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Encyclopedia > Western Swing

Western swing is, first and foremost, a fusion of country music, several styles of jazz, pop music and blues aimed at dancers. Much of it is dance music with an up-tempo beat and a decidedly Southwestern United States regional flavor. It consists of an eclectic combination of country, cowboy, polka, and folk music, blended with a jazzy "swing", with a tip of the hat to New Orleans jazz and blues, and played by a hot string band often augmented with drums, saxophones, pianos and, notably, the steel guitar. Later incarnations have also included overtones of bebop. The similarities between Western Swing and Gypsy jazz, are often noted. The Southwest region of the United States is drier than the adjoining Midwest in weather; the population is less dense and, with strong Spanish-American and Native American components, more ethnically varied than neighboring areas. ... For other uses, see swing. ... New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... Blues music redirects here. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

Contents

History

Western Swing originated in the dance halls of small towns throughout the Lower Great Plains in the 1920s and 1930s.[1]Evolving from the old house parties and ranch dances where fiddlers and guitarists that entertained dancers. Bob Wills and Milton Brown essentially created the stylistic blend in the early 1930s as co-founders of the stringband that became the Light Crust Doughboys, who played dancehalls and took advantage of the new medium of radio broadcasting. That helped the style gain a much wider following through the music of Wills and his Texas Playboys in Tulsa, Brown in Fort Worth (until his untimely death in 1936) and the Light Crust Doughboys, also in Fort Worth. James Robert (Bob) Wills (March 6, 1905 – May 13, 1975) was an American country musician, songwriter, and big band leader. ... Milton Brown (1903 - 1936) born in Stephenville, TX was a band leader and vocalist who was one of the founders of Western swing. ... The Light Crust Doughboys were a legendary Texas western swing band formed in 1931 by Bob Wills, Milton Brown and W. Lee (Pappy) ODaniel. ... The Texas Playboys were a Western Swing band, long led by Bob Wills, and considered by many to be the definitive progenitor of that musical genre. ...


Bob Wills recalled the early days of Western swing music, in a 1949 interview.[2] "Here's the way I figure it. We sure not tryin' to take credit for swingin' it." Speaking of Milt Brown and himself working with songs done by Jimmie Davis, the Skillet Lickers,[3] Jimmie Rodgers,[4] and others, and songs he'd learned from his father, he said that "We'd pull these tunes down an set 'em in a dance category. It wouldn't be a runaway, and just lay a real nice beat behind it an the people would get to really like it. It was nobody intended to start anything in the world. We was just tryin' to find enough tunes to keep 'em dancin' to not have to repeat so much." James Houston Davis (September 11, 1899 - November 5, 2000), better known as Jimmie Davis, was a noted singer of both sacred and popular songs who served two nonconsecutive terms as a Democratic governor of Louisiana (1944-1948 and 1960-1964). ... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ...


Height of Popularity

Western Swing reached its "golden age" during the years preceding WWII, blossomed on the West Coast during the war, and was extremely popular throughout the West. [5] In the 1940s the Light Crust Doughboys broadcasts went out over 170 radio stations in the South and Southwest, and were heard by millions of people.[6] Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys played Western Swing nightly in Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma from 1934 until 1943. Crowds at Cain's were as large as 6,000 people. Daily shows were broadcast on KVOO radio, which had a far reaching 50,000 watt signal. Regular shows continued until 1958 with Johnnie Lee Wills as the bandleader. [7] James Robert (Bob) Wills (March 6, 1905 – May 13, 1975) was an American country musician, songwriter, and big band leader. ... The Texas Playboys were a Western Swing band, long led by Bob Wills, and considered by many to be the definitive progenitor of that musical genre. ...


According to one report crowds of ten thousand people were not uncommon at Western Swing dances in the Los Angeles area. Another eyewitness report describes the California crowds as "huge". [8]


Another orchestra from this era was The Duece Spriggens Orchestra. They played nightly at the Western Palisades Ballroom, on Santa Monica Pier...then known as the largest ballroom on the West Coast. The music was broadcast as a radio show, The Cavalcade of Western Music, on station KFI. They also appeared on the Melody Roundup radio program. [9]


Some credit Spade Cooley with coining the term 'Western swing' in the early 1940s, as a play on Benny Goodman's reputation as the "King of Swing." At least one historian and two web sites, however, credit Cooley’s then manager Bert “Foreman” Phillips for creating the term. [10][11][12] Donnell Clyde Spade Cooley (December 17, 1910- November 23, 1969) was an American western swing musician known for stomping his second wife, Ella Mae Evans, to death in front of their daughter. ... Benny Goodman, born Benjamin David Goodman[1] , (May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986) was an American jazz musician and virtuoso clarinetist, known as King of Swing, Patriarch of the Clarinet, The Professor, and Swings Senior Statesman. // Goodman was born in Chicago, the ninth of twelve children of poor Jewish...


