

Pigeon Music - The Oracle Swing Trio - janvier 2005
original new standards ...

The Oracle Swing Trio
20 janvier jeudi 22h00 5 euros
6 Passage de Menilmontant
75011 Paris
ambiance : cave/concert
restaurant saveurs afro-cubaine
Cuomo photo

I realize at the onset that this particular posting is one of the most randomly, disorganized flows of space and time and energies which I have presented. It's almost like a John Cage piece I once performed on in the mid-sixties at the Dallas Public Library. To all who remember him, this may be just the befitting tribute which Jim Cuomo deserves. In college, it often seemed that Jim was going five directions at once, since he was so busy. It now appears that things haven't changed much at all.

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Posted by billybucher at 01:09:10 -

26 June

In Those Days

Billy Bucher, Denton, TX, Weekends 1964,
HAVE A COMMENT, WRITE: bbbucher2@yahoo.com

In those days, a good way for an aspiring jazzer to make a bit of extra cash was to play with a pickup band which was coming through the area.

Like "one hit wonders" of the last couple of decades in rock, usually the band leader would go around the country and have bands of college players met him or her in such exciting destinations as Amarillo, Texas, or Baton Rouge, Lousiana.

I remember playing with Johnny Long, whose hit "A Little Shanty in Old Shanty Town" was one which my father knew immediately and my mother-in-law can sing all the lyrics to this very day. This didn't always work out too well since the people who hired the band saw a person perhaps in Las Vegas where they had older player but we youngster needed to live as well!!! And get some sometimes hard earned experience.

Still some of these pickup bands could be downright scary.

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Posted by billybucher at 01:23:00 -

26 December


Cornell Kinderknecht, Southeast Nebraska, July 1984
(Guest Writer**)

HAVE A COMMENT, WRITE: bbbucher2@yahoo.com

A recent gig that I played was plagued with confusion and a comedy of mishaps. The whole thing seemed unreal. It got me thinking of past gigs that had an unreal bent.

A band that I played with in college was doing OK. We were all living in and around Manhattan, Kansas, a college town in the Northeast part of the state. We were getting regular bookings, somewhat of a dedicated following, and playing some good music. We'd gotten studio time and did a four-tune demo (an expensive and big deal back then). We even had a TV station produce a music video of one of our originals with us as the "stars." It actually aired on an area station's Friday night video music show. Music videos were the new, hot thing at the time. MTV was just a few years old. "Thriller" had put music videos on the map. We were just beginning to hear about Madonna, etc. So, this was a big deal for us.

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Posted by billybucher at 01:43:10 -

10 December

Concert For Two at Onion Creek

Billy Bucher, Austin, TX, December 2004,

The "My People" Concert For Two at Onion Creek:
A Moment in True Country Time

Since Niederwald, TX, is about twenty miles south of Austin, I wanted to get there ahead of time because I had a bit of a change in my percussion setup. I wanted to be fully prepared for the evenings festivities and the John Vandiver
Tribute Show. That was all right with Jojo, John Vandiver's daughter, because she had to get the posters and DVDs and pictures set up.

You see, Alice's Restaurant has designated that every first Thursday of the month will be called "Chicken Fried Steak Night" in honor of one of John's most popular songs, "Chicken Fried Steak."

So we left Jojo's about 4:30 and took a very, very back route because I-35 was already spilling over with commuter traffic. Austin has changed so much since the sixties and early seventies. Then, Onion Creek was very far outside of town. And, then, Austin still WAS a town. Now, we could see I-35 in the distance and the city of Austin was behind us.

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Posted by billybucher at 01:27:17 -

14 September

Something Is Happening

Paisley Robertson, Denton, TX, October, 1967
(Guest Writer**)

But something is happening and you don't know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?" Bob Dylan

I was barely 18 in 1967 when I drifted into singing with a bunch of Jazzers from the jazz department at North Texas. But these jazzers were unique because they were sneaking into Dallas to play rock and roll instead of jazz. Make some bucks, after all. Of course, they didn't want to tell their fellow students because, at that time, rock was extremely looked down upon.

The first group which I played in was "The Day Before." It consisted of Valdo Garcia and myself sharing vocals. Doug Burandt was on guitar although he had originally come to North Texas studying drums. He still maintains a very popular band in San Antonio called Max Class & the Class Act. Terry Collins played bass and Dickie Thompson, who would later play keyboards with the Steve Miller band on some of their best efforts, was on organ. And, of course, there was Billy Bucher on the drums. (ed: please see notes about Paisley at the end of the story.)

