Saturday, 31 August 2019

Dean Beard born 31 August 1935

Dean Beard (August 31, 1935 - April 4, 1989) was an American pianist and rockabilly pioneer sometimes called the "West Texas Wild Man" because of his frantic stage presence and piano-playing style.

Beard was born in Santa Anna, Texas. He was the son of Raymond and Opral (Baker) Beard. A lifelong resident of Coleman County, he moved to Coleman in 1953 and graduated from Coleman High School. While in high school he started doing session work in Abilene for Key City media mogul and record producer Slim Willet. He briefly attended Tarleton State College but soon opted to pursue a music career. He made his first recordings in 1955 in Abilene with the Fox Four Sevens.

Dean Beard, Bill Black & Jimmy Day @ Brekenridge June 1955

Beard was the opening act in Breckenridge on April 13, 1955, and later that night Dean witnessed Elvis as "he tore the roof off that place."  The next day a write-up appeared in the Breckenridge American by Ann Cowan that just might be "the first post-show review of an Elvis concert."  Beard was in attendance for other Presley shows, including a July 4th appearance in Brownwood.  Afterward Dean recalled inviting Elvis over to Coleman for a visit:  "Presley had a pink Cadillac.  Boy, I felt like something riding down the main street of Coleman in that pink Cadillac."  


Intent on duplicating Presley's success, Beard cut two demo sessions in Memphis for Sun Records in 1956, but Sam Phillips decided not to sign him. The fact that he asked Phillips’ girlfriend-secretary out on a date probably did little to improve his chances. One of the demos was "Rakin' and Scrapin'," which Beard recorded again the next year in Abilene for Willet's Edmoral label. 

The Crew Cats  Top: Jack Smith, Dean Beard, Clay Glover
Bottom: Bill Graham, Chris & Paul Herrera, Jessie Barrera

His popular West Texas band, Dean Beard and the Crew Cats, included area teenagers Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts, who later became a successful pop duo. A tenor sax- and piano-driven pounder, "Rakin' and Scrapin'," was leased to Atlantic Records for national distribution but failed to break out. A high energy follow-up on Atlantic, "Party Party," suffered a similar fate.

In 1958 Beard, along with Seals and Crofts, joined the Champs (of "Tequila" fame) and journeyed to the West Coast. After recording several sessions with the group for Challenge Records, he was fired and returned to Texas in 1959. Beard continued to record for Willet and then for a variety of other small labels throughout the 1960s.

His last single was in 1966 for Sims records. It was called "Are There Honkey Tonks In Heaven" / "Pocketfull Of Stardust". He remained a popular live act into the 1970s, despite having to battle crippling arthritis, the results of an auto accident that broke his back. Turning to religion, Dean put aside forever hopes of a music career, but never music-making at the Emmanuel Baptist Church.

He died in Coleman on April 4, 1989. He was honoured by induction into the West Texas Music Hall of Fame .

 (Edited mainly from an article by Joe W. Specht @ The Texas State Historical Association)

Friday, 30 August 2019

Tex Morton born 30 August 1916

Tex Morton (born Robert William Lane in Nelson, New Zealand, also credited as Robert Tex Morton; (30 August 1916 – 23 July 1983) was a pioneer of New Zealand and Australian country and western music, vaudevillian, actor, television host and circus performer.

Morton was born the eldest of four to Bernard William Lane, a postal clerk and Mildred Eastgate and attended Nelson College between 1930 and 1931. He attended Haven Road and Nelson Boys’ schools, and then Nelson College (1930–31), where he was described as a good student who loved singing and playing the guitar. He was fascinated by radio, learned Morse code and became a boy scout. Despite running away from home several times, he remained the apple of his family’s eye.

Lane wanted to be an entertainer. During the depression he became an itinerant musician and swagger, busking on street corners and offering guitar lessons at a shilling a time. He is said to have founded New Zealand’s first country music club, in Nelson, and around 1932 he recorded about 20 songs in Wellington. Possibly the first commercial recordings of country music outside the United States, they were played on radio stations in Auckland and Nelson. About 1933 he caught a ship to Australia.

