Original Texas Playboys final concert, 1986

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James Shamblin, nephew of legendary guitarist Eldon Shamblin, has digitized and uploaded the final concert of Bob Wills' Original Texas Playboys, November 16, 1986, at the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas. I've organized all 13 parts into a YouTube playlist, so you can watch the entire 90 minute program straight through by clicking the video player above.

The Original Texas Playboys were organized after Bob Wills's death in 1975. The band was made up of a core of Texas Playboys from the glory days in Tulsa -- Leon McAuliffe, Smokey Dacus, Al Stricklin, Joe Frank Ferguson -- and included Playboys from later eras -- Keith Coleman, Leon Rausch, Johnny Gimble, Gene Gasaway. A few years later, Eldon Shamblin would rejoin the group. The agreement was that when one of the originals died, the band would fulfill their remaining engagements and then disband. Pianist Al Stricklin passed on in October 1986, leading to this final concert.

The lineup (in order of joining the Texas Playboys, links are to news stories with biographical info):

Smokey Dacus - drums
Leon McAuliffe - steel guitar
Joe Frank Ferguson - bass
Eldon Shamblin - standard guitar
Clarence Cagle - piano
Leon Rausch - vocals
Gene Gasaway - fiddle
Bob Boatright - fiddle

The performance is funny in places, touching in many others. Bob's last and longest wife, Betty Wills, makes a few remarks. Eldon steps up to the microphone to sing "There'll Be Some Changes Made." June Whalen, one of the original six Playboys in Waco (before Bob came to Oklahoma and added Texas to the name), came on stage to sing.

Here's the set list. Leon Rausch is the vocalist unless otherwise noted.

Texas Playboy Theme
Big Ball's in Cowtown
Boot Heel Drag (instrumental)
Dusty Skies
Marie (Joe Frank Ferguson vocal)
San Antonio Rose
Fiddle breakdown: Little Betty Brown / Liberty
Milk Cow Blues
There'll Be Some Changes Made (Eldon Shamblin vocal)
Take Me Back to Tulsa
Right or Wrong
Blues When It Rains (June Whalen vocal)
Ida Red (Leon McAuliffe vocal; check out Clarence Cagle's solo)
Faded Love
Steel Guitar Rag
Lily Dale
Bubbles in My Beer
Blue Prelude (Joe Frank Ferguson vocal)
Home in San Antone
Maiden's Prayer
Cherokee Maiden
Keepin' Bob Wills Music Alive (written by Bobby Lee)
Texas Playboy Theme - Closing

Many thanks to James Shamblin for making this available. (Next on my wish list -- the 1984 Tulsa reunion concert or their Austin City Limits.appearance.)

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Bill, This is wonderful thanks for linking this wonderful concert! Love what you do for Western Swing.


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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 21, 2011 8:24 PM.

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