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This Week in Texas Music History: Z.Z. Hill

Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet “the other Z.Z.” of Texas blues.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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On April 23, 1984, Z.Z. Hill gave his last performance at the Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas. Arzell Hill was born in Naples, Texas, in 1935. He began his musical career at 19 when he moved to Dallas to sing gospel. However, Hill also enjoyed blues and R&B. In 1964, he recorded his first single, “You Were Wrong.” Hill did not record again until 1972, when he released a string of blues and R&B hits, including “Down Home Blues” and “Love Is So Good When You’re Stealin’ It.”

By the early 1980s, Z.Z. Hill was poised to capitalize on a growing interest in Texas blues. However, in February 1984, he was involved in a car accident that caused health problems from which he would never fully recover. Despite these difficulties, Hill continued to perform, giving his last concert in Dallas just days before his death.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a salesman who rode the airwaves to the Governor’s Office.