Charlie Dunn

Charlie Dunn

There really was a Charlie Dunn. Chances are, if you ever heard of him at all, you know him through the enchanting 1960’s Jerry Jeff Walker song, “Charlie Dunn”. I know the song from Jerry Jeff’s first album, which sadly I don’t have. I believe it was named simply “Jerry Jeff Walker.”

You can find a bio on Dunn at FamousTexans.com, complete with lyrics to the song.

I looked all this up on Google after finding out there was a real Dunn in The New Yorker, of all places. It is buried in an article about singer and songwriter Lyle Lovett, by Alec Wilkinson (Profiles, “HOMEBOY, The world of Lyle Lovett”, The New Yorker, March 1, 2004).

Wilkinson writes that Lovett’s boots are made in Austin, Texas, by a man named Lee Miller:

He went to a bootmaking college in Oklahoma. Each year, an old bootmaker in Austin named Charlie Dunn hired the student who graduated first in the class. Miller went to work for Dunn, who was in the habit of driving off his employees. Miller grew accustomed to being fired, then arriving home and having Dunn call and hire him back. “He was from the old days,”, Miller says, “when you said it like it was, then regretted it later.” Dunn died in 1993 — he was ninety-five — and Miller took over the business.

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