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Video: Hideaway with C.W. Kendall
by Cindy Chaffin 31 Aug 2011

He toured and performed with Buddy Holly and the Crickets. He played keyboards with The Big Beats and still does. Meet the talented and charming C.W. Kendall. And watch Cindy Chaffin’s video.


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.

Joey Kendall performs both on his own and with his quirky masterminded band, Mount Righteous. Joey has been nominated for this year’s Dallas Observer Music Awards “Best Solo Act.”

Brooks Jr. plays bass with Rodney Parker and 50 Peso Reward, also nominated for “Best Country Act” at this year’s D.O. Music Awards.

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!

The Big Beats are still performing around North Texas, in fact they have an upcoming show at the Pocket Sandwich Theatre.

  • LOVED seeing this video of the Big Beats and learning more about their history and accomplishments. Everytime we see one of their shows, it never seems to be long enough. They’re spectacular and the comaraderie between the ol’ gang is the best. Also enjoyed seeing and listening to other members of this talented family.

  • Dahn Keith

    Oh what a joy to hear of such a long and healthy career in Music, C.W. Thank you for continuing to share your gift of music with all of us. You STILL ROCK>>>>>>>>> a testament and encouragement to the rest of us musicians as we continue on our entertainment journey through life….