Oak Cliff People: Musical Movie Aims to Move You

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Musical Movie Aims to Move You
City's harmonic heyday highlighted in film

By Margaux Anbouba

Kirby Warnock has made it his mission to tell a story few are aware of — that Dallas used to be the rock and roll capital of the Southwest. 

But you didn't have to be there to believe it; Buddy, a magazine Warnock worked for from 1973 to 1982, recorded it all. Now the North Oak Cliff resident is sharing the exclusive interviews and photos with the world in his documentary When Dallas Rocked.

It was the death of some of the key players behind the Dallas music scene that inspired Warnock to create the film.

"Somebody once said to me a long time ago that things aren't history until they are written down," Warnock said. "All that I'm doing is trying to catch and save these stories so that the history won't die with them."

Some of the Dallas legends included in the film are guitarist Freddie King— a 2013 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who is known for his song about Dallas called "Living in the Plalace of the King" — and the Vaughan brothers, Jimmie and Stevie Ray.

"The Vaughans were born and raised in Oak Cliff," Warnock said. "They learned how to play guitar, learned their style, and got their start here in Dallas."

Music legends were drawn to Dallas because many of the large record labels used the city as a focal point for moving records. There were also two competitive radio stations, The Zoo and Q102, and the legendary rock club Mother Blues. Ray Wylie Hubbard, who hails from Oak Cliff, wrote "Mother Blues" about his experience there.

Oak cliff native Mike Rhyner, a sports talk host on The Ticket, was a producer for The Zoo and worked with Warnock.

"Looking back through the looking glass, you see there was a whole lot more going on than it seemed like at the time," Rhyner said. "[When Dallas Rocked is] going to give everybody a really close look at what they might have taken for granted if they were around. If they weren't, it will leave you with a keener since of the musical heritage of this place than you have now."