Lane fell back on the rough-and-tumble life of a hobo, working daredevil jobs in construction and sideshows, before establishing a reputation as a country and western singer in Sydney. In 1936, under the stage name Tex Morton, he recorded four songs for the Regal Zonophone label, and within two years he was the biggest music sensation either side of the Tasman. Known as the ‘Yodelling Boundary Rider’, Morton added sharp-shooting and whip-cracking to his repertoire, and began touring Australia with his own Wild West Rodeo show. On 24 November 1937, in Sydney, he married Marjorie Brisbane, a salesgirl and model; they spent their honeymoon in New Zealand. Twin sons were born in 1941, but the couple separated soon after.


Morton was composing and recording at an astonishing rate: between February 1936 and May 1941 he released at least 90 songs. Although they were not the first Australasian songs in the hillbilly style popularised by Goebel Reeves and Jimmie Rodgers, they rate as the most significant. Morton collected folk songs from the Australian bush and added music to ballads made famous by poets Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson. In these songs, such as
 ‘Wrap me up in my stockwhip and blanket’, and in his own compositions, ‘The yodelling bagman’ and ‘Wandering stockman’, he fused turn-of-the-century Australian poetry with American country music, and helped create the modern legacy of Australian country music. A poster from his pre-war peak claimed sales of 10,000 records a month in Australia and New Zealand, rivalling Bing Crosby.

During the Second World War Morton entertained Allied troops in Australia and the Pacific. In 1949 he toured New Zealand, where he recorded a further 12 singles for the Tasman label, and became the first life member of the Composers, Artists and Writers Society of New Zealand. He sold his rodeo show and moved to Hollywood and then Montreal. By the early 1950s he was transformed into ‘The Great Morton’, setting box-office records in North America with his one-man show of singing, poetry, rope-spinning, sharp-shooting, hypnotism and extrasensory perception demonstrations. Under the name Dr Robert Morton he opened a clinic in Toronto which earned an international reputation in hypnotism. 

About 1955 he returned to Hollywood to appear as a cameo actor in television and films. In the late 1960s Morton toured New Zealand several times and compèred the popular ‘Country Touch’ television series. Returning to Australia during the early 1970s, he became a notable character actor in television and films, and reached the top three in record sales charts with a song about a racehorse, ‘The Goondiwindi grey’. At Tamworth in January 1976 he became the first person elevated to the Australasian Country Music Awards Roll of Renown; the following year he was inducted into its Hands of Fame.

Morton remained a ham-radio enthusiast throughout his career, with numerous worldwide contacts. But even after all-night radio sessions, he was careful with his appearance. He was described as ‘meticulous almost to the point of conceit’ with his dress, wearing ‘silk ties, and always the best stetson hat’. He was of average but wiry build, and stood out as a conversationalist. His sister recalled, ‘Our mother always used to say he swallowed a packet of gramophone needles when he was a child’. He also gained a reputation for being generous with his fortune.

Formally divorced from Marjorie in the late 1970s, Morton later lived with Kathy Bryan, of Victoria. 

In 1982, at his final major public performance, Tex thrilled a crowd of 5,000 people in the 2TM Big Top erected in Tamworth for a series of super shows and the Country Music Awards.

He died in Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital on 23 July 1983, after a short battle with lung cancer. He was cremated and his ashes were buried in Nelson beside his parents, his plaque bearing the epitaph ‘A Millionaire in the Experience of Life’.

(Edited from Encylopedia of New Zealand & Wikipedia)

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Ernie Fields born 28 August 1904

Ernest Lawrence "Ernie" Fields (August 28, 1904 – May 11, 1997) was an African-American trombonist, pianist, arranger and bandleader.

Texas-born Ernie Fields was raised in Taft, Oklahoma, studied to become an electrician and played trombone in the school's marching band. Fields settled in Tulsa after graduating in 1921 from the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He soon began leading The Royal Entertainers, which became one of Tulsa's most popular dance orchestras during the 1920s. Fields initially refused offers to join other bands, believing that touring was an unacceptable lifestyle. Ironically, the Great Depression forced him to take his own band on the road in the early 1930s.

The Royal Entertainers were later renamed the Territory Big Band. The act became popular in the Midwest. While playing in Kansas City, the orchestra was discovered by legendary producer John Hammond, who invited them to New York in August 1939 to cut a session for the Vocalion label.

