Brandi Grissom started this week with a story from Carthage about Bernie Tiede, convicted of murdering an elderly woman. At the time of the trial, sentiment ran high for Tiede, with many pleading for leniency. Now, 15 years later, Grissom found less sympathy for Tiede, who was back in court for proceedings reconsidering his life sentence, so we lead off this week's all-Texas Blues playlist with "How Long Blues" by the great T-Bone Walker.
The easiest way to enjoy the playlist is to download Spotify, which is a free program. But even without it, you can still follow along. Here are this week's other selections:
Sunday night, sources revealed that University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa was leaving his post to return to pediatric transplant surgery. Much of his high-profile tenure as chancellor was mired in contention and controversy, particularly around UT-Austin, the system's flagship university, so we selected "Dirty Work" by The Fabulous Thunderbirds.
With fundraising numbers for January posted and the March primaries fast approaching, Ross Ramsey reported that political campaigns have entered the spending season. It's easy to spend a lot in a state as big as Texas, especially for statewide candidates, which led us to Houston-born Albert Collins' "If Trouble Was Money." In other money-related news, Neena Satija reported on federal government-bashing candidates for agriculture commissioner and how much money they've accepted in federal farm subsidies, which reminded us of "The Things I Used to Do," performed here by Freddie King.
Alexa Ura noted that Gov. Rick Perry was hitting the campaign trail with GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott for the first time. Some speculated Abbott kept the longstanding Texas governor at arm's length to establish his own separate identity; the two political powerhouses appearing together reminded us of another powerful Texas duo, so we went with "Brothers" from Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan's record, "Family Style."
Edgar Walters reported on the unusually high turnover coming to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, with potentially significant changes in the disposition of the court towards accused criminals and their attorneys, so we chose Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Prison Cell Blues."
The Corsicana Residential Treatment Facility, as it was ultimately known, was shuttered for good in 2013 by the Texas Legislature, but over its 126-year history it had several names and functions, from "orphan asylum" to juvenile detention center. Not every child had a rough time of it there, but all were in the facility because of tough circumstances, so we chose "Born Under a Bad Sign" by Albert King, with Stevie Ray Vaughan sitting in.
"Mother's Children Have A Hard Time" by Blind Willie Johnson seemed to hit the right blues note to accompany Shelby Cole's coverage of a report tracking low-income working mothers in Texas. Gay marriage was in the news, with a federal judge hearing arguments in San Antonio, just one of several cases making their way through courts statewide, reminding us of Lou Ann Barton's "You Can Have My Husband."
Jim Malewitz reported that the state Legislature was tasked with studying the possibility of opening some remote part of Texas to nuclear waste disposal deep underground, so we turned up "Meet Me in the Bottom" by Mance Lipscomb.
Jay Root reported that Democratic candidate for governor Wendy Davis went back and corrected her filings with the Texas Ethics Commission, so we chose "Change It," made famous by SRV and performed here by composer Doyle Bramhall.
Finally, for Julián Aguilar's story about customs officials on guard against unwanted parasites and diseases crossing the border along with the massive influx of flowers for Valentine's Day, we selected longtime El Paso resident Long John Hunter's "Border Town Blues" to wrap up this week's playlist. Happy listening! Reeve Hamilton will be back next week.