Western Swing: May 2011 Archives

On March 10, 1981, Tom Diamant recorded an hour-long interview with three veteran members of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Eldon Shamblin (guitarist, arranger, and sometime band manager), Tiny Moore (mandolin, fiddle, and occasional vocals), and Tiny's wife Dean McKinney Moore, one half of the McKinney Sisters.

Diamant, whose Kaleidoscope Records brought the Texas Playboys' Tiffany Transcriptions recordings from 1946-1947 to the public in the 1980s, has posted the interview on his TiffanyTranscriptions.com website.

Eldon and Tiny were in Reno, Nevada, to perform with Merle Haggard and His Strangers. The two had toured as part of Haggard's band from 1973 to 1976 and rejoined in 1981.

For a western swing fan, it's a joy to listen to. There's a lot of good-natured ribbing and laughter. There's also a lot of detail on their careers and lives before and after their time with Bob Wills.

Some interview highlights:

  • The group enthuses over the brand new Sony Walkman.
  • Tiny Moore remembers his years with the Jubileers (aka Jimmy Hart and the Merrymakers) in Port Arthur, Texas, and with a Cajun band in Louisiana called Happy Fats and the Rainbow Ramblers, Leo Raley and "It Makes No Difference Now," the electric mandolin player who inspired Tiny to take up the instrument; and Houston-area western swing musicians like pioneering swing steel guitarist Bob Dunn.
  • Eldon recalls his early years: as an acoustic guitarist at a Tulsa CBS radio station "swinging the classics," getting hired by Bob Wills in November 1937, how he started playing electric guitar.
  • Eldon's influences: Didn't listen to country music, grew up listening to big band swing music; when he first heard Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian.
  • Eldon's time with the Alabama Boys in '35, '36, and the many other Texas Playboys who came from that band.
  • Commonwealth bands and when and why Bob Wills' band stopped being one.
  • The McKinney Sisters' start in amateur shows and how they were hired by Bob Wills
  • Tiny Moore's providential encounter with Bob Wills at a Beaumont pig stand in August 1946
  • Eldon's reunion with Bob in November '46 and his first job back with the band: A battle dance with Spade Cooley at Santa Monica Pier
  • Why Bob had them play the same song twice back-to-back at dances
  • What Bob told Eldon about why Bob hollered
  • Recording sessions from the late '40s, and the only time Tiny played a Stradivarius
  • Tiny Moore's vocals on "Ida Red Likes the Boogie" and "Jolie Blon' Likes the Boogie"
  • Tiny's Bigsby five-string mandolin
  • Tiny's years at Wills Point and with the Billy Jack Wills band
  • Bob Wills' movie career and why it didn't work out
  • Merle Haggard's Bob Wills tribute album
  • The McKinneys' music after Bob Wills
  • Tiny Moore's book of Texas fiddle tunes
  • Tiny Moore and Jethro Burns' 1978 "Back to Back" album with Eldon on rhythm guitar
  • Eldon Shambin Day in Oklahoma and his weekly gigs at the Caravan Ballroom
  • The enduring appreciation for Bob Wills' music
  • Remembering guitarist Junior Barnard
  • Why Eldon and Tiny keep playing
  • Tiny talks about his then-new album "Tiny Moore Music"

Great listening. Many thanks to Tom Diamant for posting it.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Western Swing category from May 2011.

Western Swing: April 2011 is the previous archive.

Western Swing: July 2011 is the next archive.

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