Texas Tribute Hits Sour Note

Jerry Jeff Walker has filed an infringement suit against Palo Duro Records over a “tribute” album called Viva Terlingua! Nuevo!: Songs of Luckenbach Texas, saying the disc too closely resembles his landmark 1973 record, Viva Terlingua!

The contested album was recorded before a live audience in the same Luckenbach dance hall as the vintage version, but with five different musicians, including Jimmy LaFave and Cory Morrow.

Walker’s record featured the Lost Gonzo Band and helped put the then-fledgling west Texas “outlaw country” scene on the map. Palo Duro founder Chris Thomas said the Nuevo! album is intended as a tribute to Luckenbach.

“We have no interest in dishonoring that [original] release,” Thomas said. “If anything, this complements [Walker’s] legacy.”

Walker’s Groper Music declined Palo Duro’s request for licensing of the songs, so the label sought a compulsory license instead. That allows a copyrighted song to be used without the consent of the owner if certain rules are followed, including giving the copyright owner proper notice.

Walker’s lawsuit charges that notice was not given for his songs recorded on the album. Thomas’s attorney, Mike Tolleson of Austin, said notice was given within the mandatory 30 days of the October manufacturing and distribution of the “tribute” album.