Curly Lewis and Reece Anderson, RIP

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We've lost two more western swing greats in the last couple of weeks.

Tulsa fiddler and vocalist Julian "Curly" Lewis died Sunday at the age of 88. Lewis spent much of his career with Johnnie Lee Wills's band in the late '40s and '50s, but he also toured and performed with Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Hank Thompson and His Brazos Valley Boys, and Leon McAuliffe's Cimarron Boys.

A memorial service for Curly Lewis will be held at Cain's Ballroom on Saturday, August 3, 2013.

(Read western swing historian John Wooley's July 2011 profile of Curly Lewis in Oklahoma Magazine.)

Lewis performed at the first gala of the National Fiddlers Hall of Fame in 2007 and was inducted as a member last year. In addition to his work as a fiddler, he had a fine singing voice and contributed lead vocals on many songs for Johnnie Lee Wills and His Boys. Here's Curly Lewis singing one of my grandmother's favorite tunes, "Thingamajig":

Click through for a video of Curly Lewis performing the classic fiddle tune "Don't Let the Deal Go Down" at the 1998 Bob Wills Day celebrations in Turkey, Texas.

As far as I know, Maurice "Reece" Anderson was the only pedal steel guitar player that Bob Wills ever hired. (Leon McAuliffe, Herb Remington, et al. played lap or console steel with no pedals.) Anderson died on July 4.

In the early '60s, Bob Wills had two steel guitar players -- Gene Crownover on console steel, Reece Anderson on pedal steel. Both get a chorus on this version of Billy Jack Wills's "Rockabye Baby Blues":

And more recently, here's Reece Anderson playing the steel classic "Sleepwalk":

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johnny case said:

Gene Crownover played pedal steel with Bob Wills,
before and during 1964 when Anderson was also in
the band. He played a Fender 1000, I believe. He
is of the pre-pedal generation and may possibly
have been hired before switching to pedal steel,
but I remember very clearly that he played pedals.

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