Bob Wills

James Robert Wills (March 6, 1905 – May 13, 1975), better known as Bob Wills, is considered by music authorities as the co-founder of Western swing, he was universally known as the King of Western Swing.  Bob Wills formed several bands and played radio stations around the South and West until he formed the Texas Playboys in 1934 with Wills on fiddle, Tommy Duncan on piano and vocals, rhythm guitarist June Whalin, tenor banjoist Johnnie Lee Wills, and Kermit Whalin, who played steel guitar and bass. The band played regularly on a Tulsa, Oklahoma radio station, and added Leon McAuliffe on steel guitar, pianist Al Stricklin, drummer Smokey Dacus, and a horn section that expanded the band’s sound. Wills favored jazz-like arrangements and the band found national popularity into the 1940s with such hits as “Steel Guitar Rag”, “New San Antonio Rose”, “Smoke on the Water”, “Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima”, and “New Spanish Two Step”.

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More info on Bob Wills and the Texas playboys

Videos

  • Texas Legend:
    Ray Benson’s
    A Ride With Bob
  • Texas Legend:
    Bob Willis

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