Happy New Year to all!
Jan 10, 2016 - "Never Say No To Panda" commercial with Buddy Holly and The Picks singing "True Love Ways" has 34,625,981 views on one site on YouTube.
David Bowie died. Peter Frampton says the David Bowie introduced him to a wide range of music including Buddy Holly.
Jan 15, 2016 - Vicky received news that John Ingman of England died 12-14-15. Vicky and John had enjoyed knowing John Ingman from the 1980's when they met at music festivals in Lubbock and Clovis. Obit by John Beecher included " . . Music, chosen by John [Ingman] was, predictably by Buddy Holly and The Crickets: Not Fade Away, True Love Ways and Words Of Love; the latter a version including overdubs by The Picks …. which must have amused John. We all remembered him over tea and refreshments, and looked over photographs in his albums. And we’ll never forget him.
By John Beecher
From Cy Cushenberry - The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers........The Crickets!
Jan 16, 2016 - Jerry Dwyer died on this day. He was the owner of the Beechcraft Bonanza, and with his friend at the airport was one of the last 2 people to see Buddy Holly, Big Bopper, Richie Valens and pilot Roger Peterson alive. Jerry Dwyer told John and Vicky in 2009 at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, that the weather was clear and they were watching the red light on the back of the plane. One of them dropped something and Jerry reached down to pick it up and when he looked back for the plane the red light had disappeared. It has been reported throughout the years that Mr. Dwyer hid the plane after the collision.
Jan 17, 2016 - Carol Montgomery told Vicky about a novel that has horses named for Buddy Holly and Willie Nelson. "Bittersweet: A China Bayles Mystery" by Susan Witting Albert. (c) 2015.
John V. Pickering ran in the Chevron Downtown Houston Marathon (26K) and placed high in his age group. He has only been running for 6 months.
Jan 23, 2016 - The first anniversary of the death of the Pickering's only daughter-in-law, Kathy. She is still missed by many.
Jan 25, 2016 - 31st anniversary of the death of Bill Pickering of The Picks.
Feb 3, 2016 - 57th anniversary of the plane crash in 1959 that killed Buddy, Bopper, Ritchie and pilot Roger.
Feb 4, 2016 - Happy Birthday to Bob Lapham of The Picks.
Feb 10, 2016 - Pickering's son-in-law, Craig, recently was with his fellow employees at lunch and they heard "Oh Boy" playing in the restaurant. He told the people that his father-in-law, John, was singing on the record. They were very impressed.
Feb 23, 2016 - Vicky's daughter, Lisa found 2 boxes of 78-rpm and 45-rpm records in boxes as she was closing-out her 91-year old father-in-law's home for him to move to assisted living. Vicky went through the boxes and put all the information on spread sheets for future reference. There were 88 (176 songs) of the 78's; and 85 (170 songs) of the 45's. In the 45's was an early 50's recording of "The First Kiss" on Columbia Records insturmental by the Norman Petty Trio and on the flip side, the Trio with Vi Petty on vocals performing the same song.Vi Petty should have been more successful since she was a great singer and a beautiful, talented lady. Also found was a 45 of The Buckingham's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy/You Are Gone" on Columbia. Pickering's are friends of Dawn Lee Wakefield who wrote an article on The Picks and severals articles and books on The Buckingham's. Vicky sent Dawn Lee a Face Book messsage and enjoyed a conversation with her. http://www.thebuckinghams.com/bio_carl.html
Also included in the records were 2 Bobbie Vee songs produced by Snuff Garrett, "Sharing You/In My Baby's Eyes". Bobby Vee played on the show the night Buddy was killed.
A 45 of Chet Atkins "Freight Train/Dobro" were in the group of records. John and Bill Pickering met with Chet Atkins on several occasions when they were performing and recording in the late 60's and early 70's in Nashville on Stop Records and in Houston on Daffan label.
Pickering's former neighbors in 1968, the Spillers, emailed that they had been on a cruise two weeks before and the singer/pianist in one of the bars was playing some old songs. He pointed out a segment of Buddy Holly songs he sang and mentioned the Crickets.
Feb 26, 2016 - Pat and Jim Schuman from Ohio, mailed Vicky a letter with interesting facts about the Surf Ballroom Winter Dance Party with several very good pictures of artists who performed. A tribute to Joe B. Mauldin was held this year.
Feb 27, 2016 - Happy Birthday to Paula, the Pickering's daughter. Paula is a computer software engineer. Vicky enjoyed spending the day with her in Waco.
Vicky and family met in Waco, TX for the Baylor University presentation of "2016 Sing" with included 18 social organizations singing and dancing in competition. Vicky's grandson, a Baylor senior, Jacob, sang and danced with his fraternity Beta Theta Pi in a presentation called "Derailed". Jacob carried on the music heritage from his grandfather, John. Very good show. One of the judges was from Texas Tech University, Dr. Gerald Dolter. Vicky corresponded with him after she returned home with information on The Picks. Another fraternity performed "Proud Mary" in their competition. The late John and Bill Pickering (aka The Pickering Brothers) had recorded the song in 1969 at Stop Records in Nashville, making it the first country version released of the song.
While in Waco, the Pickering's extended family visited the Magnolia Market. It is owned by HGTV "Fixer Upper" TV show hosts Waco residents, Chip and Joanna Gaines.
Vicky and family visited the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco, TX and found a connection to Buddy Holly. Vicky saw a display of Baylor All-American and professional football player, Bill Glass. February 3, 1959, Bill Glass was leading a spiritural revival at Travis Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, Texas and John Pickeirng was directing the music and singing solos. As Vicky (8 months pregnant) drove to the church for the noon service, she heard on the car radio that Buddy, Bopper and Ritchie as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson, had been killed in the plane crash during the night. She called John at work and he came to the church. They thought that was the end of the Buddy Holly and the Crickets (and The Picks as the voices of the Crickets) music. They never dreamed that it would still be playing (with The Picks backup vocals) in 2016. [See 7-2-2016].
As Vicky drove to and from Houston to Waco, she played the Texas duo, The Rankin Brothers, CD "Well All Right!" and enjoyed their renditions of famous rock 'n' roll songs including the Crickets "That'll Be The Day". She also played Sting Ray Anthony's CD "What Ever Happened To Rock & Roll". He is a well-known performer impersonating many of the 50's rock 'n' roll musicians.
The Pickering's son, John, has run in 5K, 10K and a marathon this past year. On this date he ran in the Conoco/Phillips Downtown Houston Run which preceded the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Parade which began the 3-week rodeo.
Feb 28, 2016 - The 5th anniversary of the death of John W. Pickering.
During the 2016 Academy Awards, Vicky heard the instrumental version of "La Bamba" being played between award presentations.
Vicky notified William Kerns of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that Dr. Gerald Dolter was a judge at the Baylor 2016 "Sing". Dr. Dolter is at TTU in Lubbock and produces the Lubbock Moonlight Musicals in Mackenzie Park. Vicky sent Dr. Dolter an email.
Feb 29, 2016 - Leap Year Day. Vicky's niece, Rhonda, texted that when she was in a restaurant she heard "True Love Ways" and thought of the Pickering's. She had heard "Oh, Boy" on another day and it made her sad to think of her uncle John being deceased.
Vicky and family were happy to see Mary Sarah Gross of the Houston area appear on "The Voice" and sing Connie Frances hit song "Where The Boys Are". Mary Sarah picked Blake Shelton as her coach. Vicky saw Mary Sarah and her parents, Todd and wife, a few years ago at the Rosenberg (TX) Opry and they exchanged CDs. Vicky submitted songs to her that John had written and Vicky has in her music company, John Pickering Music. They have kept in touch on Face Book.
Mar 2, 2016 - Jan & Jim Landers said "that a couple of weekends ago, their church in Austin, TX had it annual presentation of 'That's Amore'. The music was especially enjoyable because it was from the '50s, with of course some Buddy Holly songs. When they sang 'Oh Boy', Jan told her table she had heard John Pickering sing that song. Jan said John still had a fabulous voice, even as an older man. Their music touched so many and still does. It was fun to see people lip-synching the words as the band played."
Mar 7, 2016 - Happy Birthday to Pickering's son-in-law, Terry. Terry is Head Athletic Trainer for the U.S.A. Diving team and recently returned from the World Cup competitions in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. He is head medical liaison with the High Performance Olympic Team. He has a private practice in Grapevine, TX.
Mar 8, 2016 - Remembering John Pickering born on this day in 1933.
Scot Dennin called from Fall River, MA and talked about the music and the musicians of the 50s.
Mar 9, 2016 - Happy Birthday to Pickering's daughter, Lisa, Director and Mentor of Kid's Hope in Richardson. TX.
Mar 10, 2016 - Ken Webster, Jr. (Producer Kenny) show "The Pursuit of Happiness" on KPRC AM Radio Houston, was filling in for the ill Matt Patrick when he interviewed Brandon Darby, who is an American informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Darby is a conservative blogger and managing director of Breitbart Texas, a conservative news and opinion website. Brandon was in Lubbock and mentoned Buddy Holly on the show. Vicky emailed with Brandon on 3-11-16.
Janet Steinmetz, editor of the HPAC newsletter requested current information from Vicky on John and Buddy Holly news. She replied with hearing John singing on songs in malls, stores and on commercials - 59 years after the recordings were made.
Mar 20, 2016 - Vicky was on a cruise with family on the MS Norwegian "Jade" in the Gulf of Mexico and attended the show in the Stardust Theater "Soul Rockin' Nights" and heard a song being performed that had been associated with John's music career - the John Fogarty song, "Proud Mary". The Pickering Brothers recorded the song in Nashville in 1969 as the first country version and have it on CD.
Mar 21, 2016 - When Vicky and family went ashore at Cozumel they went to the Playa Mia Grand Beach and Water Park. Vicky fell asleep in a beach chair and felt something tap her on the shoulder and when she awoke "La Bamba" was playing at the resort. (Hit song of Ritchie Valens who was killed with Buddy in the plane crash in 1959.)
Vicky's son-in-law Craig was called up on the stage by the Illusionist, Cripton during a magic act that evening on the ship. He was blindfolded and he and Cripton stood surrounded by a curtain and Cripton was tied with ropes and chains. Cripton was able to take Craig's jacket off Craig and put it on himself under the ropes and chains. Craig was a celebrity on the ship all week with people calling him The Jacket Man and asking how the trick worked. Craig has no idea or at least he is not telling! [ See October 24-31, 2004; August 11-16, 2007 for other Pickering family appearances on the shows.]
Mar 22, 2016 - When Vicky and family went ashore at Belize City, Belize, they saw two men singing a Calypso version of the Bee Gees "Words". The Pickering Brothers recorded the song in country music in 1969 and it is on a "Bee Gees and Friends" CD as well as their own CD." .
Mar 24, 2016 - On the ship, Vicky sat in on the game "Name That Tune: Elvis Presley". As different Elvis songs were sung by the performer, Vicky remembered seeing Elvis up close when she went with John to the Pontiac Auto Dealership in Lubbock where Elvis was promoting his show for the evening in about 1955 in which Buddy and the Crickets were the opening act. In 1958, 2nd Lt. John Pickering (US Army) and Elvis were both stationed at Ft. Hood Army Base, Texas. John being an officer, was able to have his Sergeant take him to Elvis' barracks. Elvis was not there because his mother was ill and he was gone to Memphis. She died soon aftert that.
Vicky felt as if John was there at the cruise in spirit leading her to hear all the songs.
Mar 25, 2016 - 53 Buddy Holly songs were released in a 3CD set "The Absolutely Essential Collection". The Picks voices are harmonizing with Buddy on songs originally from "The Chirping Crickets" '57 LP.
Mar 28, 2016 - Vicky had phone conversation with music fan, Scot Dennin from Massachusetts.
Mar 30, 2016 - Seen in the National Geographic magazine, Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet. New Season Saturdays 9/8c, Premiered March 19. Nat Geo Wild natgeowild.com/YukonVet. Dr. Oakley has a porcupine named "Peggy Sue". [See posting for 1-6-2015.]
