Baker, Bill 1987-10-08

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Bill Baker reviewed early days of Post, Texas, butchering in Slaton, Texas, and Gospel music.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Bill Baker

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: October 8, 1987

Location: Slaton, Texas

Interviewer: Richard Mason

Length: 120 minutes


Abstract

Tape 1, Side 1: Baker, Bill, Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Father died and they moved to Tennessee when 6 months old, Mother was from Tennessee (Pleasant Hill near Sparta), He was born in 1911, They moved back to Texas in 1920, His mothers ½ sister lived in west Texas, His mother, 2 older sisters and he came on train to Post, Texas, They had lived near Sparta, Tennesse at Pleasant Hill, Arrived at Post, Texas about November 15 to a “blue norther”, Met in a Model T Touring car, with side curtains, Lived outside of ?Close City at Ragtown, Next day they tried to pick cotton, Moved to Post after cotton harvest, Mother and sisters worked at the Post , Cotton Mill, He left Post in 1951 to Slaton, Texas, Sue and he married in 1941, with a few months at Slaton, Returned to Post as butcher, He was manager of Piggly Wiggly meat market later in Slaton, Post, Texas (again), They lived in south part of town by the mill, South of Main Street was “2nd class” part of town, Class distinction disappeared in later years, Many houses owned by the textile mill, C. W. Post sketch, W cattle ranch, cotton mill, Some parts in Levelland, Mill houses were all white, with 1 Chinaberry tree in front of each, Red sewer tile by each tree filled weekly with water, Drought and use of “rain-makers”, Bill Baker (again), He was Western Union messenger boy, Post main streets paved with brick about 1925, His mother was reared in Tennesse, didn’t like west Texas, He and sisters, 3 years older and 6 years older, adapted well, His mother was Lula (Welch) Baker, Her mother was Irish/Dutch, her father Irish/English, Typical “hillbilly class” people, He and daughter went back to Tennessee in 1961, Log cabins, rail fence, His aunt in Tennessee, tobacco, plows, mules, Post settlers from textile mills in Alabama, Georgia, Carolina, Textile mill (again), Initially child labor was used, He worked in bleaching department after he finished school, He worked when the change in owners occurred, Post-Tex sold to N. A. Walker Dry Goods, Mr. Cave and general manager Mr. Rogers, Walkers put in new automated bleach equipment, They went to Oklahoma to train, problems with new World War II demands, Hard to get help, he ran 2 departments, 16 hour days, He quit to butcher, but draft board demanded return, Sheets and pillowcases for soldiers, He and Sue had a baby, Oil boom in Post by 1951 and late 1940’s, He left the mill before the union came into the mill, Labor force and management, Professional labor organizers, Mill later ran handkerchiefs, Local and outside cotton used, Butchering, He started helping on Saturdays, 1949 back to Piggly Wiggly at Post, People brought carcass to town (wrapped in sheet) and sold pieces, The Packing House Market in Post had storage and racks, Farmers traded carcasses for groceries, Located on Main Street next to Dougherty Hardware, Became Red & White Grocery, Traded all over the Plains, Credit to people on weekly or monthly basis, They kept bills in a ?McCaskey, Clyde Hunley- Baker asked him how much he had lost in credit, A 3 foot x 3 foot Post Toasties crate full of bad slips, He later collected $2,000 for many old bills, Butchering was good until beef got $1/pound, Killing animals by the owner and son at farms

Tape 1, Side 2: Baker, Bill (again), They owned 3 grocery stores and a bakery, Pork was the major meat in Slaton, Beef, and later chicken both increased, His friend had heart attack right after pork meal, Competition from regional grocers, Originally D&H from Lubbock, later Piggly Wiggly, They gave no credit, cash only, Selling hides, hoofs, brains, kidneys, etc., Each week, killing about 5-6 hogs, 2 calves, Packing house beef came in later, Now less marbelized beef, Health Inspections, None at Post, 1st in Slaton in 1955, State inspectors, checked on preservatives, Music Skills, His mother’s brothers sang, He went to his 1st singing school in Post at about 12 years old, Teacher was Ben Parish who carried his own organ, Shaped-notes was taught, origins in Church of Christ, An old fellow in Lubbock (?Buster Keeton) played piano at age 8, Quartet, He was 14 years old in about 1925, Stamps Baxter, V. O. Stamps had worked for Vaughan Music Company, He sold the 1st music book about 1924, Baker attended Union Church in south Post, Methodist/Baptist/Church of Christ/Presbyterian, Singing schools at others churches, Walter Crider- bass singer, Harvey Mathis died a year ago, Church of Christ preacher, Caner? boys, Groups of boys would sing on streets at night, Baker took up the guitar, Tilman boys grandfather was Charlie D. Tilman the songwriter, Old invitation song, “Softly and Tenderly”, Tilman’s used more country music, Baker was usually only one who read music, Floyd Tilman, youngest boy, later made county records, Baker quit the bands and guitar after marriage and went gospel, Too much drinking in the bands, Started teaching music schools at night, He met his wife in 1939, married in 1941, Bands played at ballrooms, Lubbock- Pioneer Retirement, Center now, Ross Edwards, former Lubbock mayor had a band, Square dancing at private dances at ranches, He stayed away from “knock down, drag out” situations, Radio broadcasting, A station in Post at same time as KFYO started, Band with the Tilman boys, They copied after W. Daniels and Light Crust Doughboys, Saturday afternoon singers from the Plains on Post radio, Church of Christ preacher, 15-20 minute program, A 12 x 12 room for studio, Quit when Lubbock broadcast reached Post, Odis Echols in Lubbock in 1950’s, Henry Shipp, KSEL station, Harmony- male/female pitch built-in by the Lord to show perfection, Women who can read music and transpose, Singing parts and music theory, He led music at Slaton 1st Baptist and Westview Baptist, V. O. Stamps (again), He could sing bass and lead, started “off-key”, Music in schools

