Dave, age 6 or 7, with his father by the porch of their Franklin home, circa 1948. Clearly, Dave had some experience with a guitar before taking it up seriously at age 12.

Dave, age 13, Franklin High School photo, circa 1954.
Dave at 13

Dave at 14
Dave, age 14, between two unidentified citizens of Franklin at the soda fountain of Duffey Drug Company, circa 1955.

Dave with new Stratocaster

Dave, age 14 or 15, in full rock ‘n’ roll mode with his new Fender Stratocaster, circa 1956. He had begun to play professionally by this time.

Dave, age 15, with his Fender Stratocaster at the New Baden Jamboree, circa 1956. Dave and his father were original founders and participants in the country music festival in New Baden, still taking place on a regular basis approximately five miles east of Franklin. One of Dave’s first bandmates, Charles Ellison, is playing a jumbo acoustic guitar next to an unidentified sideman.
Dave at age 15

Dave at 15 at Van's Club

Dave, age 15 or 16, after his family’s move back to Houston, circa mid-to-late 1957. The photo was probably taken at Van’s Club where Dave appeared regularly during the late ’50s. Van’s Club on Fulton Street near Moody Park became Van’s Ballroom after relocating to Kipling Street in the Montrose area of Houston.

Dave, age 16, Sam Houston High School photo, 1957

Dave with his Jazzmaster
Dave, age 16 or 17, now playing a Fender Jazzmaster, circa 1958. Sideman in background is unidentified. Taken at Van’s Ballroom, a popular Houston venue for many years. Local nightclub impresario Van Bevill owned and managed the club. Texas nightclubs of this era were legally prohibited from selling mixed drinks. Located next door to a liquor store, Van’s was a BYOB (bring-your-own-bottle) club that sold mixers and provided ice and glasses to the customers.

Rockin' Dave Allen and His Thunderbirds
Rockin’ Dave Allen and His Thunderbirds at Van’s Ballroom, circa 1958. From left to right: Lee Hamby, bass; Tim Taylor, saxophone; Tom Martin, drums; Dave; and Butch Perkins, upright piano.

A candid stage photo of Dave, circa 1959. Dave’s most valued collaborator, pianist Kenny Lund, appears in the background. (Guitar buffs may notice that minor material elements of Dave’s Fender Jazzmaster are historically inaccurate. This is due to an extensive photo restoration process that also left the guitar unplugged.)
Dave with Kenny Lund

Rockin' Dave Allen and His Thunderbirds
Rockin’ Dave Allen and His Thunderbirds at Van’s Ballroom, circa 1959. From left to right: Kenny Lund, piano; Lee Hamby, bass; Dave; Nick Ortega, drums; and Miller “Jimmy” Norman, saxophone. Both Dave and Kenny Lund were significantly underage to have been working in a bar. City police officers moonlighting as security for Van’s looked the other way as long as the boys “behaved themselves.”


A more formal pose, circa 1959. Same venue, same line-up as above. At their peak, Dave and his band played six nights a week and at a Sunday afternoon jam session.
Dave Circa 1959

Dave circa 1960
A publicity photo of Dave, circa 1960, the same year that he had his biggest hit singles on the Jin label.

Publicity photo by Freeman Studios. First known photo of Dave with his Gibson ES-345, circa late 1963 or early 1964. Probably his best composed portrait.
Dave with ES-345

Stork Club Jerry Woods on saxophone, Dave and Jimmy Rogers on bass at Houston’s Stork Club, circa 1964.

Dave Allen Satellite Photo
After trimming down from the earlier sitting, Dave had a series of publicity photos taken, circa 1965.

Stich In Arizona Desert On Dave’s 1967 tour of the western club circuit, he and his wife stopped to pose for this photo in the Arizona desert.

Dave at the slot machines of Diamond Jim’s Nevada Club of Las Vegas in 1967. Stich in Vegas

Stich at home Dave relaxing at his family’s Northside Houston home in October, 1968.

Gene Thomas Dave Allen with Gene Thomas
Singer/songwriter Gene Thomas trading songs with Dave in bassist Billy Pyle’s apartment, circa 1970. Dave would almost never perform in a casual home setting like this unless Thomas was there. Both guitars belonged to Pyle.

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