Apr 2, 2016 - At a "Pickering Girls Weekend Out", Vicky heard the song "You Never Even Called Me By My Name" sung at The Loose Caboose in Old Town Spring (TX). Mentioned in the song were Waylon Jennings and Charlie Pride. John and Bill Pickering knew Waylon in Lubbock where Bill and Waylon both worked at KLLL. In 1969 and 1970, The Pickering Brothers opened for Charlie Pride in shows in Corpus Christi, East Bernard, and Conroe, TX when their "Proud Mary" was playing on radio.
Jan Landers read an article by Cedric Golden of the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. The writer was discussing Buddy Hield, the star of the OU basketball team. He said, "The Oklahoma newspaper had devoted a six-page spread to all things Buddy, including a review of 17 famous Buddys, among them the Lubbock rocker Holly. . .".
Apr 3, 2016 - Happy Birthday to Vicky, born in Clovis, NM.
Vicky and daughters and granddaughter heard songs associated with the Pickerings when they were shopping in the Antique Gallery of Texas in Spring (TX). There they heard friend Buddy Knox singing "Party Doll" (1957). At the Spring (TX) Antique Mall they heard playing "Sugartime" (1958) written by their friend, Charlie Phillips of Farwell, TX and sung by the McGuire Sisters, and later heard it being sung by Theresa Brewer.
Apr 5, 2016 - The 89th anniversary of Bill Pickering's birthday - 1927.
Vicky celebrated her birthday and was guest of cousins Lavoyda and Leonard in Seadrift, TX at "Tookies Burgers" a well-known place on the bay. Cousin Lavoyda and her sister took piano lessons from Vi Petty as a teenagers.
"Sugartime - The Sweet and Sticky Life of Country Music Legend Charlie 'Sugartime' Phillips" by Cy Cushenberry book has been released. Vicky ordered copies and looks forward to reading the book on friend Charlie and the mention of The Picks and Bill Pickering. Thanks Cy. Vicky's cousin, Lavoyda attended Farwell, TX schools with Charlie.
Vicky corresponded with the author, Cy Cushenberry, and he reported that The Picks 1957 photo is still in the Norman and Vi Petty Museum in Clovis.
Apr 8, 2016 - Happy 23rd Birthday to Pickering's granddaughter, Rylie. Rylie has been given an internship to work as a Youth Guidance Counselor for the next year. in England. She has volunteered for a few weeks each summer for the past 6 years. She was joined by her sister and mother in 2015. [See 7-17-2016].
Arp 9, 2016 - "Sugartime. . ." 366-page books arrived. Corresponded with author Cy Cushenberry and thanks for mention of The Picks and Bill Pickering. One book was for Vicky's cousin, Lavoyda who attended Farwell, TX schools with Charlie Phillips.
Vicky ordered the Gary Clevenger (USA) and Tony Warren (UK) book just released "The Crickets - Six Decades of Rock 'n' Roll Memories". Vicky had submitted memories for the book after John's death. Vicky had known the Crickets in high school as well as through Buddy Holly and the Crickets and John's work with the Crickets. Bob Lapham submitted memories and had a phone interview with Gary Clevenger.
Apr 12, 2016 - Vicky was watching "The Middle" TV sitcome and Paul Hipp was playing Rev. Tim-Tom and sang and played guitar. Earlier, Hipp was invited to stay in London to audition for the role of rock legend Buddy Holly. He beat out hundreds of other hopefuls to land the role. Buddy opened to rave reviews on 12 October 1989, at The Victoria Palace Theater. Hipp's turn in the title role of Buddy Holly earned him a nomination for the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Musical. The following year, Hipp opened as Buddy at Broadway's Shubert Theater in New York. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance, as well as winning the Theater World Award for Best Broadway Debut. “Buddy” went on to become one of the most successful and longest running musicals in West End history with each successive ‘Buddy’ staying true to Hipp’s original choreography.
Vicky corresponded with Dottie West concerning comments about Sonny in the "Sugartime" book.
Apr 13, 2016 - From Vicky's sister who had just seen James Taylor in Lubbock.
"We came to the initial concert of JAMES TAYLOR'S new 52-city concert tour. His first encore was a stupendous version, complete with lighting that bedazzled, of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away." Something else! From his new album, "Mexico" was wonderful!!
At the beginning, he paid tribute to "native son, Buddy Holly", by singing "Everyday." At the end, he said "We will acknowledge Buddy Holly one more time." And then performed "Not Fade Away".
He has been in Lubbock 5 days preparing for this first show of the tour." Thanks Marilyn and Travis Brown.
Vicky heard Don McLean singing "American Pie" in a store today.
Apr 14, 2016 - Seen on Face Book "Texas Family Musicals, Inc. 'The Night The Music Died' The most popular show presented by the Texas Family Musicals returns to Moody Gardens July 7-10. Evening and matinees. The last concert of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper comes alive again in full blast! www.texasfamilymusicals.com."
Apr 15, 2016 - The 592-page book by Gary Clevenger (USA) and Tony Warren (UK) arrived, "The Crickets Six Decades of Rock 'n' Roll Memories". Vicky Pickering (p. 446) and Bob Lapham (p.180 to 183) had submitted memories of the Crickets beginning in the 50s. Author Gary Clevenger did a phone interview with Bob Lapham (p.183 - 188). Included in the book (pages 274 to 290) is "Interview with John Pickering of The Picks and his wife Vicky by Dick Stewart of Lance Monthly-Printed with permission." Thank you very much Gary and Dick.
Vicky was in high school with some of the Crickets. Bob sang backup vocals on severa; of their hit songs. Thank you Superduperclub.com for a quick shipment.
LHS Classmates of '55 Harrell Rudolph has remembrances (p.403-405) and Barbara Sudduth Newsom (p. 381-383).
Vicky received the order of a 45-rpm Stoneway Records label #1064-A "It's Him Again" written by Jerry Duneway and sung by The Pickering Brothers. Backed with #1064-B "You're Thinking of Leaving" written by John Pickering and recorded by The Pickering Brothers - John and Bill in the early 1970s. Thank you Steve Burt for a quick shipment.
