This Week In Dallas Music History: The Education of Michelle Shocked

This week in 1996, Unfair Park's Own Robert Wilonsky got down to brass tacks with Texas singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked, whose career was unexpectedly started a decade earlier.

In the story, Wilonsky retells the somewhat widely known story of Shocked's hijacked beginnings.

"She recorded the songs on a fan's weak-batteried Walkman only to find out the fan, British record-label owner Pete Lawrence, had released them in England to critical acclaim and commercial success," writes Wilonsky of Shocked's 1986 release, The Texas Campfire Tapes. The songs on the record resembled the vagabond folk ramblings of Woody Guthrie.

After a grueling seven-year battle with Lawrence, Shocked won the rights to her songs.

But, there was a less publicized side to her story -- one that she remarkably kept sealed for nearly a decade as journalists and fans bought into her country bumpkin persona. Turns out, Shocked's story couldn't have been any different from what the public perceived. She spent time in mental institutions, homeless in New York City and as an activist in San Fransisco, which is where the photo for her sophomore album short, sharp, Shocked was taken.

Hit the jump to read the entire story.

If that margin is too tight, which it is, check out the entire story over at the Observer archives.

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.
Daniel Hopkins
Contact: Daniel Hopkins