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Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends of West Texas Music
by Christopher Oglesby
Published by the University of Texas Press:

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"Indeed, Oglesby's introduction of more than two dozen musicians who called Lubbock home should be required reading not only for music fans, but for Lubbock residents and anyone thinking about moving here. On these pages, music becomes a part of Lubbock's living history."
- William Kerns, Lubbock Avalanche Journal


"You Can’t Win ‘Em All"
1954: Lubbock High Senior George Nelson
Defeats Junior Buddy Holley in Songwriting Contest

(as told to Chris Oglesby by John Nelson at La Cabaña Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA; 3/25/00)

John Nelson treated me to dinner at his favorite Mexican food place in Los Angeles. Over dinner, John offered to recant the following tale. - Chris Oglesby

John: Okay…Lubbock High as this carnival every year: "Lavinrac Renretsew", this carnival during "Round-Up Week" every year. "Round-up Week," in the old days -- or in the ‘50's -- was essentially the same as it is now; There was a week’s worth of activities. One of the activities then -- much like when we were there and had "The Battle of the Bands" -- was that all the "songwriter" guys in high school would write a song, and then on Friday, the last day of the "Round-Up Week," they would have an assembly. These guys wrote their songs and would get up on stage and perform their songs.

So in ‘54, when my dad was a Senior, he had bought himself a Gibson guitar-- which I still have -- and wrote his song. At the end of the carnival week, he got up and performed his song; Everybody else performed their songs. And Dad won.

The cool thing was that Buddy Holly, who was a Junior that year, wrote a song with one of his buddies, and performed it…And my Old Man won!

Dad gave me that guitar for college graduation.

Chris: You don’t know the song that Buddy Holly wrote? [Laughs]

John: No, as a matter of fact, it was before Buddy came up with his unique style. It was mainly a Country kinda’ song. It would have been great to say he beat "Peggy Sue" or somethin’! [Laughs] But that’s not the deal.

But I do have a newspaper article in which it says: "George Nelson performed his award winning song." But it doesn’t even sayanything about Buddy Holly. Because, Buddy Holley…Who was he? In ‘54? Except a year away from bein’ a graduate? But they had sang in the choir together, Dad and Buddy.

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