A Special Black History Celebration for a Special Person in Giddings
In honor of Black History Month, a local nursing home in Giddings, Texas celebrated in a grand way. One of their residents just happens to be a celebrity. Mr. Hilton “Eddie” Burns is a major Country & Western star and well known in these parts.
He has played at the old “Tin Star” and all across this big state of Texas, along with New Mexico and Oklahoma. You might say, “I don’t remember Eddie Burns.”
Well, do you recall a song by the name of “Color Me Country”? In 1972, it hit # 1 on the billboard charts, exactly 40 years ago this year. Try “Walk On By” on the flip side of the 45 vinyl. Other famous hits included “ Southside of Chicago,” “No Greater Love,” and “Walk on By”.
Eddie signed on Plantation Records in the 1950s when other great stars were just getting their feet wet. At that time, Charlie Pride was a new up and comer. Eddie has played with Country & Western royalty such as Hank Snow, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells, Ray Price, Waylon Jennings and more.
The nursing home had a very special treat for Eddie on Tuesday, Feb. 21st. They arranged for another well known artist from the Austin music scene to drop in and visit with Eddie.
W. C. Clark drove in from Austin, parked in the back of the facility, and walked right up to Eddie, where they re- introduced themselves and sat out on the back porch, reminiscing about the “good old music days”. Before you knew it, an acoustic guitar came out of nowhere, followed by an impromptu serenade by W. C. to the enjoyment of a small group of residents and guests out on back porch.
W. C. Clark is a well known blues artist in Austin. He is known as the “Godfather of Austin Blues” for his influence on the Austin blues scene, since the 1960s.
The temperature was in the seventies last Tuesday, and the activity director invited W. C. into the facility to cool down. Eddie and W. C. were both led into the front living room, and to Eddie’s surprise, all the staff and some old time friends were there to greet him. There were tributes of Eddie’s career displayed everywhere - photos from decades gone by and a slide show highlighting Eddie’s career.
The nurses and aids had cooked up a “Little Taste of Soul,” which included standards like fried chicken, stewed pork bones, turnips, collard greens, black eyed peas and cornbread.
Eddie was filled with such emotion that he was brought to tears when he realized that all of this fuss was for him. He knew something was brewing, but never had imagined all this.
W. C. sat in the midst of a crowd, right in front of Eddie, and played his guitar and sang for an hour and half. He educated everyone on black history and even blessed the food with a special song. The room was filled with song, laughter and emotions. There was a new sense of unity felt by everyone on that special day.
Later, autographs were signed by Eddie and W. C. Clark, using copies of Eddie’s 1950 Plantation head shot photo.
Eddie was elated and said, “You have all just made my year”.
Eddie still has an album of songs never released to the public. There was talk between the artists about moving forward with that project. So, who knows, you might be hearing some “buzz” about Eddie Burns and W. C. Clark in the very near future.