Clyde Langford’s Texas Childhood
inArtist Storyon February 16, 2016
In 1999 I was sent a newspaper clipping from Texas about a music writer’s chance meeting with Texas bluesman Clyde Langford. Clyde lived in Midway, TX, a small town between Dallas and Austin. I recognized it as the very same town where the legendary blues artist Lightin’ Hopkins was born and raised. I called information, got Clyde’s telephone number and called him up. He spoke in a wonderfully rich Texas dialect and was just the sweetest person. When I asked him to play a song through the phone, I about jumped out of my chair! A donor had just sent Music Maker a 1963 Fender Stratocaster – an extremely collectible guitar – along with a note to make sure if found a good home. I knew at that moment where it was going, and the next day I shipped it off to Clyde.
A few months later, I flew out to visit Clyde with my camera and recording gear. He lived in a very tiny tiny town in a very simple small home. In a two days we recorded 60 songs and he told me of how he grew up. His family were farm workers and money was always tight, and even if they had some simple commodities were not available to them, as African Americans they were not given equal access to society in any sense. In this story Clyde tells even buying lean bacon from the commissary was taboo…
Part of Music Maker’s mission is to listen to artist’s stories. Documenting them, we can impact future generations. I was reminded of this story by one of our younger staff members who heard it while listening through our archives. It affected him, and he immediately told me we had to share it; we must highlight these stories to ensure we will not go backwards.