Butch Hancock

Diamond HillDiamond Hill
West Texas WaltzWest Texas Waltzes ...
Horseflies1981: A Spare Odyssey
Split & SlideSplit & Slide II
Dry Land FarmWest Texas Waltzes ...
Like A Kiss On The MouthYella Rose
Fools Fall In LoveCause Of The Cactus
Welcome To The Real World KidEats Away The Night
Yella RoseYella Rose
Wheels Of FortuneDiamond Hill



Contributor: Terry Newman

One third of the legendary Flatlanders (with Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore) from Lubbock Texas, Butch Hancock has written some of the greatest songs to come out of that state. It is too trite to call him the ‘Texas Dylan’ as some have done but there is no doubt that he has a magical grasp of imagery in his lyrics, not unlike Mr Zimmerman.

I first came across Butch via Joe Ely’s debut album in 1977 which contained (as did subsequent albums) a good scattering of Butch Hancock songs. There was a time in the 80s when Butch was a regular visitor to these shores and performed either solo or as a duo with Jimmie Dale Gilmore, I have very fond memories of gigs at various North London pubs (Weavers Arms, George Robey) being entertained by his own inimitable style. So wordy were some of his songs that he would often forget lyrics and have to stop, think, and then correct himself.

Butch is such a prolific writer that there must be hundreds of great songs that have never been recorded. I am the proud owner of a couple of cassette only releases that he used to sell at his own gigs.

His first album, West Texas Waltzes & Dust-Blown Tractor Tunes, was released in 1978 with West Texas Waltz memorably covered by Joe Ely on his Honky Tonk Masquerade release. 1985 saw him teamed up with Marce Lacouture and they produced the memorable Yella Rose album from which I have selected Like A Kiss On The Mouth.

Split & Slide II is a cassette only release from 1986 and the title song is one of those legendary ones which could go on for a long time depending on Butch’s mood and how many verses (of which there are many) he remembers to sing.

In 1990, Hancock and more than two dozen musician friends staged a Guinness Book of World Records worthy event entitled ‘No Two Alike’ and played six straight nights of live performances in Austin’s famed Cactus Café, recording 140 of his original songs without repeating a single song. He released the staggering output later in the year as the No Two Alike Tape of the Month Club.

Overall, it is fair to say that he will be remembered mainly for his songwriting rather than his singing or performing, though I have never been disappointed at any of the gigs I have attended.



Butch Hancock official website

The Flatlanders (Wikipedia)

West Texas Waltz on YouTube

Butch Hancock biography (Wikipedia)

The Joe Ely toppermost is here.

Terry Newman’s other posts for this site include Jonathan Kelly, James McMurtry, Steely Dan, XTC. He lives in North Yorkshire and you can find him on Twitter @westburtonlad.

TopperPost #342


  1. Andrew Shields
    Aug 30, 2014

    Terry, thanks for this superb list. Hancock is a greatly underrated songwriter and one of the few who can combine witty wordplay with real emotional depth…

    • Terry Newman
      Sep 1, 2014

      Thanks Andrew, truly believe he is one of the greats. Will never get huge recognition (outside of Austin Texas) but his songs will live on.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.