Archive for Gilley’s

Ballad of the Unknown Urban Cowboy: Isaac Payton Sweat Part 1

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , on November 15, 2009 by 30daysout

I.P. Sweat

In June 1980, the beautiful and the glamorous made their unlikely way to the sprawling Gilley’s honky tonk in Pasadena, Texas, to attend the premiere party for the movie Urban Cowboy.  New York socialites squeezed into tight jeans and Hollywood types wore western shirts with silk scarves around their necks, and everyone spilled out onto the hardwood floor to dance.  Many times that night, Gilley’s Urban Cowboy Band played the song “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” and people shuffled their boots along the floor and yelled “BULL SHIT!”

Good times, but one thing was wrong with that picture.  The guy who should have been singing the “Cotton-Eyed Joe” was nowhere to be found.  Where was Isaac Payton Sweat?

In the early 1980s, Isaac Payton Sweat was known as the “King Of the Cotton-Eyed Joe.”  He IP Sweat business cardcertainly had the biggest hit with the old song – whenever it was played, people from El Paso to Orange would shuffle out onto the dance floor.  In the days after disco, the song would point the way to the next big fad that Urban Cowboy would embody.  At the Winchester Club in Houston Sweat, with his Sweat Band (later called the Cadillac Cowboys), reigned as one of the city’s most popular performers.

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