Bob Lapham of The Picks had good news about family. "Wonderful news! My only grandchild, Victoria, graduates from UT-Austin next month, 5 semesters straight making the dean's list in psychology. She was hired in December by a nationwide outfit working with autistic kids. Proud and thankful!"
Apr 16, 2016 - Vicky saw cousin-by-marriage Ralna English (was married to Vicky's cousin Deral Hendrix) on a 2016 Lawrence Welk PBS Houston Show of former shows. Larry Byers of Lubbock emailed that he knew Deral and Ralna, and his brother Phil knew Ralna and her sister, Sharon. Small world. Larry met Bill Pickering when they both worked in Texas City, TX in the 1970s. Larry said he was at KTLW radio and Bill went to work at the station as their sports announcer. Later they both ended up back in Lubbock.
Vicky received the order of a 45-rpm Stoneway Records label #1089 (1973) of Bill Pickering "Heartache No. 9" written by John Pickering. Backed with "Rainbow at Midnight". Thanks Still-revelant.com.
Also received the order of a 45-rpm of The Pickering Brothers on Stop Records (1969) "Proud Mary" D.J. copy. Backed with song John and Bill wrote "They Linger On". Thanks to Nohitters Records for a quick shipment.
Apr 19, 2016 - Vicky received the 534-page book she ordered, Frank Blanas "The King of Clovis" (c) 2013 the story of Norman Petty and his recording empire in Clovis, NM. Many thanks for the mentions of The Picks, Bill and John Pickering and Bob Lapham (correct spelling). Vicky understood that Mr. Blanas compiled the information for the book over many years. Since it was so long ago, she doesn't remember when he interviewed John and Bob. She'll find it in John's manuscript as she types it. Thank you very much for the mentions, Mr. Blanas. John's manuscript has the story of knowing the Petty family from the late 1930s and performing on the radio at the same time Norman was performing in the 1940s. Thanks to Scylax Publications for a quick shipment.
Vicky also received a DJ. copy of The Picks "Moondreams" on Columbia label (1957) written by Norman Petty backed with songwriter Niki Sullivan's "Look To The Future". The Picks later did overdubs for Niki. Thanks to Jim Villing and dadshotwaxstore for a quick shipment.
Vicky received a sales copy of the Columbia "Moondreams" by The Picks b/w "Look To The Future". Thanks to Brian Ziemer at 2112muffinman for a quick shipment.
The third and fourth of the John Pickering's grandsons will be graduating from universities in May. Announcement was received of the May 13th graduation of Jacob Robinson from Baylor University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics, and he will be employed with an engineering firm in Houston. Zachary Robinson will finish his Masters Degree in Physics at U of MN and continue on there with his PhD in Physics Degree. [See 5-13-2016].
April 23, 2016 - In Spring, TX, Vicky attended the 65th Reunion of the Houston ISD John H. Reagan High School Class of '51 in Houston. This was John's senior class. He performed on musical programs when in school and with his family who were singing on the radio each weekday and at Berean Church on Sundays. On a display board were seen pictures of John in high school singing on programs, in ROTC, and articles on his singing career from 1957 until his death.. He was listed along with deceased classmates in the "In Memory Of . . ." display. The classmates of the class of '51 are saddened to hear that the Houston School Board is voting to change the name of their high school because of the connection of the namesake to the Confederacy.
Then Vicky attended a Southern Gospel Music program held at the Sugar Land Baptist Church "Singin' in Texas Concert Series" by promoter David Hancock in which Mark Lowry, The Martins, pianist Steve Whitmire, & The Erwins performed. Mark is a Christian singer,comedian, and songwriter of the words to "Mary Did You Know?" which he sang on the show. He also sang some love songs he had recorded for his mother, Bev Lowry before her death from dementia. For the first time in Mark's 41-year career, a wedding was performed during one of his shows. A senior citizen couple was married. Vicky met Mark's first Booking Agent when he was 11-years old, Lou Wills Hildreth. The Pickering family has known the extended Lowry/Davis family since 1949.
Thanks to friend Bettye Hamilton for giving Vicky several DVDs of Mark Lowry.
Then Vicky joined son-in-law, his brother and their father for dinner at Rockfish Grill in Houston. An exciting day of activities in a 100-mile drive around Houston.
April 24, 2016 - Article in the Houston Chronicle by Matthew Tresaugue on Texas blues legend Alger "Texas" Alexander born in 1900 and died in 1954. He and John and Bill Pickering's father were born the same month and year and died one year and 2 months apart. "62 years later, Texas blues legend gets his due". Vicky sent the article to Theo Dasbach at the Rock & Blues Museum in Clarksdale, MS.
Apr 28, 2016 - Vicky met with some of Buddy Holly's LHS '55 class for lunch.The Houston LHS group had a very enjoyable lunch that Shirley Bedford Gist had set up for them at Valley Ranch Bar-B-Que. Lots of talking, visiting and sharing memorabilia. Remembering those who had died from LHS in the last few weeks and earlier, Bob Montgomery. In attendance were Harrell and Janice Rudolph, Sonny Dunn, Chalky and Maru Stogner, Carole Passmore, Bill Sandy, Shirley Gist, Amber Reed, Thelma Reed, and Vicky Pickering. Classmates shared stories of the recent storms and flooding in the Houston area. Some had water in their homes, some had trees down, some had hail, but all were safe. Missed were Curtis Rainwater who was out of town this week and Roy Tunnell who had a work conflict. Don Boggus is recovering very well from his illness and we are looking forward to seeing Don and Mary Lou back very soon.
Amber Reed shared newspaper pictures and articles on her mother Thelma Reed, 93, Eastern Star 70-year Award and Amber’s Daughters of the Republic of Texas article. They have been busy with their activities in these organizations. Thelma told us she was the 7th child of 8 children and she was born on Thanksgiving Day at home out in the country and delivered by her father. Then the family continued on with Thanksgiving Dinner. The class of ’55 wondered if they could have done that.
Bill Sandy told the group that he played percussion in a band with J.I. “Jerry” Allison when they were seniors at LHS.
Amber and Carole Passmore were talking about a neighbor/singer, Gene Watson. In 1974, Gene, a country singer, recorded one of John Pickering’s songs, I’m Not Strong Enough.
