Robert Allen Hunt

Last Edited 19 Feb 2009

March 07, 1950  -  September 14, 2006

Allen's Obituary

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It is with great sadness that I bring you the news of Allen Hunt's passing.  Allen was an Icon in the music scene of Corpus Christi, TX in the sixties, playing guitar for the Liberty Bell, Sam Neely and many other popular bands of that era.  Click here to read the touching tributes to Allen from those who knew and loved him.
Tony Voltaggio
worked with Al and periodically recorded the band.  He has provided what most would consider to be Al's signature song, "Muleskinner Blues", recorded on a night in
1979 at the Rogues Club in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Listen
and you will surely remember the awesome picker that demanded respect the minute you heard him play. 
 

A Tribute to Allen Hunt

I’m just now reading about Allen and I'm so truly saddened.  As soon as I returned from the reunion Allen was the first person I tried to get in touch with but the phone was not working.  Now I understand why.  He was one of my dearest friends who I’m happy to say remained in very close contact with me over the last year, after a long separation.  We had lots of long phone conversations.  This must have been so sudden or he kept a great secret.... I truly loved his spirit and all the great memories of him, especially with Buzz and Frank... I miss you guys too, and don't hear from you nearly as often as I should.  Godspeed Allen and I know you’re looking down on us.  I didn't get to send ya the tee about which came first, the chicken or the egg….A little joke we shared.

Beth Overstreet and family


I am at such a loss for words.  I always had a special bond with Allen and his family.  Ethel was like a mother to us...we were all her kids.  Allen was and will always be my most favorite guitar player.  It was his gift, his God given talent to us.  As the years proceeded, I saw Allen on and off in the office (he would just drop by) that was Al...(unexpected).  He always had a simple way about himself.  For years I ran my car on Ethel’s oil (tea) and we would always play for Bob (when he was home).
Al's death should teach us all how short our lives are and how important it is to stay in contact with one another!
I will miss Al.

Carl Aeby


I remember the first time I met Allen around '71, I think.  We were playing across the street and He and Sam came over to check out the competition.  We weren't.  But he introduced himself and said we should come over and see them.  I did and I was never more impressed.  I guess it was around '72-73, things weren't going so good for Sam's record and Allen needed to work, so Ronnie Tanner, Richard Painter, Allen, and me put together something and played a few holes-in-the-wall.  Those were fun times.  We were living together in some shack he wrangled from someone he knew, living the true bachelor's life.

It was around the end of '74 that Tim Delaney, and Lou Tamez, and I recreated Junction.  Then around '77, Allen joined us.  For me, that was the best band I was ever in.  We'd been working as a trio, but when Allen joined, it was like magic.  He could put a spin on a song that you just had to say WOW!!!  We seldom practiced.  We'd be on stage and Allen would start into some song and we would follow.  It would always become a regular for our sets.  We went to the job to have fun.  We didn't make a lot of money, but the sound was so good, it didn't matter.  As always, things never stay the same.  Disco was coming in and we all ran for shelter...right into the Yellow Rose.  I was there for about a year, but it was time for me to move on.

That was probably the last time I saw or talked to Allen.  That was a mistake.  My life moved on and once I searched the internet for any 'Allen Hunts'.   I found one in Ventura, his home town.  I put the number my wallet, but I never called it.  One night I got a call from John Kenny and he told me Allen was in Washington.  I called him and we must have talked almost all night.  We
talked a few times after that.  He bought a new Box and I bought a new Box and we both bragged about how good they sounded.

That was what we did professionally, but it was more than that.  I remember him wanting to hack his '57 Les Paul to put in new humbuckers, and me the biggest hacker of them all, trying to talk him out of it.  That Les Paul and Twin were the best combination I ever heard.  I remember when we would wait with extreme anticipation for the new Moody Blues Album to come out.  It was a glue that held all of us all together, not just me and Allen.  I remember us deciding who's house to go and listen to it.  It always ended up being Allen's because he had the greatest sounding stereo.  It wasn't expensive, it just sounded great, like him.  I remember Allen getting us tickets to go to their concert.  I remember crying.  I remember listening to all kinds of music at Allen's while he sat in his legless rocking chair.  We'd get high and he'd say, we need to do "this" song.  We did.
I remember listening to him play and thinking I'm the luckiest guy in the world to know him.  I remember one night when we sat up all night drinking tequila.  No, it wasn't the right thing to do.  But I never had a better time.  I remember him following me home from the island, even though he was as drunk as I was, but he wanted to know I was safe.  I remember the only best friend I ever had.  I remember Allen.

I will miss him.

Tony Voltaggio


It was 74 or 75 (can't remember clearly)...Allen and I worked together at Trinis Jolly Beggar club on Ocean Drive. What a hot little band we had. We did all kinds of songs and if I say so myself we were a pretty good little bar band.

