Bob Wills & Tommy Duncan interview, c. 1960

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A surprising find in a surprising place on the web. The find is an interview with Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan around the time of their 1960 reunion. (Wills had fired Duncan in 1949.) The place is on the website of psychotherapist Alyce Faye Eichelberger Cleese. (As you may have guessed, she was married, from 1996 to 2008, to John Cleese. She is a native of Frederick, Okla., and a graduate of OSU.) Her webmaster, Bob Richards, is a record producer who met Alyce Faye when he wound up producing her interview show on Santa Barbara radio station KZSB.

Bob Richards has had a fascinating life and career, which he recounts on his bio page. As a 12 year old in 1947 (the Tiffany Transcription era), he met Bob Wills at a dance in San Jose. In 1960, working as a for a Long Beach country music radio show, he produced a show with host Texas Tiny interviewing Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan in between songs dating back to the earliest days of the Texas Playboys (and before -- the two songs Bob recorded with Milton Brown during their days as Light Crust Doughboys). Bob and Tommy tell a fascinating story of how they wrote and recorded "I Wonder If You Feel the Way I Do" and shipped it air express to the plant in New Jersey all in the wee hours of one morning. Here's what Bob Richards writes about how Bob and Tommy got back together:

My next venture into radio was 1959. There was a local DJ named Texas Tiny (400 lbs at least) who worked on KFOX in Long Beach. Joe Allison, who wrote "He'll Have To Go," the Jim Reeves hit, also worked there as a DJ. Joe later became an A&R man at Liberty Records and reunited Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan in 1960 by signing them to separate contracts and putting both names on the albums.

You can find that 1960 Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan interview linked from Richards' bio page. On the same page, you'll find a brief 1978 interview with Texas Playboys fiddler Joe Holley.

Richards also has a YouTube channel with a bunch of Bob Wills film clips.


A demo Bob Wills radio show for B. F. Goodrich dealers with music, between-song patter, and a pitch by Cactus Jack that Bob Wills music will move merchandise. Other rarities on the same site include a recording of a Bob Wills performance for Boeing Aircraft Company in Wichita in 1958, with a radio interview, in which Bob explains that Western Swing owes its start to the advent of the amplifier.

Slightly RELATED:

In an interview in The Times, John Cleese offers a sort of reason for the failure of his third marriage:

"It's very important for me that my friends have a sense of humour. To me it's the kind of touchstone of communication. Alyce Faye's sense of humour was not very European, because she was from Oklahoma and I used to joke that the Oklahoma Sense of Irony is one of the world's short books." How did he cope? "Well I just didn't make certain kinds of jokes around her."

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 15, 2010 11:12 PM.

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