The first of the four ensuing Vocalion singles, "T-Town Blues", was a minor hit. The band worked steadily through the 1940's, featuring the work of stellar guitarist / arranger Rene Hall and popular vocalist Melvin Moore from Oklahoma City. Following the decline of big band jazz/swing after World War II, Fields downsized his band and transformed it into a rhythm and blues group. From 1947
onwards, there followed a series of R&B recordings for small independent labels like Frisco, Bullet, Gotham, Regal and Combo. In 1955 Fields moved to Los Angeles, where he found a comfortable if low-profile niche as an arranger for West Coast pop and rock sessions.

The switch to instrumental rock n roll came early in 1958, when Rene Hall sold the master of "Annie's Rock" to the reactivated Jamie label in Philadelphia, crediting the disc to his old boss, Ernie Fields. Rene Hall, Earl Palmer and sax player Plas Johnson had almost daily contact in the L.A. studios. Combined with their shared Louisiana roots, this created a strong bond between the three Afro-Americans and towards the end of 1958 they decided to pool their talents in a production company called Record Masters. In 1959 they offered a rock n roll arrangement of "Christopher Columbus" by Rene Hall to the new Rendezvous label in Los Angeles.


Rendezvous was interested, but needed a B-side. It was Earl Palmer who suggested "In the Mood", the old Glenn Miller favourite. Soon their beaty new interpretation of the standard was upgraded to A-side status. Hall, Palmer and Johnson had yet to attribute the record to any particular artist, knowing they wouldn't be available for any kind of promotion or touring, due to their studio commitments. 

After negotiations, Ernie Fields was called up to "work" the record, with credits going to "Ernie Field's Orchestra" . The gamble paid off and with the support of Dick Clark, the single hit # 4 on the pop charts by the end of 1959 (also # 13 in the UK).

The follow-up, again from the Glenn Miller songbook, was "Chattanooga Choo Choo", which went to # 54. Its flip, "Workin' Out", written by Hall, Johnson and Palmer, was one of the few tracks that actually featured Ernie Fields on trombone. There followed an LP release in 1960 (also called "In the Mood"), a combination of big band standards, covers of recent hits and two originals, "The Boot" and the fabulous "Knocked Out", from the pen of John Marascalco. The arrangements were split equally between Johnson, Hall and Palmer.

The third Rendezvous single, "Begin the Beguine"/"Things Ain't What They Used To Be", lacked the heavy backbeat and excitement of the two previous 45s and was not released in the UK. Instead, UK London chose to lift two tracks off the LP, "Raunchy" and "My Prayer" (London HL 9227). In the USA, eight more Rendezvous singles would follow after "Begin the Beguine", but only "The Charleston" (# 47 in 1961) managed to enter the charts. By 1962, Rendezvous Records was concentrating more on singles by B. Bumble and the Stingers, a studio band comprising some of the same session men as those on the Ernie Fields recordings.

After the demise of Rendezvous in 1963, the Ernie Fields Orchestra - still with Hall, Palmer and Johnson as its nucleus - switched to the Capitol label, but only two singles were released. Compared to the Rendezvous recordings, they sound rather tame. Although Ernie's 
career weathered all the changing musical tastes from the swing era to the 1960s, he retired from active leadership, disbanded and moved back to Tulsa, until his death in May 1997, at the age of 92. In 1989 he was inducted in to the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.

 In 2013 his family donated his memorabilia to the planned Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture.

(Edited mainly from BlackCat Rockabilly)

Monday, 26 August 2019

Francis Wayne born 26 August 1924

Frances Wayne (born Chiarina Francesca Bertocci, August 26, 1924 – February 6, 1978) was an American jazz vocalist. She was best known for her recording of ''Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe.

Wayne was born in Boston and graduated from Somerville High School. She took the name Frances Wayne sometime before 1940, when she started singing with Sam Donahue’s band. In 1941 she went to New York to work with her brother, clarinetist and bandleader Nick Jerret. She began to make a name for herself in New York during 1942 when sang with Jerry Wald’s new outfit at the Roseland Ballroom in March of that year, and the following month she appeared with Nick Jerret’s six-​piece combo at Jive Canyon. In May, she joined Charlie Barnet’s orchestra, where she stayed for four months, recording with the band on one of its classic numbers, “That Old Black Magic.”

