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Journal Part 1

Part 1 (1944-1982)

Part1 (1944-1982) | Part 2 (1983-1999) | Part 3 (2000-2006) | Part 4 (2007) | Part 5 (2008) | Part 6 (2009-present)

Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1944
Late in the summer, upon learning that his oldest son can't begin school until the year AFTER his 6th birthday, Ponty, Sr. is adamant that I, Ponty, Jr., start accordion lessons at the Stark Brothers Studio. For the next 7 years, on Saturday, I ride the Zarzamora St. bus to the lesson; and, every...single...weekday, there IS...ONE...hour of practice, this enforced by my Dad.

Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1957
I graduate from Thomas Jefferson High School. My interests are girls, hot rod cars and music, in no particular order. Look out, world, 'cause here I come.

Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1958
While employed in Houston, my 1st trips to Louisiana resolve the apparent conflict between two loves: the accordion (which I, by now, play pretty well) and Blues and R & B music. CLIFTON CHENIER, already known as the King of Zydeco, is my hero.

Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1962
My first marriage, to Sarah Wade, of Lubbock, took place today, Bastille Day, July 14th. She has a great record collection. Blues.

Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1964
March 12: Today, my daughters, Rachel & Samara were born 5 minutes apart, in Lubbock. To restless parents. A few days later, my friend, Bob Hamer comes by and drags me off to Clark Drug Store to meet some young guitar-player/singer he heard at a party. Bob is one of a small group who encourage me to play my accordion at every opportunity. The musician turns out to be the teen-aged JIMMIE DALE GILMORE. Soon, life becomes a jam session interrupted only by reality, in the form of a day job, and peopled by: JO CAROL PIERCE, JOE ELY, JESSE "GUITAR" TAYLOR, JOHN X. REED, LEWIS COWDREY, ANGELA STREHLI, T. J. "TINY" McFARLAND and many others.

Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1965
The new Bone family relocates to Arizona, where my wife and I soon start our own band, NEW MOAN HEY, and release a single and an album on the Foggy Mountain label. Sarah's authentic blues singing and harp-blowing are championed by local, Texas-transplant DJ, WILLIAM EDWARD COMPTON, resulting in a good amount of opening gigs for touring acts, and, frequent love-ins and peace rallies. Label owner VERN DEBES and manager/friend GEF BRUCE give blood and vehicles. The high point for the 5 piece band is our trip to Texas, kids and all, in 1969. Stops include Lubbock, San Antonio and ...The Vulcan Gas Company in Austin.

Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1971
Back to Lubbock, or Slaton, actually, for the first two years; Sarah retires from performing, although many a party/jam session takes place at the house, featuring she and I, Joe, Jimmie, the Hancock family: TOMMY and CHARLENE and their talented offspring: LOUIE, CONNI, TRACI, HOLLI and JOAQUIN, as well as anyone passing through.

Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1976
On an evening in late July, JOE ELY cruises to my house on his bicycle to invite me to a jam and rehearsal that night at his house on 9th Street, with JESSE TAYLOR, LLOYD MAINES, GREGG WRIGHT and STEVE KEETON. This is the beginning of an association which will affect the futures of all those present, none more than the newly-divorced accordion-player. The Joe Ely Band is formed and begins to play to packed, appreciative houses.

Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1977
January 1: Last night, we played the Cotton Club in Lubbock. When Jesse received his share, he assumed it was the entire band's door money, given to him for safe keeping. It was $500. Of course, it was... New Year's Eve.
January 30: We leave Lubbock for our first national tour, in support of 1st album, "JOE ELY", on the respected MCA Records, and, represented by the William Morris Agency. We're in our Dodge van, but we're all thinking about a tour bus.
February 3-5: Old Time Pickin' Parlor in Nashville
February 8: Houston's Opera House
February 11-12: Soap Creek Saloon in Austin
February 15-19: New York's Lone Star Cafe
February 24-26: The Big Dipper in Atlanta, Georgia
March 2: Beaumont, Texas
March 3: Jed's in New Orleans, Louisiana
March 4: Kingfish in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
March 5: Jay's Lounge in Cankton, near Lafayette, Louisiana
May 6-7: Fat Dawg's in Lubbock
May 8: Stubb's "Mother's Day" Jam in Lubbock
May 13-14: Cotton Club in Lubbock
May 17: Leave for Georgia
May 19-22: Rose's Cantina in Atlanta
May 28: Kerrville Folk Festival
June 3: Kingfish in Baton Rouge
July 24-25: The Palomino in Los Angeles, California
October 17-26: We're working on "Honky Tonk Masquerade", our 2nd album for MCA, with CHIP YOUNG producing again, this time at his own studio, Young 'Un Sound, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Long, late days. On Friday, I get to play the piano on "Fingernails", after which it's home-cooked supper at Miss Ann's, a private, more or less, home.

Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1978
January 17-21: I am playing at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, with Tommy Hancock and the Supernatural Family Band. This must be heaven: hot springs, light snow and revelations.
March 2: We leave Lubbock for our first international tour, this time in MOBY, our new motor home, pulling our horse trailer without windows. We run forty feet from front to rear. I, as the non-drinker, am designated the after-gig driver.
March 3-4: The Downspout in St. Louis, Missouri
March 6-8: The Cabooze in Minneapolis, Minnesota
March 10-11: The Quiet Knight in Chicago (with JAMES TALLEY)
March 13-15: The Other End in New York
March 17-19: The Rusty Nail in Amherst, Massachusetts
March 20: Overnite flight from New York to London, England
Itinerary (continued):
First 3 dates are in major arenas:
March 25: Country Music Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden
March 27: The Wembley Festival in London, England
March 28: Country Music Festival in Rotterdam, Holland
Then, we showcase:
March 29: Dingwall's in London
Then, balance of tour with MERLE HAGGARD & THE STRANGERS:
March 31: Southampton, England
April 1: Brighton, England
April 2: Coventry, England
April 3: Birmingham, England
April 4: Dublin, Ireland
April 5: Belfast, Ireland
April 8: Ipswich, England
April 9: Liverpool, England
April 27-29: Rose's Cantina in Atlanta, Georgia
May 2: The Exit/In in Nashville, Tennessee
May 25: Kerrville Folk Festival
July 20: The Keystone in Palo Alto, California
July 27: The Inn Of The Beginning in Cotati, California
July 28-30: The Palomino in North Hollywood, California
wpe1.jpg (3147 bytes)

December 2: We begin recording our 3rd album, "Down On The Drag", with Bob Johnston producing, at Kaye/Smith Studio in Seattle, Washington. I meet MR. JOE PETOSA, SR. and his Petosa Accordion family, and soon order my first handmade accordion.

Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1979
February 14: MOBY pulls out for the West Coast
February 17-18: The Palomino in North Hollywood
February 21: Santa Cruz
February 22: The Old Waldorf in San Francisco
February 25: Dooley's in Tempe, Arizona
March 1-3: The Roxy in Los Angeles, with McGUINN, CLARK & HILLMAN
March 29: Armadillo World Headquarters
March 31: The Palladium in Dallas
April 5: Fly from Lubbock to New York's JFK; we're late leaving D/FW and arrive at the club too late for opening night sound check.
April 5-7: The Other End in Greenwich Village in New York City
April 9: The Stars in Philadelphia
April 10: A night off I'll never forget, as I get to catch JOHN LEE HOOKER, LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS and my mentor, CLIFTON CHENIER at a special CARNEGIE HALL blues show.
April 11-12: My Father's Place in Long Island, with THE NEW RIDERS
April 14: Boston, with THE NEW RIDERS
April 15: End of tour; we miss early morning flight and spend all of Easter Sunday on foot in Boston; finally arriving back home in Lubbock by 10pm.
April 26: I'm in London for a tour, where I find that the current issue of "High Fidelity" refers to me as the "King of the 'rot-gut' accordion bursts". Is that good?
April 28: Bristol Polytechnic
April 29: England's "Grand Old Opry" in Newmarket
May 3: BBC-TV taping at RAF Bentwaters
May 4: The Student Union in Manchester   
May 5: The Venue in London
May 6: Depart London's Gatwick Airport at 11:45am; Arrive Lubbock at 5:40pm. Yeah, the same day.
May 14-15: The Lone Star in NYC
June 27: MOBY off to California again
June 29-30: The Palomino
July 1: The Petaluma County Fair   
July 2: Emeryville; after our gig, a writer asks me to autograph his copy of... the old NEW MOAN HEY album.
July 9: First rehearsal with new drummer ROBERT MARQUAM
July 10: MOBY off to Minnesota for short BOBBY BARE tour; upon our arrival, the brakes go out and we do the tour from a rented van.
July 12: Hombre Club in St. Cloud
July 13: Columbia Arena in Fridley
July 14: Union Bar in Minneapolis
July 15: Iron Horse in Crystal
oct 7 1979.jpg (79771 bytes) September 5: MOBY off to California again:
September 8: 10th Anniversary Monterrey Pop Festival, with THE CLASH and PETER TOSH.
September 10: The Palomino
September 15: The Line Camp in Santa Fe, New Mexico
October 4: Off to Austin to begin short tour opening for THE CLASH

Scenes from the Clash Tour Itinerary:
oct 7 1979 2.jpg (34845 bytes)

October 4: Armadillo World Headquarters
October 5: Cullen Auditorium in Houston
October 6: The Palladium in Dallas
October 7: The Rox in Lubbock
October 11: The Palladium in Los Angeles
October 14: Fat Dawg's in Lubbock; a rare appearance for me as leader of my own group. I gave myself about a C+ to B-; much work to be done.
October 31: The Ely Band tapes our 1st Austin City Limits show.
December 23: I, along with LEWIS & THE LEGENDS record a 4-song EP for Amazing Records at Lubbock's Caldwell Studio. The songs are: "Travelling Mood", "Woman", "Beer Drinking Woman" and "Don't You Lie To Me".Pbcclub.jpg (69393 bytes)

Cover photo for Amazing 4-song EP: Left to right, David Murray, guitar, Don Bennett, bass guitar, pb, Lewis Cowdrey, harp and Andy Miller, drums.




Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1980
Pbely1.jpg (66350 bytes)Pictured from left: me singing, Mike Robberson on bass, Smoky Joe Miller on sax and Robert Marquam on the drums.

January 11-13: The All-Star Blues Revue at Stubbs BarBQ, featuring:
JESSE TAYLOR on guitar and vocals DOYLE BRAMHALL on drums and vocals ALEX NAPIER on bass PONTY BONE on accordion and vocals. All 3 nights were packed and, we received two great revues: one from the local daily, and, the
other, more important one from legendary owner C. B. "STUBB" STUBBLEFIELD.
January 18-19: The Cotton Club with BILLY JOE SHAVER
February 13: Braniff from Lubbock to London for a CLASH tour. Bassist GREGG WRIGHT and I are sharing Room 410 of The Sherlock Holmes, a big hotel located on, or as they say over there, in, Baker Street.
February 15-16: Electric Ballroom in Camden
February 17: Lyceum in The Strand
February 18: Lewisham Odeon
February 20: BBC TV taping of "Rock Goes To College" Special at Middlesex Polytechnic
February 21: On this day, we find out Clash drummer TOPPER HEADON, has injured his thumb, forcing them to cancel the balance of the tour. We're to be paid anyway, and honor our own remaining dates.
February 24: The Hope and Anchor in Islington
February 26: Dingwall's
February 28: Hatfield Polytechnic
February 29 & March 1: The Venue
March 2: I stay in England for an extra couple of days, tonight joining BUTCH HANCOCK, opening for the great ROCKIN' DOPSIE at Nelson's in Wimbledon.
March 3: Back, on my last night, to the Hope & Anchor, to sit-in with Austin's THE FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS. A British guitarist fills in for JIMMIE VAUGHAN, hurt in a 'jumping accident' in the hotel lobby.
March 4: Depart London at 11:15am; arrive Lubbock 7:30pm. A long day.
May 11: The First Lubbock Tornado Jam, featuring:
Early2.jpg (44058 bytes)June: Ponty and his daughters, Rachel & Samara, as well as almost all the rest of the Joe Ely organization relocate to Austin. The girls register as Juniors at Crockett High and Ponty continues to tour, worldwide, missing only two performances in 6+ years. Around, or by this time, the original band-members Joe, Jesse and I have been welded to newer members ROBERT MARQUAM on drums, MIKE ROBBERSON on bass, "SMOKY" JOE MILLER on sax or flute and MIKE KINDRED on piano. Only Lloyd remains in Lubbock, due, in part, to his being in great demand as a producer at CALDWELL STUDIO. He'll be flying in, as needed.

