Whiskey River (Take My Mind): The True Story of Texas Honky-Tonk

Johnny Bush, Author, Rick Mitchell, With, Willie Nelson, Foreword by University of Texas Press $24.95 (254p) ISBN 978-0-292-71490-8

Brash country performer and Texas Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Bush, a one-time star who penned Willie Nelson's classic ""Whiskey River,"" recounts the early days of Texas honky-tonk in this raucous autobiography. So poor he and his brother went to school without shoes, Bush's rough early years in Houston took a change for the better after his parents divorced and he moved in with his uncle, ""Smilin'"" Jerry Jericho. A well-liked veteran of the local music scene, Jericho took Bush under his wing and brought the boy into a world of living legends like Gene Autry and Lefty Frizzell. Fans of live music will get a kick out of Bush's fond but brutally honest memories of life on the road, playing gigs with Willie Nelson and Bush's idol Ray Price, performing behind chicken wire while fights rage on the dance floor, indulging in one-night stands and abusing plenty of drugs and alcohol. Bush also recounts his battle with a vocal disorder, which for a time robbed the singer of his voice and, ultimately, his shot at super-stardom. In addition, Bush covers a double-handful of his Texas contemporaries, his multiple marriages and his disrespect for the contemporary Nashville sound-all with unabashed love for the music and a humble, endearing self-regard.
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