"Bob Wills: His Rollicking Roots Are Showing"

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The new Bob Wills 4-CD box set is (will be?) given a rave review by Bill Friskics-Warren in tomorrow's Washington Post:

As the four-CD set "Legends of Country Music" attests, these Western swingers could do it all, and with as much imagination and verve as anybody. And they weren't just magpies fluent in every strain of the American musical vernacular. To paraphrase the immortal "Time Changes Everything," they could "change the name of an old song, rearrange it and make it swing." And how....

Wills and company didn't reserve their inventiveness only for recordings they covered. If their leader's "Big Beaver" proves that his Playboys could achieve Ellingtonian grandeur, then "Twin Guitar Special," an instrumental written by steel player Leon McAuliffe and electric guitarist Eldon Shamblin, beats it eight to the bar like Basie, and with a pair of guitars making like an entire horn section. "Roly Poly," meanwhile, is prototypical rock-and-roll, and so is "Ida Red Likes to Boogie." The latter anticipates the backbeat of Chuck Berry's "Maybelline" (by way of the jump blues of Louis Jordan) by nearly a decade.

He goes on to call it "easily the best-sounding collection of Wills material yet."

I had actually considered passing on this set, because of the significant overlap with the Proper Box 4-disc set (especially on the early years), but this review is making me reconsider.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 23, 2006 7:18 PM.

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