Tag Archives: Texas Musicians

Today in Texas History – May 9

Women in Jazz Tribute to Damita Jo DeBlanc

From the Annals of the Chanteuses –  In 1967, Austin celebrated “Damito Jo Day.”  Damita Jo DeBlanc was born in Austin in 1930 but was raised mostly in Santa Barbara.  In 1949, LA Deejay Joe Adams began to promote her career getting her gigs at Club Oasis and other LA clubs. Adams later signed her to Discovery Records but she found little success as a solo artist and spent much of the 1950’s with R&B group Steve Gibson & the Red Caps.  She married Gibson but later divorced him as their marriage collapsed and the band’s fortunes waned.  Her solo breakthrough came with the R&B smash hit “I’ll Save the Last Dance for You” in 1960 (an answer to “Save the Last Dance for Me” and 1961’s “I’ll Be There” (an answer to “Stand by Me”).  DJ worked with a number of performers including Ray Charles, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton.  In 1984, she retired from R&B and devoted the remainder of her career to modern Gospel music.



Today in Texas History

Roy Orbison Vernon

From the Annals of Rock & Roll – In 1936, Roy Orbison was born at Christ the King Hospital in Vernon.  His family moved to Fort Worth and later Odessa and Wink where he spent much of his childhood.  Orbison got his first guitar as a gift from his father at age 6 and by age 7 Orbison was a dedicated musician.  RO began singing and in a rockabilly band – the Wink Westerners – in high school and met Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash when they played in Odessa.  Orbison attended North Texas State in Denton to study geology in case music did not work out.  After seeing fellow student Pat Boone make a success, Orbison became convinced he could make it as a musician.  Ultimately, Orbison was signed by Sam Phillips of Sun Records but he did not flourish at that studio.  His real success came after leaving Sun and signing with Monument Records. From 1960 to 1966, twenty-two of his singles reached the Billboard Top 40 including No. 1 hits “Running Scared” and “Oh, Pretty Woman.”