The idea to make this CD really started in the middle 1980s when a bunch of us with Texas roots found ourselves living on the Lower East Side and making twangy music in New York City.
In those days, Tommy Tune had recently plopped “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” on Broadway, and the unavoidable Hollywood fallout from John Travolta’s “Urban Cowboy” meant that fake—but dangerous—bucking bulls were living in what were formerly Irish bars all over town. (I almost broke my neck on one.)
The Lone Star Cafe was our hangout, and I saw Ernest Tubb there. It sat karmically right where it was always supposed to be at the corner of 13th Street and Fifth Avenue, not too far from Washington Square Park. Commander Cody, Asleep at the Wheel, Delbert McClinton, Flaco and the cajun crowd were all booked there.
Jim Lauderdale, Shawn Colvin, Buddy Miller, Johnny Jake, Larry Campbell, Lynn Frazier, Tony Garnier, Josh Dubin, John Leventhal, John Scholle and a big handful of other great country singers and musicians lived “in town.” They filled up a lot of tipsy New York nights with the kind of crazy music that made us feel like we were back home, back home in Texas. I wish I could remember those nights a little more clearly.
“Our NY-Texas thang” was a legit and bustling country music scene, but it was also more than that because all of these musicians played swing, too. They played jazz. Actual jazz.
Floyd Domino was always a serene and warmly grinning central character, seemingly everywhere, playing in “Whorehouse” and The Floyd Domino Experience, playing with just about everybody, making whatever music he touched just a little better.
And Maryann Price was a truly bright light on the nights when she showed up, which was pretty often. We all admired the strength of her musical accomplishments with Dan Hicks, The Wheel, with Chris O’Connell and—this is still hard to believe—The Kinks! Who else gets to join The Kinks?
I really enjoyed working in the studio in those days, being a “NYC country music enabler” just blocks from CBGB’s, but the pleasure of watching these gifted players when they started playing jazz in the middle of a George Jones cover tune, that whiff of mystery stuck with me. There was a lot going on, just below the surface.
And that was my idea for this CD. I wanted it to be our chance to make a document that puts the jazz UPFRONT and honors all those nights in NYC back in the day. Listen, my friends, and you will hear Floyd and Maryann do a slice of their thing with their usual sense of grace and whimsy. And magic.
Joining Floyd and Maryann are three players who were also in those NYC country bands back in the day, the very men who helped light the fires in the honky tonks in New York—and New Jersey.
Gary Bristol and Michael Holleman were a deadly rhythm section then, and they still are now. Michael was one of the original members of The Lost Gonzo Band before he moved to NYC to land the “Whorehouse” gig. Gary took a detour from Fort Worth to LA to play for awhile with Warren Ham before he moved on to New York to play thousands of nights on Broadway, plus some side trips with Pete Townsend and Elton John.
Kenny Kosek was a prime mover over at the always-packed Eagle Tavern where bluegrass, Irish and other acoustic music (and often madness) was the main dish. If you could get in on a good night, you might see Kenny with bandmates like Tony Trishchka and David Bromberg. For five years, Kenny was in The Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band, and he has long been the first call fiddler in a lot of New York phone books.
And thanks to Fort Worth’s own Buddy Whittington, too. It would be just plain wrong to make a record in Fort Worth without a bit of Buddy.
—Steve Satterwhite, April 7, 2014