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Obituaries

R. Dawson, 64; Texas Rock Star

October 06, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

Ronnie Dawson, a hard-rocking 1950s singer-guitarist who never gained widespread national fame but was revered in Texas throughout his four-decade career, died Tuesday at his home in east Dallas. He was 64, and had suffered from throat cancer.

Unlike many rockers of his age, Dawson never gave up playing wherever he could. Known at various times as Ronnie Dee, the Blond Bomber and Snake Munroe, Dawson was rediscovered in Europe in the 1980s, and went on to record several albums of both his old songs and new material.

He grew up in Waxahachie, Texas, south of Dallas.

By age 17, Dawson was playing on Dallas stages with touring musicians such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Horton, Roy Acuff and Ernest Tubb.

Dawson thought that he would have a breakthrough record deal in the late 1950s. But it didn't come to pass, and the singer went back to playing club dates in Texas.

Dawson got a measure of larger notoriety in the mid-1980s when his records were bootlegged and became underground favorites in Europe. A release of new material followed in 1989 and 1992. His wife, Chris, survives him.

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