Western Swing: March 2005 Archives

A lyric from Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys that cheered me more than once back in college....

I laugh when I think how I cried over you,
Cried over dreams that weren't meant to come true.
I smile 'cause I know that it's better this way,
And I've found someone else to love,
So go on your lonely way.

The only price I had to pay
Was the few tears that I shed,
And I found out that I need you
Like I need a hole in my head.

When I found out you lied,
Something real inside me died,
And I laugh when I think how I cried over you.

Bob Wills clips

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Here is a minute-long clip of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys playing "Ida Red." (That's Bob playing fiddle -- anyone know who the guitarist and vocalist were?)

You can watch the trailer of the documentary film "Faded Love". The clip includes reminiscences by fans who saw him play and remember it as if it were yesterday and by musicians who worked with him.

UPDATE (4/29/2006): That "Ida Red" clip is one of a series that were filmed in 1951 for television filler. Some were issued as "Snader Transcriptions." There's a bunch of these shorts included with the 100th Birthday Special Edition of "Still Swingin'", a DVD documentary about Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. The band was Joe Holley on fiddle (left-handed!), Cotton Whittington on standard guitar (another lefty!), Bobby Koefer on steel guitar (he still plays the same way 55 years later!), Joe Frank Ferguson on bass, Skeeter Elkin on piano, Paul McGhee on drums, and Joe Andrews doing the vocal. On a couple of the shorts, yodeler Carolina Cotton sings with Bob, and on one (Blue Prelude) Joe Ferguson sings and Joe Andrews plays bass.

Bob Wills blogging

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From the Sundries Shack:

Everyone here who has heard of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys raise your hands.


Now the rest of you go out and find one of Wills� CDs, listen to it, then come back here and tell the class just how cool Western Swing really is and how it�s physically impossible to feel bad when you�re listening to it.

From SFist, in response to Charles Barkley's complaint about country music in the NBA All-Star Game half-time program:

Now, we at SFist have always liked the Round Mound of Rebound, even when he balled all over the Warriors in the 1994 playoffs, but we were a little bummed out by his larger point: most popular country music sucks. It sucks because it's homogeneous. It's produced for an audience with geographic, racial and economic boundaries, and it (i.e. the music, but now that you mention it much of the audience, too) has little to no regard for what else goes on in music, culture, or really anything. And don't get us started on alt.country, which seems to abide by the following imperative more than anything else: As soon as you're famous or important, stop making records that are fun, or sound like they were fun to make.

If you agree with Sir Charles, too, if you long for boundary-crossing or brio or fun in country-western music, if you are as annoyed by the whole thing as SFist (we annoy pretty easily, so we're skeptical of that last), git along to San Francisco State University the next three Tuesdays (March first, eighth and fifteenth) to celebrate Bob Wills at 100. The inventor of "Western Swing," Bob Wills combined country music with Nawlins jazz, blues, ragtime and traditional Mexican music. He and his Texas Playboys came up with a style that swung just as hard playing "Basin Street Blues" and "Take the 'A' Train" as it did playing "The Yellow Rose of Texas" and "Hey, Good Lookin'." They came out of the small-groups jazz tradition that gave us Louis Armstrong's greatest work, with the Hot Fives and Sevens, and their bandstand improvisation foreshadowed groups like the JBs and the Meters.

Here's a link to that San Francisco State program on Bob Wills. Anything like that happening here in Tulsa?

The Hypothetical Wren wonders about the lyrics of "Roly Poly":

I was listening to this song on the iPod while I was walking home this morning, and thought, how many songs these days would include the phrase "Daddy's little fatty" in them? As a compliment? Of course, this kid was obviously walking and doing strenuous yard work, so the "bread and jelly 20 times a day" were probably a good idea: the kid was tired. He needed bread, not to mention "corn and taters."

And finally, here's a little something I wrote last November, which includes a little reminiscence from my grandfather. (Grandpa told me once that he didn't dance much at those performances -- he preferred cuddling in a dark corner.)

Happy 100th, Bob


We miss you, Bob, more and more every day.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Western Swing category from March 2005.

Western Swing: November 2004 is the previous archive.

Western Swing: July 2005 is the next archive.

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