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Wills c. 1946
|Birth name||James Robert Wills|
|Also known as||"King of Western Swing"|
|Born||March 6, 1905|
Kosse, Texas, U.S.
|Died||May 13, 1975 70) (aged|
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
|Labels||Vocalion, OKeh, Columbia, MGM, Liberty|
|Associated acts||The Strangers, Light Crust Doughboys, Texas Playboys|
James Robert Wills (March 6, 1905 – May 13, 1975) was an American Western swing musician, songwriter, and bandleader. Considered by music authorities as the co-founder of Western swing,he was widely known as the King of Western Swing (although Spade Cooley self-promoted the moniker "King Of Western Swing" from 1942 to 1969).
Western swing music is a subgenre of American country music that originated in the late 1920s in the West and South among the region's Western string bands. It is dance music, often with an up-tempo beat, which attracted huge crowds to dance halls and clubs in Texas, Oklahoma and California during the 1930s and 1940s until a federal war-time nightclub tax in 1944 contributed to the genre's decline.
Donnell Clyde Cooley, better known as Spade Cooley, was an American Western swing musician, big band leader, actor, and television personality. His career ended in 1961 when he was arrested and convicted for the brutal murder of his second wife, Ella Mae Evans.
Wills formed several bands and played radio stations around the South and West until he formed the Texas Playboys in 1934 with Wills on fiddle, Tommy Duncan on piano and vocals, rhythm guitarist June Whalin, tenor banjoist Johnnie Lee Wills, and Kermit Whalin, who played steel guitar and bass. The band played regularly on Tulsa, Oklahoma radio station KVOO and added Leon McAuliffe on steel guitar, pianist Al Stricklin, drummer Smokey Dacus, and a horn section that expanded the band's sound. Wills favored jazz-like arrangements and the band found national popularity into the 1940s with such hits as "Steel Guitar Rag", "New San Antonio Rose", "Smoke On The Water", "Stars And Stripes On Iwo Jima", and "New Spanish Two Step".
Thomas Elmer Duncan, better known as Tommy Duncan, was a pioneering American Western swing vocalist and songwriter who gained fame in the 1930s as a founding member of The Texas Playboys. He recorded and toured with bandleader Bob Wills on and off into the early 1960s.
Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 45th-most populous city in the United States. As of July 2016, the population was 413,505, an increase of 12,591 over that reported in the 2010 Census. It is the principal municipality of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, a region with 991,005 residents in the MSA and 1,251,172 in the CSA. The city serves as the county seat of Tulsa County, the most densely populated county in Oklahoma, with urban development extending into Osage, Rogers, and Wagoner counties.
KFAQ is a commercial AM radio station in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is owned by Griffin Communications and airs a talk radio format. The station carries CBS News Radio along with local news from its own news department. Weather is provided by sister station KOTV-TV. KFAQ studios and offices are located on East 29th Street in Midtown Tulsa, and it transmits from a three-tower facility located along East 11th Street in an undeveloped area of East Tulsa.
Wills and the Texas Playboys recorded with several publishers and companies, including Vocalion, Okeh, Columbia, and MGM, frequently moving. In 1950, he had two Top 10 hits, "Ida Red Likes The Boogie" and "Faded Love", which were his last hits for a decade. Throughout the 1950s, he struggled with poor health and tenuous finances, but continued to perform frequently despite the decline in popularity of his earlier music as rock and roll took over. Wills had a heart attack in 1962 and a second one the next year, which forced him to disband the Playboys although Wills continued to perform solo.
For Decca's Vocalion label, see Disques Vogue
Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.
The Country Music Hall of Fame inducted Wills in 1968 and the Texas State Legislature honored him for his contribution to American music.
In 1972, Wills accepted a citation from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in Nashville. He was recording an album with fan Merle Haggard in 1973 when a stroke left him comatose until his death in 1975. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Wills and the Texas Playboys in 1999.
The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers is an American non-profit performance-rights organization (PRO) that protects its members' musical copyrights by monitoring public performances of their music, whether via a broadcast or live performance, and compensating them accordingly.
Merle Ronald Haggard was an American country singer, songwriter, guitarist, and fiddler.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, on the shore of Lake Erie, recognizes and archives the history of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have had some major influence on the development of rock and roll. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was established on April 20, 1983, by Ahmet Ertegun, founder and chairman of Atlantic Records. In 1986, Cleveland was chosen as the Hall of Fame's permanent home.
He was born on a farm in Kosse, Limestone County, Texas [ citation needed ]to Emma Lee Foley and John Tompkins Wills. His father was a statewide champion fiddle player and the Wills family was either playing music, or someone was "always wanting us to play for them", in addition to raising cotton on their farm.
