Stories From the Road #6

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

Rick:

“I started in first grade with a kid named Dean Beard. Our birthdays were only days apart and we went all through school together. We formed our first band together in the late 40s or early 50s, a rockabilly band called “The Crew Cats.”

Dean was a great vocalist as well as a musician and loved to act up on stage. He earned the name of “The West Texas Wildman” because of his frantic stage presence and piano playing style.

Anyway, we were playing a gig out at Buffalo Gap one Saturday afternoon. This was where I got my first glimpse at how girls reacted to musicians. We played pretty straight rockabilly at that time and these teenage girls threw their underwear up on stage. I thought that was pretty neat. I was a big ol’ dumb kid and never saw anything like that before.

Dean Beard introduced me to Elvis Presley. I was working at the brickyard in Coleman and got in one Friday evening to find Dean waiting for me at my mom’s house with Elvis. Dean had picked him up at the bus station earlier in the day. I remember my mom offering Dean fifty cents to take Elvis across the street to a barber shop to get a haircut. She didn’t think he ought to go on stage looking like that with the big sideburns and long hair. Elvis played on my mom’s piano while I took a shower and got ready to go to Abilene to do a show. At that time, we were more popular than Elvis and it was no big deal to ride around with him in the car. No one knew who he was yet. Hell, we didn’t even take any pictures. That night, after the show, Elvis got sloppy drunk and Dean and I couldn’t wait to get him back on the bus to Memphis. A few days later, I heard my mom say that she didn’t see how that boy was ever going to make it in music.

Dean Beard and I split off and formed separate bands after high school. He kept the name Dean Beard and the Crew Cats and I named my band The King Cats. He stayed with the rockabilly sound and I went more traditional country. In 1958 Dean went to California along with Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts (who were part of his band) to work in the group called The Champs, who had produced the huge hit, “Tequila.” Later on that year, Dean was in a bad car wreck so he quit The Champs and came back home. We always came back around to doing shows together and worked with Slim Willet on the Big State Jamboree, but by 1970, Dean had pretty much given up on the music and suffered a lot of health problems. He died in April of 1989, only four years after I got out of prison.”

Both Rick Sikes and Dean Beard are listed as pioneers in the West Texas Music Hall of Fame

Listen to Dean Beard on YouTube

Rick Sikes The Cat
Rick Sikes and the King Cats

 

 

Rick, Dean and Band
Rick Sikes shaking Dean Beard’s hand

 

Rick and Band with Dean
Dean Beard to the left of Rick

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

 

 

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21 thoughts on “Stories From the Road #6

  1. I love this story about Elvis! To meet him before his fame with a different first impression:) More great pics and insights to the Texas music scene. Plus, reading your series now–this gives added depth as I am reading! Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jan- wonderful, wonderful blog, I love hearing these stories. Elvis?? Wow!! Wow, what an amazing memory and Rick’s Mom’s comments on his hair cut and her thoughts about him ” not knowing how he was going to make it in music!” Priceless.
    Very interesting learning about Beard and then ties to Seals & Croft. Keep them coming. Love these stories. Love you too!! 🌹⭐️😎⭐️🌹

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This would be my luck, be in the presence of one of the people that become one of the most famous musicians ever and not get a picture of them or with them! I loved your blog and I’m going to have to keep up with your writing better since your the sister of one of my favorite authors!!,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, what a great glimpse into the past. These posts are so enjoyable, Jan!
    The story about Elvis was fascinating and entertaining. I also liked learning the snippet about Seals and Crofts. I had many of their albums when they worked as a duo.
    As always, love the photos 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks, Mae. I am so glad you are enjoying the posts. I am loving sharing the stories. Seals and Crofts went on to be a great team but they got their start playing in Dean Beard’s band. 🙂 Hope you have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I get to say I was there with them and watching and learning from Rick, Bobby Sikes and Dean beard in my younger days ,they are gone now but thanks to them and these crazy true stories ,I’m still making those ,,,, stories from the road

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, John. I recently read the scene in my book Flowers and Stone where Rick (Luke) got you up on stage at London Hall to sing. You learned well, my friend. Rick was SO proud of you. Love you and thanks for stopping by to read this Story From The Road!

      Like

  7. Thank you, Jan, for sharing these poignant stories with all of us. Rick becomes real through the photos and clips of his life. In a way, we meet him — and you. What a gift!

    Liked by 1 person

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