The Houston Folk Music Archive is proud to announce that the Richard J. Dobson collection is ready for research. The collection contains business files, correspondence, journals/notebooks, records/CDs, and more.
Raised in Houston, Corpus Christi, and New Mexico, Richard Dobson graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 1966 with a degree in Spanish. He went on to join the Peace Corps and explored a fiction writing career in New York before settling on songwriting.
From 1971 and continuing into the next three decades, Dobson made both Nashville, TN and the Gulf Coast of Texas his home. While in Nashville, he participated in the Outlaw Country scene with fellow singer-songwriters Mickey Newbury, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, “Skinny” Dennis Sanchez, among others. In the Houston-Galveston area, he continued honing his song craft and releasing albums, all the while working on shrimping boats and off-shore oil drilling rigs, most notably the Sedneth I.
Starting in 1977 with In Texas Last December up until his current release Plenty Good People (2016), Dobson has published 23 albums in total. He has also sold songs to others artists including David Allan Coe, Guy Clark, Lacy J. Dalton, Nanci Griffith, and Kelly Willis. Carlene Carter and Dave Edmunds, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, and Billie Jo Spears and Del Reeves have all recorded renditions of his duet “Baby Ride Easy.”
In addition to songwriting, Dobson has maintained a relationship to his fans and friends via newsletters/zines. Originally, the Omaha Rainbow published his writings. Later on his own, he wrote Poor Richard’s Newsletter, which became Don Ricardo’s Life & Times, and is now entitled Don Ricardo’s Report from the High Rhine.
In 1999, Dobson moved to Switzerland. He has documented his new life abroad in the book Pleasures of the High Rhine: A Texas Singer in Exile (2012).
We are incredibly honored to have this collection and can’t wait for researchers and classes to use it.