Pictured above (left to right) are pb, singing, Mike Robberson on bass and the late, great Robert Marquam on drums.

August 14: Brussels, Belgium's 1000th Anniversary Mallemunt80 Festival.
October 23: Lubbock to Ames, Iowa aboard an extra-nicely remodeled 1949 GMC Coach for a LINDA RONSTADT tour. Since the bus was the star of the Marilyn Monroe movie "Bus Stop", she's christened MARILYN.
October 24: Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa
October 25: Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Nebraska
October 27: University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming
October 28: Special Events Center of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah
October 29: McNichols Arena in Denver, Colorado
October 31: Tingley Arena in Albuquerque, New Mexico
November 1: Las Cruces, New Mexico
November 2: McCale Auditorium in Tucson, Arizona
November 3: Compton Terrace (named for WILLIAM EDWARD COMPTON) in Phoenix, Arizona
November 4: MARILYN ferries us back to Austin, by way of El Paso; a very successful tour behind us.
December 27: The Last Saturday Night at Austin's Armadillo World Headquarters is Lubbock Night, with JIMMIE DALE GILMORE, ANGELA STREHLI, BUTCH HANCOCK, and all the rest of the usual suspects.

Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1981
March 14: The Paramount Theatre with CHUCK BERRY. For this show, I was delayed by having two (2) flats en route from Ft. Worth, and I walked in the stage door, and right on stage for our extremely righteous opening set, which many people would tell me they saw, for years to come. Also, I don't know if the headliner remembers it or not, but when we played St. Louis in March of 1977, he not only came to our show, with a beautiful blonde, but sat-in with us at the last, doing an extremely rocking version of "Jambalaya".
March 28: McNichols Arena in Denver with CHARLIE DANIELS
March 29: The Golden Inn in Golden, New Mexico with THE PLANETS
April 13: The "Musta Notta Gotta Lotta" Tour begins. We're aboard MARILYN for the first month.
April 14: Tucson
April 15: Dooley's in Tempe, Arizona
April 16: The Whiskey-A-Go Go in Los Angeles
April 18: The Palomino in North Hollywood
April 22: Bodega in Campbell, California
April 23: The Old Waldorf in San Francisco
April 26: The Long Beach Festival
April 27: Cathey De Grande in Hollywood, where we're joined, on stage, by the legendary ROY BROWN, whose "Good Rockin' Tonight" is on the new album. Oh, yeah, it rocks.
April 29: Cowboy Bar in Park City, Utah
May 1: The Rainbow in Denver
May 3: The 2nd Tornado Jam in Lubbock
May 4: The Agora in Dallas with JIMMY CLIFF, and he's dancing in the wings to our opener.
May 5: Fly from D/FW to Boston.
May 6: The Paradise in Boston
May 7: The Bottom Line in NYC
May 8: Emerald City in Cherry Hill, New Jersey with THE CRAMPS
May 9: J. B. Scott's in Albany
May 12: El Mocambo in Toronto, Canada
May 13: Harvey & Corky's Stage 1 in Buffalo
May 15: My Father's Place in Roslyn, New Jersey with comedian PAT PAULSEN. Our show is broadcast, live, and documents the band well.
May 17: Fly from Washington, D.C.'s Dulles to London's Heathrow
May 19: BBC TV taping of "The Old Grey Whistle Test"
May 20: The Hexagon in Reading with MICKEY JUPP
May 22: The Wyvern Theatre in Swindon
May 24: Country Club in Kirklevington
