Late Fannin County Musician's Work Donated To A&M-Commerce

COMMERCE, Texas – The late Ruby Allmond’s music, a gift to Texas A&M University-Commerce, has been described as a genre of its own – a “Texas Classic.”

The work of this Fannin County musician and songwriter will live on at Texas A&M University-Commerce through the donation made by her longtime friend Audra Brock of Bonham of Allmond’s music collection to Gee Library.

“What a wonderful gift this is to Texas A&M University-Commerce,” President Dan Jones said. “What you are doing is helping to preserve a wonderful legacy,” Jones told Brock in her recent visit to A&M-Commerce.

Allmond, who died in 2006 at the age of 83, played the fiddle and guitar at the country music shows primarily in the late 1940s and 1950s throughout North and Northeast Texas and Oklahoma. She entertained at Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Sam Rayburn’s election campaign stops.

“Ruby Allmond was a phenomenal musician,” said Dr. Chris White, head of the A&M-Commerce Department of Music.

She later became an accomplished songwriter. Her “Reno,” sung by Dottie West and produced by Chet Atkins, rose to the Top Ten in national hit lists.

The collection of Allmond’s music includes phonograph records, CDs, ring binders of photos of Allmond, show posters, and lyrics to all of her 90 songs, letters, sheet music, and reel-to-reel tapes of her singing and playing her songs.

“I want to present this collection to the people of Texas,” Brock said. “It is a great pleasure to work with Dr. Jim Conrad of Gee Library to preserve this collection.”

Both Brock and Allmond grew up on farms near Bailey in Fannin County and worked at Bonham State Bank. In the evenings, Allmond would come to Brock’s house to the recording studio they had built to work on her music, which Brock referred to as “swing fiddle” and “Texas Classic.”

The collection, which will be housed in the library’s Special Collections Department, is “unique,” Conrad said. “We are honored we have such talented people in Northeast Texas as Ruby Allmond. I want to make this available to scholars and the people of Northeast Texas and I want young people to know of the talent of Ruby Allmond,” he said.

An official opening of the collection is scheduled for this spring and will include a performance of Allmond’s music on campus, according to Conrad and library director Greg Mitchell.

MUSIC DONATED — Audra Brock of Bonham, a longtime friend of the late Fannin County musician and songwriter Ruby Allmond, visits with Texas A&M University-Commerce President Dan Jones. Brock and Jones were at a signing ceremony where the Bonham resident donated Allmond’s music collection to Gee Library at A&M-Commerce.