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Author Topic:  Tommy Alsup
Larry King

Watts, Oklahoma, USA
Post Posted 11 Jan 2017 3:29 pm     Reply with quote

Facebook announced that Tommy has passed . Sorry to get this news
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Billy Easton

Nashville, TN USA
Post Posted 11 Jan 2017 5:35 pm     Reply with quote

So sorry...Tommy was a super player and a gentleman. The heavenly band gets better and better.
Billy & Meriul Easton
Nashville, TN
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john buffington

Owasso OK - USA
Post Posted 11 Jan 2017 7:42 pm     Reply with quote

Deepest sympathies to the Alsup families. Last time I got to play Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, he and the Texas Playboys were there and we opened for them. Super nice guy!
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Mitch Drumm

Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 11 Jan 2017 7:49 pm     Reply with quote

He had an amazing career spanning over 60 years. Here's a few old pix, dating back to 1952.

Can anyone ID the steeler in the first picture?

Chuck Caldwell in the second, despite the caption.

Bob White in the third.

Fifth pic taken a few hours before Buddy Holly was killed.

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Steve Green

Gulfport, MS, USA
Post Posted 12 Jan 2017 11:26 am     Reply with quote
Some songs I've written
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Jerry Hayes

Virginia Beach, Va.
Post Posted 13 Jan 2017 8:57 am     Reply with quote

Looks like a young Waylon Jennings on bass in those last two pictures with Buddy Holley... RIP Tommy, an excellent picker for sure.......JH in Va.
Don't matter who's in Austin (or anywhere else) Ralph Mooney is still the king!!!
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Tom Middleton

Austin, Texas, USA
Post Posted 13 Jan 2017 6:31 pm     Reply with quote

I was fortunate to see Tommy Allsup and the great Tom Morrell play together on numerous occasions at cowboy poetry and music gatherings in Elko, NV and Riudoso, NM. My favorite inspirations were when Morrell would leave the steel and play twin guitar with Allsup, brilliant playing by both of these giants. Both were extremely nice gentlemen and always approchable.
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Herb Steiner

Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 14 Jan 2017 1:03 am     Reply with quote

Great photos! Thanks, Mitch. Tommy was a good friend of mine, going back to 1970, and we did a bunch of gigs together over the last four decades.

In the Southernairs photo, from the famous Southern Club in Lawton OK, the only surviving member is Louise Rowe. Louie Tierney is on far right holding the sax and Chuck Caldwell is on the far left.

In the third photo, the trumpet player on the left is Bob Wommack, and the sax player is Glenn Rhees. I worked with both those players when I was with the Alvin Crow band 1974-1979. They were great musicians and fun guys to hang out with and were very happy and willing to share stories of the old days with young western swing players coming up in the 1970s. Bob was working at the Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas and Glenn Rhees was in Tulsa at Cain's during that period of time.

I'm gonna contact Louise and ask her to identify some of the others in the photos if possible.
Herb's Steel Guitar Pages
Texas Steel Guitar Association
Allison String Instruments
My rig: Infinity and Telonics.

Son, we live in a world with walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with steel guitars. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg?
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Mitch Drumm

Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 14 Jan 2017 1:56 am     Reply with quote

Herb: is that Bob Wommack in the first pic, middle of the front row. Holding a trombone?

The only other guy I can ID in those photos is Bob Heppler---second from the right in the first pic--next to Tommy. That pic is supposed to be from 1952. That steel player looks highly familiar, but I'm stumped for the time being.

Now that I reconsider, I'm pretty sure that's either Morey Amsterdam or Jimmy Dickens' older brother in the middle of the back row in that first pic.

Heppler played piano and also spent time in Blackie Crawford's Western Cherokees band at the same time as Bobby Black--maybe mid-1953 into 1954? Bobby told me that Heppler was also the bus driver in that band.

The Tierney brothers were exceptional--Mancel is my fave western swing piano player and I think Louie doubled on fiddle and sax.

I saw Glen Rhees at one of the Sacramento Western Swing shindigs, probably around 1990. He was deeply into Parkinson's disease at the time. It was heartbreaking to see. I cannot remember if he played that day, but I do recall him stepping down from the bandstand--perhaps only from an introduction.

The Southern Club had quite the pedigree. I'd like to have been a fly on the wall there on June 23, 1955. My all time hero with Scotty and Bill, plus Joe Carson and Leon to boot:

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Mitch Drumm

Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 14 Jan 2017 3:23 am     Reply with quote

I have identified those in the first pic at the top of this thread, left to right:

Benny Wallace, Bill Roy (steel), Bobby Joe Stewart, Bob Wommack, Bob Heppler, Tommy.

And located some others:

First pic below is Tommy, Bob White, Glen Rhees, Dutch Ingram, Bob Wommack, and Donnie McDaniels.

Second pic is a better version of one posted earlier in this thread. Same personnel in different order.

White and McDaniels went on to Hank Thompson's band. Dutch Ingram joined The Miller Brothers in Wichita Falls.

Apparently, The Southernaires was originally Glen Rhees' band. Tommy took it over in 1953 after Glen went to Wills. Tommy then brought in "Little" Joe Carson as a vocalist at 16 years of age.

If only someone would cough up some recordings of this band in those years!! As far as I know, nothing was ever released on disc, but who knows what someone may have taped, either at the Southern Club or over the radio?

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Alan Brookes

Brummy living in the San Francisco Bay Area
Post Posted 25 Feb 2017 10:17 am     Reply with quote

The Crickets were my first idols. One of my first albums was "The Chirping Crickets." It seems so long ago now.
Rest in Peace, Tommy.
If the angels offer you a harp tell them you'd rather jam with Buddy and Waylon again. Winking

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