Friday, March 6, 2009

"... he led a Big Band just like Tommy Dorsey, in a presentation that was downright orchestral - except Bob conducted with a fiddle bow."

Texas Playboy, and western swing legend Bob Wills was born 104 years ago today.
"Bob's own personality was a musical instrument. It was the hook, the thing that put a smile on any listener's face. It was Bob's magnetic stage presence, with his constant Cheshire grin and rhythmic regal bearing, that brought the most basic element out of the music. It may have had roots in blues, jazz, and working man's folk music, but it was always happy. A sense of joy could even be found in sad songs like Wills classics, 'Yearning,' 'Bubbles In My Beer,' and 'Lily Dale.' It had to be happy, it was for dancing!"~Ray Benson

(click photos for sample)

Although he passed on May 13, 1975, Wills' musical legacy has endured. His style influenced performers Buck Owens and Merle Haggard and helped to spawn a style of music now known as the Bakersfield Sound (Bakersfield, California was one of Wills' regular stops in his heyday).

In addition to being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1968, Bob Wills was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the Early Influence category along with the Texas Playboys in 1999, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
hear (another) sample:

Plenty more where that came from.

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