Bob Livingston (musician)

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Bob Livingston
Bob Livingston
Bob Livingston
Background information
Birth nameRobert Lynn Livingston
Born (1948-11-26) November 26, 1948 (age 72)
OriginSan Antonio, Texas
GenresAmericana, Folk
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bass, piano
Years active1970s–present
LabelsCapitol, MCA, Vireo, New Wilderness, Howlin' Dog
Associated actsLost Gonzo Band

Robert Lynn "Bob" Livingston (born November 26, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, bass player, and a founding member of The Lost Gonzo Band. Livingston was a key figure in the Cosmic Cowboy, progressive country and outlaw country movements that distinguished the Austin, Texas music scene in the 1970s.[1] Over the years, Bob Livingston has gained a reputation as a band leader, solo artist, session musician and sideman in folk, Americana and country music. He has toured without stop for 47 years, and is one of the most experienced and world traveled musicians in all of Texas music. Livingston's CD, Gypsy Alibi, released by New Wilderness Records in 2011, won the "Album of the Year" at the Texas Music Awards. In January 2016, Livingston was inducted into the Texas Music Legends Hall of Fame and on October 3, 2018, Livingston will be inducted into the West Texas Music Walk of Fame. Howlin' Dog Records released Livingston's latest CD, Up The Flatland Stairs, January 10, 2018.

Early life[edit]

Livingston was born in San Antonio, Texas, but was raised in Lubbock. By the mid-1960s, he was active on the Lubbock music scene that was blossoming at the time along with several other Texas music artists such as Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Terry Allen, Jesse Taylor and David Halley. Livingston sharpened his skills as a guitarist and singer while attending Lubbock High and Texas Tech University. In 1968, he opened a folk club in Lubbock called The Attic, and shortly afterwards left Lubbock to pursue his own career in music.[2]

American music career[edit]

One of Livingston's first shows upon leaving Lubbock was to play for room, board and tips in Red River, New Mexico. There, he met a folk group called Three Faces West, whose members included Texas artist Ray Wylie Hubbard, Rick Fowler and Wayne Kidd. While playing in Aspen, Colorado in 1970, Livingston was discovered by talent scout and artist agent, Randy Fred, and was signed to Capitol Records. After meeting fellow Texas musician Michael Murphey in California, Livingston moved to Wrightwood, California and collaborated in a songwriting venture with Murphey, forming a music publishing company called Mountain Music Farm with other songwriters Roger Miller and Guy Clark. Livingston's Capitol Records contract was cancelled due to a company personnel change, and he subsequently opted to join Michael Murphey's band and play bass, touring and recording together on Murphey's classic albums Geronimo's Cadillac and Cosmic Cowboy Souvenir.[2]

By 1971, Livingston had relocated to Austin, Texas and was playing in a backing band that switched between Michael Murphey and Jerry Jeff Walker.[2] Eventually, Murphey and Walker's interchangeable band condensed into their own group, called The Lost Gonzo Band. With Murphey and Walker, The Lost Gonzo Band helped bring about the progressive country genre, and along with the redneck rock and outlaw country movements, defined a distinct "Austin Sound". Livingston and the Lost Gonzo Band lent their talents to Jerry Jeff Walker for his seminal album Viva Terlingua, among many other records in Walker's career.[3] Within time, the group achieved success in their own right and pursued a career for several years, signing contracts for three albums with Capitol Records and MCA. The original Lost Gonzo Band members were Bob Livingston, John Inmon, Gary P. Nunn, Tomas Ramirez, Kelly Dunn and Donny Dolan. Dubbed "The Phoenix Band of Austin", The Lost Gonzo Band has reappeared time and again for 40 years under their own name (as well as backing up various Texas artists) at the Armadillo World Headquarters, Austin City Limits, Texas Connection, Kerrville Folk Festival, Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic, South by Southwest Music Festival and Austin Aqua Fest.[4] Austin, Texas has won national recognition as the premier place to watch live music performances, a city now known as "The Live Music Capital of the World."[5][6]

Cosmic Cowboy[edit]

