Thoughts about Rockabilly, Origins of Western Swing

Hello fellow players,

I just got word that one of my first groups that I went to school with and worked with some is going into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Dickie “Bebop” Harrell just sent me an email stating that he had just gotten word from the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame that the old band that we were in together, The Blue Caps is going in and will be getting overdue accolades.

Dickie was the drummer, Gene Vincent was the singer, Cliff Gallup was the guitar holder and player that has gained much respect and recognition over the past many years and we went through two or three bass players of which I was one for a few seconds.

The promoter that put us all together and made us famous and wrote our first hit tune was the father of Mike Douchette who later gained his own fame working with Tammy Wynette. His daddy’s name was Sheriff Tex Davis. Mike of course, is a very well known steel guitarist in Nashville. Anyway this story could go on forever.

Back in the days of Rockabilly, it was all accepted as country music. All the country radio stations played the Rockabilly artists right along beside Hank Williams, Eddy Arnold, George Jones, Faron Young and the like. It was only later that this style branched off into Rock N Roll.

Now Rock N Roll has run off and left Rockabilly by the side of the road. As bad as a condition that old country is in, it’s still about equal to Rockabilly. Just think about it. If Whitney Houston had been popular 55 years ago, she would only be played on black stations.

Music is something that is continually changing and thank goodness we all seem to remember the old artists that paved the road for the new. Let’s never forget any kind of music or develop a dislike for any kind of music, possibly with the exception of rap.

I’ve been asked about the beginning of Western Swing and how it got started. First of all, there was light and then later God created Earth and on the seventh day he rested. Western Swing was invented not long after that. It’s been pretty well there since the beginning of time, however it was an outgrowth from big band pop stuff of the day.

Around the twenties, big bands with big brass sections were born because of movie sound tracks and any music job where big volume was needed. Remember, there were no PA sets in those days that could make you run for cover like they have today. Big had to do with volume and excitement.

Bands like Sammy Kaye, Glen Gray, Jack Teagarden, Benny Goodman, Chick Webb, Glenn Miller, Harry James, Gene Krupa, but the reason these bands were built big was to have volume that could be obtained no other way at the time.

The country boys that had a little fifty watt PA set with one microphone and had to share it amongst everyone in the band during solos, had a rough time being heard, but yet many people loved this kind of music. So along comes this funny guy named Bob Wills. Bob loved to make noises and comments in the middle of his band solos and he also realized that he needed to hire many pieces which included a horn section and at times a violin section in order to get those great big country jobs like backing up cowboy movie stars on film.

Rex Allen, Rocky Lane, Roy Rogers and several others that had Bob Wills as a guest in their movie shorts. I suppose this irons out the fact that Bob Wills was the beginner leader in Western Swing music and Western Swing music was a combination of big band pop and country quartet.

Big band music required written arrangements and music stands. Most music stands had the name of the band on them. Remember, I’m sure most of you have seen pictures of the Dorsey Brothers and Glenn Miller sitting down and reading their arrangements from those nice music stands.

The beginning of Western Swing and later big country music, we can credit the players that were working in these big bands and the big bands themselves, Tex Williams, Hank Thompson, The Miller Brothers, Luke Wills and another one of Bob’s famous brothers named Billy Jack, that worked the west coast. Vance Terry was the steel player with Billy Jack Wills.

I think many of you will remember the fact that I’m offering you a minimal trade-in on your film camera that are technically worth less and less everyday because of the digital format cameras. They are becoming more and more prevalent in closets the world over. Here’s your last chance to get money out of them rather than letting them hibernate in your closet. I’m taking the trade-ins on any steel guitar purchase.

We’re getting near the end of the free shipping which is a good way for you guys to save money up until the beginning of next month.

See our monthly specials at …

The friend to all bar holders,
Bobbe Seymour

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