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Posted by billybucher at 15:21:00 -

15 August

The Slumber Party

Billy Bucher, Sunnyvale, TX, August 2004

I recently had the great pleasure of performing with two of my favorite musicians, Shake Russell
and Dana Cooper at Gruene Hall in infamous Gruene, TX.

The event was to celebrate the release of the John Vandiver CD "I Found a Dream" for the first time in the Austin area. See "Finally Realized Dreams." The next stop will be in Austin on September 2nd at the Cactus Club and then Dallas later this fall.

It's even hotter here in Sunnyvale today than at Gruene Hall. But only a bit hotter. Still, Betty's garden out in front of the house is filled with butterflies and there is a swarm of swallowtails swirling over the pink zinnias.

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Posted by billybucher at 18:24:27 -

09 August

Welcome -- Class of 1969

Billy Bucher, Sunnyvale, TX, August 2004
Wish to Comment?: Write bbbucher2@yahoo.com

I would like to welcome an influx of readers from my home town of Atlantic, Iowa during the upcoming weeks. My sister, Pam Raffurty, whom you from Atlantic remember as sweet (ah, hmm?) Pami Sue Bucher and I have been writing back and forth over the past months, planning for me to get to this reunion. Unfortunately, in the end, some last minute oversights didn't allow me to make the trip north.

One of the joys of being from a small town, was that a person gets to know a lot of people from the classes above and below them. This was compounded by my first working at the swimming pool in the summer and later, while in college, coaching the swimming team.

Because Pam was in the class of 1969, and because some many of my swimmers were out of this class, it makes this group of people very special to me, indeed. The stories posted on February 20th and 27th and the story on March 11th revolve around the Atlantic Swim Team or the Altantic Swimming Pool.

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Posted by billybucher at 00:50:22 -

25 July

If "Ifs" and "Buts" -- Graduation 2004

Billy Bucher, Sunnyvale, TX, July, 2004:

A Preview of My Upcoming Graduation Speech
(All right, all right, North Texas has not contacted me as yet to give this speech but, as my friend Jim Stroud once proclaimed, "Politicians don't have the corner on tomfoolery. Certainly not, to be sure!!!" And bear with me as I conjure up people from the past as I assemble these words of "cough" wisdom.)

Here goes:
"Students, Parents, Mr. President, J.C. Matthews, Dean of Women, Imogene B. Dickey, Phyllis George (who was floating around the campus then and we actually shook hands once), saxophonist Billy Harper and flutist Sharon Wiegel who inspired me to practice my music even more and, of course, a deep bow to the most honorable Larry Burns, keeper of the Hob Nob brew, fast flipper of the burgers. Thank you all for letting me speak here today. Whew!!!

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Posted by billybucher at 15:47:40 -

03 July

The News Is Out -- John Vandiver's Harrah

Billy Bucher, Sunnyvale, TX, July 3, 2004:

"The news is out," John used to sing in his rendition of this old Hank Williams' song, "all over town." Now, through the gift of a newly released CD, which we announced at the beginning of the year would be coming about now, John Vandiver's legacy is beginning to get some national and now World-Wide attention. It is little wonder.

I wrote at the beginning of the year in "Finally Realized Dreams," that Jojo Vandiver, John's daughter, was preparing to release some material from several of John's performances with the late great, bassist Michael Mashkes on a CD called "I Found A Dream." The sessions were recorded during 1984 at Poor David's Pub in Dallas.

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Posted by billybucher at 16:54:28 -

16 June

Summer Session Begins

Billy Bucher, Sunnyvale, TX, June 16, 2004

I know it seems as if all bustle has stopped around the tables and booths of the Hob Nob. But, under the surface, there are many things bubbling.

"Finding Cuomo."

"The Mystery of the ATC."

"Vandiver CD released. Already reviewed in the Netherlands."

"Shout Out to Rene."

The finale of "A Year of Change."

Finding a letter from Larkspur.

Stay tuned. Tonight Larry Burns is slowly cleaning out the coffee pot and the cash register. Not particularly in that order.

Posted by billybucher at 01:43:41 -

19 May

A Candle for Paul B. Miner?

