Feature Stories

Ramsay Midwood's Grooves of Wrath

On a Scandinavian tour in 2002, the Gourds' friend and guide kept playing a recording by an old blues singer named Ramsay Midwood. So when a man with a scruffy beard and twinkling blue eyes came up to Kevin Russell after a gig in Austin in early 2002 and introduced himself, the Gourds singer had to laugh. "You ain't Ramsay Midwood," Russell said, figuring the singer-songwriter whose cassette the band fell in love with was black and probably dead 30 years.

First impressions are powerful, man. Like how you hear a cover song first and it becomes the original, at least in your mind. I met Ramsay Midwood 11 years ago on the 11th hole of a golf course by the Austin airport and my first thought was that he was a prisoner given some leisure time for good behavior. He was playing by himself, but his cart was being driven by a uniformed female guard packing heat. The exercise yard of the Del Valle jail ran alongside the second hole, so you can understand how I made the mistake. I spent the first couple holes thinking that Midwood might suddenly start swinging his club and knocking heads during an impetuous escape.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Corcoran