Livingston and Murphey were largely responsible for the "Cosmic Cowboy" term that arose in the Austin music scene. Murphey called Livingston by the nickname "Cosmic Bob",[7] perhaps due to the mystical nature of some of the earlier songs of Murphey's work, and in reference to Murphey's song "Cosmic Cowboy". According to several accounts, Bob and Michael Murphey were on a roof at night, and Bob stared up at the stars and said "I just want to be a cosmic cowboy." Murphey penned the lyrics on the spot: "I just want to be a cosmic cowboy, I just want to ride and rope and hoot. I just want to be a cosmic cowboy, a supernatural country rockin' galoot."[8][9]

Songwriting success[edit]

Bob Livington's songs have appeared in The Lost Gonzo Band's albums, his solo records, and in Jerry Jeff Walker's albums throughout Walker's career. Songs for Walker include "Public Domain" (1975 Ridin' High) (co-written with Gary P. Nunn), "Head Full of Nothin'" (co-written with Rick Fowler), and "It's a Good Night for Singing" (1976 It's a Good Night for Singing), "Roll on Down the Road" (1977 A Man Must Carry On), "Bittersweet" (1981 Reunion), "Gonzo Compadres" (1993 Viva Luckenbach), "Life's Too Short" (1996 Scamp), "Wanted for Love" co-written with Lane Bybee (1998 Cowboy Boots and Bathing Suits).[10]

In 2004, American rap artist Lloyd Banks of G-Unit recorded a song titled "Warrior" on his debut album The Hunger for More. The rapper's song contained a music sample of "Hold On", a song written by Livingston and Ray Wylie Hubbard and recorded by the Lost Gonzo Band but never formally released (but it was released by McKendree Spring on their 1975 album, Get Me to the Country). "Warrior" reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts and went platinum.[11][12]

Livingston's song "Love Cannot Be Broken" was in the soundtrack of Nobelity- a documentary about the world as seen through the eyes of various Nobel laureates, directed and produced by Turk Pipkin.[13] 2014 saw two recordings of Livingston's song "On A Dream With You" by Texas artists, Walt and Tina Wilkins, on their new "Be Mine" CD and by beloved Texas turned Santa Fe singer/song stylist, Bill Hearne, on his latest CD, "All That's Real."

"Cowgirl's Lullaby", co-written by Livingston and Andy Wilkinson was featured in the independent film, Barracuda produced in Austin 2017. It was also recorded by Wilkinson and appears on Livingston's new CD, "Up The Flatland Stairs."

International music career[edit]

Livingston has toured abroad since 1982 playing in the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, France, Canada and Mexico. Beginning in 1987, Livingston began a series of music tours sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Acting as an ambassador of American music, he has been sent repeatedly to over 25 different countries throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Asia,[14] with an aim to promote goodwill and cross-cultural understanding through musical exchange. Livingston has toured Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Syria, Kuwait, Qatar, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Morocco, Tunisia and Angola, among others. These tours began as a solo act, but eventually included such musicians as long-time associate and guitarist John Inmon, fiddler Richard Bowden, and Livingston's son, guitarist and composer, Tucker Livingston. Livingston and his son gave performances and workshops on the art of guitar playing, songwriting craft, and a history of Texas music and folklore. The Livingstons regularly invited local musicians onstage to collaborate with their indigenous instruments. What followed were concerts that demonstrated to public, school and state audiences alike a sense of unity and brotherhood through music. Editing and pre-production of a documentary film of these travels are currently in the works. Though Livingston plays original music on these tours, he also teaches audiences around the world how to yodel, sing Hank Williams songs, and perform Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" yielding a kaleidoscope of imagery that they have seldom encountered. Livingston has played and collaborated with groups as diverse as Nepal's, Sur Sudha, The Royal Omani Orchestra, with Ood players in the Middle East, Geisha singers in Vietnam, sitar and tabla players in India and Angolan drum and choir ensembles.[15][16]

Texas Music International (TMI) and Cowboys and Indians[edit]

In 2000, Livingston created his own company, Texas Music International, an organization dedicated to bringing different musics of the world together for human and cultural harmony. His first venture was to create a multi-cultural group of musicians from Texas and India called Cowboys & Indians. Cowboys & Indians is supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Economic Development Department of Austin, give public performances and give educational and entertaining workshops and performances in Texas schools and theaters. Mixed instrumentation, music and cultural lore fuse with Native American, Texas folk and Indian themes that include Bharatanatyam dance, Native American flute and story song, Hindu mythology and cowboy yodeling. Based in Austin, members of Cowboys & Indians have included John Inmon, Oliver Rajamani, Richard Bowden, Tucker Livingston, Bradley Kopp, Karen Mal, Paul Pearcy and Bharatnatyam dancer Anu Naimpally.[17][18][19]