Boy we had fun.......sure there were some tensions (all bands have them) but looking back Al was never part of the tension, he was a pressure valve that allowed us to laugh and laugh really hard.

One night in particular I remember we were playing and I was singing some song and back then I used to close my eyes when I sang. Suddenly I felt a great burst of heat and My eyes flew open and there was a huge flame right in front of my face. Yup you guessed it....Allen on the other side of the stage with a lighter and a can of WD-40....hahahahahahahaha. The really funny part was after the flame disappeared there was no oxygen left to breathe and I was suffocating for a moment. You gotta laugh, (lots of songs became instrumentals suddenly when you worked with Allen) but I got even with him later, Allen always washed his hands with a glass of water on his amp before he played. Well.................we squirted 3 in 1 oil in the water (laughing) you should have seen the look on his face when he poured it on his hands and rubbed them together. We were on the floor with that one.

He and I laughed our butts off when I retold him that story just a year or so ago.

Man what great times we had......we were truly a lucky bunch of kids, he made me feel like it was ok to be a kid no matter what age I was. Thanks Al

John Kenney


When I auditioned and got the job as lead singer for The Liberty Bell I had no idea what that little band and all the friends I made and that incredible music scene in Corpus Christi would become.  Allen and his family invited me into their home and I stayed a whole year!  Ethel became my MOM too!  Al taught me to play the guitar.  Rick and I talked a few days ago and he reminded me that ' Heck, he taught everyone to play the guitar'!

I was fortunate enough to be able to write a few songs with him.  I got in a lot of trouble with him too. But it was still lots of fun.  I won't tell about the arrests for graffiti on a neighbors fence. Or water bomb fights from the roof of Ethel's house (I know what Al put in one of those
bombs!!!).  Or the mess we made of Al's dad's garage.  I am so glad to have known him.   I will miss him.  He was truly my brother.

Ronnie Tanner


I would like to thank each and every one of you for the heart felt tribute to my brother.  There were so many little things I had forgotten over the years.

Your thoughts and pictures were a wonderful reminder.  I guess God needed a really good guitar player. 

Jan Milne and Family


The 60's were a time of growing, learning, and experiencing and, for us, almost a historical and unique period of music and sharing.  I feel as one who knew Allen at that time as a peer who you could learn from and also in a sense share their success (Home boys made good).  My path was not this way though I have treasured the people, experiences, and wisdom gained from this period.  I knew Allen as one to watch, listen, and learn, and now, after a few of these reunion experiences, I wish that I knew him later in life when I know we would have even more in common than the music.  I do regret that we were so close in geography and in a reviving sense of reunion - I wanted to connect soon via our Missoula - Spokane localities.  I am sorry that it didn't happen in our time.  I fully share John Kenney's and others' feelings - you got to take those chances that are given you to reconnect.

From what I have learned, Al was providing a service to others, giving of self, to save lives.  Barbie knows my feelings toward those who are heroes among us and some of what I have been doing to help out since 9-11.  And now, here is to Al, our next hero in line. Please teach me those chords and leads for the good stuff when I get to where you are.   God says I need a good teacher.

Bob Polk


Al's nickname was "Humpty" or "The Hump" for short.  (It came from a joke going around at the time in our band, based on a song.)  Sorry for our loss, this week has been a tough one.  I will miss my old friend a great deal.  

Richard "Little Ricky" Painter


What a loss for us all...I'm glad for the memory of being Al's first friend in Corpus...we met his first day in high school there, and began playing guitars together that very day, and were immediately friends.  We learned a bunch of songs together, him on lead guitar of course, and me on rhythm guitar...we both sang (he was good at harmonizing) and soon, just the two of us  played for a party (my very first gig).  From there we went on to form that little band called the Zulus, which after I left, became known as the Liberty Bell.  I'll never forget those times playing gigs, hanging out at each other's house, or just out terrorizing Corpus together some 40 years ago.  We e-mailed, and spoke on the phone a few months ago, but that was the first time in many years...I was hoping for that to continue...Bye Allen, you were awesome!

Buzz Adamek


The first time I saw "Humpty" perform was at the Carousel Club with the Zulus. I knew right then and there that he possessed that certain special something which the rest of us were still searching for - originality.  While we were all trying our hardest to emulate the Beatles and Stones, Al was doing his own thing, like with songs by the Beau Brummels or by doing his own version of "Muleskinner Blues".  Totally unique, totally Al! As luck would have it, I found myself in the same band with "Humpty" two years later.  While we were permanently altering our DNA with "Ethel's Oil", I became even more aware of Al's prowess on the guitar.  He had the quickest hands I'd ever seen work a guitar neck, with incredible accuracy; in fact, I don't ever remember
him playing a wrong note!!  It really is a shame he never found his way back to Texas again, but from the e-mails I exchanged with him over the past two years, I really feel he was satisfied with his life choices.....I just wish I could have played one more time with him.

