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This Week in Texas Music History: Victoria Louise Massey

by Stephen Becker 25 Jun 2010 3:13 PM

This week in Texas music history, we’ll look at a trailblazing singer whom many have called “the original rhinestone cowgirl.”


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 looks at a trailblazing singer whom many have called “the original rhinestone cowgirl.”

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Friday on KXT and Saturday 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 KERA radio’s 90.1 at Night.

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Victoria Louise Massey, who died on June 20, 1983, was born in Midland  in 1902. As a teenager, she joined with other family members to form what would become Louise Massey and the Westerners. The group toured throughout the United States and had several major hits, including “South of the Border (Down Mexico Way)” and “My Adobe Hacienda,” which she co-wrote with Lee Penny. Massey was a groundbreaking artist in many ways. She sang in both English and Spanish and became one of the first women to front a prominent country band. She also was well-known for wearing spectacular stage costumes, earning her the nickname of “the original rhinestone cowgirl.” During her 30-year career, Massey blazed a trail for numerous other women in country music as a performer, songwriter and businesswoman.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we honor a Texan who was a Rhodes scholar, a janitor, and a helicopter pilot before becoming an award winning songwriter and movie star.