Remembering Pops Carter, 1919-2012

Denton fixture Tom "Pops" Carter passed away on Sunday, and while I didn't have any first-hand knowledge of him, the stories I have been hearing from DFW musicians who did points to a ladies man, a friend of musicians and a fount of blues and R&B history, from Louisiana to Houston to North Texas. Seems like everyone had a story about Pops. Do you? Leave it in the comments.

Here are a few from those who knew him, either in passing or in friendship.

Jeff Ryan (Baptist Generals, The Boom Boom Box) In 1990, I was playing one of my first shows at the Library in Denton, now known as Cool Beans. Pops could tell maybe I was slightly uneasy, and told me, "C'mon, let's take a walk." We did and we walked past the old barbershop, Jim's Diner, the Corkscrew, just basically around the block. The message in that conversation was summed up in his one statement, "Music is supposed to be fun, so go up there and have fun!" I'll always remember that, and have kept that with me over the years. Thanks, Pops. R.I.P.


Jason Reimer (Texas Theatre) My shortest memory is meeting Pops when I first moved to Denton. Wes Coleman was having one of his many parties on Fry Street and Pops started his set around 3 a.m. I think he was in his late Seventies at that point. Dude had more energy and presence than most musicians I've come across.

Mwanza Dover (Blixaboy, The Black Dotz) The last shred of the Denton I know has left the building. I can't count how many '90s Denton parties I have been sitting at, wasted in the wee hours of the morning, and I would see Pops Carter walking in having more luck chatting with the ladies than I ever had back in the day. He was always kind and always encouraging of all Denton musicians. He was the first real-life experience I had of a guy that did music for all of the right reasons.The guy was a true saint and a true inspiration in Denton. By far the one consistent positive memory that links several decades of musicians to come from Denton.

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Audra Schroeder
Contact: Audra Schroeder