Derelict in duct tape shoes
Fifteen years after his death, Blaze Foley's legacy is secure
"Live at the Austin Outhouse"
Go to the "Blaze Foley" Homepage
To Contact Lost Art Records:
Lost Art Records
609 W. 18th St., Suite E
Austin, Texas 78701
||Austin Resource Center for the Homeless.|
Blaze Foley Live at the Austin Outhouse
Now available on CD for the first time from Lost Art Records.
Blaze Foley's last recorded performance - and the only Blaze recording in print-is now available on compact disc
Recorded on December 27 & 28, 1988 at Blaze's "home dub," Live at the Austin Outhouse captures
Blaze at his honest best just four weeks before his murder. Originally recorded by Blaze friend and fellow musician
Lost John Gasner on 4-track cassette equipment, the tapes have been digitally remastered and repackaged for
distribution beyond the Austin underground market for the first time.
"A remarkable record."
- Calvin Russell
"Blaze Foley was a genius and a beautifull loser."
- Lucinda Williams
"If I Could Only Fly is the best country song I've heard in 15 years."
- Merle Haggard
"One of Austin's most remarkable singer- songwriters."
- John Conquest, 3rd Coast Music
"Blaze was a lover of things alive, and plead their cause with every word."
- Townes Van Zandt
Includes these song: Oh Darlin'
If I Could Only Fly
Small Town Hero
New Slow Boat to China
Our Little Town
Christian Lady Talkin' On A Bus
Picture Card Can't Picture You
Faded Loves And Memories
Blaze Foley CD Released
Storied Austin Songwriter Left Legacy of Exceptional Songs
(Austin, Texas) Blaze Foley has long been celebrated by the Austin music community as a master songwriter.
With the release of "Blaze Foley - Live at the Austin Outhouse," his songs are now available for the first time nationally.
The release comes ten years after his death at age 39.
Originally issued as a cassette in 1989, "Live at the Austin Outhouse" captures some of the best of Foley's songs.
It includes "If I Could Only Fly," which Merle Haggard called "The best country song I've heard in 15 years."
Haggard and Willie Nelson recorded the song in 1987, and Haggard still includes it in his performances.
"Our hope in releasing the Outhouse CD is that Blaze and his songs will be exposed to a wider audience,
so he can achieve the recognition he rightfiilly deserves as one of Texas' finest songwriters," said John Casner,
Foley's friend and partner in the Outhouse recording project.
At the time of his death, Foley (whose real name was Michael David Fuller) was little known outside of
Austin's renegade songwriter circles. But recent events have sparked widespread interest in the Foley songbook.
In 1999, two tribute CDs of Foley songs were released, with a third tribute in the works.
Further, Lucinda Williams' "Drunken Angel," and Townes Van Zandt's "Blaze's Blues," personal tributes to Foley,
are adding to a legacy that was once nearly forgotten.
Born in Arkansas in 1949, Foley grew up in West Texas, performing at an early age in a family gospel act called the Fuller Family.
He led a colorft~l and storied life. Even in Austin, a city of non-conformists, Foley stood out. He slept on friends' couches
or on the pool tables in clubs. Periodically banned (if only temporarily) by many Austin clubs,
he made the Austin Outhouse his surrogate home.
Above all, Foley is remembered for the stark honesty of his songs. They tapped emotions so deep, they sometimes reduced
his lumbering frame to tears while performing. From aching love songs to provocative political commentary,
Foley's songs reflected his uncompromising artistic vision.
Intensely devoted to his craft, Foley never held a "day" job. He wrote hundreds of songs and made several recordings.
Unfortunately, most of the master tapes have been lost or stolen. One master is even reported to be in the hands of the
FBI, or the DEA, depending on who is telling the story.
Always an advocate for the underdog, Foley pledged a portion of the profits from the original cassette release to an
Austin homeless shelter. Circumstances prevailed, however, and proceeds went instead to defray his burial costs.
In keeping with Foley's wishes, 20 percent of the profits from this release will go to the
Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, in his name.
Playing a borrowed guitar for these sessions, Foley is supported by some of Austin's finest musicians. Initially
a four-track recording, the tape has been digitally remixed and edited, to flilly capture the intimacy
of those December nights in 1988.
Four weeks after making these recordings while trying to protect an elderly man he had befriended Foley was shot and killed.
Lost Art Records is dedicated to promoting the work ofdistinctive, independent Texas artists.