Billy Bucher, Sunnyvale, TX, May 19, 2004

If my records are correct, and, heaven forbid, they always aren't, we lost Paul B. Miner ten years ago today on May 19th.
It was, to say the least, a very great loss.
I think lighting a candle tonight or whenever you get this would be in order.
Since I bought a new scanner and printer, I hope to get some of my favorite Paul B. pictures placed here over the next month. If you have a special Paul B. thought, hit the underlined comment spot below and add your thoughts.
Paul B. loved plants and gardening as much as he loved reading and writing. Spring always was very special to him. Life and friends were very special to him.
Paul B. was certainly one in a million.
Thank you so much.
Billy Bucher

Posted by billybucher at 15:56:32 -

18 May

Ralph Burns Kellogg / Ethan James / Gone?

Billy Bucher, Sunnyvale, TX, May 18, 2004

The sad thing is that over the last few years I'd tried to find Burns Kellogg several times in web engine searches. That's how I first learned that, at one time, he'd been in Blue Cheer.
Burns seemed like a really decent, quiet type of fellow when I knew him in California. This besides being an excellant musician on many instruments. I just wanted to say "hi" but could never get a good hit on the Internet.
Then, when I was writing the previous post, I introduced him, for some unknown reason, by his full name which just popped into my head -- Ralph Burns Kellogg. Suddenly, I decided to search his full name and then a lot of information came up.

One piece of information, though, that I didn't expect was the fact that he had died on June 19th of 2003.

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Posted by billybucher at 15:46:23 -

14 May

Lazy Larkspur Afternoon

Billy Bucher, Larkspur, CA, October, 1966

There once was a band house in Larkspur. Larkspur is across the Golden Gate Bridge and through the Muir Woods from the grandmother of all cities, San Francisco. The band really struck a good deal on our two story house because the only way to go to and from it from the road was to climb 257 uneven, stone steps, step after painful step. These steps led up a steep, harrowing hill. But when you reached the top, it presented a truly fantastic view of the canyon.

One very odd feature of the house, though, was where the roof should have come to a point it was as if someone had cut off the point with a giant saw. There was a small room left sitting there without a roof. Most nights, you could sit or lie on a small mattress and look up at the stars. When it rained you had to dash downstairs using a ladder propped up to the back of the house to escape. Even more stunning was a small porch which led out from the roof moon room which provided even a higher stupendous view over the canyon.

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Posted by billybucher at 01:30:40 -

25 April

Haircut -- Intermission Two

Billy Bucher, Tipton, IA, October, 1945:

During the depression and after the Big War, my Grandfather, William W. Bucher, held down two jobs. He was a barber and he was a butcher.

Therefore, it was no surprise that since we were living in a nearby town called Stanwood, Iowa, Dad dressed me up one Saturday morning and took me over to the barber shop for my first haircut.

I must have been one or so and I, of course, have no surface recollection. Still, as my dad recalled the story, I was smiling when they put me in the chair with my long, black locks in place. Then Grandpa Bucher pulled out the shears and my face suddenly turned fifteen shades of red.

Undeterred, Grandpa Bucher took the side of my head in his hand and with a few skillful swipes of the shears, I was like a little bowling ball.

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Posted by billybucher at 18:22:06 -

31 March

David Ian Brown Changes My Life -- Part 5

Billy Bucher, Denver, CO, August, 1964:

The best thing about coaching the swim team was that it left me with August off so I decided to head west and visit some of my friends.

I met Dave Brown at Atlantic High School and to this day he is one of the brightest people I've ever known. He had won a scholarship to Phillips Exeter Academy while a paperboy for the Des Moines Register and after graduation he received another scholarship to Stanford. Besides that, he was witty and knowlegeable. The first stop of my trip was Denver where Dave was taking a break from academia and working at McDonalds. I remember back then we marveled at the fact that the chain had sold over 1, count 'em, 1 million hamburgers at the time! Imagine that!!! Boy howdy! By now, of course, former employees must number in the millions themselves, but Dave Brown will always be among the leaders in this area. Another first for Brown.

The only distressing thing, though, was the fact that I had hardly arrived before he became increasingly adamant that I see the newly released Beatles' movie, "A Hard Days Night." He began his campaign to drag me to this movie from the first day. He had just seen it and he assured me I'd come away feeling the same way as I did on the first night that I had heard Bob Dylan.

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Posted by billybucher at 01:27:19 -