A 1942 review in Billboard magazine described her as "a striking brunette with a true contralto, perfect rhythm, and, most interesting, a brand-new style...of deep understanding and feeling for the spirit of what she sings." After leaving Barnet, Wayne hit the nightclub circuit for a year, sometimes singing with Jerret, before joining Woody Herman’s Herd in late 1943. It’s with Herman that she sealed her fame and is best remembered. She stayed with the band for more than two years, performing on several of their most popular numbers.


It was during her stint with Woody Herman’s Orchestra that she made her most famous record “Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe.” Wayne’s vocal talents put her in high demand during this period. In July 1945, Herman’s label, Decca, agreed to lend her to Victor for one disk so that she could record with Duke Ellington. And in
September of that year, Columbia, who was then marketing Herman’s records, gave her permission to cut solo material on the Musicraft label. It was an unusual decision, and the first time that a singer had been allowed to record solo on another label while still remaining with their band. She cut four songs for Musicraft, backed by the orchestra of Ralph Burns.

While with Herman, Wayne met trumpet player Neal Hefti. The two fell in love and married on November 3, 1945, in Boston. Hefti quit the band in January 1946, and Wayne left the following month after a disagreement on salary. It was during this time that Wayne was awarded the 1946 Esquire Award as Best New Female Vocalist. 

She hit the nightclub circuit again, and in June 1947 signed a one-​year deal with the Exclusive label, where she recorded backed by the orchestras of Buddy Baker, Les Robinson, and Hefti. She also appeared with Shorty Sherock’s orchestra in their 1947 self-​titled musical short.

In July 1951, Wayne and Hefti signed as a couple to Coral Records. The label planned to market them as a Mr. and Mrs. band, backed by studio musicians, with Wayne also recording solo. They recorded together until 1953, when Wayne decided to retire from the music business and have children. Pat O’Connor replaced her as Hefti’s vocalist.

Wayne didn’t stay retired for long however. She returned to singing in the mid-​1950s and went back on the nightclub circuit before rejoining her husband as vocalist with his new jazz combo in August 1956. Wayne also recorded solo on Epic in 1956 and on
Atlantic and Brunswick in 1957.

In 1960, the couple moved to California, settling in Encino, and Wayne retired from singing again to take care of their two children. Hefti and Wayne were presenters at the 1961 Grammy awards. Wayne, however, never performed again except for a comeback appearance in November 1974 at Dante’s, after their children had grown. She planned to continue her singing career at that time, but it never materialized. During her recording career she made some 100 records including 5 LP’s.

On February 6, 1978, Wayne died in the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston at age 58 "after a long bout with cancer."

(A big thank you to Autumn Lancing @ BandChirps for most of the biographical information.)

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Sándor Benkó born 25 August 1940

Sándor Benkó (25 August 1940 – 15 December 2015) was a renowned Hungarian clarinet player, founder of the world-famous Benkó Dixieland Band. The Kossuth and Liszt Ferenc Prize-winning musician’s career spanned a period of close to sixty years. A jovial, approachable figure, he was fondly nicknamed “Professor Dixi” by his students.

Benko was born in 1940, lost his father early, and was raised by his mother alone with his smaller brothers. At the age of six he was a violin student at a music school, but he didn't really like the instrument. He received a clarinet from a folk musician and enrolled with Kálmán Elder Berkes to study classics.

 Benkó first learned how to play the violin, then switched to the saxophone, but became truly well known as a clarinet player. At the age of seventeen he listened to Louis Armstrong's records with his friend, and in February 1957, as a third-grader, he founded the Benkó  Dixieland Band.

Seventy-five musicians visited the band during the first six years, including László Benkő, Károly Frenreisz, József Laux, Antal Solymos and others. Their first album became a gold record.

In 1963, Benkó graduated from the Budapest University of Technology with a degree in electrical engineering, and later worked as an assistant professor in the department of electrical machines until 1995. Many of his books have been honoured with the Zipernowsky Medal. His research area is computer design of electrical machines and his Ph.D. in numerical simulation of electromagnetic fields. He was an honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Engineering and the Chamber. In the late eighties, he started a cosmetics business and founded Sunfleur.