Shirley Gist said her late husband, A.O. Gist went to school with Bob Lapham of Abilene, a member of John Pickering’s trio. They saw Bob’s book, Meet Me At The River, Buddy Holly and A.O. said he should buy it since he went to school with Bob.
Vicky brought printouts of Joni’s newsletter and emails for those who do not have a printer, and recent obituaries taken from the Lubbock newspaper of classmates. Vicky passed out a sheet of “Congratulations to the Houston area LHS Class of ’55 on the occasion of the 61st anniversary of their graduation.” Included were the words to the school song and a picture of the school.
Vicky shared information on 3 books that have been released with connections to LHS classmates and friends:
1. The Crickets: Six Decades of Rock ‘n‘ Roll Memories by Gary Clevenger (USA) and Tony Warran (UK). Memories of classmates included Harrell Rudolph (pp. 403-405); Barbara Sudduth Newsom (pp. 381-383) with a picture and autograph of Waylon Jennings; and Vicky Pickering (p. 446) and interview with Vicky and John by Dick Stewart (pp. 274-290). Also other mentions of many of the musicians the class had known at LHS.
2. Up the road from Lubbock at Farwell is the story of Charlie Phillips in the book Sugartime by Cy Cushenberry, title of the song Charlie wrote and that was a million seller recorded by the Maguire Sisters. Many West Texas musicians are mentioned in the book. Vicky’s cousin who has had lunch with the Houston group, Lavoyda Williams went to school with Charlie. Mentions of John Pickering and The Picks are included in the book.
3. Across the state line in Clovis, NM, comes the book The King of Clovis by Frank Blanas. This book includes mentions of Buddy Holly and the Crickets, John Pickering and his trio, The Picks and many West Texas musicians. On the cover of the book is the picture of a 45-rpm record of Maybe Baby and a radio station play list that included Oh Boy, both songs with backup by John and the trio.
May 1, 2016 - On the car radio, Vicky heard Linda Ronstadt singing "That'll Be The Day" on Classic Country Legends KTHT FM 97.1 Houston. The song is timeless. Great cover of the Buddy Holly song.
Graham Nash, 74, (of the Hollies; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; and other groups) half-page article with picture in the Houston Chronicle Sunday Edition by Ken Hoffman. "Graham Nash holds a place in rock 'n' roll history" Large picture of Graham in a show of his photography and paintings at the San Francisco Art Exchange in 2013. Graham will be at the Stafford Centre (Houston area) on Wednesday night May 4th. Tickets at staffordcentre.com . An Evening with Graham Nash. This Path Tonight Tour 2016. Tickets $41 - $101.00. Graham became a fan of Holly when he heard at age 17 that Buddy had been killed.
John and Vicky enjoyed meeting Graham in 2009 at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on the 50th anniversary of the Holly/Bopper/Valens/Peterson plane crash.
In 1987, John and Vicky sent the Hollies an LP of "Buddy Holly & The Picks - the Original Chirping Sound" which included a booklet on the "Best Kept Secret in Rock 'n' Roll."
On a Graham Nash YouTube video he mentions performing "Everyday, Think It Over, and Rave On" in his first shows.
On Facebook was the picture and a question about " 'The Great Texas Supper' painting that was the idea of LSA Burger Co. owners Jon Christopher Davis and John “Sparky” Pearson. Icon Studios in Dallas brought it to life. The painting depicts a scene similar to “The Last Supper,” and Jesus is still there, but he’s joined by (from left): George Jones, Selena, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, Scott Joplin, Janis Joplin, Bob Wills, Willie Nelson, Freddy Fender, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Holly and T-Bone Walker."
Vicky and singer/songwriter, Mark Lowry have been corresponding on Facebook about their family connections since the late 1940s in Houston. [See April 23, 2016.]
Book Review in the Houston Chronicle. "Old Records Never Die: One Man's Quest for His Vinyl and His Past" by Eric Spitznagel. "Those scratchy records might heal his broken heart.". Bu Vick Mickunas for the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News.
May 2, 2016 - Vicky emailed Vick Mickunas discussing his review of "Old Records Never Die. . .".
May 3, 2016 - Vicky emailed author Eric Spitznagel, of "Old Records Never Die . . .".
May 8, 2016 - John V. Pickering said one of his friends is playing keyboard in the current band of the Pickering's entertainment
lawyer, Al Staehely. Al was featured in "Spirit" in the 70s.
May 13, 2016 - Pickering's grandson Jacob graduated cum laude with a degree in mechanical engineering from Baylor University. Vicky enjoyed being at the graduation. [See 4-19-2016].
May 14, 2016 - [Note: See August 25, 2016 - William Kerns "Cricket Memoreis".]
May 15, 2016 - Another Buddy Holly mention. Houston Chronicle story, "Finding fabric of connection" by Andrew Dansby on John Evans, songwriter. "Evans says, 'I grew up listening to Buddy Holly, so even if I made a 14-song album, it'd still come in below 40 minutes.' "
May 25, 2016 - More Buddy Holly and associated mentions from the book "The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto" by Mitch Albom in the Chapter 'Leonard Tappy Fishman" on page 74 of the Signed First Edition hardback belonging to John V. Pickering. "So a few hours later I drive out to pick him up, and I turn on the radio. That's when I hear the news. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash. You know that story? In Iowa, that's right. A snowstorm."
In Chapter 34 "1955" on page 270, "Frankie sang the first line of 'Always,' a popular tune recorded by the Ink Spots and Frank Sinatra." (Website editor: In 1955, John Pickering was singing this song to his girlfriend Vicky and he sang it at their wedding on August 23, 1957. "I'll be loving you always, with a love that's true always. . .".).
In Chapter 40 on page 292, " 'Frankie. Listen to me.' He put his hands on Frankie's shoulders. 'It's good for your career.' Music comments, 'I do not know who invented this phrase. I do not know who invented that word. I can only tell you I have been on earth since mankind's inception, and have produced sounds for every stitch of life's tapestry, sounds that invoke awakening, pain, love, the four season. But in my countless creations, there has never been a sound for 'career'. " ( Website Editor: Norman Petty told The Picks their work for Buddy Holly and the Crickets in Clovis would be for "Career Enhancement." It took 30 years for their names to appear on "The Chirping Crickets" re-issue of the LP on which they sang backup on 9 songs and never received any money.)