Decline and Lasting Influence

The decline of Western Swing in the years following the War reflected the waxing and waning of the more mainstream big-band sound. Asleep at the Wheel band leader Ray Benson relates his experiences with reintroducing Western Swing to Texans in an interview. [13] A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with playing jazz music and which became popular during the Swing Era from the early 1930s until the late 1940s, although there are many big-bands around nowadays. ... Asleep at the Wheel is an Austin, Texas based Western swing band, winner of nine Grammy Awards. ...


Moon Mullican, who had performed with Western Swing bands, later found more success as a solo artist and his 1940s and 1950s hits often were done with a more western swing than pure country feel. Moon Mullican was an American country and western singer and pianist in the late 1940s and 1950s from Louisiana. ...


Western swing was one of the many genres to influence rockabilly, and rock 'n' roll. Bill Haley's music from the late 1940s and early 1950s is often referred to as Western Swing. Haley's band from 1948 and 1949 was named Bill Haley and The 4 Aces of Western Swing. Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music, and emerged in the early-1950s. ... Rock and roll - Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins/monobook/IE50Fixes. ... Bill Haley, with his band, the Comets, was one of the first rock and roll acts to tour the United Kingdom. ...


Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings, and Asleep at the Wheel helped make Austin, Texas a major center of Western Swing beginning in the 1970s The annual South by Southwest music festival and the Austin City Limits TV show have contributed to this success. [14] One regional name for Western Swing is simply "Texas." Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County. ... Downtown Austin, Texas, where SXSW is held each spring Bloc Party performing at Stubbs BBQ in 2007 Carrie Rodriguez, a SXSW 2007 performer Morrissey at SXSW 2006 South by Southwest (SXSW) is a set of interactive, film, and music festivals and conferences that have taken place every spring in... Stevie Ray Vaughan performing on Austin City Limits. ...


Notable bands and artists from the early era

  • Dave Stogner and The Western Rythmnaires
  • Al Dexter and His Troopers
  • The Light Crust Doughboys
  • Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys
  • Tommy Duncan, the lead singer with the Texas Playboys
  • Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies
  • Herb Remmington
  • The Southern Melody Boys
  • The Hi-Flyers
  • The Tune Wranglers
  • Adolph Hofner and his San Antonians
  • Floyd Tillman
  • Bill Boyd and the Cowboy Ramblers
  • Dude Martin and His Roundup Gang
  • Hank Penny
  • Spade Cooley and His Orchestra
  • Deuce Spriggens and His Orchestra
  • Tex Williams and the Western Caravan
  • "Texas" Jim Lewis and His Lone Star Cowboys
  • Hank Thompson and His Brazos Valley Boys
  • Bill Haley and the Saddlemen (later - Bill Haley & His Comets)
  • The Fort Worth Doughboys
  • Doug Bine and his Dixie Ramblers
  • Jimmie Revard and his Oklahoma Playboys
  • The Washboard Wonders
  • Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers
  • Buddy Jones
  • Smokey Wood and the Wood Chips
  • W. Lee O'Daniel and his Hillbilly Boys
  • Carolina Cotton (yodeler who sang with several Western Swing groups)
  • Ocie Stockard and the Wanderers
  • The Port Arthur Jubileers aka Jimmie Hart & His Merrymakers