They travelled through the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany, and traveled to Western Europe in the 1970s. In 1971, Montreux, Switzerland, became the first to perform at the jazz festival, in San Sebastian, in 1972, they won the audience prize, and in 1976, they were voted the Stars of the Year by the prestigious English Music Week magazine.

From the eighties they were also loved in America, winning the Grand Prix at the Sacramento Jazz Festival in 1982. For one month, they toured the genre's hometown, New Orleans to New York, and a two-hour movie about the road was broadcast worldwide by television stations. 


In 1983, they became the International Jazz Band of the Year in California, and in 1987, President Ronald Reagan himself translated the American people's appreciation and gratitude for the high quality of American jazz. In 2007, the band was honoured by President George W. Bush.

The band leader received the Ferenc Liszt Prize in 1984 and the Kossuth Prize in 2006. In 1997, all members of the band received the Order of the Cross of Merit of the Republic of Hungary. In 2004 they received the Prima Primissima Prize, the Pro Urbe Miskolc Award and in 2005 the Pro Urbe Budapest Prize. Benkó received the Hungarian Cross of Merit on the 15th of March this year.

The Benkó Dixieland Band has no less than 1,800 professional recordings, including at least 500 evergreen tunes. Their repertoire is large enough to play for 25 hours without repetition, continuously. Beyond their 10,750 concerts, they have worked with seventy-two world stars, including a few names: Milt Jackson, Freddie Hubbard, Buddy Tate, Joe 
Newman, Buddy Wachter, Henry Questa, Joe Muranyi, Eddy Davis, Albert Nicholas, Wild Bill Davison, Warren Vaché. Benkó's greatest triumph was that he succeeded in preserving his original form and playing traditional New Orleans jazz at world-class level.

Benko died in Budapest 15 December 2015. Following his death, Benkó’s family was dissatisfied with the new musical direction of the group and did not allow them to use their founder’s name, hence the band choose the alternate name “Dixie Kings of Hungary”.

In 2019, a Budapest court has now allowed the band to use their original name, saying that “the name of the band is linked collectively to its members, the audience associates the name with their activity thus they are entitled to use the name in the future without any restrictions”.

(Translated and edited from Hungary Today & Origo)

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Ruby Smith born 24 August 1903

Ruby Smith (August 24, 1903 – March 24, 1977) was an American classic female blues singer. She was a niece, by marriage, of the better-known Bessie Smith, who discouraged Ruby from pursuing a recording career. Nevertheless, following Bessie's death in 1937, Ruby recorded on various labels between 1938 and 1947. She was also known for her candid observations on her own and Bessie's lifestyle.

She was born Ruby Walker in New York City. She met Bessie Smith, her aunt (by marriage), in Philadelphia. After Bessie's debut recording, in February 1923, Ruby joined her on tour in 1924. Ruby assisted off-stage with costume changes and provided entertainment during intermissions by dancing. Ruby's thoughts of a career as a singer were initially thwarted in 1926 at Bessie's insistence, but they continued travelling together on tour. In Atlanta, Georgia, Ruby spent a night in jail after being caught bringing moonshine for her aunt to consume.   

Bessie & Ruby with the Dancing Sheiks 1924

In 1927, Ruby was part of the female entourage led by Bessie to the "buffet flats" in Detroit, Michigan. These were speakeasies that specialized in live sex shows. Later Jack Gee, who was married to Bessie at the time, once implored Ruby to take the musical stage after her aunt had walked out in Indianapolis, Indiana. However, the deception did not last long, and in the event Bessie died in 1937. 

Shortly afterwards, Ruby adopted the stage name Ruby Smith, and less than a year later she recorded six tracks, including a cover version of Bessie's "Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair Blues". At the same session she recorded her version of "Draggin' My Heart Around", by Alex Hill.


In March 1939, Smith recorded, under the musical direction of James P. Johnson, "He's Mine, All Mine" and "Backwater Blues" (the latter written by Bessie Smith and Johnson). In December 1941, backed by an ensemble led by Sammy Price, she recorded two more tracks, "Why Don't You Love Me Anymore?" and her own song "Harlem Gin Blues". Her final recording sessions took
place in August 1946 and January 1947 when she recorded a total of eight titles with ex-Fats Waller sax and clarinet man Gene "Honeybear" Sedric, still channelling the Bessie Smith sound at times, but also lightening up and singing "cool" like Una Mae Carlisle, or grooving out and sounding like Billie Holiday would ten years later. 