In Chapter "Paul Stanley" page 385 "And then I remembered Frankie talking about his little girl. And he was right. At a certain point, your life is more about your legacy to your kids than anything else." (Website Editor: In the mid-1970s, John Pickering always said that he would rather be at home with his family than traveling each night on a bus to the next performance. )
June 11, 2016 - "Are Rock Stars Doomed To Die Young? By Greg Hall in the Houston Chronicle. Mention of Buddy Holly. Greg and Vicky exchanged emails.
June 14. 2016 - Pickering's Music Lawyer Al Staehely Item: "The opening to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," one of rock 'n' roll's best-known ballads, was played for jurors Tuesday in a case brought by the estate of a dead musician that claims it was stolen by the men credited with creating it.
A lawyer for the estate trustee of the late Randy Wolfe, also known as Randy California, claimed the British rockers lifted the passage from the instrumental tune "Taurus," recorded by his band Spirit, and infringed on the songwriter's copyright."
Al Staehely was a member of Spirit in the 1970s.
Jun 19, 2016 - Houston Chronicle story on Terry Allen by Andrew Dansby "A peculiar beast lives to haunt again." Terry Allen is married to Jo Harvey Allen actress, playwright, poet, and pioneer of women in radio. Jo Harvey was a childhood friend of Vicky's sisters in Lubbock and visited in their home.
Jun 24, 2016 - "Led Zeppelin rocks copyright case over 'Stairway' " by Brian Melley, AP.
The Avett Brothers, Scott and Seth, appeared on "The Tonight Show" along with guests J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans and Jim Parsons of Houston of "The Big Bang Theory". The Avett Brothers were described in the San Francisco Chronicle as " . . .the light pop concision of Buddy Holly . . ."
Jun 27, 2016 - Pickering's grandson Jacob began work at Brandt engineering in Houston following his graduation from Baylor University.
Jun 28, 2016 - Winfield Scott "Scotty" Moore III died at age 84. He was the engineer and owner of Music City Recorders in Nashville in 1969 when The Pickering Brothers, John and Bill recorded "Proud Mary" and other songs. D.J. Fontana and Bill Black also played on the songs with Pete Drake as the producer on Stop Records. They had all been associated with Elvis, and John and Bill were associated with Buddy Holly.
Jun 30, 2016 - On the "Walton & Johnson" radio show on KPRC-AM Houston, hosts were discussing Gary Busey's birhday and mentioned that he played "Buddy Holly" in the 1978 movie and was nominated for an Academy Award.
The Houston Lunch Bunch of the LHS Class of '55 met with a lot of discussion of the days of Buddy Holly. They are searching for a girl who dated Bob Montgomery in 1955. They were sad to learn that Lubbockite, Tinker Carlen had died that morning.
Jul 2, 2016 - Garrison Keillor retires from radio's "A Prairie Home Companion" show and Lake Wobegon stories. He is a big Buddy Holly music fan. He and friends drove to the Holly crash site on 2-3-1959. https://soundcloud.com/andrew-crowley/buddy-holly-and-the-pharaohs . Radio program "Buddy Holly and the Pharaohs". Pianist played an instrumental version of Buddy's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore".
Joe Holley of the Houston Chronicle mentions football player Bill Glass in a column about Baylor University. Bill Glass and John worked at a spiritual revival at a church in Corpus Chrisit, TX the day Buddy Holly, Bopper, Valens and the pilot, Roger Peterson were killed. [See 2-27-2016].
Jul 9, 2016 - Vicky heard on the radio Mac Davis singing "Texas In My Rearview Mirror" which has mentions of Buddy Holly.
Vicky mailed Theo Dasbach of the Rock 'n' Blue Museum in Clarksdale, MI an article from the Houston Chronicle by Andrew Dansby on the history of Blues music in Houston as the newspaper celebrates 115 years of publishing in Houston.
Jul 10, 2016 - Happy Birthday to Pickering's grandson, Garrett.
Jul 12-13, 2016 - Fifty-nine years ago The Picks put the backup vocals on Buddy Holly's "Oh Boy" making it a Cricket sound song.
Jul 17, 2016 - Pickering's granddaughter, Rylie, flew to London to live and have an Internship in Youth Counseling. [See 4-8-2016].
Jul 20, 2016 - Dottie West shared on Face Book that "Sixty years ago this week, Sonny West made his iconic Nor-Va-Jak recording of "Rock-Ola Ruby". "Later this year, September 15, 2016, Sonny West will be inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame (Lubbock)."
Jul 24, 2016 - Vicky's friend, Bettye Hamilton, gave her a book "Too Young To Die" (c) 1979 by Patricia Fox-Sheinwold. On page 122 is a 4-page article with pictures on Buddy Holly.
Face Book notice sent to Echo Montgomery Garrett: "I just saw Bob's name in a book a friend gave me at church today. It was in her late daughter's collection. It is "Too Young To Die" (c) 1979 by Patricia Fox-Sheinwold. On the Buddy Holly page, "At age eight, he [Buddy] began studying the piano and violin, then switched to the guitar. With his friend Bob Montgomery, he became part of a local duo known for Western Bop."
A picture of "The Chirping Crickets" Brunswick 1957 LP and a 1958 "Buddy Holly and The Crickets" LP is on the page. John and The Picks sang on 9 of the songs on the LPs. .A lot has happened concerning Buddy's history and about Bob since this book was printed in 1979. Would never have dreamed it would still be fascinating to the public in 2016. It was a pleasure to have been part of rock 'n' roll history."
Jul 25, 2016 - Remembering Pickering's daughter-in-law, Kathy Landers Pickering on her birthdate in 1957. Died 1-23-2015.
Jul 26, 2016 - Vicky watched a re-run again seeing singer/actor Paul Hipp as Rev. Tim Tom on "The Middle" TV show. Paul beat out hundreds of other hopefuls trying out for the role of Buddy Holly in the London production of "Buddy" which opened October 12, 1989. Then the next year he opened in New York with a very successful career to follow. Paul has had a successful career as a songwriter including songs with Carol King.