Founded in 1999, Lost Art Records, first release is "Blaze Foley - Live at the Austin
About the Original "Live At the Austin Outhouse" Recordings
"Someday, historians of Texas music will stumble across this tape and realize what Merle, Willie, Timbuk 3 and Blaze's few
hard-core fans already know - one of Texas' most promising songwriters was tragically cut down long before his time.
" Lee Nichols, Daily Texan 'When you put the Live at the Austin Outhouse tape on,
Blaze is all of sudden in the room." Townes Van Zandt "A remarkable record." Calvin Russell
"As far as the "Live at the Austin Outhouse cassette is concerned, I was totally flattened.
Foley's talent was as bright and sharp as a new cut diamond." Kerrville Kronicle
About Blaze Foley
"Blaze Foley was a genius and a beautiful loser." Lucinda Williams
"Blaze Foley was really two people. There was the caring, loving altruist, and then there was the ornery, drinking poet.
The former killed him, the latter always was killing him." Casey Monahan, Austin American-Statesman
"One of Austin's most remarkable singers/songwriters." John Conquest, 3rd Coast Music
"He wanted a colorfiil, memorable name. He liked Red Foley's name and considered becoming Blue Foley. Or Blues Foley.
He kept working with the name and got Blaze Foley and new it was right. He became Blaze Foley and he burned brightly,
sometimes dangerously so." Larry Monroe, Austin Weekly
"He was an exceptional talent, not only as a writer but as a singer." Kimmie Rhodes
"And then there was the duct tape. Blaze liked to tape up his shoes and other things with duct tape. He'd have a sports jacket or
something, and he'd have it very artistically covered with duct tape. Just everything was duct tape." Jubal Clark
"Blaze is remembered by Austin's poets, pickers, pundits and police officers alike as one of the
finest songwriters ever to howl at the moon." Michael Elwood
"Blaze was one of the most spiritual cats I've ever met; an ace finger picker; a writer who never shirks the truth; never fails to rhyme;
and one of the flashiest wits I've ever had to put up with." Townes Van Zandt
about Blaze Foley
kind of savior singin'
spilled out from the
hole in your heart
Excerpt from Lucinda Willams' "Drunken Angel, "from "Car wheels on a Gravel Road"
gotta guitar all my own
down to Alabam
Excerpt from Townes Van Zandt 'S "Blaze 'S Blues,
"No Deeper Blue"
time I saw I seen my
old pal Foley down in Austin town
Excerpt from Richard Dobson 'S "Foley, "from "Blue
Duct Tape Messiah Had Authentic Austin Sound
Blaze Foley never had a place to sleep, a car to drive, nor a day job; he just wrote songs
BY LARRY MONROE
Guns can change things quickly. drastically, and tragically.
The Duct Tape Messiah died in a single blaze of rifle fire on February 1, 1989. He was 39.
My first memories of Blaze Foley date back to emmajoc's. He was decked out in duct tape and
Mercuro chrome. He was asleep under the pool table. A game of 8-ball was in progress on the green
felt above him. Every umc sonteone made a hall and it dropped with a thud, Blaze would rouse up, smack his forehead
on the bottom of the table, and sprawl back out. Several championships were decided over his head as he slum bered on.
The week "Pancho and Lefty," sung by Willie and Merle, hit No. I, Townes Van Zindi, who wrote it, checked into
the State Hospital on Tuesday. On Saturday. he checked himself out to play his end of the month rent gig at emmajee's.
Sober and deter- mined, but strained and weak, Townes struggled through his set that night.
During "If I Needed You," he forgot the lyrics and faltered. Blaze glided gracefully to his side and sang the words for him,
then harmonized with him as Townes got back on track. After the song, Blaze quietly sat back down near the stage.
Townes grew stronger from that point and it almost seemed that a direct energy transfer from Blaze had occurred.
My opinion of Blaze had been vaguely negative until that night. That single gesture caused me to change my mind. I realized
he had character. He had dis played courage, caring, and perfect timing. From that moment on, I took him more seriously.
I began to listen to his music. And I got to know him.
At my house one night, I asked Blaze if he might be related to an old friend of mine, Mike Foley, who resembled him somewhat.
He said no, he had changed his name for show business purposes. He'd wanted a colorful, memorable name.
He liked Red Foley's name and considered becoming Blue Foley. Or Blues Foley. He kept working with the name and got
Blaze Foley and knew it was right. He became Blaze Foley and he burned brightly, sometimes dangerously so.
