Bob Wills on NPR

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This first ran in 2003, but it's still worth a listen. NPR's Morning Edition ran an 11-part series called "Honky Tonks, Hymns and the Blues." A couple of years later, it was turned into a two-hour radio documentary.

Part 10 is all about Bob Wills and western swing. The eight-minute report includes segments from a 1949 interview with Wills, in which he talks about how he became a fiddler and the importance of amplifiers. Music historians Jean Boyd and Douglas Green (you may know him as Ranger Doug) chime in about the musical influences in Texas in the early 20th century. There's a nice juxtaposition of Louis Armstrong and then Bob Wills singing "Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas."

The web page for this episode include a bibliography and supplemental audio clips of interviews with Merle Haggard and Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson, plus more from that 1949 interview with Bob Wills discussing how the western swing sound evolved from what it took to keep people dancing.

MORE: This coming January 27, 2009, Collectors' Choice Music will reissue a remastered Kaleidoscope's (later Rhino's) 10-disc "Tiffany Transcriptions" series. (Read all about the Tiffany Transcriptions here.) From Rich Kienzle's liner notes:

For all the great records Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys made in 1946-47 for Columbia and MGM -- and there were plenty -- the Tiffany sessions captured something deeper, intangible and vibrant, music that even the occasional miscue or missed note can't diminish. It represents the very soul, spirit and musical passion of Bob and the band as they really were on those Western and Southwestern bandstands. Sixty years later, it still sounds like yesterday.

Unfortunately, these aren't the complete Tiffany Transcriptions, which would fill about twice as many CDs and which would include ads and song introductions. Maybe someday....

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 20, 2008 12:43 AM.

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