Kosse is a town in Limestone County, Texas, United States. The population was 497 at the 2000 census. A July 1, 2009 U.S. Census Bureau estimate placed the population at 507.
In addition to picking cotton, the young Jim Bob learned to play the fiddle and the mandolin. Both a sister and several brothers played musical instruments, while another sister played piano. The Wills family frequently held country dances in their home, and there was dancing in all four rooms. While living in Hall County, Texas, they also played at 'ranch dances' which were popular throughout west Texas.
Wills not only learned traditional music from his family, he learned some Blues songs directly from African Americans in the cotton fields near Lakeview, Texas, and said that he did not play with many white children other than his siblings, until he was seven or eight years old. African Americans were his playmates, and his father enjoyed watching him jig dance with the black children.
The family moved to Hall County in the Texas Panhandle in 1913,and in 1919 they bought a farm between the towns of Lakeview and Turkey.
At the age of 16, Wills left the family and hopped a freight train. "Jim Rob", as he became known, drifted for several years, traveling from town to town trying to earn a living, at one point almost losing his life when he nearly fell from a moving train, and later being chased by railroad police.
In his 20s he attended barber school, got married, and moved first to Roy, New Mexico, then returned to Turkey in Hall County (now considered his home town) to work as a barber at Hamm's Barber Shop. He alternated barbering and fiddling even when he moved to Fort Worth after leaving Hall County in 1929. There he played in minstrel and medicine shows, and, as with other Texas musicians such as Ocie Stockard, continued to earn money as a barber. He wore blackface makeup to appear in comedy routines, something that was common at the time. "He was playing his violin and singing." There were two guitars and a banjo player with him. "Bob was in blackface and was the comic; he cracked jokes, sang, and did an amazing jig dance."
Since there was already a "Jim" on the show, the manager began calling him "Bob".However, it was as "Jim Rob Wills", paired with Herman Arnspiger, that he made his first commercial (though unissued) recordings in November 1929 for Brunswick/Vocalion.
Wills was known for his hollering and wisecracking. One source for this was when, as a very young boy, he would hear his father, grandfather, and cowboys give out loud cries when the music moved them.
When asked if his wisecracking and talking on the bandstand came from his medicine show experience, he said it did not. Rather, he said that it came directly from playing and living close to Negroes, and that he never did it necessarily as show, but more as a way to express his feelings.
While in Fort Worth, Wills added the "rowdy city blues" of Bessie Smith and Emmett Miller to a repertoire of mainly waltzes and breakdowns he had learned from his father, and patterned his vocal style after that of Miller and other performers such as Al Bernard.
Wills acknowledged that he idolized Miller. Furthermore, his 1935 version of "St. Louis Blues" is nearly a word-for-word copy of Al Bernard's patter on his 1928 recording of the same song.
That Wills made his professional debut in blackface was commented on by Wills' daughter, Rosetta: "He had a lot of respect for the musicians and music of his black friends," Rosetta is quoted as saying on the Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys Web site. She remembers that her father was such a fan of Bessie Smith stating, "He once rode fifty miles on horseback just to see her perform live." ... She was about the greatest thing I had ever heard. In fact, there was no doubt about it. She was the greatest thing I ever heard.")(Wills is quoted as saying, "I rode horseback from the place between the rivers to Childress to see Bessie Smith
In Fort Worth, Wills met Herman Arnspiger and formed The Wills Fiddle Band. In 1930 Milton Brown joined the group as lead vocalist and brought a sense of innovation and experimentation to the band, and became known as the Aladdin Laddies and then soon renamed themselves the Light Crust Doughboys due to radio sponsorship by the makers of Light Crust Flour. Brown left the band in 1932 to form the Musical Brownies, the first true Western swing band. Brown added twin fiddles, tenor banjo and slap bass, pointing the music in the direction of swing, which they played on local radio and at dancehalls.
Wills recalled the early days of what became known as Western swing music in a 1949 interview."Here's the way I figure it. We sure not tryin' to take credit for swingin' it." Speaking of Milt Brown and himself working with songs done by Jimmie Davis, the Skillet Lickers, "One Star Rag", "Rat Cheese Under The Hill", "Take Me Back To Tulsa", "Basin Street Blues", "Steel Guitar Rag", and "Trouble In Mind" were some of the songs in Wills' extensive repertory.
