LOST ART RECORDS
Blaze Foley CD Released
Storied Austin Songwriter Left Legacy of Exceptional Songs
Texas) Blaze Foley
has long been celebrated by the Austin music community as a master
With the release of "Blaze Foley - Live at the Austin Outhouse," his
are now available for the first time nationally.
The release comes ten
years after his death at age 39.
issued as a cassette
in 1989, "Live at the Austin Outhouse" captures some of the best of
It includes "If I Could Only Fly," which Merle Haggard called
best country song I've heard in 15 years."
Haggard and Willie Nelson
the song in 1987, and Haggard still includes it in his performances.
hope in releasing the
Outhouse CD is that Blaze and his songs will be exposed to a wider
so he can achieve the recognition he rightfiilly deserves as one of
finest songwriters," said John Casner,
Foley's friend and partner in
Outhouse recording project.
the time of his death,
Foley (whose real name was Michael David Fuller) was little known
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.
Lucinda Williams' "Drunken Angel," and Townes Van Zandt's "Blaze's
personal tributes to Foley,
are adding to a legacy that was once nearly
in Arkansas in 1949,
Foley grew up in West Texas, performing at an early age in a family
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
or on the pool tables in clubs. Periodically banned (if only
by many Austin clubs,
he made the Austin Outhouse his surrogate home.
all, Foley is remembered
for the stark honesty of his songs. They tapped emotions so deep, they
his lumbering frame to tears while performing. From
love songs to provocative political commentary,
Foley's songs reflected
his uncompromising artistic vision.
devoted to his
craft, Foley never held a "day" job. He wrote hundreds of songs and
Unfortunately, most of the master tapes have been
or stolen. One master is even reported to be in the hands of the
the DEA, depending on who is telling the story.
an advocate for the
underdog, Foley pledged a portion of the profits from the original
release to an
Austin homeless shelter. Circumstances prevailed,
and proceeds went instead to defray his burial costs.
In keeping with
wishes, 20 percent of the profits from this release will go to the
Resource Center for the Homeless, in his name.
a borrowed guitar
for these sessions, Foley is supported by some of Austin's finest
a four-track recording, the tape has been digitally remixed
edited, to flilly capture the intimacy
of those December nights in 1988.
weeks after making these
recordings while trying to protect an elderly man he had befriended
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
the Original "Live At the Austin Outhouse" Recordings
historians of Texas
music will stumble across this tape and realize what Merle, Willie,
3 and Blaze's few
hard-core fans already know - one of Texas' most
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."
Van Zandt "A
remarkable record." Calvin
far as the "Live at the
Austin Outhouse cassette is concerned, I was totally flattened.
talent was as bright and sharp as a new cut diamond." Kerrville Kronicle
Foley was a genius
and a beautiful loser." Lucinda Williams
Foley was really two
people. There was the caring, loving altruist, and then there was the
The former killed him, the latter always was killing
Casey Monahan, Austin American-Statesman
of Austin's most remarkable
singers/songwriters." John Conquest, 3rd Coast Music
wanted a colorfiil, memorable
name. He liked Red Foley's name and considered becoming Blue Foley. Or
He kept working with the name and got Blaze Foley and new
it was right. He became Blaze Foley and he burned brightly,
so." Larry Monroe, Austin Weekly
was an exceptional talent,
not only as a writer but as a singer." Kimmie Rhodes
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
covered with duct tape. Just everything was duct tape." Jubal Clark
is remembered by Austin's
poets, pickers, pundits and police officers alike as one of the
songwriters ever to howl at the moon." Michael Elwood
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
ever had to put up with." Townes Van Zandt
about Blaze Foley
kind of savior singin'
derelict in your duct
orphan clothes and
your long dark hair
like you didn't
spilled out from the
hole in your heart
the strings of your
worn down places in
once made you feel
Excerpt from Lucinda Willams' "Drunken Angel, "from
"Car wheels on a Gravel Road"
gotta guitar all my own
gotta quarter for the
ain't headed down this
highway all alone
down to Alabam
some trouble if I
buddy would you like
to come along
a place I never been
you know I could use
say they'll give us
twenty bucks a song"
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
was looking good and
he gave me $20 dollars and said we'll be seeing you around
all I remember from
a phone call late at night was something about drinking
pulled a gun and
they put out Foley's lights, boys, they put out Foley's lights"
Excerpt from Richard Dobson 'S "Foley, "from "Blue
Messiah Had Authentic
Foley never had a
place to sleep, a car to drive, nor a day job; he just wrote songs
can change things quickly.
drastically, and tragically.
Duct Tape Messiah died
in a single blaze of rifle fire on February 1, 1989. He was 39.
first memories of Blaze
Foley date back to emmajoc's. He was decked out in duct tape and
chrome. He was asleep under the pool table. A game of 8-ball was in
on the green
felt above him. Every umc sonteone made a hall and it
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.
week "Pancho and Lefty,"
sung by Willie and Merle, hit No. I, Townes Van Zindi, who wrote it,
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-
but strained and weak, Townes struggled through his set that night.
"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.
grew stronger from that point and it almost seemed that a direct energy
transfer from Blaze had occurred.
opinion of Blaze had been
vaguely negative until that night. That single gesture caused me to
my mind. I realized
he had character. He had dis played courage,
and perfect timing. From that moment on, I took him more seriously.
to listen to his music. And I got to know him.
my house one night, I
asked Blaze if he might be related to an old friend of mine, Mike
who resembled him somewhat.
He said no, he had changed his name for
business purposes. He'd wanted a colorful, memorable name.
He liked Red
Foley's name and considered becoming Blue Foley. Or Blues Foley. He
working with the name and got
Blaze Foley and knew it was right. He
Blaze Foley and he burned brightly, sometimes dangerously so.
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
him to hold down a job just so he could pay rent. Blaze preferred the
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.
knew Newt Gingrich
before Newt took his hard right turn and got elected to Congress.
liked to hear
sing, and he called
him "My own Bob Dylan."
afternoon of June 26,
1986 I got inside information that Dylan was shopping at Electric
My daugh ter
Saraandlhoppedin thecar and drove there. Sure enough Dylan
was in the store select ing masks, headgear, jackets, and other
from the stock of costumes and fancy clothing and piling them on the
I tried to think of how to tell him
that I'd been playing his records
the radio for 25 years without spooking him and making him think I was
but Sara kept asking me to come look at stuff and that
came in the store and
went into the room with Dylan. A few minutes later Blaze came in the
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
They had all been on a binge and none of them was seeing
told me he had walked
up to Dylan, introduced himself and said Townes was out front. Dylan
meet Townes, and they
had immedi ately gone outside. Blaze had seen me on the way Out
come back in to get me after he introduced Dylan to Townes.
talked Townes and Linda
Shaw out of enough money to go back into Electric Ladyland to buy a
He carried that mask around for months, sometimes sneaking
a few beers out ofthebarin itafter hours.
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
three hours before. I was giving him a ride to a friend's place a dozen
His friend got up at 5:30 a.m. and went to work at six.
was going to sleep in his bed while he was at work.
was a hot Austin summer
night. Blaze set his Corona on the roofof my carso he could open the
and stow his stuff in the
back seat. When he reached for the
he knocked it over and it rolled down the slope of the roof. emptying
along the way.
The bottle bounced on the street and didn't break. We
about it and headed for Blaze's borrowed bed.
I dropped him off I
drove to the car wash and washed the beer off the car. I knew the
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.
was a good judge of
talent and, early on, gave me copies of Pat MacDonald's pre-Timbuk3
The last time I saw Blaze he was sitting in with Timbuk3 at The Hole In
you cover the Austin music
heat you often see musicians called up from the audience for a short
set, usually two songs,
sometime more. I had noticed that when BIaic
called up he'd do one of his own compositions, sometimes
times "If I Could Only' Fly," and he would also do Mississippi Fred
elI's "You 'Got To Move."
One time I asked Blaze why he always sang
Got To Move" instead of singing two of his own songs so people could
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.
themselves as Fred
and Wilma to avoid an over-large crowd, Timbuk3 played at The Hole In
Wall on January 25 with
Blaze opening. Daring the last set, Pat and
K. called him to the stage, saying: "Blaze Foley was our first
Austin. He was on the street, we were on the street.."
strapped on his guitar,
thanking Juhal Clark for the loan of it. He looked over at me
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
Blaze and the folks
who called him their first friend in Austin sang:
Got To Move,
You Got To Move,
You Got To Move, child,
You Got To Move.
When the Lords gets ready,
You Got To Move."
week later, Blaze was
dead and I understood why he always sang "You Got To Move."
services in an overflowing
chapel, several of us got lost on our way to the cemetery. Blaze
With a few songs to send him
off and some shared tears among his
the gathering at graveside broke out the duct tape and decorated
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