Asleep at the Wheel
In 1969, Ray Benson and Lucky Oceans co-founded Asleep at the Wheel in Paw Paw, West Virginia, and soon after they found themselves opening for Alice Cooper and Hot Tuna in Washington, DC. A year later, they moved to East Oakland, California at the invitation of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. After being mentioned in Rolling Stone magazine by Van Morrison, they landed a record deal with United Artists. In 1973, their debut album, Comin’ Right At Ya was released by United Artists. At the request of Willie Nelson, they left Oakland for Austin in 1974.
In 1974, they released their second album, Asleep at the Wheel with a cover of Louis Jordan’s “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie”, which was their first single to hit the country charts. The following year saw the release of Texas Gold as the group’s third album with the top-ten Country hit single “The Letter That Johnny Walker Read”. In addition, they played on PBS’s Austin City Limits, where they have since performed a record-setting ten times. In 1977, the band was voted Best Country Western Band by Rolling Stone Magazine and was awarded the Touring Band of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.