Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ballz Calhoon -- Songwriter

Randy Miller was drummer and singer for about five years with the Mighty Calhoon Brothers of Las Cruces in the late 70s. He was probably the hippest of the bros and was always coming up with great songs by relatively unknown Texas songwriters like Guy Clark, Willis Alan Ramsey and Townes Van Zant. Luckily they were all pretty simple ones because the Calhoons never rehearsed; they just threw songs together on the bandstand. If one of the three (Fender Tucker and Mark Coker on guitar and bass, and Randy on drums) knew the words and melody of a song, we'd try it. I have about 400 of our songs recorded at the Las Cruces Inn but I sure wish I had more.

Randy recently had an aneurysm in his brain and he's in the hospital in Lubbock TX and thanks to his wife, Felisha, and her blog, I've been keeping up with his progress. Randy's not able to respond verbally at this time but he's having a shunt operation soon and it's hoped he will recover. Felisha reports he's been listening to some old Calhoon Brothers music on a boom box.

Randy wrote some songs back in the day -- and maybe many more in recent years that I've never heard? -- and one day back in the 80s sent me a recording of a song he'd written called "Equal Partners". There was a song contest of some sort going on and I entered "Equal Partners" for Randy and something else by me. We didn't win, but then we never wrote, or played all that much, the kinds of songs that win contests. We liked little, unassuming songs, with melodies that ordinary people could sing.

In the early 90s, when Randy was living around the Portales (Clovis?) area I recorded all the songs I wrote on a 4-track Yamaha tape deck and while I was at it, I included Randy's song. My interpretation is a little different from Randy's because I had 4 tracks to work with and lots of reverb. I think the words and melody of this song are top-notch C&W.

By the way, I was known as Knees Calhoon; Mark was Thyroid Calhoon, and Randy was Ballz Calhoon. I've heard that this was a homage to noted French writer, Honore de Balzac, but this could be wrong.


Bill Crider said...

Great song. I don't see why it didn't win. My best to Randy for a quick and complete recovery.

Randy Johnson said...

Good song! My best to a fellow Randy for a swift recovery.