After forming a new band, The Playboys, and relocating to Waco, Wills found enough popularity there to decide on a bigger market. They left Waco in January 1934 for Oklahoma City. Wills soon settled the renamed Texas Playboys in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and began broadcasting noontime shows over the 50,000 watt KVOO radio station. Their 12:30–1:15 p.m. Monday–Friday broadcasts became a veritable institution in the region. Nearly all of the daily (except Sunday) shows originated from the stage of Cain's Ballroom. In addition, they played dances in the evenings, including regular ones at the ballroom on Thursdays and Saturdays.[ citation needed ]
Wills added a trumpet to the band inadvertently when he hired Everet Stover as an announcer, not knowing that he had played with the New Orleans symphony and had directed the governor's band in Austin. Stover, thinking he had been hired as a trumpeter, began playing with the band with no comment from Wills. Young sax player Zeb McNally was allowed to play with the band, although Wills initially discouraged it. With two horns in the band, Wills realized he would have to add a drummer to balance things and create a fuller sound. He hired the young, "modern style musician" Smoky Dacus.
By 1935, Wills had added horn and reed players as well as drums to the Playboys. The addition of steel guitar whiz Leon McAuliffe in March 1935 added not only a formidable instrumentalist but a second engaging vocalist. Wills himself largely sang blues and sentimental ballads. Wills and the Texas Playboys did their first recordings on September 23–25, 1935 in Dallas. Session rosters from 1938 show both "lead guitar" and "electric guitar" in addition to guitar and steel guitar in the Texas Playboys recordings.Wills' 1938 recording of "Ida Red" served as a model for Chuck Berry's decades later version of the same song, "Maybellene".
About this time, Wills purchased and performed with an old Guadagnini violin that had once fetched $7,600 for $1,600, the equivalent of about $24,000 in 2009.
In 1940, "New San Antonio Rose" sold a million records and became the signature song of The Texas Playboys. The "front line" of Wills' orchestra consisted of either fiddles or guitars after 1944.
In 1940, Wills, along with the Texas Playboys, co-starred with Tex Ritter in Take Me Back To Oklahoma .Other films would follow. In December 1942, after several band members had left the group, and as World War II raged, Wills joined the Army at the age of 37, but he received a medical discharge in 1943.
Wills also appeared in The Lone Prairie (1942), Riders Of The Northwest Mounted (1943), Saddles And Sagebrush (1943), The Vigilantes Ride (1943), The Last Horseman (1944), Rhythm Round-Up (1945), Blazing The Western Trail (1945), and Lawless Empire (1945). According to one source, he appeared in a total of 19 films.
After leaving the Army in 1943, Wills moved to Hollywood, moving into a rented house in September, p.m. PT over KMTR-AM (now KLAC) in Los Angeles. They also played regularly every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night at the Mission Beach Ballroom in San Diego.and began to reorganize the Texas Playboys. He became an enormous draw in Los Angeles, where many of his Texas, Oklahoma and regional fans had also relocated during the Great Depression and World War II in search of jobs. Monday through Friday, the band broadcast from 12:01 to 1:00
He commanded enormous[ clarification needed ] fees playing dances there, and began to make more creative use of electric guitars to replace the big horn sections the Tulsa band had boasted. For a very brief period in 1944, the Wills band included 23 members, and around mid-year he toured Northern California and the Pacific Northwest with 21 pieces in the orchestra. Billboard reported that Wills out-grossed Harry James, Benny Goodman, "both Dorsies, et al." at Civic Auditorium in Oakland, California, in January 1944.
Wills and His Texas Playboys began their first cross-country tour in November 1944, and appeared at the Grand Ole Opry on December 30, 1944. According to Opry policy, drums and horns were considered pop instruments, inappropriate to country music. The Opry had two western swing bands on its roster, led by Pee Wee King and Paul Howard. Neither were allowed to use their drummers at the Opry. Wills' band at the time consisted of two fiddlers, two bass fiddles, two electric guitars, electric steel guitar, and a trumpet. Wills's then-drummer was Monte Mountjoy, who played in the Dixieland style. Wills battled Opry officials and refused to perform without his drummer. An attempt to compromise by keeping Mountjoy behind a curtain collapsed when Wills had his drums placed front and center onstage at the last minute.
In 1945, Wills' dances were outdrawing those of Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman,and he moved to Fresno, California. Then in 1947 he opened the Wills Point nightclub in Sacramento and continued touring the Southwest and Pacific Northwest from Texas to Washington State. While based in Sacramento, his radio broadcasts over 50,000-watt KFBK were heard all over the West.