Chris Gerniottis


Allen had no idea that he had so many friends that cared so deeply for him.   He was one of a kind.   A remarkable musician and caring man who endeared himself to everyone who knew him.  I have known Allen for around 10 years as he was married to Linda Simpson who is my daughters mother in law.  My grandchildren thought the world of him and so did my daughter and her husband. 

As fate would have it,  we ended up working together for the last 11/2 years managing an apartment complex of 153 units.   He was my assistant.  I remember him teasing my grounds guy unmercifully but he loved him anyway.   He tried his best to be an honery cuss.    Smiles   

I had the honor only once to share in a jam session with Allen and our boss Maddy.   Because of that jam session, the three of us became fast friends... kinda like the three musketeers.  We spent hours giggling together, sharing our hopes and dreams, and loving every minute.    I think we all looked forward to the times we shared together.   The jam session was awesome... wow.... what a gifted musician he was.    He would play his guitar and fill in while i played the keyboard.. I was so mesmerized by his playing that I would stop and just listen... Allen would say..." Keep playing you silly goose"   He was quite the entertainer.  Then he would wink or do something goofy to make us laugh.   As you might know.... We loved him with every fiber  of our being.   It was a special time in my life to have shared with Allen the daily giggles and tribulations of running the complex and the three of us were so close.  To know Allen was to love him...

Unfortunately, we never got to have another jam session and I regret that.  It was an awesome night like no other I have known.  

If you knew Allen, then you know what kind of person he was.... very caring and thoughtful.  He was always worrying about me and tried to give support when needed.  He loved to share his material things with the people he cared for... that gave him much Joy.  Reminds me of that song called Joy.   He sent that to me to listen to.   His favorite part of that song.   "good, bad, good bad good bad"

My days are spent in constant reminder of the loss of a dear friend.  He touched a lot of peoples lives and will be severely missed. 

Patty Flores


It’s very hard to know what to say beyond the fact that Al really enjoyed hearing from everyone......a more gentle soul I don’t think I will ever know.
Happy trails Al,

John Kenney


Thank you for sharing this information and your well-said sentiments, John.  You will be included in the next group e-mail that I will send out to our "Ratpackers" about this sad news.  Wow.  This explains why I couldn't get past his voice mail in the weeks before the reunion.  I'm not really done grieving about Sam Neely -- also a close friend of Allen -- and now this news.  I had tried so hard to get Allen to come to one of our reunions.  He was definitely one of the good guys with lots of talent and a magnetic personality.  He would have seen, again, how much he IS loved here. 

Carefree -- always laughing and a big tease is how I remember Allen Hunt when I first met him back in the 60s.  He used to grab Yvonne Aeby (Carl's sister) and throw her over his shoulder and haul her up and down the stairs at the Aeby house until she squealed and begged sufficiently for him to put her down.  Veronica (Mom Aeby) always felt that Allen considered Yvonne to be his "little sister."  All the girls seemed to love his “bad boy with a good heart” appeal, but he told me that I always made him feel like he should “behave.”  Ha!  Me behave?  He must have not realized that I was the driver in the wild group of girls who circled his block one night (where a bunch of his friends were hanging out), in my dad’s old Chevy.  Girls were packed inside the car and sitting on the hood and trunk as we passed his house several times.  Little did we know that he and the guys were “ready” for us and ambushed our car with water balloons and God only knows what else.  The cops watched this strange event from the nearby Exxon station for half an hour before they decided to break it up.  We were wrestling and chasing each other all over the street and in the yards by then.  Corpus had a curfew and we were rounded up and sent home with reprimands from the cops (who probably thought it was all hilarious).  Carl and I prayed that the old car wouldn’t stall out in the car wash while we tried to clean off the eggs, etc. (that were splattered inside and out)!

Also, I vividly remember his biggest fan, Ethel (his mom) and his older sister Janet, who was feisty and so beautiful but in a different generation from our “band guys.”  Although Al didn't come back to Texas, I'm glad I got a chance to visit with him intermittently through the years and regularly on the phone as well as via e-mail during the last four years.  Allen seemed determined to make peace within his soul and expressed it by reaching out to make amends where he felt amends were needed and even by providing some drug counseling to others.  I guess God thought he did a good job here and called him home.  Yes, Al Hunt was a one-in-a-million gifted musician filled with bravado, but those of us who really knew “Allen” knew his fun-filled spirit and gentle heart.

Barbie (McKinney) Smith


What terrible news!  How terrible that we are just finding out.  I can't believe it!  Thanks for sending this (memoriam with photos) along - it's actually comforting in a way.

