Still Treating Em Right

After 50 years as one of Texas's top powerhouse entertainers, Roy Head calls son Sundance the real star in the family.

I even did a show with Chuck Berry at Jimmy Menutis' club on Telephone Road," he adds. "I know Chuck has a reputation for being difficult, but he was good as gold to me."

Asked to name the biggest thrill of his career, Head immediately says, "playing the Apollo Theater."

"You've heard the stories about the first time Charley Pride played Panther Hall in Fort Worth?" Head asks. "Well, that's what playing the Apollo was like for me. The place was just loud and crazy until I was introduced, but it got real quiet when I walked out.

Roy Head onstage at Houston's Continental Club in September 2009.
Jay Lee
Roy Head onstage at Houston's Continental Club in September 2009.

"I had Joe Scott's band behind me again, and I just started doing some of the moves I'd copped from James Brown and Jackie Wilson, and by the time I walked off they were showing me a lot of love," continues Head. "That's a very hip crowd, and winning them over was definitely a high point in my career."

While he loves to revel in the past and tell old war stories, Head is also looking ahead. Last year he released Still Treating Em Right, a 14-track mix of country ballads and blue-eyed soul that includes a smoking remake of "Treat Her Right."

According to Head, the album has done well in the secondary radio market and has helped revive interest in his live shows. He'll soon be heading to Toronto for a festival. But these days, he seems as excited about his son Sundance's budding career as he is in tooting his own horn.

"I'm so proud of him and how he's going about this," says Head about the 2007 American Idol semifinalist. Universal Motown signed Sundance after his 13th-place finish, but he has since parted ways with the label and released his first album, 2016 and Gruene, only weeks ago.

A mix of blues, country, and ballads, Gruene showcases the 32-year-old's triple-threat talents as singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

"He's trying to do it the right way," says Sundance's proud papa. "He cut the whole thing at a little studio here in Houston [Stone Logic], paid for it himself [and] is putting it out himself. It makes an old man proud."

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