Famous swing orchestras in California realized that many of their followers were leaving to dance to Bob Will's Western swing. Because he was in such demand, some places booked Wills any time he had an opening, regardless of how undesirable the date. The manager of a popular auditorium in the LA Basin town of Wilmington, California: "Although Monday night dancing is frankly an experiment it was the only night of the week on which this outstanding band could be secured."
During the postwar period, KGO radio in San Francisco syndicated a Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys show recorded at the Fairmont Hotel. Many of these recordings survive today as the Tiffany Transcriptions and are available on CD.They show off the band's strengths significantly, in part because the group was not confined to the three-minute limits of 78 RPM discs. On April 3, 1948, Wills and the Texas Playboys appeared for the inaugural broadcast of the Louisiana Hayride on KWKH, broadcasting from the Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Wills and the Texas Playboys played dances throughout the West to more than 10,000 people every week. They held dance attendance records at Jantzen Beach in Portland, Oregon; in Santa Monica, California, and at the Oakland (California) Auditorium, where they drew 19,000 people in two nights.Wills also broke an attendance record of 2,100 previously held by Jan Garber at the Armory in Klamath Falls, Oregon, by attracting 2,514 dancers. Wills and the Playboys also played small towns on the West Coast. Actor Clint Eastwood recalled seeing Wills when he was 18 or 19 (1948 or 1949) and working at a pulp mill in Springfield, Oregon.
Appearances at the Bostonia Ballroom in San Diego continued throughout the 1950s.
Still a binge drinker, Wills became increasingly unreliable in the late 1940s, causing a rift with Tommy Duncan (who bore the brunt of audience anger when Wills's binges prevented him from appearing). It ended when he fired Duncan in the fall of 1948.
Having lived a lavish lifestyle in California, Wills moved back to Oklahoma City in 1949, then went back on the road to maintain his payroll and Wills Point. He opened a second club, the Bob Wills Ranch House in Dallas, Texas. Turning the club over to managers later revealed to be dishonest left Wills in desperate financial straits with heavy debts to the IRS for back taxes that caused him to sell many assets including, mistakenly, the rights to "New San Antonio Rose".[ citation needed ] It wrecked him financially.
In 1950, Wills had two Top 10 hits, "Ida Red Likes The Boogie" and "Faded Love". After 1950, radio stations began to increasingly specialize in one form or another of commercially popular music. Wills did not fit into the popular Nashville country and western stations, although he was usually labeled "country and western". Neither did he fit into the pop or middle of the road stations, although he played a good deal of pop music, and was not accepted in the pop music world.
He continued to tour and record through the 1950s into the early 1960s, despite the fact that Western swing's popularity, even in the Southwest, had greatly diminished. Bob could draw "a thousand people on Monday night between 1950 and 1952, but he could not do that by 1956. Entertainment habits had changed."
On Wills' return to Tulsa late in 1957, Jim Downing of the Tulsa Tribune wrote an article headlined "Wills Brothers Together Again: Bob Back With Heavy Beat". The article quotes Wills as saying, "Rock and Roll? Why, man, that's the same kind of music we've been playin' since 1928! ... We didn't call it rock and roll back when we introduced it as our style back in 1928, and we don't call it rock and roll the way we play it now. But it's just basic rhythm and has gone by a lot of different names in my time. It's the same, whether you just follow a drum beat like in Africa or surround it with a lot of instruments. The rhythm's what's important." The use of amplified guitars accentuates Wills's claim; some Bob Wills recordings from the 1930s and 1940s sound similar to rock and roll records of the 1950s.
Even a 1958 return to KVOO, where his younger brother Johnnie Lee Wills had maintained the family's presence, did not produce the success he hoped for. He appeared twice on ABC-TV's Jubilee USA and kept the band on the road into the 1960s. After two heart attacks, in 1965 he dissolved the Texas Playboys (who briefly continued as an independent unit) to perform solo with house bands. While he did well in Las Vegas and other areas, and made records for the Kapp Records label, he was largely a forgotten figure—even though inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1968. A 1969 stroke left his right side paralyzed, ending his active career. He did, however, recover sufficiently to appear in a wheelchair at various Wills tributes held in the early 70's. A revival of interest in his music, spurred by Merle Haggard's 1970 album A Tribute To the Best Damn Fiddle Player In The World, led to a 1973 reunion album, teaming Wills, who could only speak with difficulty, with key members of the early band, as well as Haggard.
May 26, 1975 issue of TIME (Milestones section) read: "Died. Bob Wills, 70, "Western Swing" bandleader-composer; of pneumonia; in Fort Worth. Wills turned out dance tunes that are now called country rock, introducing with his Texas Playboys such C & W classics as Take Me Back to Tulsa and New San Antonio Rose".
