An Inventory of His Collection, 2005, at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library
On June 10, 2005, Louis Black, co-founder of The Austin Chronicle and the South by Southwest Festival, interviewed noted songwriter-producer Donald W. "Bob" Johnston about his long career in the music industry. The recordings were accomplished in Austin by Harold Eggers.
Born in Hillsboro, Texas, on May 14, 1932, Bob Johnston was a third-generation songwriter, following his grandmother and his mother Diane, who co-wrote "Miles and Miles of Texas," a hit for both Ernest Tubb and Asleep at the Wheel. Bob also wrote music for films, including Little Fauss and Big Halsy, Cisco Pike, and I Walk the Line.
He was most famous, however, as a record producer and once headed the Capitol studio in Nashville. Beginning in the 1960s Johnston shepherded a fabulous string of hits: Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited and five others, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, and Simon and Garfunkfel's Sounds of Silence. After a bout with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in 1986 he bounced back to produce Willie Nelson's The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories. Leonard Cohen, who did three albums with him and two world tours with Johnston leading his band, described the Texan as "very forceful and very hospitable". Johnston died in Nashville on August 14, 2015.
The actual run time on the Louis Black interview of Bob Johnston is 168 minutes. The original media of the collection as supplied by Harold Eggers are 3 audio CDs, 2 Sony MiniDiscs, and 9 Panasonic MiniDV cassettes. The wide-ranging interview surveys Johnston's career (described above) and ends with his description of producing a Carl Perkins compilation including versions of his songs by the four members of the Beatles after their break-up. Besides the interview there is a recitation by Johnston of the lyrics to his song "This Child." The collection is in good condition and is part of the Crossroads of Music archive.
The collection is open for research. Copyright is retained by the authors of items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by U.S. copyright law. Audio and visual recordings may need to be reformatted prior to use and require advance notice to the Reference Librarian.
Louis Black Collection, 2005, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas