Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Genealogy Discoveries

Genealogy searching turns up some interesting connections.  Ron’s third cousin through his Nixon grandmother was a Texas singing sensation.  No wonder there are many members of his family who are very musically talented.

John Winton Pickering was born in Murchison, TX to professional singing parents. John became a professional radio singer at the age of five. His parents devised a means for John and Bill to reach the microphone by standing on apple crates. They started on radio at Tyler, TX and from there to various radio and T.V. stations throughout the great Southwest. The Pickering Family Quartet performed gospel, country, western, comic and popular songs together for fifteen years, until the death of Pop Pickering in 1953. The family appeared on a daily-30 minute radio show on KTRH in Houston for 2 years. In that time, they made stage appearances with the Statesmen Quartet, Blackwood Brothers, Hank Locklin, Hank Thompson, Curly Fox, TX Ruby, and many more.

After Pop's death in Lubbock, TX, John and Bill continued singing with various vocal groups, including the late recording star Buddy Holly. They were the "voices of the Crickets" on 9 of the first 12 Cricket songs on "The Chirping Crickets" LP - the only group-sound album released while Buddy Holly was alive. These songs were recently nominated for a Grammy for Best Historical Album at the 53rd Grammy awards.

In 1969 the Pickering Brothers recorded in Nashville on Stop Records with the first country version of "Proud Mary" and other releases including ones with Daffan Records and Stoneway Records of Houston. They had 8 national releases.

In 1984, The Picks, (John and Bill Pickering and Bob Lapham) overdubbed additional recorded Buddy Holly solos that have been released worldwide and are found on their website,
John recorded 4 gospel albums, most of them his original songs. John served as a Deacon, Bible Teacher, Soloist and Sunday School Music Director at Houston's First Baptist Church and at several churches in Corpus Christi, TX. John and accompanist Vicky performed at many churches and secular programs.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses

Once again I have been derelict in posting to this blog.  We have traveled many miles and explored interesting places.  Currently we are enjoying the early Fall weather and sights of northeast Texas.  We are based in Tyler just in time for all the Rose Festival month activities.

The Tyler Rose Garden is spread over 22 acres with some grassy areas, fountains and lots of trees.  We have made two visits to the garden and walked a variety of paths and explored much of the garden.  The array of colors and scents is intoxicating.  There aren't just roses planted there but the numerous varieties of roses alone are stunning.  We enjoy sitting by one of the koy ponds with a cute fountain just soaking up the serenity and calm.

Some photos of roses are in the Tyler Rose Garden album.