Wills' style influenced performers Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and The Strangers and helped to spawn a style of music now known as the Bakersfield Sound.[ citation needed ] (Bakersfield, California was one of Wills' regular stops in his heyday). A 1970 tribute album by Haggard, A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World (or, My Salute to Bob Wills) directed a wider audience to Wills' music, as did the appearance of younger "revival" bands like Asleep at the Wheel and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen plus the growing popularity of longtime Wills disciple and fan Willie Nelson. By 1971, Wills recovered sufficiently to travel occasionally and appear at tribute concerts. In 1973 he participated in a final reunion session with members of some the Texas Playboys from the 1930s to the 1960s. Merle Haggard was invited to play at this reunion. The session, scheduled for two days, took place in December 1973, with the album to be titled For The Last Time. Wills, speaking or attempting to holler, appeared on a couple tracks from the first day's session but suffered a stroke overnight. He had a more severe one a few days later. The musicians completed the album without him. Wills by then was comatose. He lingered until his death on May 13, 1975.
Reviewing For the Last Time in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau wrote: "This double-LP doesn't represent the band at its peak. But though earlier recordings of most of these classic tunes are at least marginally sharper, it certainly captures the relaxed, playful, eclectic Western swing groove that Wills invited in the '30s."
In addition to being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1968,Wills was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the Early Influence category along with the Texas Playboys in 1999, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
From 1974 until his 2002 death, Waylon Jennings performed a song he had written called "Bob Wills Is Still The King". Released as the B-side of a single that was a double-sided hit, it went to number one on the country charts. The song has become a staple of classic country radio station formats. In addition, The Rolling Stones performed this song live in Austin, Texas at Zilker Park on their A Bigger Bang Tour, a shout-out to Wills. This performance was included on their subsequent DVD The Biggest Bang . In a 1968 issue of Guitar Player, rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix said of Wills and the Playboys: "I dig them. The Grand Ole Opry used to come on, and I used to watch that. They used to have some pretty heavy cats, some heavy guitar players." In fact, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys only performed on the Opry twice: in 1944 and 1948. Hendrix almost surely referred to Nashville guitarists.
Wills ranked #27 in CMT's 40 Greatest Men In Country Music in 2003.
Wills' upbeat 1938 song Ida Red was Chuck Berry's primary inspiration for creating his first Rock and Roll hit - Maybellene.
Fats Domino once remarked that he patterned his 1960 rhythm section after that of Bob Wills.
During the 49th Grammy Awards in 2007, Carrie Underwood performed his song "San Antonio Rose".Today, George Strait performs Wills' music on concert tours and also records songs influenced by Wills and his Texas-style swing.
The Austin-based Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel have honored Wills' music since the band's inception, mostly notably with their continuing performances of the musical drama A Ride With Bob ,which debuted in Austin in March 2005 to coincide with celebrations of Wills' 100th birthday.
The Bob Wills Birthday Celebration is held every year in March at the Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a Western swing concert and dance.
In 2004, a documentary film about his life and music, entitled Fiddlin' Man: The Life And Times Of Bob Wills, was released by VIEW Inc.
In 2011, Proper Records released an album by Hot Club of Cowtown titled What Makes Bob Holler: A Tribute To Bob Wills And His Texas Playboys.
In 2011, the Texas Legislature adopted a resolution designating western swing as the official "State Music Of Texas".
On February 9, 2014, the 80th Anniversary of Bob Wills' first performance at the Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture (OKPOP) announced plans to create a feature-length documentary about the life and music of Bob Wills. The documentary will be titled Still the King. Bob Wills: The Man. The Music.
