Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sweet Clifford Antone is dead at 56

My friend Clifford was a big teddy bear of a man with the deepest most soulful blue eyes ever. He gave these amazing hugs and was always there with an easy smile and a helping hand. He always believed in my talent from the first time we met and he signed me to his label in 1992. He shared my frustration with the media who always seemed to mention my porn more than my music. Clifford could relate because he had been in trouble with the law for weed, and the media always mentioned it, every chance they got. Cliff always encouraged me to take myself seriously as a singer. He said I didnt need to talk about sex work because it was in my past. ( I choose to talk about it because it was a positive experience for me and I dont want people to jump to their own conclusions.)

I saw Clifford for the last time at the anniversary show in Austin when I sang with Sue Foley,Sarah Brown, Carolyn Wonderland and my pal Cheryl Arena. We had a slow dance that night and Cliff was as warm and supportive as ever. He was surrounded by college girls from his blues history class he was teaching at UT. He really seemed to be happy, looked great and was at the peak of his successes with the antones movie finally finished.

We spoke on the phone a few times after the anniversary. I sent him the Wattstax dvd for his class and we talked about the blues and Rufus Thomas. Clifford had a funny story to tell about every blues great ever. He was such a humble man. Whenever he took pictures with the blues greats, he always wanted them to be higher than him in the pictures. Even if he had to bend his knees to lower his 6 ft plus frame.

I'll never forget all those fun nights at the club on sixth street and then on guadalupe. Hanging backstage with Cliff and Susan, Lazy Lester, Hubert Sumlin, Kim Wilson, Lou ann Barton and Angela Strehli, Stevie and Jimmie Vaughn, Sue Foley, Eddie Stout, Margaret Moser,Toni Price, Derek O Brien, George Rains, Preston Hubbard. Those were the best of times, eating bbq, drinking beer and feeling that family vibe that antones and clifford were all about. Cliff brought so many of us together. There are so many people I never would have met if it werent for him. I cant believe he is gone.

Good night sweet prince. Thanks for believing in me. Thanks for giving me a chance to sing the blues. Thank you for loving and preserving this music and making us all feel so important. I know that you and Doug Sahm are hanging out tonight once again. Give a big hug to doug, my other scorpio musician brother. I know you are jamming with Muddy now in that great blues band in the sky. I will always miss and love you. Youre the original soul daddy.

There will be a public viewing at Cook Walden Funeral home at 6100 N. Lamar, Austin, Texas Thursday and Friday from 6 - 8 pm.

There will be a private funeral on Saturday.
In lieu of flowers, Susan and the Antone family ask for donations to be sent to Cliffords other passion http://www.americanyouthworks.org

or to the Clifford Antone memorial fund in c/o Prosperity Bank 512 472 5433.

For more information on Clifford and some beautiful pictures and audio of Pinetop playing gospel for Cliff check out:

http://www.austin360.com/music/content/music/stories/2006/05/24antone.html

sign the guestbook for Cliff here:

http://www.statesman.com/hp/content/homepage/index.html

3 Comments:

Blogger Toez/Barbara said...

Hya my friend. Thank you for sharing that about Clifford. As I said to my friend Clint, "Hard to imagine blues without Clifford." Here's a little story to add...as I posted on Blues-L and to my colleagues on the Blues Foundation board...in response to Bruce Iglauer's mail to us about the death:

"Oh lordy. This is a hard one to hear. The Antones family and Antone's , the club, has a special place in my heart for many reasons. Hey Bruce I think that is one of the early places we met. Only one story: When Clifford found out that I had initiated starting a fund, an endowment fund, to honor Luther ( www.lutherallisonendowmentfund.org ) with hopes to build the first true endowed fund in the blues organizational world, he was so enthusiastic. He volunteered to have Antone's be the fund kick-off location in November, 1997 and oh what a pre-party and party we had. We went on to roll it out in true nonstop Luther form with parties in 6 other locations over that year and the next. Hmm. .. With that in mind, I'll be making a donation to the fund in his honor. And if anyone finds out that there are requests from the family about where they would like donations might be made, I'd like to add that as well.
Well, I'm off to hear Robben Ford tonight in Santa Cruz and will have thoughts of our blues friend as I go.
~Barbara

5:47 PM  
Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

I had not heard about Clifford's passing. That makes me sad, very sad, as I look at the many, many CDs I own that are on the Antone's label.

I raise my drink to you, Mr. Antone.

4:49 PM  
Blogger munichmaedchen said...

Thank you for sharing your feelings with us, my blogger friend. I did not know Clifford personally but I have very good memories when visiting his club in Austin almost ten years ago when I still lived in Munich. The blues I heard there opened my heart a little wider for the US.
And you do too, btw.
Take care,

10:14 AM  

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