Jul 27, 2016 - Kathi D'Hondt commented on Face Book that she and Dennis saw Paul Hipp star as Buddy Holly in Toronto in the early 1990s. She had recently come across the program from the show. They are busy in Toronto attending Peggy Sue's car crusie with the '57 Chevy group, Legends of Rock 'n' Roll theater production in Cambridge, an Elvis tribute show and will see Neil Diamond in August.
Aug 4, 2016 - Vicky played piano at the Alief Chapter of AARP. Program was presented by Wally Newman "Bobby Socks & Doo Wop" with golden oldie songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Wally gave interesting information about the music between songs. He also lead a sing-a-long of favorite songs. He said he had played Buddy Holly & The Picks songs for many years but did not know who The Picks were. He added "Oh Boy" to tonight's show telling the audience who John and The Picks were. He has a radio program on KLTR 94.1 Brenham on Sunday from 3 - 6 p.m.
Aug 7, 2016 - Wall Newman played Buddy Holly & The Picks' songs on his "Bobby Socks & Doo Wop" Show on KLTR 94.1.
Aug 11, 2016 - Vicky presented a piano program at Houston's First Baptist Church Widow's Dinner. The theme for the program was Summer Time Memories-Camp Revival Sing-A-Long. Vicky also played background music before the dinner was served.
Aug 14, 2016 - The late Bob Montgomer's 53-year old son-in-law, Mark Cooley, died in Georgia of AML Leukemia after a long fight. When Vicky was listening to late night radio at 1:08 a.m. Monday morning, she heard one of Bob's big hits "Misty Blue" by Dorothy Moore leading in to radio show "Coast to Coast A.M." Friends are remembering the Cooley/Montgomery families.
Music Trivia from the Houston Chronicle: 1. "Solving the mysteries of Olympic theme music: by Steve Johnson /Chicago Tribune; "Civil hymns dominate campaign soundtracks" by Tripp Hudgins/Religious News Service.
Aug 15, 2016 - More music trivia from the Houston Chronicle: "O, say can you sing?" by Kyrie O'Connor.
Aug 16, 2016 - Letter to the Editor of the Houston Chronicle: Ref.: "O say can you sing?" "Belting it out" by James Conlan, Houston. ". . . only anthem that ends with a question. England often sings "Jerusalem" as a national anthem."
Aug 19, 2016 - LEPAA commissions Buddy Holly documentary. Country music singer, Gary Morris and film crew from Nashville, traveled to Abilene, TX and interviewed Bob Lapham, member of The Picks trio about his recording with Buddy Holly, making the songs Crickets songs. Lubbock Entertainment and Performing Arts Association (LEPAA) is the Lubbock-based organization raising funds to finance construction of the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences.
Aug 23, 2016 - Vicky and John were married on this date in 1957 and married 53 years when John died in 2011. Vicky and son John had lunch together, remembering his Dad.
Aug 24, 2016 - Vicky had lunch with cousin, Lavoyda and Leonard Williams celebratin both their anniversaries - Vicky's on the 23rd and the Williams' on the 31st. John sang at their wedding in Farwell, TX, just 10 miles from the Petty Recording Studios in Clovis, NM where John had recorded backup vocals with The Picks on 9 songs on "The Chirping Crickets" LP. He was stationed at Ft. Hood, TX on the wedding date serving as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2nd Missile Command. Elvis was there at the same time.
Aug 25, 2016 -The Houston LHS Class of '55 met at Gringo's for lunch. Wally Newman who performs "Bobby Socks and Doo Wop" shows in the Houston area and on radio was a guest.
Thanks to a LHS Class of '55 classmate for sending Sonny Dunn 2 articles from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal which he shared with the Houston Lunch Bunch. One article written by William Kerns of the A-J published May 14,2016 is "Cricket Memories" by Gary Clevenger and Tony Warren. Memories from many of the classmates of Buddy and the Crickets are included in the book. Thanks to William Kerns for the nice mention of The Picks.
The second article of the "Caprock Chronicles" August, 15, 2016, written by Curtis Peoples, PhD. at TTU on Buddy Holly, Bob Montgomery, and the Crickets and edited by Paul Carlson, professor emeritus at TTU.
Thanks for sharing the articles with us Sonny Dunn of Livingston, TX.
Aug 29, 2016 - Bob Lapham of the trio, The Picks, and singer, songwriter, Sonny West met for lunch and enjoyed talking about msic in the 1950s. They have lots of memories of those wonderful days. Everyone is looking forward to seeing Sonny inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame (Lubbock) on September 15th. "Oh Boy" and "Rave On" Sonny! The 1950s were wonderful days and these two men had a lot to do with creating the great rock 'n' roll sounds!
Bob Lapham is an author of five novels as well as a singer. Fans are looking forward to the video interview of Bob at the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences. [See August 19, 2016].
Aug 31, 2016 - Vicky emailed and Face Booked with William Kerns and Curtis Peoples about the articles mentioned on the 25th.
Sep 3, 2016 - Happy 50th Birthday to John V. Pickering, son of Vicky and the late John Pickering. Born in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Sep 7, 2016 - Remembering Buddy on the 80th anniversary of his birthday.
Sep 27, 2016 - Austin Allsup, 32, son of Tommy Allsup, 84, won a blind adition on NBC's "the Voice". John, Bill and Bob of The Picks have known Tommy many years.
Sep 15, 2016 - Congratulations to Sonny West who was inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame (Lubbock). John Pickering enjoyed doing some backup vocals for Sonny in the 2000s.
Sep 16, 2016 - Happy Birthday to Pickering's son-in-law, Craig.
Sep 27, 2016 - Austin Allsup, 32, son of musician Tommy Allsup, won the blind audition on NBC's The Voice. [See 1-3-2017]
Oct 3, 2016 - Happy 25th Birthday to Pickering's grandson, Zachary.
Oct 9, 2016 - Happy Birthday to Pickering's grandson, Landon, born on 10-9-87.