|1949||Round Up||Columbia Records|
|1960||Together Again (w/ Tommy Duncan)||Liberty|
|1961||A Living Legend|
|1961||Mr. Words & Mr. Music (w/ Tommy Duncan)|
|1963||Bob Wills Sings And Plays|
|1965||Bob Wills Keepsake Album No. 1||Longhorn|
|1966||From The Heart Of Texas||33||Kapp|
|1967||King Of Western Swing||43|
|1968||Here's That Man Again||24|
|1973||Bob Wills Plays The Greatest String Band Hits||28||MCA|
|1974||For The Last Time||28||United Artists|
|1975||The Best Of Bob Wills Vol. II||36||MCA|
|1976||Remembering ... The Greatest Hits Of Bob Wills||46||Columbia|
|Bob Wills And His Texas Playboys In Concert||44||Capitol|
|1977||24 Great Hits By Bob Wills And His Texas Playboys||39||MGM|
|1935||"St. Louis Blues" / "Four or Five Times"||Vocalion 03076|
|"Good Old Oklahoma" / "Mexicali Rose"||Vocalion 03086|
|"Osage Stomp" / "Get with It"||Vocalion 03096|
|1936||"Sitting on Top of the World" / "Black and Blue Rag"||Vocalion 03139|
|"I Can't Be Satisfied" / "Wang Wang Blues"||Vocalion 03173|
|"I Ain't Got Nobody (and Nobody Cares for Me)" / "Who Walks in When I Walk Out?"||Vocalion 03206|
|"Spanish Two Step" / "Blue River"||Vocalion 03230|
|"I Can't Give You Anything but Love" / "Never No More Blues"||Vocalion 03264|
|"Old Fashioned Love" / "Oklahoma Rag"||Vocalion 03295|
|"Trouble in Mind" / "Weary of the Same Ol' Stuff"||Vocalion 03343|
|"Basin Street Blues" / "Red Hot Gal of Mine"||Vocalion 03344|
|"Sugar Blues" / "Fan It"||Vocalion 03361|
|"Smith's Reel" / "Harmony"||Melotone 6-11-58|
|"Steel Guitar Rag" / "Swing Blues No. 1"||Vocalion 03394|
|1937||"She's Killing Me" / "What's the Matter with the Mill?"||Vocalion 03424|
|"Get Along Home Cindy" / "Right or Wrong"||Vocalion 03451|
|"Mean Mama Blues" / "Bring It On Down to My House"||Vocalion 03492|
|"No Matter How She Done It (She's Just a Dirty Dame)" / "Too Busy!"||Vocalion 03537|
|"Back Home Again in Indiana" / "Swing Blues No. 2"||Vocalion 03578|
|"Dedicated to You" / "Bleeding Hearted Blues"||Vocalion 03597|
|"White Heat" / "Bluin' the Blues"||Vocalion 03614|
|"I'm a Ding Dong Daddy (from Dumas)" / "Rosetta"||Vocalion 03659|
|"The New St. Louis Blues" / "Oozlin' Daddy Blues"||Vocalion 03693|
|"Playboy Stomp" / "Tie Me to Your Apron Strings Again"||Vocalion 03854|
|1938||"Maiden's Prayer" / "Never No More Hard Time Blues"||Vocalion 03924|
|"Steel Guitar Stomp" / "Sunbonnet Sue"||Vocalion 03997|
|"Black Rider" / "Everybody Does It in Hawaii"||Vocalion 04132|
|"Keep Knocking (but You Can't Come In" / "Empty Bed Blues"||Vocalion 04184|
|"Alexander's Ragtime Band" / "Gambling Polka Dot Blues"||Vocalion 04275|
|"Tulsa Stomp" / "Little Red Head"||Vocalion 04235|
|"Loveless Love" / "Way Down upon the Swanee River"||Vocalion 04387|
|"Moonlight and Roses (Bring Mem'ries of You)" / "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate"||Vocalion 04439|
|"Oh, Lady Be Good" / "Oh You Beautiful Doll"||Vocalion 04515|
|1939||"I Wonder If You Feel the Way I Do" / "That's What I Like About the South"||Vocalion 04566|
|"Whoa Babe" / "Little Girl, Go Ask Your Mama"||Vocalion 04625|
|"San Antonio Rose" / "The Convict and the Rose"||Vocalion 04755|
|"You're Okay" / "Liza Pull Down the Shades"||Vocalion 04839|
|"Silver Bells" / "Yearning Just for You"||Vocalion 04934|
|"Beaumont Rag" / "The Waltz You Saved for Me"||Vocalion 04999|
|"Ida Red" / "Carolina in the Morning"||Vocalion 05079|
|"Dreamy Eyes Waltz" / "My Window Faces the South"||Vocalion 05161|
|"If I Could Bring Back My Buddy" / "Prosperity Special"||Vocalion 05228|
|1940||"Don't Let the Deal Go Down" / "Drunkard Blues"||Vocalion 05282|
|"Blue Prelude" / "Sophisticated Hula"||Vocalion 05333|
|"Pray for the Lights to Go Out" / "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"||Vocalion 05401|
|"Blue Bonnet Rag" / "La Golondrina / Medley of Spanish Waltzes / Lady of Spain / Cielito Lindo"||Vocalion 05523|
