It’s always a warm feeling when you see big touring buses roll through town. However, most of the time that is what they do, just roll through town. If you were anywhere near the Red Rooster, and you didn’t know about the two special ‘fellers’ comin’ to town, or you didn’t know about the ‘Bud and Sissy’ contest at the Red Rooster, my question to you is, “where have you been?” Check in once in a while. That pasture can take care of itself!
That’s right two of country music’s biggest superstars just graced the Red Rooster Icehouse stage Friday night. Fans got to have “amazing brisket tacos, fried pickles, cowboy bites, and hang out with Johnny Lee, and Mickey Gilley,” said an excited Lindsay Wilson. “It was a great time, my husband and I both got to hang out with them when they were not on stage.”
Johnny Lee was a young musician when he formed his band Johnny Lee and the Roadrunners back in Texas City, Texas in high school. After joining the US Navy, and serving on a guided missile cruiser, he later played in cover bands in bars in the 1960s. Early on Johnny Lee’s career, you may remember his success with recording a Ricky Nelson hit “Garden Party”. Johnny Lee later worked at with Mickey Gilley at Gilley’s for 10 years. It was in 1980 that Johnny recorded the hit, “Looking for Love” for the Urban Cowboy soundtrack Song written by, Wanda Mallette, Bob Morrison, and Patti Ryan, a song rejected by more than 20 other artists. As remembered by those who were on the Urban Cowboy scene, “‘Looking for Love’ was a song you could ‘Two-Step’ to, and a song you would hear in the highest and the lowest of honky-tonks across Texas, and most of the US during the early 1980s.” It was a time of hatpins, feathers hat bands and western fashion for the so-called ‘urban cowboys,’ many of whom were from the city, but dressed and acted like they lived in the country.
Mickey Gilley is not only know as a great country music artist, but also as the owner of Gilley’s, the best honky-tonk in Texas. Gilley was destined for fame at an early age. Few know that Jerry Lee Lewis was Mickey’s cousin, and even fewer realize another cousin was Jimmy Swaggart. As these boys played together, Jerry Lee Lewis taught them his signature piano, boogie-woogie style. This is what set the stage for early rock and roll and country pop. By the mid 1970s, a new type of rock and roll/pop/country music emerged as groups like The Eagles, Lynard Skynard, leaned more rock and roll, other groups like Barbara Mandrell, Kenny Rogers, Crystal Gale, Olivia Newton John leaned more country/pop. In the 1970s these bands all enjoyed cross-over airplay, you could hear all these groups on one radio station.
Living here in East Texas is an adjustment for a city-slicker, but no matter where you are in the music industry, there is a constant reminder that big names come from who you know. Brandon Baker has been at this a while, and it has been his dream for the Red Rooster Icehouse a major draw to his hometown. Hat’s off and a salute! Lets face it. Living here in the country, we don’t always have the gas money nor the time to pop into Gilley’s. But just keep hanging around here in East Texas while the music scene begins to thrive!
Thanks to those who love and support live music. Thank you Red Rooster, and Brandon Baker for a great event for Hawkins. The food was awesome, and the music was right!
Pictured below Lindsay Wilson with Mickey Gilley, and Johnny Lee at Hawkins own, Red Rooster Icehouse!