Love you,

Julie (Cox D’Elena)


Sad, sad news.  Even though we haven't seen Al in about 20 years, I feel he was still a close-knit part of our gang.  He will surely be missed.  Makes you really think about making our reunions every year, because you never know.

Wayne Harrison & Marion Loveless 


More sad news.  I guess the last time I saw Al was at the venue in Corpus, that at one time was called the Electric Eel.  This would have been in '82 or '83.  He was one of those truly talented people with a guitar in his hand.  I remember sitting with him and some others in my old '56 Chevy in front of my house on Warwick one night.  Al had a guitar, and was just noodling around.  I asked him if he could play McGuinn's bridge in "The Bells of Rhymney."  He played it alright.  He really played it.  No preliminary searching around for notes prior to playing it.  He just hit it, right away.  Needless to say, it left a long-lasting impression upon me.  And being at his house,  just off McArdle, and drinking his mom's tea, AKA "Ethel's Oil".  And having your own designated glass was a real honor.  My mother was a total tea freak, so I could relate.  I was glad to hear that he had gone into the world of counseling, in some way.  It made sense somehow.  Well, I'm off to work, but I'll think about Al a lot today.

Glenn Jauer


Oh God, NO.  Say it isn't so--------Oh my goodness.  Now I know why I haven't heard from him.   This is a very sad bit of news for me.  I'll get back to you when I stop crying.   I know I will need more info.  Please help me.  

Cher (Williams) Wiggins-Boynton


Cher, there will be no words anyone can say to soothe your broken heart but know he is safe and happy now with his mom and dad (who he truly missed deeply).
I was lucky enough to have spent some time with him within the last couple of years.
Same old Allen...joking, quick witted, great one-liners and a joy to be around for the people he worked with and for.  Trust me, I saw it first hand.
Always spoke of friends from the 'old days' fondly and both of us wondering how we got to be our parents’ ages.
Upon reflection, there is no doubt to me now that losing his mom and dad really took a toll on him.  Upon reflection, part of him was very lost without them.  Upon reflection, I was blessed to have been his friend then and now.  We spoke of many things during the evenings....sometimes cutting up, sometimes talking about deeper 'forever' stuff like 'what’s next'.  I tried to always let him choose the topics....its kinda how I am.  I hope that helps.
Cher: it’s ok to miss Al, I do not for a moment assume I can understand your loss beyond it being something no one can prepare for, but he is ok now.  I know he would want your life to be happy and full with as little sadness as possible.
Happy trails Allen,

John Kenney


Thanks for everything. I will never forget my first love.  We were friends and I loved him dearly.  I'll never forget the last time we talked.  It was two months ago and he did something to me I couldn't stand when we were going steady -- Grit his teeth.  I had forgotten all about that.  I had to laugh.  He was a good man and I am glad we stayed in touch with each other over the years.  He is in his Creator’s hands now.  I want to see him when I pass through this life.  God will take care of him for me.

Cher


I just got a call from Richard Painter about Allen.  I know CA (Carl Aeby) will be saddened to hear the news.  They have been in contact over the past year.  He seemed to be a great person.  I know he will be missed.

Kay Aeby


Thanks to all who are part of this, I was able to get in touch with Allen back in November of 04.   He was a great guitarist and I always liked his sense of humor.  I am saddened to hear the news.

Eben Wood 


Another tragic loss, so young.

Jeanette “JJ” Coers (aka Molly Bomar)


Barbie, is this what we all must expect will happen to us?  It's incredible.  Didn’t we think back in the 60's that we would never grow up and die?  I will miss my good friend Al.  I'm so glad that I re-established contact with him a few years ago.  We actually talked a couple of times on the phone.  He sent me the 'scrapbook' that you and Ethel worked so hard on.  Thanks for the heads up.  I e-mailed John Kenney and he sent the obit.  Wow.  God Bless Allen and Sammy.

Ronnie Tanner


Oh my God.  I didn't know this.  I was with Laura Cornett this past week in Missouri (she was my friend from King that Al knew, along with Patricia Adams).  She lives out in California now and we had spoken about Al and thought that what we needed to do in the coming months was I needed to fly out to LA to her and we could do a road trip up to Al's and surprise them!  I called Laura a little while ago and told her about Allen's passing and she and I had a good cry and then decided we shoulda done that road trip sooner :( 

I am glad he wasn't alone - I am just so sorry I never got to see him again and give him a big hug.  Yes, you will see me next time (at the reunion) - I don't want anyone else going without me seeing them again - I am just heartbroken.

Nancy (Lawson) Muniz 


This was sad, but a very nice memorial.

Marilyn (Miller) Jordan

 

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