|"You Don't Love Me (but I'll Always Care)" / "No Wonder"||Vocalion 05597|
|"Lone Star Rag" / "I Don't Lov'a Nobody"||OKeh 05637|
|"New San Antonio Rose" / "Bob Wills' Special"||OKeh 05694|
|"That Brownskin Gal" / "Time Changes Everything"||OKeh 05753|
|"There's Going to Be a Party (for the Old Folks)" / "Big Beaver"||OKeh 05905|
|1941||"Take Me Back to Tulsa" / "New Worried Mind"||OKeh 06101|
|"Maiden's Prayer" / "Takin' It Home"||OKeh 06205|
|"Twin Guitar Special" / "Lyla Lou"||OKeh 06327|
|"Bob Wills' Stomp" / "Lil Liza Jane"||OKeh 06371|
|"Corrine, Corrina" / "Goodnight Little Sweetheart"||OKeh 06530|
|1942||"Cherokee Maiden" / "Ride On! (My Prairie Pinto)"||OKeh 06568|
|"Dusty Skies" / "It's All Your Fault"||OKeh 06598|
|"Oh! You Pretty Woman" / "I Knew the Moment I Lost You"||OKeh 06640|
|"Please Don't Leave Me" / "My Life's Been a Pleasure"||OKeh 6681|
|"This Little Rosary" / "When It's Honey Suckle Time in the Valley" (Unreleased)||OKeh 6692|
|"Ten Years" / "Let's Ride with Bob (Theme Song)"||OKeh 6692|
|"My Confession" / "Whose Heart Are You Breaking Now?"||OKeh 6703|
|1943||"Home in San Antone" / "Miss Molly"||OKeh 6710|
|1944||"We Might As Well Forget It" / "You're from Texas"||OKeh 6722|
|1945||"Goodbye, Liza Jane" / It Seems Like Yesterday" (Unreleased)||OKeh 6734|
|"Smoke on the Water"||1||OKeh 6736|
|/ "Hang Your Head in Shame"||3|
|"Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima"||1||OKeh 6742|
|/ "You Don't Care What Happens to Me"||5|
|"Silver Dew on the Blue Grass Tonight"||1||Columbia 36841|
|/ "Texas Playboy Rag"||2|
|"White Cross on Okinawa"||1||Columbia 36881|
|/ "Empty Chair at the Christmas Table"|
|1946||"New Spanish Two Step"||1||Columbia 36966|
|/ "Roly Poly"||3|
|"Stay a Little Longer"||2||Columbia 37097|
|/ "I Can't Go On This Way"||4|
|"Cotton Eyed Joe" / "Staccato Waltz"||Columbia 37212|
|1947||"There's a Big Rock in the Road"||Columbia 37205|
|/ "I'm Gonna Be Boss from Now On"||5|
|"Sugar Moon"||1||Columbia 37313|
|/ "Brain Cloudy Blues"|
|"Rose of Old Pawnee"||Columbia 37357|
|/ "Bob Wills Boogie"||4|
|"How Can It Be Wrong?" / "Punkin' Stomp"||Columbia 37564|
|"Fat Boy Rag" / "You Should Have Thought of That Before"||Columbia 37824|
|"Liberty" / "The Kind of Love I Can't Forget"||Columbia 37926|
|"A Sweet Kind of Love" / "Cowboy Stomp"||Columbia 37988|
|"Spanish Fandango""||MGM 10116|
|/ "Bubbles in My Beer"||4|
|1948||"Texarkana Baby"||15||Columbia 38179|
|"Keeper of My Heart"||8||MGM 10175|
|"'Neath Hawaiian Palms"||MGM 10236|
|/ "Thorn in My Heart"||10|
|1950||"Ida Red Likes the Boogie"||10||MGM 10570|
|"Faded Love"||8||MGM 10786|
|"'Tater Pie" / "I Didn't Realize"||MGM 10836|
|1960||"Heart to Heart Talk" (w/ Tommy Duncan)||5||Liberty 55260|
|1961||"The Image of Me" (w/ Tommy Duncan)||26||Liberty 55264|
|1976||"Ida Red" (re-release)||99||Vocalion 05079|
Country/western dance, also called country and western dance, encompasses many dance forms or styles, which are typically danced to country-western music, and which are stylistically associated with American country and/or western traditions. Many of these dances were "tried and true" dance steps that had been "put aside" for many years, and became popular under the name(s) "country-western", "cowboy", or "country". Country dancing is also known as "kicker dancing" in Texas.
The Light Crust Doughboys is an American Western swing band from Texas, United States, organized in 1931 by the Burrus Mill and Elevator Company in Saginaw, Texas. The band achieved its peak popularity in the few years leading up to World War II. In addition to launching Western swing pioneers Bob Wills and Milton Brown, it provided a platform for many of the best musicians of the genre, including Tommy Duncan, Cecil Brower, John Parker and Kenneth Pitts.
