Music is a great unifying force. In this case bringing young and old, new and classic, Anglo and Tejano music, Aggies and some grateful bystanders, together for an evening rich with the sounds of Aggieland.
The Yell Leaders of the Aggies at Texas A & M know all about yelling. But they also know how to put on one Yell of a show!
Below are some highlights of Friday night's entertainment which preceded the annual "Yell Practice" at Kyle Field... This was a fabulous show, a blend of that eternal Aggie Spirit, and deep traditions, and some performances that will live forever...
Fellow Aggie and former A&M Corp officer Max Stallings kicked things off with his easy Texas lyrics and homegrown charm.
The State's Monster Aggie, Roger Creager, blew out some earphones no doubt as he gave the Aggies his romping best. Here is how those Fightin', Dancin' Texas Aggies responded...
Creager even brought his dad into the act as they sang El Rancho Grande. It was a hoot. Or a whoop, or something like that. He explained he was about to leave Texas for awhile and tour in the west and needed to get a dose of Texas Aggie love to last him for awhile... And he got it, not to mention a standing ovation.
THEN, Gary P. Nunn, Joe Ely and Johnny Bush made a rare combined performance, sharing the stage and the "house band" ( a combination of each of their bands) as they played some favorites. Nunn gave us what we all wanted when he sang The London Homesick Blues, first sung with Jerry Jeff Walker here in College Station many years ago.... ( I want to go home with the armadillo...) The transplanted Oklahoman did his own version of his song Willie Nelson made famous, The last Thing I Needed, and he also sang his classic, What I Like About Texas, which started out as a Lone Star Beer commercial... "You ask me what I like about Texas..." he sings as he points into the crowd.
Yeah, Gary, it's the people... and especially the Aggies!
Johnny Bush thrilled the hard core dancers as he stepped up to the mic. He is approaching eighty but still has that beautiful voice. And it still makes Texan's SWING! He bragged that he did not have to use glasses. He said he just drinks straight out of the bottle. He gave us Whiskey River and There Stands the Glass... AS FRESH AS THE ORIGINAL RECORDINGS- and suddenly we all had separate out-of-body experiences to wherever we were when we heard those songs the first time. But we all came back before the show was over...
Bush can still compete with his voice of fifty years ago... But he's probably more charming now. "I've been divorced so many times UHAUL rental company sends me a Christmas card!"
Joe Ely renders I'm Gonna Live Forever.
The most special treat of the night may have been the appearance of Joe Ely. Yes, he's still around and as these pictures attest, stronger than ever. Joe rocked the Yell with an Aggie standard, The Road Goes On Forever, and did his version of Billy Joe Shaver's "I'm Gonna Live Forever." Yes Joe, in a way you will, through your hearty music. And the connection you made to everybody who was there, and that spirit in the Reed Arena... it will last forever too.
But Ely is only beginning to unfold his "forever" connections...
Of special interest is the film documentary Joe is producing about Brazos Valley legend, "Stubbs" Stubblefield, who has become a famous barbecue icon... Stubblefield was born in Navasota, and became a major music patron in west Texas. I was able to capture a brief explanation of Ely's inspiration for this long overdue documentary... We look forward to the completion of this worthy project.
MEANWHILE, PUT FIRST YELL ON YOUR BUCKET LIST!