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On the Road: Merchandising and The Music Man

Rick Perry's Freedom & Liberty coffee
Photo by Ben Philpott for KUT News
Rick Perry's Freedom & Liberty coffee

At just about every campaign  stop, there's a table set up to collect names, e-mails, phone numbers and, of course, voting pledges. In return, people can pick up a bumper sticker or yard sign, even a t-shirt if they promise to caucus for Rick Perry.

The governor's 4th stop today, at Cabin Coffee Co. in Clear Lake, provided a new entry.

Rick Perry's Freedom and Liberty blend coffee

Now you couldn't get it just by pledging to vote. It cost $8 for a half pound, $13 for a whole pound.

We've been having fun with the coffee's description on the press bus. Reeve Hamilton, from our political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune, asked if it was a description of the coffee....or the man?

I'll let you decide:

"Rich and smooth, medium bodied, sparkling acidity, with smoky undertones."

As Reeve also points out, after looking on the Cabin Coffee Co. website, the Perry coffee appears to be the store's Outlaw blend rebranded.


Also today, two stops in historic musical towns. First, Clear Lake Iowa. The town's Surf Ballroom was the site of Buddy Holly's last concert before he boarded that ill-fated flight. While usually referred to as Buddy Holly's last concert, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper also performed in that concert -- and died in the plane crash.

The venue held its first annual remembrance "Winter Dance Party" (that was the name of the tour the signers were on) in 1979.

This year's 4-day event included the 23rd Annual British Billy Holly Society Luncheon, music art of the 50's and 60's, a tour of the crash site and, to close out the whole event, a concert featuring Chuck Berry.

From there, the bus traveled to Mason Iowa, the home town of composer, songwriter and playwright Meredith Willson. Willson wrote The Music Man, the musical about a traveling salesman/con-artist who sells a small Iowa town on the idea of creating a boy's marching band.

The town of Mason has incorporated part of Willson's boyhood home into a large building called "Music Man Square." Inside is a recreation of the town square from the the 1912 River City Main Street. And there's a large statue of Willson outside. 

Just a few stops on the tour Perry hopes will change his fortune in the GOP Presidential race. It ends at 6 p.m. today.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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