Whether it’s good beer, great music or a sense of history you’re wanting, Luckenbach, Texas is a fine place to find it. Established as a trading post c. 1849, it rose, sort-of-flourished and then declined, nearly passing away before its retired postmaster, a descendent of the town founders named Benno Engel, put it up for sale in 1970.
When I waltzed into Texas in 1973, Luckenbach – a post office, a general store, a dancehall and a collection of really fine shade trees – already had sold to a remarkable collection of people. Certain Houstonians turned up their noses at buyer Hondo Crouch and his pals, calling them a collection of “eccentrics, oddballs and kooks”. The description was fair, but out in the country their eccentricity was a selling point, and Hondo’s town took a turn for the better.
Supplementing dominos and beer with a Mud Dauber Festival provided a certain je ne sais quoi, but when Jerry Jeff Walker waltzed into Luckenbach in 1974 to record Viva Terlingua, the Luckenbach nation was born. By the time Bobby Emmons and Chips Moman wrote their song about Luckenbach in 1977 Hondo Crouch had passed away, but Luckenbach was established, and Waylon and Willie and the Boys brought tears to the eyes of expat Luckenbachians around the world. Continue reading