Western Swing: March 2009 Archives

Tonight at 8 p.m. (Friday, March 27, 2009) the Rockin' Acoustic Circus will perform at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in the old Tulsa Union Depot at 1st and Boston. The six-member band performs bluegrass, western swing, and modern country. They put on a great show.

Here's a sample: "Bethany" from the Fiddlefest in Guthrie earlier this year, which shows what you get when you cross bluegrass with Django Reinhart. Listen for the cello solo:

(More videos here.)

Ticket prices are family-friendly, according to the okjazz.org website, "General admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, college students and Jazz Hall members and $5 for students over 12 years of age. You may also reserve a seat for $20 per person at one of the front tables." For tickets and more info, call the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame at (918) 281-8600.

Wanda Jackson, a native of Maud, Okla., and a resident of the Oklahoma City area, will be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland next month, but tonight she's playing Cain's Ballroom here in Tulsa. Deeply rooted in the western swing music of Bob Wills, Spade Cooley, and Tex Williams, she started out as a country singer, working with Hank Thompson and the Brazos Valley Boys. In 1955 and 1956 she toured with Elvis Presley and made the transition to rockabilly.

The show starts at 8 p.m. If you love old-time rock 'n' roll, you'll want to hear one of the originals.

Charles G. Hill nominated Wanda's "Funnel of Love" for our state rock 'n' roll song for its multiple ties to Oklahoma:

1. Wanda's from Maud, and today lives in Moore.
2. The tasty guitar licks are provided by latter-day Tulsan Roy Clark.
3. What could be more Oklahoman than Tornado as Metaphor? I mean, really.

More clips after the jump -- "Hard Headed Woman," and two excerpts from a 2008 Smithsonian Channel documentary about Wanda.

UPDATE: It was a great show with an appreciative audience of all ages. Wanda sounds as great as ever, backed by a terrific rockabilly band, Bill Holden and the Nighthawks. When she introduced "Funnel of Love," she mentioned that it was largely overlooked when it was first issued, because it was the B side of her hit, "Right or Wrong." Young rockabilly aficionados rediscovered and embraced the song a few years ago, and she had to go back and re-learn it. It was great to hear it live. She introduced a set of Elvis songs (including "Heartbreak Hotel") with reminiscences of her years touring with him, and how he introduced her to rockabilly.


Shortly before the end of her set, Wanda took a moment to tell us about her coming to faith in Jesus, "the Savior of my soul and the Lord of my life," in 1971, and she followed her words with a rousing rendition of the gospel classic, "I Saw the Light."

Wanda also thanked Jennifer Chancellor, Barrelhouse Beat music columnist for the Tulsa World; there's a huge archive of stories, audio clips, and links to YouTube videos featuring Wanda Jackson here on tulsaworld.com.

At the end of the show, Cain's owners Jim and Alice Rodgers presented Wanda with a huge bouquet of roses and read a proclamation from Mayor Kathy Taylor declaring today as Wanda Jackson Day in Tulsa.

Now back to the clips....

Still the king

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Happy 104th birthday to the King of Western Swing! Ah, gather 'round friends! Why hurry? Let's all stay a little longer:

That's from the movie Blazing the Western Trail, with Charles Starrett as the Durango Kid, with the Texas Playboys' 1945 lineup: Tommy Duncan on vocals, Bob Wills and Joe Holley on fiddle, Jimmy Wyble on lead guitar, Cameron Hill on rhythm guitar, Noel Boggs on steel guitar (very cool double-necked lap steel there), Alex Brashear on trumpet, Monte Mountjoy on drums, Teddy Adams on bass, and Millard Kelso, usually the piano player, is on the squeezebox in this clip.

More clips from the same movie:

Ida Red
Goodbye Liza Jane
Time Changes Everything

That last clip has some nice twin guitar work by Jimmy Wyble and Cameron Hill, and that's Wyble playing the solo on "Stay a Little Longer."

Jimmy Wyble is still around at age 86, teaching contrapuntal jazz guitar on Thursdays this month at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles. According to this, he plays at the Chado Tea Room in Pasadena on Tuesdays and in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo on Sundays. This interview covers the breadth and length of his career, which also included a stint with Benny Goodman. (Here's video of him talking guitar and playing at Chado in 2007.)

(Via Tyson Wynn, who also has George Jones singing "Take Me Back to Tulsa" on his Bob Wills tribute album from the '60s, and the Rolling Stones paying tribute during their Austin, Texas, performance.)

DON'T FORGET: The Texas Playboys, with Leon Rausch, Tommy Allsup, and Bobby Koefer, perform at Bob Wills' Birthday Party at Cain's Ballroom tomorrow night, Saturday, March 7. Doors open at 6:30. Opening acts are the Round-Up Boys and Oklahoma Stomp.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Western Swing category from March 2009.

Western Swing: February 2009 is the previous archive.

Western Swing: April 2009 is the next archive.

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