A while back my wife and immediate family rented a place in Bandera TX, on the Medina River. The night skies were as impressive as my experience in the Canadian wilderness. The place was totally cowboy with stained concrete floors, longhorn wall decor, etc. In one room was an old phonograph with an eclectic record collection, including Bob Wills. It was odd how good that record/phonograph sounded and filled the house, like it was custom made to fit the acoustics. Such happy music. The only other artist that evokes that kind of light heartedness in me is Jimmy Bryant/Speedy West.
I need to delve deeper.
Last Edit: Jul 3, 2020 8:33:01 GMT -5 by Auf Kiltre
Post by stratcowboy on Jul 3, 2020 10:49:51 GMT -5
Yeah...good stuff. The late Johnny Gimble was a friend (and sometimes resident, here) and his daughter is one of my all-time best dance partners/buddies for the western swing dances. Asleep at the Wheel comes through here pretty regularly. As much as I like them (they're just FUN that's all!), they pretty much do the same show all the time.
Post by Taildragger on Jul 3, 2020 11:06:56 GMT -5
In addition to being a great musician with guitar chops and a vocal range, Ray Benson is a consummate entertainer on stage. When I went to a AATW show about 30 years ago, it was like seeing a great music concert and a standup comedy act all in one. At 6'7", Benson made his ES-335 look like a toy.
One of my favorite AATW tunes is a Ray Charles cover:
Post by Taildragger on Jul 3, 2020 11:21:55 GMT -5
I used to see CC&LPA live a bunch back during the late 1960s-early 1970s, right after Bobby Black replaced their original pedal steel player. That's when their playing really took off, IMHO. There was a liberal sprinkling of comedy throughout their act as well. Kirchen has always been a monster player. Saw him live with his own band about 10 years ago ("Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods" era) and he hadn't lost a thing.
Here is a great treasure if you can find it. I think most of the tracks are up on Youtube. Merle Haggard's album from 1970 reunites many of the surviving members who played with Bob Wills. The Album is called " Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player In The World."
My dad grew up listening to Bob Wills and Texas Swing. He attended the last few Texas Swing Festivals near Abiline Texas. At 94 with cancer he had to cancel this year. That man makes me tired just watching him go. Always something
I "discovered" western swing when I was 16. My grandmother was from Oklahoma and spent most of her 98 years in Texas. She was visiting one summer and I asked her "grandma,did you ever hear Bob Wills live?" A big 'ol grin lit up her face and in that Texas drawl proclaimed "aw honey, I knew all them boys, me and Leon always had a dance together". She went on explaining all the various lineups of the various Wills family bands. Could'a knocked me over with a feather!
I wonder if anyone else here knows "Fooch" Early 70's I was in a country band out of the Kingston NY area. Fooch was our man on steel and fiddle. He went on to eventually join up with a western swing band, The Dixie Doughboys, but he and I kept in touch. The DD's were quite popular for a few years. Sheltering in place with the pandemic going on, the Dixie Doughboys decided to reunite via video. This just about 3 weeks ago. Really nice!
Saw Willie Nelson in Vegas about ten years ago at Planet Hollywood. Asleep at the Wheel opened and was his band. They were incredible and I was disappointed when Willie came on. I could have listened to them all night and been happy as a clam.
Post by fkaJimmySee on Jul 6, 2020 17:19:40 GMT -5
When I worked at Epic Records in New York the 1970's, when Bob Wills died, we were in talks with Betty Wills, his widow, to sign Bob Wills Original Texas Playboys -- which consisted at the time of Tommy Allsup and Al Stricklin as the principals, and a few other former members who were equally important but whose names I do not recall. I did my best on that one, but could not get the powers that be to go for it. I thought it would be great - we could have had Ray Benson or Floyd Domino producing and you know we would have had great records. Tried a similar move when Ernest Tubb was dropped by MCA. We had had great results when Blue Sky, an affiliated label, signed Muddy Waters after he was dropped by Chess -- I figured, again, that Ray Benson could produce Ernest. Again, no dice. Two disappointments from my days hawking music.
Post by fkaJimmySee on Jul 6, 2020 21:31:05 GMT -5
Chess dropped Middy. We distributed Blue Sky Records, which was a label owned and operated by Steve Paul. I was the Blue Sky product manager. Steve was meticulous, very demanding and persuasive, but I absolutely loved the guy. He had exquisite taste, great artistic sensibility, and would go to the mat for his artists.
Steve managed Johnny Winter, who was on Columbia label, but also Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Dan Hartman, and David Johnson -- we had all the others (except Johnny) either on Epic or on Blue Sky (so under our wing). But because of the Steve Paul connection, we were all quite close.
Johnny really wanted to produce Muddy, so Steve signed him, and I became involved as label liaison and product manager.
Working with Muddy on the Blue Sky records is one pf the highlights of my modest record business career. He was truly wonderful. Besides Muddy, I got along very well with his manager at the time, a guy from Chicago named Scott Cameron.
A highlight with Muddy was getting our art department to OK using Richard Avedon to photograph the first album cover. We NEVER got permission to use Avedon because he was too expensive. But we got it here.
The Hard Again album has an Avedon portrait of Muddy on the cover. The story of that shoot is worth repeating -- but it's a story for another day.
I know this is a Western Swing topic, and I have highjacked it -- but highjack over.
Lovely wife and I used to go to a lot of shows at large arenas, but the Hot Club of Cowtown in a 300-seat public library auditorium was probably the best concert we saw last year. They cover a lot of the classics from Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, and guitarist Whit Smith posts challenging Texas swing guitar lessons on YouTube.