May 25: Fagin's in Manchester
May 26: The Granary in Bristol with KELVIN HENDERSON
May 27: The Milky Way in Amsterdam, where we're informed that ROY BROWN, who jammed with us a month ago, has passed on to glory. This show, which was also broadcast live, after midnight, is dedicated to his memory.
May 28: Festival in Lochem, Holland with THE KINKS and THE STRAY CATS
May 29-30: The Venue in London
May 31: We fly back to Washington International in Baltimore.
June 2: The Bijou in Boston
June 3: The Paradise in Boston
June 4: Toad's in New Haven
June 6: The Ritz in NYC
June 8: The Bayou in Washington, D.C.
June 9: The Pier in Raleigh, North Carolina
June 11: The Agora in Atlanta, Georgia
June 13: Old Man Rivers in New Orleans, last stop on the tour.
June 27: The Opry House in Port O'Conner, Texas for the First Texas Musician's Fishing Tournament
July 11: The South Texas Tornado Jam at Manor Downs in Austin, featuring The Ely Band, plus:
July 18: The band and crew off to Detroit aboard MARILYN for 2nd LINDA RONSTADT Tour.
July 21-24: Pine Knob in Detroit
July 26-27: Poplar Creek in Chicago
July 28-29: Cuyahoga Falls, and this tour ends.
July 31: Begin our first TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS tour. Our bands compliment each other well. One of their guys says: "We need someone who will challenge us every night", but we think they just love our old bus.
August 1: Norfolk, Virginia
August 2: The Bayou in Washington, D.C. (without Petty)
August 3: Allentown, Pennsylvania
August 4: Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
August 6: Nassau, Long Island
August 7: Boston Gardens in Boston
August 8: Providence, Rhode Island
August 10: Buffalo, New York, after which Marilyn and two drivers commence a non-stop drive to L.A.
August 14: The Forum in L.A.
August 15: The San Diego Sports Arena
August 16: County Bowl in Santa Barbara, our last date of the Petty tour.
August 18-19: The Palladium in L.A.
August 20: The Catalyst in Santa Cruz
August 21-22: Greek Theatre in Berkeley with THE KINKS
August 23: Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Concord, California
August 24: A long ride home.
September 22: A second tour opening shows for TOM PETTY
September 22: The Summit in Houston
September 23: Reunion Arena in Dallas
September 24: The Frank Erwin Center in Austin
September 25: Norman, Oklahoma
September 27: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
September 29: Atlanta, Georgia
September 30: Savannah, Georgia
October 2: Lakeland, Florida
October 3: Jacksonville, Florida
October 6: St. Petersburg, Florida
October 8: Gainesville, Florida for the end of this tour.
October 31: Nick's Uptown in Dallas for Halloween with CARL PERKINS
November 21: Gruene Hall, where a State Trooper, trying to drive Ely and the band off the stage at the end of the night, is drenched with beer by a band-member, who is then able to complete a daring escape. Despite an investigation, and much searching of cars, the jolly offender, and his band mates, are charged only with a dry-cleaning bill, and a request for several signed albums and photos.
Pbstones.gif (74385 bytes) December 13: Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona with THE ROLLING STONES

Here's Joe, Smoky, Mike, pb, Jesse, Robert and Kindred as we looked opening for the Rolling Stones.

