Bob Wills birthday celebration tonight at Cain's Ballroom

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Tonight, March 3, 2012, Bob Wills' Texas Playboys will perform at Tulsa's historic Cain's Ballroom in celebration of the 107th anniversary of the birth of the band's founder. Tulsa's Round-Up Boys will lead off the celebration. Doors open at 6:30 and the show begins at 7. Tickets are available online or at the door.

Heading up the Texas Playboys are vocalist Leon Rausch and guitarist Tommy Allsup. Leon started performing with Bob Wills back in the late 1950s. Tommy Allsup played with Waylon Jennings in Buddy Holly's band, then went to California, and as an A&R man for Liberty Records he reunited Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan, the original Texas Playboys vocalist in the 1960s. I don't know the specific lineup for tonight, but past lineups have included trombonist Steve Ham and trumpeter Mike Bennett, steel guitarist Steve Bagsby, and Amarillo fiddler Jimmy Young, who does his Bob Wills impression when they perform Faded Love & San Antonio Rose. Many of these folks also play with the Tulsa Playboys, who play a dance once a month at Cain's. (UPDATE: Not sure why, but none of the Tulsa folks were on stage tonight.)

To my friends (and my son and his peers) who are swing dancing enthusiasts: This music is called Western Swing for a reason. It's meant for dancing, and there's no finer place for dancing than the curly maple floor of Cain's Ballroom. Maybe just for tonight, break away from the usual swing dancing venue, and bring your dancing shoes and your smooth swing moves on down to Cain's.

To give you a sense of what I'm talking about, here's a look at the Cain's dance floor last July when the Tulsa Playboys played "Miss Molly."

Grab your partner and truck on down.

MORE: Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys appeared in several westerns with Russell Hayden and other stars in the 1940s. Finders Keepers Classics, on the web at, is offering a four-DVD set of Russell Hayden movies, including several featuring the Texas Playboys, and a separate DVD with Saddles and Sagebrush, another movie that featured Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. On the homepage, click New Arrivals and scroll down.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 3, 2012 1:10 AM.

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