That night he told me that he was totally committed to his career as a songwriter and would never have a day job
because that might dull his ambition or detour him from his artistic goals. He was uncompromising on that point and I never
knew him to hold down a job just so he could pay rent. Blaze preferred the sofa Circuit and he rotated among friends and lovers
for sleeping quarters. He didn't even have a car to sleep in, in a pinch. And he didn't care.
Blaze knew Newt Gingrich before Newt took his hard right turn and got elected to Congress.
Newt liked to hear Blaze sing, and he called him "My own Bob Dylan."
The afternoon of June 26, 1986 I got inside information that Dylan was shopping at Electric Ladyland. My daugh ter
Saraandlhoppedin thecar and drove there. Sure enough Dylan was in the store select ing masks, headgear, jackets, and other
articles from the stock of costumes and fancy clothing and piling them on the counter. I tried to think of how to tell him
that I'd been playing his records on the radio for 25 years without spooking him and making him think I was a jerk,
but Sara kept asking me to come look at stuff and that opportunity slipped away.
Blaze came in the store and went into the room with Dylan. A few minutes later Blaze came in the store again.
He said, "Bob Dylan is outside talking to Townes. Come on, I'll introduce you to him." By the time we got out in front
of the store the drifter had escaped and Townes was sitting in the car with Pussycat and Indian Gary.
They had all been on a binge and none of them was seeing too straight.
told me he had walked
up to Dylan, introduced himself and said Townes was out front. Dylan
to meet Townes, and they had immedi ately gone outside. Blaze had seen me on the way Out
and had come back in to get me after he introduced Dylan to Townes.
Blaze talked Townes and Linda Shaw out of enough money to go back into Electric Ladyland to buy a Ronald Reagan mask.
He carried that mask around for months, sometimes sneaking a few beers out ofthebarin itafter hours.
Blaze pulled a beer Out of Ronald Reagan's head and popped the top on the way out the door. We bad been talking and listening
to music at my house since the clubs had closed three hours before. I was giving him a ride to a friend's place a dozen blocks away.
His friend got up at 5:30 a.m. and went to work at six. Blaze was going to sleep in his bed while he was at work.
It was a hot Austin summer night. Blaze set his Corona on the roofof my carso he could open the door and stow his stuff in the
back seat. When he reached for the beer, he knocked it over and it rolled down the slope of the roof. emptying itself along the way.
The bottle bounced on the street and didn't break. We laughed about it and headed for Blaze's borrowed bed.
After I dropped him off I drove to the car wash and washed the beer off the car. I knew the blazing Texas sun would bake the beer
into the finish and damage the paint if I didn't. Running with Blaze was always an adventure, and having to
wash my car at dawn didn't faze me in the least.
Blaze was a good judge of talent and, early on, gave me copies of Pat MacDonald's pre-Timbuk3 albums.
The last time I saw Blaze he was sitting in with Timbuk3 at The Hole In The Wall.
If you cover the Austin music heat you often see musicians called up from the audience for a short guest set, usually two songs,
sometime more. I had noticed that when BIaic got called up he'd do one of his own compositions, sometimes
"Oval Room," other times "If I Could Only' Fly," and he would also do Mississippi Fred MacDow elI's "You 'Got To Move."
One time I asked Blaze why he always sang "You Got To Move" instead of singing two of his own songs so people could hear
what he wrote. I ean't recall his exact answer - it was years ago - but he reminded me of my question, in public, the last night that I saw him.
Billing themselves as Fred and Wilma to avoid an over-large crowd, Timbuk3 played at The Hole In The Wall on January 25 with
Blaze opening. Daring the last set, Pat and Barbara K. called him to the stage, saying: "Blaze Foley was our first
friend in Austin. He was on the street, we were on the street.."
Blaze strapped on his guitar, thanking Juhal Clark for the loan of it. He looked over at me and smiled that smile that crinkled his face,
and with that twinkle in his eye he said into the microphone: "This is a Mississippi Fred MacDowell song. Larry Monroe
wonders why I always sing this song..~and I'm glad he does."
Then Blaze and the folks who called him their first friend in Austin sang:
Got To Move,
One week later, Blaze was dead and I understood why he always sang "You Got To Move."
After services in an overflowing chapel, several of us got lost on our way to the cemetery. Blaze smiled. With a few songs to send him
off and some shared tears among his friends, the gathering at graveside broke out the duct tape and decorated
his coffin. Blaze laughed out loud. In a cornn covered with duct tape, one of the most unique characters who ever resided in the
music community was lowered into the ground. He will be sorely missed.
Ladies and gentlemen...
Blaze Foley has left the building.
Tribute to Blaze Foley Vol. 1 to 4