Pepper.gif (2601 bytes)1982
January 24: PONTY BONE & THE SQUEEZETONES' Debut at The Austex Lounge on South Congress, featuring ROBERT MARQUAM on drums (and idea), MIKE ROBBERSON on bass, JOHN X. REED on guitar, and me on the accordion. Sit-ins include DON LEADY, LEROY PARNELL, TOMMY HANCOCK, "SMOKY" JOE MILLER, MIKE KINDRED and DOAK SHORT.
March 6: Gruene Hall, where we're ticketed, on stage, for excessive noise.
March 9: Billy Bob's in Fort Worth with MARSHALL TUCKER
March 10: The Dixie Club in San Angelo, with Joe arriving on horseback.
March 11: The Flamingo Lounge in Odessa
March 12-13: Lubbock, but I don't remember where...
March 17: Fitzgerald's in Houston, where, for St. Patrick's Day, I begin the show doing a solo version of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling".
March 19: Tupelo's in New Orleans
March 20: Faces in Baton Rouge
March 26: Pappy's in San Antonio
March 28: The Agora in Dallas
April 1: Fly to Colorado for a tour with THE BLASTERS
April 1: Sam's Old Time Bar in Fort Collins
April 2: Craig, Colorado, where we play without The Blasters, who were deterred by weather. We, the Ely Band, were also asked to turn around by the Colorado Highway Patrol, but we just said "Okay, sir", then kept on, at our own risk, and made it on a prayer.
April 3: The Boulder Theatre in Boulder
April 6: The Golden Inn in Golden, New Mexico
April 9: The Coliseum in Austin
April 10-11: Fitzgerald's in Houston, the end of the tour marked by both bands jamming together at the finale.
April 21: Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas
May 2: The 3rd Tornado Jam in Lubbock is marked by torrential rains and a one-day delay, as well as the presence of our new friend and fan, LINDA RONSTADT.
May 16: Begin a short tour of the region:
May 16: Cotton Carnival in Memphis, Tennessee with JERRY LEE LEWIS and CARL PERKINS
May 17: The Exit/In in Nashville
May 19: Jagg's in Oklahoma City
May 20: Uptown Ballroom in Kansas City, Missouri
May 21: Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa with ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL
May 22: Dallas
Along about this time, Jesse accidentally breaks a bone or two in his right hand, and is replaced by...LITTLE CHARLIE, already incredible at age 16 or so, later to have a major career as CHARLIE SEXTON. Several older guitar players are somewhat miffed, but the chemistry is A+.
Sketch2 (2).jpg (42185 bytes)June 11-12: Club Foot in Austin
June 13: The Agora in Dallas
June 15-17: Fat Dawg's in Lubbock
June 19: Pappy's in San Antonio
June 23-24: Nick's Uptown in Dallas
The next two dates were played without me. Things happen.
June 25: Wichita Falls
June 26: Amarillo
Then, fly to Odessa to resume and complete the tour:
June 29-30: The Flamingo Lounge in Odessa
July 2: The Yellow Rose in Corpus Christi
July 3-4: Gilley's in Pasadena, Texas with JERRY LEE LEWIS and MICKEY GILLEY.
July 5: The Milwaukee Summerfest, featuring the return of our guitar-hero, Jesse Taylor.
August 4: THE SQUEEZETONES' First Tour:
July 4-5: Fat Dawg's in Lubbock
July 6-7: The Water Works in Waco
August 21: The 2nd Texas Musician's Fishing Tournament is held in Port O'Conner. In 1981, the Ely Band played the first; this year, it's us Squeezetones, and the dance is held under a shed behind the Mercury-Evinrude dealership.
September 14-19 & 21-24: The Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, opening each of 11 sold-out shows for LINDA RONSTADT.
September 25: Club Lingerie in Los Angeles with LOS LOBOS
September 26: Greek Theatre in Berkeley
November 15-16: Confetti's in Houston, remembered for their two Go-Go cages, in which Smoky and I are suspended for each of our sets.
December 29-30: Nick's Uptown in Dallas
December 31: New Year's Eve finds the Joe Ely Band playing its final appearance before a year off.

Part1 (1944-1982) | Part 2 (1983-1999) | Part 3 (2000-2006) | Part 4 (2007) | Part 5 (2008) | Part 6 (2009-present)