My Favorite El Pasoans:

Past and Present





  This exciting project began three years ago and was temporarily shelved until a dear friend of mine, Joe Gomez, encouraged me to shake off the dust and wrap it up. I am so glad I did. My first version was a little stiff you might say; filled with the regular happy-go-lucky El Pasoans everybody hears about all of the time. So I went back to work and gathered a host of new colorful characters like escape artist Fred Brown. You can see him on the cover in the straight jacket. After his incredible 1937 street performance in San Antonio, TX, the police arrested him for vagrancy. The photo I've included is from inside the jail cell. There is auto mechanic Tom Ogle from the early 1970s who invented a new type of carburetor. He drove from El Paso to Deming nearly 200 miles away, on two gallons of gas. He was mysteriously murdered not too soon after the auto industry got involved. And then there's Roz Cron. She wasn't from El Paso, but she was a white 18 year-old saxophone player traveling the U.S. with an all woman, mixed-race jazz band during the Jim Crow era when races weren't supposed to fraternize. They were pulled over by the police in El Paso. She tried to pass as black, but the cops didn't buy it and threw her in jail. The famous El Paso boot maker Tony Lama makes an appearance as well. Why? Because he is from Syracuse, NY, my home town. Who knows that? Of course there are plenty of wonderful, regular, good ol' Texans featured throughout my book, nearly 200 of them. But what about this? Blues guitarist Long John Hunter spent twenty years perfecting his craft here in El Paso and in Juarez, Mexico, our sister city. Ever heard of El Pasoan Terry Manning? He's a record producer who has worked with Ike and Tina Turner, Al Green, Joe Cocker, ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin and many more. Shakira's first English-language album, Laundry Service, sold 12 million copies. It was produced by Manning. Serial killer Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker, is from El Paso. Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies is from El Paso. I'm very proud of the book and know you will enjoy it wether you are from El Paso or not.



If you want me to send you a signed copy of either El Paso: 1850-1950, or My Life Before I Decided To Commit Suicide (A Love Story) or The Right to Kill, go to the "Store" link on this site or call me at 915-526-0719. Thanks to all of you who have purchased my books and CDs. I think the world of you.


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James Robert Murphy

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