Texas Playboys celebrate Bob Wills's birthday tonight at Cain's Ballroom

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It's March 6, 2010, Bob Wills's 105th birthday, and there's a celebration tonight at Cain's Ballroom, the legendary dance hall that was home to his daily radio show and twice-weekly dances. Headlining tonight's event are Bob's own Texas Playboys, led by Leon Rausch and Tommy Allsup, both of whom have been associated with the band for over 50 years. Tulsa's Round-Up Boys and Oklahoma Stomp, a group of talented young western swing musicians, are the opening acts. Doors open at 6:30, the show starts at 7:00 and tickets are $16 + fees.

This is always a great show. Any country band could play a Bob Wills tune, but it's another thing altogether to swing the music the way he did. In extending the tradition of the Texas Playboys into the 21st century, Leon Rausch brings together the best western swing musicians around, sidemen who can take a chorus and turn it into a showstopping improvisation. As I wrote in a salute from a few years ago:

Rausch says that "these boys are the very best western swing musicians in the business," and I'll vouch for that. You can tell the difference between competent players who reproduce great improvisations from the past, and those who really are creating in the moment. Their playing at last year's celebration was inspired, drawing energy from the music, from the audience, and from each other.

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I was there saturday night. Fantastic! I posted video of the Playboys performing Faded Love on Youtube.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 6, 2010 2:06 PM.

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