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Remembering Liberty Hall - Concert venue on Chenevert in downtown Houston


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I spent many days and nights at Liberty Hall. If you go to the link for Houston Rocks>Venues>Liberty Hall and go down the page, there is the playbill for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The Director is C.C. Courtney who is my brother. Our relationship with Liberty Hall, Mike Condray, Lynda Herrera, and Ryan Trimble began at the very beginning. C.C. Courtney wrote a country-rock musical called Earl of Ruston and I was the sound engineer for the production. After a successful run at The Speakeasy in Baton Rouge, the traveling road show went to New Orleans but the theater was booked. So the group drove to The Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, performed there for a couple of months, and had a great 2 week run at the UT Drama Department. By this time shows were selling out on a regular basis and that's when we met the Liberty Hall group.

 

This was fall of 1970 and I believe we were the first act to perform in the new Liberty Hall. I actually lived there while preparing the sound system, stage, etc. for the run. My father, C.E. Courtney Sr., was the greeter at the door. He was a hoot and did a great job of getting people prepared for this off-beat production. Once again, it was a successful run, selling out every night, and from there it went to the Billie Rose Theater on Broadway in NYC.

 

Next was the production most of you remember, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Not only did C.C. Courtney direct the play but also played the lead role of Randle McMurphy. It was a powerful production and I use to hang out by the exit and listen to comments from people as they left the theater. The show made a real impression on most of those who saw it.

 

In 1972 we returned to Liberty Hall to do a rock musical production called Ripped and Wrinkled. It was a fantasy, loosely based on the story of Rip Van Winkle, with a modern twist, written by C.C. Courtney. Once again I was the sound engineer and enjoyed working with some fine musicians on some original songs. But there were some tensions between C.C. and Mike, Ryan, and Lydia. I don't remember what it was all about, but I do remember one day when I was the only one at the Hall. C.C. rented a U-Haul real fast, we loaded up the sound and lighting equipment real fast, and we left Houston real fast. I hated it to end like that but that's what memories are made of.

 

While we had our sound system set up, Loggins & Messina played a concert in the Hall. I remember them playing Vahevala. The song is about a ship at sea and as they began they turned up their amps, put pressure on their guitar straps, and moved their guitars to make a noise that sounded like a wooden hull in the water. It gave me chills. The concert was great.

 

I remember riding my bicycle to and from the Hall. I remember Roberto. I remember The Family Hand restaurant. I remember staying at Mike and Lynda's house with my girlfriend (Hi Lorilee). It was one on the best times of my life. I love this thread and being able to contribute to it.

 

Peace to all

Edited by JEC
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I spent many days and nights at Liberty Hall. If you go to the link for Houston Rocks>Venues>Liberty Hall and go down the page, there is the playbill for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The Dir

Icepickphil and all others, I very much remember Liberty Hall... my first trip there was with the wonderful woman who would become my wife and the mother of our children. Also on this -gifted trip, th

Anyone remember or have any stories to tell about Liberty Hall which was located at 1610 Chenevert? All sorts of performers played there...Jimmy Reed, Ted Nugent, Bruce Springsteen, NY Dolls, Velvet U

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FYI - The original vintage Liberty Hall t-shirts brand were "screen star basics". Mike C. had a few t-shirts made up a few years back, for a Friends of Liberty Hall event those were "Gildan", but oroginal artwork, by the way great get togeather about 30 liberty hall posters on display and good turnout. I was hoping to see Roberto G. but he was unable to attend. I was sad to hear he died, it must have shortly after Mikes event.

I made some great memories at Liberty Hall. We loved life and good music, althoigh Mike & Robert were occationly intence.

I built, owned & ran the sound system w/Mark Speck (now a dds.) The bands I remember working with were: Goose Creek Sym., David Bromderg. Michel Murphy, Lightening Hopkins, B.J. Thomas, Jerry Jeff Waller, Dr. John, Bonnie Rayet, Asleep at the Wheel.

Great times,

Tommy Ray

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Icepickphil and all others, I very much remember Liberty Hall... my first trip there was with the wonderful woman who would become my wife and the mother of our children. Also on this -gifted trip, thanks to some 'scored tickets'- were two dear life friends, both of whom have now passed.

 

This would be late 1973~74... venue would have, to me at least, ONE standout... Mr. Leon Redbone. Awesome.

 

Just this evening, I'd pulled up "Without My Walkin' Stick" on the steer-e-o; close my eyes and I could see, smell, hear, almost touch that evening so long ago in Houston, Texas at a divey kind'a place called "Liberty Hall".

 

Yep, I wuz there...

 

Jabbo
 

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On January 26, 2014 at 1:02 AM, tomcat said:

FYI - The original vintage Liberty Hall t-shirts brand were "screen star basics". Mike C. had a few t-shirts made up a few years back, for a Friends of Liberty Hall event those were "Gildan", but oroginal artwork, by the way great get togeather about 30 liberty hall posters on display and good turnout. I was hoping to see Roberto G. but he was unable to attend. I was sad to hear he died, it must have shortly after Mikes event.

I made some great memories at Liberty Hall. We loved life and good music, althoigh Mike & Robert were occationly intence.

I built, owned & ran the sound system w/Mark Speck (now a dds.) The bands I remember working with were: Goose Creek Sym., David Bromderg. Michel Murphy, Lightening Hopkins, B.J. Thomas, Jerry Jeff Waller, Dr. John, Bonnie Rayet, Asleep at the Wheel.

Great times,

Tommy Ray

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I remember Lightening well. I lived off truxillo St in a group of 4-plexes, garage apts and a big house. ZZ-Top lived there, Dale Soffar and Rex Bell (old quarter)... The music was always flowing. 

Jerry Jeff spent part of his 40th birthday at my place visiting with Townes. There used to be an old hobo named Sinbad. Townes would let him hang out, buy him some wine and he'd cooks for everyone. 


 

 
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1966-68..remember being a little nervous the first time...wasn't sure how safe this location would be...

but a great venue...Robert Klein, Lightning Hopkins etc

RE: Sand Mountain maybe 1965? just before high grad....it was on Richmond believe..very plain,small and "cozy" coffee house

saw a folk singer...Jimmy???...this was a first date ...remember very clearly the singer asking for "all virgins..please raise your hands"

 

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My girlfriend then (and now still my lovely bride 45 years later) saw a number of shows at Liberty Hall in the '73-'75 era.  First one was Gram Parsons with Emmylou Harris alongside; a spectacular show with Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids (they were also in the movie 'American Graffiti'); Marshall Tucker;  the Wet Willie Band;  and my favorites:  Little Feat a couple of times - once with Bonnie Raitt and her fretless bass player Freebo (great, great shows).  When Bonnie won all those Grammys in the early 90s and mentioned something about being a '20-year overnite success', I felt like I understood where she was coming from.   I know there were other shows we saw, but those are ones I still remember something about.  I was relatively new to Houston then and the Hall became one of my favorite venues.

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