About Texas Southside Kings
All the time Bubba was growing up in Gonzales, TX, he was around music. His Dad played guitar and his Mom played violin. “My cousin is Big Walter and my first cousin is O.S. Grant who I started my first band with called the ‘Down Beats.’” We recorded in the late 50’s on the Sarg label and with the help of DJ Tony Vaughn we were touring all over Texas. In the 60’s, Bubba stayed in Austin and started playing with Blues Boy Hubbard and the Jets, also playing with T.D. Bell and from 66 to 67 playing with James Poke. During this time Bubba liked listening to local guys like L.P. Person, A.J. Manor and the drummer Yul Dewitt. From 68 to 88 Bubba did not play. For the past 5 yearshe has been a minister and you can see him play at the Harris Chapel in Nixon on the first and third Sundays of each month.
Being a singer/songwriter drummer from Austin, he played with all the blues guys, like T.D. Bell, Major Burks, Blues Boy Hubbard and the East Side Kings. Willie said, “I played with everybody. They been here, I worked with them.” He also played for 3 or 4 years in San Antonio with his friend Spot in Ponte Guitar’s band. Ponte had his own band after playing with Walter “Thunderbird” Price in the 60’s. Willie also went to Europe with Willie Foster. Now you can see him working with the East Side Kings. Willie holds some of the only sticks that can play a Texas shuffle.
Jr. Moore (Bowlegged Sam)
Mother played piano in church and Dad played banjo and mandolin. Since the age of 7 Jr. always wanted to play guitar. He even made his own guitar out of screen wire and a cigar box. Jr. is the only son and he has 6 sisters who had their own gospel group called the Moore Sisters. At first, Jr. started playing guitar for Jesse Polk out of Victoria, TX. In the early 50’s, he started playing with Big Walter Price and recorded many songs including “Pack Fair & Square.” Also playing with Jr. was his friend Spot Barnett. In 1954, Big Walter left the band and Spot and Jr. just picked up Danny White to play organ and just kept playing under the name Jr. Moore and the Bopsters. They played all over South Texas. He played a lot in San Antonio clubs such as the Ebony Lounge and the Eastwood Country Club. Jr. never did big tours. He stayed at home, drove a truck and raised his kids. Nowadays he still plays around a bit with his friend, Spot, and sometimes with his niece, Beverly Houston. You can see him the first and third Sundays at Harris Chapel United Methodist Church in Nixon, TX.
Doug Sahm called him the King of the Eastside of San Antonio. Vernon “Spot” Barnett was born in San Marcos and moved to San Antonio in 1940. At the age of nine, he got his first sax from Sears. Spot got his start playing blues with Jr. Moore and Big Walter Price. From 1954 to 63 he was working in the house band at the Ebony Lounge. In 1976, he hit the road off and on with Bobby Bland for about 10 years. Spot recorded with Jr. Moore, Big Walter Price, Bobby Bland, Ike and Tina Turner, and the Westside Horns to name a few. But back in the 50’s and 60’s he also recorded his own songs such as “The Ebony Shuffle,” “Pony Race,” “Sweetmeat,” “Betty Jo,” and “20th Century.” “On this CD are the guys I hit my first note with and I cannot think of a better group of musicians to have started with.” You can still see Spot play on the River Walk at Delores Del Rio, Landry’s on the River, Tucker’s Kozy Korner on the East Side and on Sundays, Childress Memorial Church of God in Christ.
Big Walter “The Thunderbird” Price
“I am just a country boy from Gonzalez, Texas.” Around 1954, Big Walter first started playing barrelhouse boogies and jive-talking blues. Jr. Moore and Spot were right along his side for the original Thunderbirds. Around 56 he followed the lead of his former San Antonio roommate, “Gatemouth” Brown, and moved to Houston. Big Walter recorded for T-N-T records, Peacock, and Goldband with hit songs such as “Shirley Jean,” “Get to Getting,” “If Blues was Money,” “Jr. Jump In,” to name a few. It’s no doubt the Big Walter’s type of jump blues helped define modern blues and early R&B. His type of piano playing helped influence the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley. He worked alongside many legends like Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Albert Collins. Big Walter would like to thank God for giving him the opportunity to play with the guys he started with. Big Walter “The Thunderbird” Price is a true legend of Texas music.
Leo Morris and Oscar O’Bear
Leo started out singing gospel with his sister in church. He moved to Houston from Louisiana in 1953, learned guitar, and started playing with Peppermint Harris, Earl Forest and Big Walter Price. He recorded a couple of sides for the Ivory label, and even though his recordings were every bit as good at the music coming out at the time, he never received much recognition. Leo has always played in all black bands in Houston for black owned clubs and in parts of town that remain inaccessible to a diverse audience. Oscar said, “Leo was the first guitar player I saw and gve me inspiration to be a guitar player.” Oscar played in Houston’s Third Ward from 1955-60 and then moved to New Orleans for 9 years playing in a band called Moroccos. Moving back to Houston in 1969, he started playing in a band called The Americans. He also worked in various other bands, including with Big Roger Collins, as well as fronting his own band. You can catch Oscar and Leo at clubs in Houston like the Silver Slipper, Mr. Gino’s and in Sunnyside at the Ponderosa Club.