Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman remembers a singer who had a minty fresh moniker.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.
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Harrison Nelson, Jr., better known as Peppermint Harris, was born in Texarkana, Texas, on July 17, 1925. In the late 1940s, he moved to Houston, where legendary bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins helped him land his first recording session. The nickname Peppermint Harris was invented by a record producer who could not remember Nelson’s real name when it came time to label his records. In 1951, Harris scored a hit with the party anthem “I Got Loaded.”
Peppermint Harris tried to replicate the success of “I Got Loaded” with other alcohol-themed songs, including “Have Another Drink and Talk To Me.” However, his career languished until the mid-1990s, when he released two successful comeback albums, Texas on My Mind and Penthouse in the Ghetto, just a few years before he died in 1999.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll honor one of the Lone Star State’s very first female recording artists.