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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Dust My Broom - T.D. Bell & Erbie Bowser

Tyler D. "T.D." Bell (Dec. 26,1922- Jan 1999) Guitarist/vocalist Bell is a local legend, the leader of the hottest band on the East Side, T. D. Bell and the Cadillacs, during the heyday of the Victory Grill in the 1950s. Bell, who came to Austin in the early 1950s, provided early performing experience in his bands for many of the blues and jazz players on the East Side of Austin.

Bell's bands, which generally featured Erbie Bowser on piano, backed up virtually all of the touring blues and R&B acts to come through Austin in the 50s. He had a long association with Victory grill owner Johnny Holmes. One of the few older musicians in town to work full-time during his early years, Bell did not take on outside work until later in life. He now has a small trucking business and had essentially retired from music until Erbie Bower asked him to reform their band for the Victory Grill reunion in 1987.

While Bell has some touring experience, he never worried about making the big time and has been happiest as an Austin musician. Bell, who has lived in the same neighborhood for over 40 years, knows intimately the history of the East Side's decline.

Born 5 May 1918, Davila, Texas, USA, d. 15 August 1995, Austin, Texas. Like his partner, guitarist T.D. Bell, Bowser had to wait until old age to be recognized outside his home state. One of nine children, he taught himself to play the piano after his family had moved to Palestine in east Texas. He first played in public with the North Carolina Cotton Pickers and after high school, the Sunset Royal Entertainers. During World War II, he was seconded to the Special Services band and played USO shows throughout Europe and North Africa. Back in Odessa, Texas, in 1947, he was recruited to join T.D. Bell And The Cadillacs and established a long-standing friendship with the band's leader. Moving to Austin, he worked with local bands and played alongside Robert Shaw and Grey Ghost. Given their advanced years, It's About Time proved to be a worthy memorial to both Bell and Bowser.
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