Ruby's internet trail goes cold in the 50's and 60's until 1971 when she recorded an interview as Ruby Walker with Chris Albertson in which she describes fourteen years on the road with Bessie Smith. After getting paid for the interview, she used the money to fulfill a dream and move to California.

Smith died on March 24, 1977, in Anaheim, California, at the age of 73. (Edited mainly from Wikipedia)

Friday, 23 August 2019

Tex Williams born 23 August 1917

Sollie Paul Williams (August 23, 1917 – October 11, 1985), known professionally as Tex Williams, was an American Western swing musician from Ramsey, Illinois.

Although not nearly as well-known as figures like Bob Wills, the Maddox Brothers, and Merle Travis, Tex Williams was an important Western swing performer. Like all of the aforementioned musicians, he helped develop country music from its rural, acoustic origins to a more danceable, city-fied, and electrified form with a much wider popular appeal. At his peak in the late '40s, he also recorded some of the most enjoyable country swing of his time, distinguished by his talking-blues vocal delivery. Much of his style can be heard in the Western swing-influenced recordings of revivalists like Asleep at the Wheel, Commander Cody, and Dan Hicks. 

The singer and guitarist caught his first big break after moving to Los Angeles in 1942. At that time California was populated by many former Texans and Oklahomans working in the defense industry, creating a need for Western swing entertainment in a region not noted for country music. One of the musicians on this circuit was fiddler Spade Cooley, who employed Sollie Williams as his singer, nicknaming him "Tex" to ensure easy identification by the many Texans in their audiences. Several of Cooley's mid-'40s Columbia singles featured Tex on vocals. 

Capitol offered a contract to Williams as a solo artist, which strained the relationship between Tex and the tempestuous Cooley to the breaking point. Cooley fired Williams in June 1946, a move which backfired badly, as most of Cooley's band opted to follow Tex rather than remain with their difficult boss. Cooley achieved his greatest subsequent notoriety when he was convicted of beating his wife to death in a drunken fit in 1961. 

Tex's renamed backing band, the Western Caravan, was one of the best units of its kind. Numbering about a dozen members, it attained an enviable level of fluid interplay between electric and steel guitars, fiddles, bass, accordion, trumpet, and other instruments (even occasional harp). At first they recorded polkas for Capitol, with limited success. They found their true calling when Williams' friend Merle Travis wrote most of "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)" for him;  emphasizing Tex's talking-blues delivery and heavier boogie elements. The song was a monstrous commercial success in 1947, and indeed one of the biggest country hits of all time, making number one on the pop charts. 


That set the model for several of Williams' subsequent hits: hot Western swing backup, over which Tex would roll his deep, laconic, easygoing narratives of humorous, slightly ridiculous situations. As enjoyable as these were, they were just one facet of the Western Caravan's talents. The outfit was also capable of generating quite a heat on boogie instrumentals and more straightforward vocal numbers in which Williams actually sang rather than spoke. 

Williams, along with his band, the Western Caravan, appeared in the following films: Tex Williams and His Western Caravan (1947). Tex Williams & Orchestra in Western Whoopee (1948). Tex Williams' Western Varieties (1951). 

Williams' commercial success began to peter out in the early '50s, and he left Capitol in 1951. He continued to record often in the 1950s, mostly for Decca, without much success; in 1957, the Western Caravan disbanded. He pressed on, however, returning to Capitol in the early '60s, and recording a live album that included Glen Campbell on guitar. He had one final country hit, the memorably titled "The Night Miss Ann's Hotel for Single Girls Burned Down," which entered the Top 40 in 1971.

Although his performing career slowed in the 1960s and 1970s, Williams remained active in the country music community, becoming the first president of the Academy of Country and Western Music.

In 1983, Williams' name was added to the Newhall Western Walk of Fame, which is dedicated to actors who made Old West movies in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Tex with a neighbours daughter  August 1984
Tex's constant smoke, smoke, smoke of cigarettes finally caught up with him, and he died of lung and pancreatic cancer on October 11, 1985 at his home in Newhall, California.

(Info mainly edited from AllMusic)