A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World is the eleventh studio album by Merle Haggard backed by The Strangers, released in 1970.
Billie "Tiny" Moore was a Western swing musician who played the electric mandolin and fiddle with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys in the 1940s. He played with The Strangers and Merle Haggard) during the 1970s and 1980s.
"Faded Love" is a Western swing song written by Bob Wills, his father John Wills, and his brother, Billy Jack Wills. The tune is considered to be an exemplar of the Western swing fiddle component of American fiddle.The melody came from an 1856 ballad, Darling Nelly Gray, which John Wills knew as a fiddle tune. "Faded Love" is a sentimental song about lost love. The name comes from the refrain that follows each verse: I remember our faded love.
George Jones Sings Bob Wills is an album by American country music artist George Jones. It was released in 1962 on the United Artists Records.
The Quebe Sisters are an Americana band based in Dallas, Texas who perform a mix of progressive western swing, jazz-influenced swing, country, Texas-style fiddling, and western music. The band consists of sisters Grace, Sophia, and Hulda Quebe, all of whom play the fiddle and sing, with supporting musicians accompanying on guitar, upright bass, or other instruments.
Eldon Shamblin was an American guitarist and arranger, particularly important to the development of Western swing music as one of the first electric guitarists in a popular dance band. He was a member of The Strangers during the 1970s and 1980s.
William Leon McAuliffe was an American Western swing guitarist who was a member of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys during the 1930s. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of that band.
"Steel Guitar Rag" is the seminal Western swing instrumental credited with popularizing the steel guitar as an integral instrument in a Western band.
Robert Lee "Bob" Dunn was an American jazz trombonist and a pioneer Western swing steel guitarist. Although much influenced by influential, key Hawaiian lap steel guitar player Sol Hoʻopiʻi, Dunn played in his own original bluesy style and was one of the first to record an electric guitar, preceding other country & western guitarists following him shortly. He preceded by over three years George Barnes, Leonard Ware and, slightly later, Eddie Durham.
"San Antonio Rose"/"New San Antonio Rose" was the signature song of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. "San Antonio Rose" was an instrumental song written by Bob Wills, who first recorded it with the Playboys on November 28, 1938. Band members added lyrics and it was retitled "New San Antonio Rose". A fresh recording was made on April 16, 1940 with a vocal by Tommy Duncan.
The song opens with the refrain:
"Time Changes Everything" is a Western swing standard with words and music written by Tommy Duncan, the long-time vocalist with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. Written as a ballad, the lyrics tell of a failed romance and of the hurt that has healed. Each verse ends with:
"Take Me Back to Tulsa" is a Western swing standard song. Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan added words and music to the melody of the traditional fiddle tune "Walkin' Georgia Rose" in 1940. The song takes its name from the chorus.
Cecil Lee Brower was a classically trained American jazz violinist who became an architect of Western swing in the 1930s. Perhaps the greatest swing fiddler, he could improvise as well as double shuffle and created his own style which became the benchmark for his contemporaries.
"Snap Your Fingers" is a song written by Grady Martin and Alex Zanetis. It was originally recorded by gospel singer Joe Henderson in 1962, whose version peaked at #2 on the R&B charts, at #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and at #8 on the Hot 100.
Westerns swing originated in the 1920s and 1930s; small towns in the US Southwest. Although sometimes subject to the term "Texas swing" it is widely associated with Tulsa, others contend that "Western Swing music finds deep roots in the dust bowl of Oklahoma", and its influences include jazz from the major urban centers of the United States. Its stylistic origins lie in Old Time, Western, blues,folk,swing,Dixieland and jazz. Writing in Rolling Stone, Dan Hicks described it as Texas-bred music grafted to jazz, or as "white country blues with a syncopated beat.".
Longhorn Records was an American country music record label based in Dallas, Texas. The label was founded in September, 1957. Dewey Groom acquired the local Dallas label in 1960 in order to further promote acts that were appearing at the Longhorn Ballroom. Bob Wills made his last recordings with the Texas Playboys for Longhorn in 1964 and 1965. Wills made another session with Longhorn, post Playboys, in which the label allowed Wills to make an album of pure folk music, something Wills had long wanted to do but which had never been supported by any of his previous record labels. One of Longhorn's biggest successes was by Phil Baugh, whose song "Country Guitar" appeared at #16 on the Country singles chart, and the accompanying album reach #4 on Billboard's Top Country Albums. Groom closed the label in 1969 in order to devote more of his energies into the Ballroom.
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