Oct 16, 2016 - Article in the Chronicle about Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines. "The Lubbock native [Lloyd Maines] is one of the most important figures in Texas music made over the past half-century. His musical fingerprints are everywhere, as a producer and player (guitar, pedal steel, dobro, mandolin - anything with strings). Maines has played with, recorded with or done production for Terry Allen, Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the list could go on for days." By Andrew Dansby.
Oct 22, 2016 - Happy Birthday to Pickering's grandson, Jacob, who now works in Houston.
On Face Book: The New Mexico Music Hall of Fame reveals names of the following 2016 Inductees. Sonny West, singer/songwriter; and Dick Stewart, founder of the King Richard and the Knights. Congratulations to Sonny and Dick. Induction will be in Albuquerque, NM on November 17th. The Picks were inducted in 2007.
Oct 24, 2016 - Teen-age idol, Bobby Vee, 73, died of Alzheimer's disease in Rogers, MN. He and his band filled in for Buddy Holly on the night Buddy was killed, Feb. 3, 1959. Sympathy is sent to his family. John and Vicky Pickering enjoyed meeting Bobby several times.
Live feeds were on the cell phone and Face Book with Kevin Montgomery, son of the late record producer/classmate of Vicky, Bob Montgomery and backup singer, Carol Montgomery. At the Norman Petty 7th Street Recording Studio in Clovis, NM, was Sonny West and Mike McAdam were practicing Sonny's "Rave On". Bob's "Heartbeat" and "Flower of my Heart" were recorded. Bob and Carol lived in Clovis for 2 years that is where Bob learned his engineering and production Kevin said.
Oct 30, 2016 - Coming home from church Sunday Vicky heard on the radio Mac Davis' 1980 recording "I THOUGHT happiness was Lubbock Texas in my rear view mirror..." Mentions of Buddy - "Humming an old Buddy Holly tune...", "If Buddy could make it that far I figured I could too...".
Nov 2, 2016 - On Wednesday when Vicky met her son for a belated birthday lunch for him at a restaurant, the song "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing" was playing. John and Vicky performed that song many times during about 55 years. They made a medley of that song and "Three Coins In A Fountain" and "Blue Moon". When Vicky heard the song she felt like John Sr. was there with there with them helping to celebrate son John's 50th birthday.
Nov 3, 2016 - Vicky played piano at Alief AARP Chapter.
Dec 1, 2016 - Travis Holley, one of rock and roll legend Buddy Holly's older brothers, died at his home at approximately 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, according to relatives. He was 89, born on July 10, 1927. He is survived by older brother, Larry, age 91 and daughter Travetta and others. Funeral was Monday, Dec. 5th.
Dec 1, 2016 - Vicky played Christmas Carols on the piano at AARP Alief Chapter as well as other songs on the program.
Dec 3, 2016 - Lisa Pickering Rees and Paula Pickering Robinson went to Louisiana to see a Donnie and Marie Osmond show. They really enjoyed seeing it. They met Donnie and most of the brothers about 45 years ago at the Houston airport in a private meeting when they arrived, then enjoyed them in a show that night.
Dec 6, 2016 - Vicky attended the Houston First Baptist Church Christmas program "Celebration" with other widows of the church and people from 23 missions the church sponsors. A male soloist looked very much like John Pickering. Vicky made eye contact with him and felt like it was John's spirit looking at her and that he was still singing for the Lord.
Dec 8, 2016 - The Lubbock HS Class of '55 in the Houston area met for their Christmas Dinner Party at the Steamboat House. Announcement was made of Travis Holley's death. Lavoyda and Leonard Williams were guests of Vicky. Lavoyda took piano lessons in Clovis from Vi Petty when she was a teenager.
Dec 10, 2016 - Lisa Pickering Rees and husband, Craig attended the "Celebration" program at HFBC. Lisa also thought the singer looked like her dad.
Dec 13, 2016 - Jason "Sundance" Head, 37, son of singer Roy Head of Houston, won first place on "The Voice". John and Bill Pickering performed in the Houston music scene during the late 60s and early 70s and enjoyed knowing Roy. [See 12-29-2016].
Dec 13, 2016 - Pickering's daughter and husband Paula and Terry saw "The Texas Tenors" show in Grapevine recently. The trio sang "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling". John and Bill Pickering, The Pickering Brothers (aka The Picks) recorded the song in Nashville in 1970 on Stop Records. Bill Pickering sang the high tenor.
Dec 15, 2016 - John's Reagan HS Class of '51 Lunch Bunch met for a Christmas Dinner Party at the White Flamingo. Vicky enjoyed a visit with a high school friend of John's who is a friend of the mother of singer Bill Nash and family. They remember knowing the Pickering Family Singers. Bill Pickering lived in the Rio Grande Valley in the 1960s when the Nash's were there as well as later in Houston
Dec 15, 2016 - Bee Gees on PBS, 1997 show. John and Bill Pickering, The Pickering Brothers (aka The Picks) recorded "Words" and it is the #2 song on "Bee Gees and Friends" CD. Bee Gees just sang "Words" on the show and it was great. Remembering John and Bill practicing and recording the song. Bill's high tenor made the song sound great. The brothers Gibb wrote and recorded the song, then the brothers Pickering recorded it in Nashville in 1970!
Dec 16, 2016 - "Everyday (Christmas Time Will Surely Come Our Way)" song written by John Pickering (c) 1990 and revised (c) 2010. Can also be sung to the tune of Buddy Holly's "Everyday" - "Everyday, it's a-gettin' closer, goin' faster than a roller coaster. . .".
Dec 25, 2016 - Merry Christmas To All!
Dec 29, 2016 - Roy Head, singer and father of Sundance Head who won first place on The Voice, suffered a ruptured aorta, an aneurism that bled out in the stomach. Prayers for his recovery are requested. [See 12-13-2016].
Dec 31, 2016 - Happy 20th birthday to Jansen Victoria Rees, the Pickering's granddaughter.
If you are looking for gospel or secular music to perform and/or record, please contact Vicky Pickering at John Pickering Music Company % Pick Records, Inc. 281-498-5249. John had written many songs that are in his catalog.