Bill Neely | Austin's Original Singer-Songwriter

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Country: Country Blues Country: Country Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Austin's Original Singer-Songwriter

by Bill Neely

Referred to as the father of Austin music, Neely's country-folk and folk-blues paved the way for a new generation of singer-songwriters. These rare recordings range from 1965-1985.
Genre: Country: Country Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Down in Ol' Caroline
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2:47 album only
2. Blackland Farm
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4:39 album only
3. Cryin' the Blues Over You
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2:55 album only
4. Ella Speed
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2:28 album only
5. Rock 'n' Roll Baby
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3:08 album only
6. Hobo Bill's Last Ride
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4:26 album only
7. Texas Map Song
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2:52 album only
8. Skid Row
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3:53 album only
9. Means to An End
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3:13 album only
10. Austin Breakdown
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1:59 album only
11. Blues On Ellum
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4:49 album only
12. Satan's Burning Hell
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3:04 album only
13. Gamblin' Blackie
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3:09 album only
14. I Don't Love Nobody
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1:36 album only
15. Wagon Yard
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2:02 album only
16. Law and Justice
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4:29 album only


Album Notes
Bill Neely: Storied Country & Blues Singer Pioneered the Austin Singer-Songwriter Tradition

Previously Unavailable Recordings from 1965-1985

Austin, TX: Often referred to as Austin's first singer-songwriter, Bill Neely blessed Austin's club and festival stages between 1949 and his death in 1990, bridging the gap between the origins of American country blues and the modern Texas singer/songwriter tradition. Sixteen previously unavailable Neely recordings are included in this CD from Lost Art Records.

The CD captures Neely's best compositions including, Crying the Blues Over You, Blues on Ellum, Satan's Burning Hell, and the autobiographical Blackland Farm, in which Neely recalls his 1930 encounter with Jimmie Rodgers, his biggest musical influence. The CD also includes Rock 'n' Roll Baby, a tune Neely says he penned in 1941, leading to his claim of having "started rock 'n' roll." On the CD Neely covers Jimmie Rodgers' Hobo Bill's Last Ride, and Ella Speed, a song written by Texas bluesman Mance Lipscomb, a close friend and musical influence.

Born in McKinney Texas in 1916, William Tom Neely settled in Austin in 1949 after years of "hoboing" the country during the Great Depression and serving in WWII. Until his death from leukemia in 1990, Neely regularly performed an authentic brand of Texas country and country-blues music in Austin's clubs and at it's festivals, setting the stage for a burgeoning scene of notable singer-songwriters to follow.

In his early years in Austin, Neely hooked up with fellow Jimmie Rodgers admirer Kenneth Threadgill, playing often at the informal Wednesday night music sessions that included Janis Joplin and a new generation of musicians at Threadgill's restaurant on North Lamar between 1962 and 1965. A string band called the Kenneth Threadgill's Hootenanny Hoots emerged from those Wednesday night sessions that included Neely on lead guitar and vocals. Playing around Austin from the mid-1960s through the early 1970's, the band performed a variety of traditional country and folk tunes, including a number of blues and Texas-country songs written by Neely.

Neely performed as a solo artist for the last two decades of his life, playing in such colorful Austin clubs as the Alamo Lounge and Spellman's and on stages from Washington, DC, to Paris, France.

The first 12 songs on this CD were broadcast as Live Set on KUT 90.5 FM at the University of Texas, Austin on February 24, 1985. Neely is accompanied by his long-time partner, Larry Kirbo on second guitar. Also included are four songs recorded by musicologist Tary Owens on July 6, 1965. Those songs include a Neely original, two traditional country tunes, and Law & Justice, the words to which were penned by Neely's relative Ira McKee from Huntsville Prison in 1930 while awaiting execution for a crime he did not commit.

None of the sound recordings on this CD have been previously available. Neely's only commercial recording was an album entitled Blackland Farm Boy, which was released on the Arhoolie label in 1974. (Arhoolie 5014, re-released in 2001 as Texas Law and Justice on CD #496.)

For more about Bill Neely, visit


to write a review

Tim Allen

My friend Bill Neely
Was my neighbor and friend when I lived on 45th...I still have the Guild he gave me and it still has the picture of Jimmy Rogers on the headstock that he glued on there....miss him to this day....I used to drive him to his gigs after his wife wouldn't let him drive anymore...

Carol Willis

Need a way to contact who has copyright of Law and Order. Ira McKee was my GrandMothers brother.
would like to connect the family lines.Not interested in profit from recording.

Jacky Dumery

Austin's Original Singer-Songwriter
A real gem ! Met Bill when he played in Paris,
France in the 80's. A real gentleman and a top
performer. Will never forget him and his music