Ponty Bone was ac­cor­dion mas­ter, key mem­ber of Joe Ely Band

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Peter Black­stock pblack­stock@states­man.com Bone

Ponty Bone, one of Texas’ best-known ac­cor­dion play­ers for decades and a key mem­ber of the Joe Ely Band dur­ing the 1970s and ’80s, died early Fri­day. He was 78 and had been di­ag­nosed two years ago with a rare neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease.

Born Harry DePonta Bone on Oct. 9, 1939, young Ponty be­gan tak­ing ac­cor­dion lessons at age 5 in San Antonio. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Thomas Jef­fer­son High School in 1957, he headed to Lub­bock to study ar­chi­tec­ture and art at Texas Tech. In 1962 he mar­ried Sarah Wade of Lub­bock; they had twins, Rachel and Sa­mara, in 1964.

That same year, Bone met Jim­mie Dale Gil­more at a party, pre­sag­ing Bone’s long as­so­ci­a­tion with some of Lub­bock’s most renowned mu­si­cians. Bone and his fam­ily moved to Phoenix in 1965 and started a band called New Moan Hey, but they also kept in touch with Gil­more and his pals, Joe Ely and Butch Han­cock, who’d stop in Phoenix to visit en route to Cal­i­for­nia in the late 1960s.

Bone and his fam­ily moved back to Texas in 1971, set­tling in Sla­ton just south­east of Lub­bock. He al­most ended up in Austin then; in an in­ter­view with Chris Oglesby on the Vir­tual Lub­bock web­site, Bone said he al­most joined the blues band the Storm with Jim­mie Vaughan and Lewis Cow­drey but in­stead got a sur­vey­ing job in Lub­bock and de­cided to stay.

The house in Sla­ton be­came a hot jam-ses­sion hub for Lub­bock mu­si­cians. “We used to go over to his house and bring our friends and play mu­sic all night,” Ely re­called Fri­day. Bone also be­gan to play reg­u­larly at Lub­bock’s famed Cotton Club with Tommy Han­cock’s Su­per­nat­u­ral Fam­ily Band.

When Ely got a record deal with MCA a few years later, he asked Bone to join his band. Bone played on Ely’s first four solo records and toured the world with him; jour­nal en­tries on Bone’s web­site pro-

AA-S FILE

Ponty Bone moved to Austin with the Joe Ely Band in 1980 and de­buted Ponty Bone & the Squeeze­tones in 1982.

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