photo of Billy Joe Shaver by Jim Dirden photo of Billy Joe Shaver by Jim Dirden photo of Billy Joe Shaver by Jim Dirden photo of Billy Joe Shaver by Jim Dirden photo of Billy Joe Shaver by Jim Dirden photo of Billy Joe Shaver by Jim Dirden photo of Billy Joe Shaver by Jim Dirden

A Conversation with Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe Shaver: Howdy.

Puremusic: Hi Billy Joe, this is Frank Goodman at

BJS: Hey Frank, how're you doin'?

PM: I'm fine, sir, how're you? You got a few minutes for us today?

BJS: Yeah! Hang on just a minute, you betcha. [He says something to someone there, sounds like he's ordering some breakfast. There's talking and laughing around him.] We're in line here getting something to eat.

PM: What city are you in today as we speak?

BJS: Oh, I'm in Waco.

PM: Waco, alright. Well how's your health and spirit?

BJS: Fine. We finally got off that trip we were on, about a month there.

PM: Must be kind of a miraculous feeling, going from running on one artery to running on five.

BJS: Oh yeah, yeah, it's great. [Then there's a woman's voice asking him something and he says, "I'll take the corn and taters." Then he says with a slight chuckle:] Placing my order.

PM: All part of the interview. I like it.

BJS: [laughs] Right.

PM: "I'll take corn and taters."

BJS: [laughs]

PM: Hey, man, Freedom's Child, that's a fantastic record.

BJS: Thank you very much. We worked real hard on that thing.

PM: I always like the Shaver records, but I think this one is a particularly good one. Great batch of songs, whole lotta style, great band.

BJS: Thank you, sir. I appreciate that.

PM: And a great producer--you've worked with him before--R.S. Field.

BJS: Oh yeah, I can't say enough about him. He's the one, actually, who talked me into doing it. I was gonna lay down a little bit, and he said, "Nah, we need to do another record," and I said, "Okay."

PM: Wow. And did he assemble the guys?

BJS: Yeah, he did. That was purely him, he put all those players together. Sweet combination, too.

PM: I thought Will Kimbrough and Jamie Hartford did a hell of a job on guitars.

BJS: Oh yeah, oh yeah. Jamie has been playing in the band with me too. We went out and did a whole tour, well over a month, all up the East Coast. New York, Toronto, all over.

PM: He's a beautiful guy.

BJS: I love that guy. You know, I've been knowin' him since he was a kid. I knew John pretty well. It's just great to be with somebody you know like that. And he's a great player. Been down the road enough that...he don't whine. [laughs]

PM: [laughing] That means a lot on the road. And I thought, you know, Dave Roe on the Bass, Jimmy Lester on the drums, hey, that was inspired.

BJS: Jimmy Lester was, like, probably my first drummer, one of my first drummers. He played with us way back.

PM: Really? I've seen him play so many times. He's a great, great hitter.

BJS: He has flat got a groove, I mean... Groove King, you know?

PM: [laughs] And Steve Conn on the keys, and Paco Shipp--

BJS: Paco played with me a long time ago also, used to play saxophone for me. Saxophone and harmonica.

PM: I've never seen him play sax--does he still?

BJS: I don't know, didn't ask him. We've been friends a long time. He played with me, Good Lord, it must be 20 years ago. He was just a young kid. He went to one of those army surplus stores and he had these things, these belts that held shells, you know? He had them crossed across his chest, and he had them full of harmonicas. He looked like Zapata or somebody, comin' at you. [laughs] He was pretty wild back then. He looked like somethin' serious coming your way. [both laughing] He's a great player, I love him, yeah.  continue

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