Another Pyrrhuloxia and Hall of Fame induction


After reading this post, please see the update at bottom.

For this image, I was driving around San Angelo State Park, and I spotted the Pyrrhuloxia singing away in the top of a tree.  He appeared as a silhouette against the sky.  I propped my Canon EOS 7D with 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter on the windowsill of the car, cushioning it with a Puffin’ Pad.  Exposure was 1/1250 sec. @ f8, -0.3EV, ISO 100.  Spot metering and aperture priority.  Post editing in Photoshop CS5 aided by DeNoise and Focus Magic.

Pyrrhuloxia singing in top of tree.

In other news, you have probably read in my “About Me” page about my past career in music.  In the early 1960s I played with the Cavaliers, a band from here in San Angelo, Texas for a short period.  They recorded the famous song “Last Kiss” written by Wayne Cochran and  sang by J. Frank Wilson.  Because of another commitment, I didn’t play sax on the record as no sax part was needed in the song.  Anyway, the band, me included, have been inducted into the West Texas Music Hall of Fame. Sid Holmes, the leader, has written a book, “Rockabilly Heaven”.  It is the untold story of the Cavaliers, and also tells about the music scene of the 50s and 60s in west Texas.  It is available from Ft. Phantom Lake Publishing, 6204 S. Parkway, Ft. Worth, TX 76134.  Or contact sid-holmes@charter.net.  On page 95 there is a handsome photo of yours truly. 

I was instrumental in the hiring of J. Frank Wilson to the band.  We needed a lead vocalist and we heard about this young man that was stationed at the nearby air base, and was near the end of his enlistment.  We auditioned him.  Our drummer, our bass player, and I all thought that he couldn’t sing a lick.  However, Sid Holmes, the leader thought otherwise and the rest is history.  It turned out that with the band backing him up he could blend in easier. The record sold millions, topped the charts for many months and repeated in later years when it was re-corded by Pearl Jam in 1995.

J. Frank Wilson was a one-hit wonder.  He left the Cavaliers in 1964, deciding to go single.  He never made another hit record.  He died a pauper, a few short years ago, in south Texas, where he was working as a janitor in a nursing home.  But, the song he made famous, “Last Kiss”, a song about a girl dying in a car crash, lives on.  I am proud that I was part of the legacy.

IMPORTANT UPDATE – 3/15/2012 –  In conversation with Sid Holmes, the leader of the Cavaliers, I have found that only J. Frank Wilson was elected to the West Texas Music Hall of Fame.  That was because his name was on the record, “Last Kiss” with the Cavaliers backing him up.  However, the Cavaliers band, including me, was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.  That puts us in stellar company with Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Roy Orbison and the many others of that era.

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36 thoughts on “Another Pyrrhuloxia and Hall of Fame induction

  1. Being way too modest about the Hall thing; that’s really interesting but Ive said before you have had quite an interesting life journey with so many interests and accomplishments.
    Old enough to remember when last kiss wad played on radio about every five minutes, such a huge top 40 hit back in the day. I knew the story of the singer and it was a pretty sad ending. Also, as one who’s always been huge rock fan of old and new, I loved pearl jam’s cover of it. Big fan of Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, who has a whole album of little ukelelie songs he wrote and performs that are wonderful. It sort of freaked out his more hard rock fans but I like the young whippersnapper all the more for it, lol!

    • Hey, Mia, I won’t tell. You are only as old as you feel, and the way you crawl around in the weeds and the water, you’re probably in great shape, and probably feeling as young as I feel. 🙂

  2. Bob, Never heard of (or saw) a Pyrrhuloxia before your blog posts. Stunning! I wonder if they get as far as San Antonio? Congrats on your induction into the West Texas Music Hall of Fame! Cheers, Denise

    • According to the range maps, it would be borderline for any to get to your area, but who knows, one may surprise you one day. Thanks for the comments, Denise. 🙂

  3. Superb shot Bob!! And your music legacy is awesome, congrats on the induction and thanks so much for sharing. I know the song, but had no idea it wasn’t a Pearl Jam original. Learn something new every day!

    • Thank you very much, Donna. It’s hard to believe that it has been 48 years since J. Frank recorded that. You can hear the original by checking Bruce Stambaugh’s comment to this post. He has a UTube link there. It sure brought back memories listening to that.

  4. The pic has a lovely Japanese feel to it – really simple and elegant. That’s an interesting snippet about your pop career, Bob. I’ve always wished I could play sax because it always looks so cool!

  5. Good Morning..it was sing-a-long time at breakfast this morning..the utube was great and what an interesting story behind the song. Love the bird..perfect shot for the music. Kudos to you

  6. Wow, congrats on your legacy.

    I know, all too well, these types of beginnings – and sad endings.

    Glad I got out – when I did.

    The profile of that bird reminds me of something. Not sure what. Some actor during the sixties.

    Hmm.

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