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This Week in Texas Music History: Lefty Frizzell

by Stephen Becker 1 Apr 2011 3:24 PM

This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll celebrate a legendary singer whose voice almost wasn’t heard.


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 celebrates a legendary singer whose voice almost wasn’t heard.

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 KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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Lefty Frizzell was born in Corsicana on March 31, 1928. Frizzell had a unique singing style, which included bluesy notes and unconventional phrasing. At first, record companies didn’t care for Frizzell’s distinctive voice, so he focused on writing songs for others. However, in 1950 Columbia Records released Frizzell’s first single, which quickly reached No. 1 on the country charts.  Lefty Frizzell had many other hits, including “The Long Black Veil,” “Saginaw, Michigan” and “That’s the Way Love Goes.” He would become one of the most imitated singers in country music history and was a major influence on such younger artists as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and George Strait.