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The James Hand Jr. Collection - West Fair and Rodeo (1970)

James Hand

Silent | 1970

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  •  The contestants parade around the rodeo grounds 
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This home movie from 1970 captures future country singer James Hand, Jr. participating in the annual West Fair and Rodeo, established in 1947. Also featured are scenes of the Hands at home, admiring the family’s new jeep.
James Hand, Jr., known today as James "Slim" Hand, was born on July 7, 1952 in Waco, Texas.  As his website states, "rodeos and country music surrounded James from an early age, and quickly became part of his daily life.” Hand began writing songs as a child and was performing for audiences by the age of 13. Hand has worked as a rodeo rider, truck driver, and a horse trainer, a job he still does today despite his success in the music industry. While he is often associated with the music scene in Austin, Hand lives in West, Texas, a neighboring town of his birthplace, Waco. Hand has been locally celebrated by Texans for decades, with a large fan base that includes Texas legends such as Willie Nelson and Darrell Royal. His brand of country music is honky-tonk music, reminiscent of Hank Williams or Lefty Frizzell. Hand spent his life playing at endless bars and clubs, independently releasing three albums and opening for Willie Nelson several times in the early 2000s. He did not release his first nationally distributed track, however, until 2006 after Ken Irwin of Rounder Records saw him perform at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin. "The Truth Will Set You Free," produced by country music hard-hitters Ray Benson and Lloyd Maines, catapulted Hand to international success. Hand has since released his album Shadow On The Ground, which was the subject of a documentary in 2008, and continues to tour nationally and internationally, playing his real deal country music all over the world.