Recent ventures[edit]

Livingston's discography spans beyond progressive country, singer-songwriter and rock music to such myriad recordings as film music for The Texas Chain Saw massacre,[20] environmental and peace activist albums, and a children's record on A Gentle Wind called, Open The Window.[21] During his career, Bob has performed with a long list of musicians that reads as a Who's Who of Americana music: Jerry Jeff Walker, Michael Martin Murphey, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Willie Nelson, Willis Alan Ramsey, Leon Russell, and Garth Brooks. He has acted as Chairman of the Austin Music Commission, and serves on the board of directors at the Texas Music Museum. In 2009, Bob Livingston completed another tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department to France, Switzerland and several nations in Africa[22][23] and in February 2017 played in Karachi, Pakistan. He currently lives in Austin and continues his work with Cowboys & Indians, The Lost Gonzo Band and his solo career. Livingston's newest CD, Gypsy Alibi was co-produced by Livingston and Lloyd Maines and released on January 27, 2011, on New Wilderness Records. On July 9, 2011, Gypsy Alibi, won "Album of the Year" at the Texas Music Awards. Livingston's latest CD Up The Flatland Stairs, a collection of songs for Howlin' Dog Records, is set to be released in the summer of 2017.

Livingston as Author[edit]

Bob Livingston is currently writing a book for Texas Tech University Press about his life and travels through the lens of his music career. Expected publishing date, 2018.



  • Waking Up (Wilderness); 1981
  • Signs of Life (Wilderness); 1988
  • Open the Window (Gentle Wind); 1996
  • Mahatma Gandhi & Sitting Bull (Vireo); 2003
  • Everything Is All Right (TMI); 2004
  • Cowboys & Indians (Vireo); 2007
  • Original Spirit (Vireo); 2008
  • Gypsy Alibi (New Wilderness Records); 2011
  • Bob Livingston at the Kerrville Folk Festival (FestivaLink); 2011
  • Up The Flatland Stairs (Howlin' Dog Records); 2018

With The Lost Gonzo Band[edit]

  • The Lost Gonzo Band (MCA); 1972
  • Thrills (MCA); 1976
  • Signs of Life (Capitol); 1978
  • Rendezvous (Vireo); 1991
  • Hands of Time (Vireo); 1995
  • Dead Armadillos (Demon/Edsel); 1998

With Jerry Jeff Walker[edit]

  • Jerry Jeff Walker (MCA); 1972
  • Viva Terlingua! (MCA); 1973
  • Walker's Collectibles (MCA); 1974
  • Ridin’ High (MCA); 1975
  • It's a Good Night for Singin’ (MCA); 1976
  • A Man Must Carry On (MCA); 1977
  • Great Gonzos (MCA); 1991
  • Navaho Rug (Rycodisk); 1991
  • Hill Country Rain (Rycodisk); 1992
  • Viva Luckenbach (Rycodisk); 1993
  • Christmas Gonzo Style (Rycodisk); 1994
  • Night After Night (Tried ‘n True); 1995
  • Scamp (Tried ‘n True); 1996
  • Cowboy Boots and Bathing Suits (Tried ‘n True); 1997
  • Lone Wolf: The Best of Jerry Jeff Walker (Elektra); 1998
  • Gypsy Songman (Tried ‘n True); 1999
  • Gonzo Stew (Tried ‘n True); 2001
  • Too Old to Change (Tried ' True) 2003
  • It's A Good Night For Singin' & Contrary To Ordinary Plus (Raven); 2013

With Michael Martin Murphey[edit]

  • Geronimo’s Cadillac (A&M); 1972
  • Cosmic Cowboy Souvenir (A&M); 1973

With Ray Wylie Hubbard[edit]

  • Something About the Night (Renegade); 1979
  • Loco Gringo's Lament (Dejadisc); 1994

With Bobby Bridger[edit]

  • Seekers of the Fleece (Golden Egg); 1975
  • Ballad of the West (Golden Egg); 2001
  • Complete Works (Golden Egg); 2004

With Steven Fromholz[edit]

  • Steven Fromholz (Capitol); 1977
  • Frummox II (ABC Probe);1982

With Bill Oliver[edit]

  • Texas Oasis 1980 (Live Oak)
  • Better Things to Do 1986 (Live Oak)
  • Audubon Adventures 1987 (Live Oak)
  • Have to Have a Habitat 1995 (Live Oak)
  • Friend of the River 2001 (Live Oak)

With Butch Hancock[edit]

  • Yella Rose (with Marce Lacouture)(Rainlight); 1985
  • Own & Own (Demon); 1989
  • Own the Way Over Here (Sugar Hill); 1993

With Terry Allen[edit]

  • The Moral Minority (Fate); 1995

With Pat Green[edit]

  • Carry On (Greenhorse); 2000
  • Three Days (Universal); 2001

With Gary P. Nunn[edit]

  • Under My Hat (1996)

Other artists[edit]

  • Peter Caulton: Hard Road Tough Country (1998)
  • Cory Morrow: Outside the Lines (2002)
  • Mark David Manders: Highs and Lows (2002)
  • Owen Temple: General Store (1997)
  • Owen Temple: Two Thousand Miles (2007)
  • Larry Joe Taylor: Heart of the Matter (2000)
  • Various Artists Kerrville Folk Festival: Early Years 1972–1981
  • Various Artists: Stranger Than Fiction (1999)
  • Chris Wall: Cowboy Nation (1999)
  • Susan Herndon "All Fall Down" (2012)


  1. ^ Hillis, Craig (Spring 2002). "Cowboys and Indians: The International Stage". Journal of Texas Music History, Vol. 2, No. 1. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Oglesby, Chris (December 4, 2000). "Chris Oglesby interviews with Bob Livingston". Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  3. ^ Stimeling, Travis D. (2008). "Viva Terlingua: Jerry Jeff Walker, Live Recordings, and the Authenticity of Progressive Country Music". Journal of Texas Music History, Vol. 8, No. 1. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  4. ^ Jayne, Doug (June 27, 2009). "Audio Interview: Bob Livingston with Doug Jayne KRCB". Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  5. ^ "The Lost Gonzo Band, Armadillo World Headquarters". February 7, 1980. Archived from the original on September 20, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  6. ^ Reid, Jan (2004). The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock, New Edition. ISBN 9780292701977. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  7. ^ "Bluebird Cafe – 9:00 In The Round with Bob Livingston, Boomer Castleman, T. Graham Brown and Gary Nicholson". February 24, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  8. ^ "Michael Murphey and The Lost Gonzo Band, "Cosmic Cowboy", Willie Nelson's Picnic, 1974". Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  9. ^ "Bob Livingston and Michael Murphey at the Cosmic Cowboy Reunion Show in Austin, TX 2009". Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  10. ^ "Jerry Jeff Walker Discography". Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  11. ^ "Lloyd Banks – Warrior Lyrics". Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  12. ^ "Ray Wylie Hubbard 2005 Q&A on LoneStarMusic". Archived from the original on April 20, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  13. ^ "Working for a more peaceful and sustainable world-One Peace At A Time – Home". Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  14. ^ "Embassy of the United States Hanoi, Vietnam – 2007 Press Releases". December 26, 2007. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  15. ^ Langer, Andy (May 2, 2003). "Big in Yemen". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  16. ^ "HCM City People's Committee". Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  17. ^ "Indian Classical Music Circle – Archives". Archived from the original on January 7, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  18. ^ "Bob Livingston's Cowboys & Indians Home – Texas Music International – Bob Livingston – Cowboys & Indians – The Lost Gonzo Band". Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  19. ^ "About TMI – Texas Music International – Bob Livingston – Cowboys & Indians – The Lost Gonzo Band". Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  20. ^ Tim Harden, Roger Bartlett. ""Fool for a Blonde", "The music of Texas Chainsaw Massacre"". Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  21. ^ "Open the Window". Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  22. ^ "Kigali City Official Website >> Kigali City receives a key to the City of Austin-Texas". Archived from the original on October 4, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  23. ^ "Texas Duo (Bob Livingston) Visits Namibia, December 5–10, 2009 – Windhoek, Namibia". Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010.


External links[edit]