Having been a longtime fan of local musicians (and brothers), Brooks Kendall Jr. and Joey Kendall, it wasn’t particularly shocking to learn that their grandfather was a talent in his own right.
A few years back, at Club Dada, Brooks Jr. and I shared a couple of beers as he told me about his grandfather, C.W. Kendall. C.W. performed on keyboards with the popular 1950s, ’60s and 70s band The Big Beats. The band toured with some of the all-time greats, including Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Gene Vincent, Ricky Nelson and Buddy Holly and the Crickets. In fact, C.W. performed regularly (keyboards) with Buddy Holly. C.W. also co-wrote the song “Little Baby” with Holly at the famed Norman Petty Studio in Clovis, N.M.
The Big Beats were the first 50s rock ‘n’ roll band to sign with Columbia Records and were a regular favorite on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.
So I loaded up the car and headed to East Texas a few weeks ago to catch C.W. Kendall perform his one-man show at a lovely country club in Hideaway, Texas.
I can safely say that I’ve never seen anything quite like C.W.’s performance. He had the packed house on the dance floor within seconds, and the man did not take a break all night. He literally performed, non-stop, for three straight hours. It was amazing!