Tape 2, Side 1: Baker, Bill (again), Gospel music got “big” with radio in late 1920’s, KRLD in Dallas tied in with Stamps, Odis Echols (again), Station in Clovis, He, V. O. and Frank Stamps competed for national show, Echols station at Hot Springs, Arkansas got a national show, Tied in with Nashville Music Company, Peak times in early 1950’s, Decline caused by changing tastes and TV, His 2 children quit going to singings, Slaton Quartet in early 1950’s for funerals, Many lost wages to sing for free, Rest are dead- Bill Moseley- bass, Luther Rudd- lead, Dorsey Gentry- high tenor, Baker was baritone, Luther Rudd taught singing schools, One lady sang with them, 13 years on a Slaton radio program, O. D. Kinney had auto parts store, taped programs, Taped Friday night, edited, played Sunday at 9 AM, They recorded 2,000 ?times/?songs, Radio singers, he and Haley still living, Steve Galor and bass Mike Boyd both dead, Hub Taylor and Grady Taylor sang, That quartet became Stevenson Quartet in Lubbock, Roy on the piano, Art, or Welman, Lemon in Lubbock as bass, Havis and he also, Haley at camp meeting in Weatherford, “She” (?widow of Kinney) still has the tapes, Play them on radio once and a while still, Had machine, then to Post radio station, Problem with keeping piano players, Best was Larry, Dorsey, retired from post office, Buster Keeton, Music book companies going out of business, Old Stamps book was 13 cents, now $2.50, Singers got $25-30 per week, Baker was an independent music teacher, used Stamps books, He made a little money, enjoyed teaching young people, Singing conventions, perhaps 1st in Wise County early 1900’s, His youth in Tennessee he attended a sing every month, His uncle was popular Tennessee singer, Lubbock old Tech Gym sing with several thousand there, Stamps, Vaughan, Jeffries, Jefferson sold books at it, Seymour convention recently, general decline, Singing areas, Lubbock, Becton Baptist Church on 3rd Sunday, Old Becton church moved south of Munday, ?Gillespie Church, Brownfield, Odessa, Midland, Abilene, Amarillo, Oklahoma- one man Calvin Maddox, Sing this week at Frederick, Oklahoma, Competiton between music book companies, 1940’s- boycott of other singers, etc., Due to one fellow John F. Taylor, Last big convention in Amarillo in 1955, Singing class versus group sings, Quartets (again): ater professional quartets hurt class singing, Campbell Boys, Cloudcroft convention, Baker writes songs, but none “original”, Lots of music now is just copied

Tape 2, Side 2: Baker, Bill (again), Teaching piano playing, transposing, writing songs, Shaped-note versus round notes/lines and spaces, Popular gospel music- Elvis Presley, Brownfield golden wedding sing recently, Old standards like “When You and I Were Young, Maggie”, Singing and living in harmony would make world better, Audience responses, Gospel Music Association 2 years ago, Buster Keeton- piano, Grady Taylor, bass singer, Haley and Baker, When Baker moved to Slaton, 1st Baptist preacher against “Stamps” music, Then allowed for funerals, now used commonly, Men of Song/Men of Texas- last year at Westview Baptist Church, Baptist song leaders, used Stamps numbers, Lubbock group with Will ??????, J. R. Sides, Frontier Retirement Center on 3rd Sundays, J. D. Sumner- lowest bass singer in Guiness Records, Bakers Slaton friend sang even better, [Baker gives notes and scales demonstration on his piano], Teaching old lady on Takoha highway piano, Harmony singing theory- men flat/women sharp to harmonize, Ralls Apostolic Church- music vibration factors, Music and Garden of Eden, A at 440 frequency, etc., Singing bass, New Home Church tuning new organ with old piano, Gospel music tempo, [Baker gives demonstration on his piano], Marion Snyder of Stamps Baxter introduced up-tempo in 1920’s, Popular gospel music and Blackwood Quartet, Black spirituals versus White gospel, Negroes slur notes, whites now copy, 1st black writer was Cleaton Darius (?Derricks), There is no “west Texas” sound, Perfect style is Dorothy who plays for Campbell, Cloudcroft sing- Dorothy played, also Jo Lewis

Range Dates: 1910-1987

Bulk Dates: 1920-1960


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