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Houston Barks

Houston Barks was his name and he was said to have been born in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. They say he started strumming a guitar when he was just eight years old.

When he was 18 years old, he moved to Visalia, California and got a job picking cotton. He did that for about a couple days and started thinking that there must be a better way to make a living. So, he decided to try the music business a bit and began finding work in towns such as Fresno, Bakersfield, Tulare, Dinuba and also Visalia.

He did that for about ten years, but was getting frustrated, feeling like he wasn't really getting noticed in the entertainment business. He packed up and moved to Santa Paula, California about 1956.

There, he got work for a one-night stand at a place that Buck and Sunny Smith owned. It may have been an audition, but the audience and Buck and Sunny were impressed. He was hired by the Smiths to front the band at their place. The crowds began to grow, with people starting to come from miles around.

He had written a couple of tunes and apparently Buck and Sunny thought they were good. They decided to have him do a recording session on their Buck and Sunny record label. He recorded "She's Gone" and "A Stranger".

Billboard wrote a review of that record and stated that Houston's style was a bit like Johnny Cash. They termed both sides of the record as 'weepers'. The 'A' side was about a train that took his gal far away; the 'B' side was about a stranger that took his gal away.

Credits & Sources

  • Folk and Country Songs; Vol. 4 No. 16; June 1959; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT
  • Billboard Magazine; November 10, 1958

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Rec. No. Side Song Title
  K1817 A A Stranger (Tore My Castle Down)
  K1817 B She's Gone
Buck And Sunny
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  101 A A Stranger (Tore My Castle Down)
  101 B She's Gone

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