Lawrence Puckett
                                              Guitarist/vocalist/composer   

      Lawrence Verner Puckett was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1941 then his parents, Bob and Mary Verner Puckett, moved to Tyler, Texas, where he lived until 1961.

      Thanks to his enlightened sixth grade teacher, Earline Andrews, he was exposed to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony early enough to make a lasting impression. A little later he started playing the guitar one day after hearing Elvis sing That’s all Right Little Mama. He was soon playing with Larry and David Stanley and the Satellites (see link) during intermission at the Crest Drive In theatre.  Larry Stanley is still an icon in Tyler and East Texas. David Stanley played bass and is a legendary bass player.

      Johnny Cash released Folsom Prison Blues and it was a guitar player’s song because of the repeating characteristic Cash sound on the bass strings – Dum, ditty Dum, ditty Dum, ditty Dum!  His first milestone occurred when he figured out how to play and sing Folsom Prison along with Johnny Cash.  His first gig was at parties of friends where he sang some Elvis, Johnny and Carl Perkins’ Blue Suede Shoes which he actually wore.

      The next crossroads experience occurred in 1960 with exposure to Flamenco by Carlos Montoya, not Satan as the blues players all have to deal with at their crossroads according to legend. He could keep his soul which is also very important to Flamenco if not more so. In an emotional sense, the soul is actually completely exposed and resurrected during the true Flamenco experience between dancers, the guitarists, singers and aficionados. It is called “Duende” in Spanish and is the metaphysical experience of “Bare Truth”, when one is somehow transported to very depth of all things to experience emotion at its most primitive level.

     The next step came when a local pianist/singer named Robin Hood Brians sat in with The Satellites one night at the Crest Drive In Theatre. He later recorded some tapes at a recording studio in Robin’s living room – his studio is still considered to be one of the finest anywhere. Robin later asked him to play guitar on his regionally released record and then started the band named Robin Hood and his Merry Men (see link). They played the local Friday night talent review at Tyler’s Bergfeld Park and were the house band for up and coming stars included Bugs Henderson, Ronnie Weiss (a.k.a. Mouse), the Neville Sisters and a twelve year old powerhouse blues singer Vicki Britton. He learned several styles of playing and played many recording sessions in his studio for several years. Some of them are now legends, i.e. ZZ Top, Tina Turner, Dale Hawkins, Mouse and the Traps, the Uniques, John and Robin and the Five Americans. The Merry Men played the country club circuit in East Texas and played regular gigs for the American Legion, the Elks Club, the Rose Festival and big private parties were the house band for big shows such as the Bobby Rydell Show and Roy Orbison.

       In 1961, while attending Baylor University he met a very talented musician named Ramsey Horton. They formed a band named Ramsey Horton and the Silvertones.  Neil Shoop played bass and sang vocals, Dennis Black was on sax, and Alan Thompson played the drums.  They played fraternity and sorority parties at Baylor and at U T Austin.  They opened for Willie Nelson at a Waco club. They recorded First Kiss, which was a Floyd Cramer style song featuring Ramsey on piano and the Neville Sisters, Debby and Sharon on vocals. In the 70’s he and Ramsey co wrote several songs for the album, Dallas County.

      While at Baylor he met a folksinger named Patty O’ Neill. He played guitar for her at a local coffeehouse and then on the Bob Hope College Tour Concert.  Patty was a great talent with a beautiful voice and later went to New York City and became a star on Broadway and on daytime TV. At a New York coffee house one night and hearing Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice it’s All Right he had a new musical mission – to learn how to play, sing and play the harmonica like Bob Dylan. Back in Tyler, he played some Dylan songs for some musical peers and at first they did not seem impressed. One of them, Ronnie Weiss, a.k.a., Mouse, was impressed and is now considered to be the very first successful neo Dylan Punk rock artist and his band, Mouse and the Traps including the legendary Bugs Henderson, had several hits.

      Then one day while at Robin Hood’s studio, he met another Bob Dylan aficionado named Knox Henderson. Knox had written some songs in the bob Dylan’s style and was looking for someone to write the music and record them. It was perfect timing, and they co wrote a put down song named You Ain’t Tuff.  It was one of the earliest of the punk rock genre confirmed by the release of the Nuggets Box Set in 2002 with You Ain’t Tuff  being one of the earliest recordings in the collection. He recorded You Ain’t Tuff at Robin Hood’s studio in the summer of 1965 and was released on Robin Hood’s label R. B. E. records. Then Joe Stampley and the Uniques covered it and he played harmonica on the master.  The song was a hit, and made it to number one in Dallas on K. L. I. F. radio’s pop chart for several weeks. He played with the Uniques on several of their local gigs.  Knox and Myra Beasley Henderson, my future wife, moved to Hollywood in 1966 where Knox was under writer’s contract with Four Star Music and wrote several hits for various artists including Mouse and the Traps’s neo Dylan classic hit A Public Execution.

       Lawrence and Myra Beasley were married in 1972 after she was divorced from Knox, and he pursued a five year graduate school tenure at East Texas State University majoring in Chemistry and Chemical Education. He opened for Jimmy Buffet at the local college coffee. They moved back to Dallas and a new son Paul in 1975 and he started his tenure at Highland Park High School for twenty eight years where he taught Chemistry, sponsored the Guitar Club and the U.I.L. Science Team.  He played numerous charity gigs, big private parties and weddings for years including the Park Cities debutante gala, La Fiesta de la Seis Banderas. While at Highland Park, he joined a group, the Highland Trio (a.k.a. Jerry, Hairy and Larry), with fellow teachers Jerry Smith and Steve Wilkes - they still perform at school and Christmas reunions.

      Then finally he met his mentor Miguel Antonio, the gifted flamenco master artist and teacher, with whom he has studied with for 20 years and co written several songs.

      His son, Paul Puckett, a talented wildlife painter and singer/songwriter and designer of this website is also a guitarist/singer and has a band in Atlanta (see link). Paul is engaged to Vann Morris, a wonderful young lady and my future daughter in law from Rome, Georgia.

 He has finished a songwriting and music business course with Mary Dawson, a local songwriter and publisher (see link). He and Myra have recently written two country songs which Robin Hood Brians believes are commercial and plans to place one of them with Dolly Parton!

      The next step in this musical journey - to write and place a major hit song with a major artist!

 























References