The Light Crust Doughboys were a legendary Texas western swing band formed in 1931 by Bob Wills, Milton Brown and W. Lee (Pappy) ODaniel. ... James Robert (Bob) Wills (March 6, 1905 – May 13, 1975) was an American country musician, songwriter, and big band leader. ... Thomas Elmer (Tommy) Duncan (January 11, 1911 – July 25, 1967) was an American western swing vocalist and songwriter. ... The Texas Playboys were a Western Swing band, long led by Bob Wills, and considered by many to be the definitive progenitor of that musical genre. ... Milton Brown (1903 - 1936) born in Stephenville, TX was a band leader and vocalist who was one of the founders of Western swing. ... Floyd Tillman (1914 – 2003) country musician who in the 1930s-40s helped create the western swing and honky tonk styles of music. ... Donnell Clyde Spade Cooley (December 17, 1910- November 23, 1969) was an American western swing musician known for stomping his second wife, Ella Mae Evans, to death in front of their daughter. ... Tex Williams (August 23, 1917 - October 11, 1985) was an American country musician from Ramsey, Illinois. ... Hank Thompson (born September 3, 1925) is a country music entertainer whose career has spanned six decades and who has sold over 60 million records worldwide. ... Bill Haley, with his band, the Comets, was one of the first rock and roll acts to tour the United Kingdom. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Buddy Jones (1906- October 20, 1956) was an American Western swing musician who recorded in the 1930s and 1940s. ... Wilbert Lee Pappy ODaniel (March 11, 1890 - May 11, 1969) was a radio personality and a politician from Texas. ...

Later bands and artists of the genre (or influenced by it)

Asleep at the Wheel is an Austin, Texas based Western swing band, winner of nine Grammy Awards. ... Merle Haggard (born April 6, 1937) is a United States country music singer and songwriter. ... Willie Nelson (born Willie Hugh Nelson, April 30, 1933) is an American entertainer and songwriter, born and raised in Abbott, Texas. ... Commander Cody may refer to: The stage name of George Frayne, leader of the rock and roll band Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, and, informally, the band itself A minor character in the Star wars movie universe, see Commander Cody The 1950s science-fiction serial character, who name... The Hot Club of Cowtown formed in 1996 as a Hot Jazz/Western swing group. ... Wayne The Train Hancock is a country musician. ... The Ditty Bops are an American band from Los Angeles, California noted for their tight vocal harmonies and playful style. ... The Dusty Chaps was a honky tonk band based in Tucson, AZ in the late 1970s and early 1980s. ... Don Walser, a unique, award-winning yodeling Texas country music legend[1], was born Donald Ray Walser on September 14, 1934 in Brownfield. ... Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys is a western swing/hillbilly boogie musical band from California. ... George Harvey Strait, (born May 18, 1952), is an American country music singer. ... Marty Robbins (September 26, 1925 – December 8, 1982) was one of the most popular and successful American country and western singers of his era. ... The Quebe Sisters Band are an American fiddle western swing group from Fort Worth, Texas. ...

See also

Art Tatum, (1909-1956) Artie Shaw, (1910-2004) Ben Webster (1909-1973) Benny Carter, (1907-2003) Benny Goodmans Orchestra Billie Holiday, (1915-1959) Buck Clayton, (1911-1991) Bunny Berigan, (1908-1942) Cab Calloway, (1907-1994) Charlie Barnet, (1913-1991) Charlie Christian, (1918-1942) Chick Webb, (1905-1939) Leon Chu... For other uses, see swing. ... Poster from the Western Music, directly related to the old English, Scottish, and Irish folk ballads, was originally composed by and about the people settling and working in the American West and western Canada. ...

Endnotes

  1. ^  Boyd, Jean Ann. Jazz of the Southwest: An Oral History of Western Swing. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998. ISBN 0-292-70859-9
  2. ^  Kienzle, Rich. Southwest Shuffle: Pioneers of Honky Tonk, Western Swing, and Country Jazz. New York: Routledge, 2003. ISBN 0-415-94102-4

Resources

  • Ginell, Cary. Milton Brown and the Founding of Western Swing. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1994. ISBN 0-252-02041-3
  • Ginell, Cary; Kevin Coffey. Discography of western swing and hot string bands, 1928-1942. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001. ISBN 0-313-31116-1
  • Wetlock, E. Clyde; Richard Drake Saunders (eds.). Music and dance in Texas, Oklahoma, and the Southwest. Hollywood, CA: Bureau of Musical Research, 1950.

External links

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Swing (dance) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (730 words)
Swing is a group of related street dances that evolved from Lindy Hop.
Swing is a partner dance, where the couple consists of a leader and follower, who share a connection.
West Coast Swing is often danced with blues and rock and roll music, as well as to smooth and cool jazz.
Western swing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (219 words)
Western swing, also known as Country Swing, is dance music with an up-tempo beat and a decidedly Southwestern US regional flavor.
It consists of an eclectic combination of country, cowboy, polka, and folk music, blended with a jazzy "swing", with a tip of the hat to New Orleans jazz and Delta blues, and played by a hot string band often augmented with drums, saxophones, pianos and, notably, the pedal steel guitar.
Spade Cooley coined the term 'Western swing' in the early 1940's.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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