Bill Haley's music from the late 1940s and early 1950s is often referred to as Western swing, and his band from 1948 to 1949 was named Bill Haley and the 4 Aces of Western Swing. Multi-instrumentalist Marcy Marxer who has performed regularly with Cathy Fink for many years has also produced a swing guitar video.  The music is an amalgamation of rural, cowboy, polka, folk, Dixieland jazz and blues blended with swing; and played by a hot string band often augmented with drums, saxophones, pianos and, notably, the steel guitar. It is very much in the style of eastern “hillbilly” guitarists of the period such as “blue yodeler” Jimmy Rogers and the influential Riley Puckett, who played with Gid Tanner’s Skillet Lickers. This gives you a much more melodic sounding lead, and you’ll find it’s really not that difficult to do! The Development of Western Swing Style Guitar Fiddle-tune-based flatpick style guitarists generally discover swing style guitar at some point in their development. The Crystal Springs Dance Pavilion was at the center, and it prospered as a country music venue until the 1950s. ", Another orchestra from the era was the Deuce Spriggins Orchestra, which played nightly at the Western Palisades Ballroom on the Santa Monica Pier, then known as the largest ballroom on the West Coast. Nashville session steel guitar ace Buddy Emmons recorded an excellent Wills tribute for Flying Fish in 1976. You were lucky to find a ticket on a Wednesday night. "Spade Cooley, who moved in with his Western swing boys several months ago, has released the Breakfast Club. It wasn't all out boogie woogie; it was 'swingier'âmore smooth and subdued. ", By the mid-1930s, Fort Worth was a hub for Western swing. The crowds of dancers loved the arrangement and eagerly anticipated the change in tempo. The group, with Fred "Papa" Calhoun on piano, played dance halls and was heard on radio. Recordings of early Texas fiddlers in the 1920s also feature the “boom-chick” style. The line outside at that time was ten deep and stretched into Venice. Swing was dance music, first and foremost. Guitars [ edit ] Acoustic guitars have been a firm favourite for country musicians since the 1920s.  Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen and the Strangers were also key players in this revitalization. Wills recalled the early days of Western swing music in a 1949 interview. When Spade Cooley unexpectedly received the most votes, besting Benny Goodman and Harry James, Jarvis declared Cooley to be the King of Western Swing. These recordings were less formal than a serious recording session and include many candid moments such as vocalist Tommy Duncan’s laughter at Bob’s constant vocalizing. Characteristic chord forms include sixths, ninths, diminished and augmented. His band’s hugely popular recordings and television appearances have kept swing guitar front and center. He was 68. ...They wouldn't be a runaway...and just lay a real beat behind it an' the people would began to really like it. His unique style featuring string bends, bluesy licks, and an overdriven amplifier tone was at least ten years before its time. Wills continued with the Light Crust Doughboys on into 1933. The remaining two Doughboys, Wills and Sleepy Johnson, replaced Milton and Derwood Brown with Tommy Duncan (guitar and vocals) and Herman Arnspiger (guitar/tenor banjo) and continued to perform under the Doughboy name. Popular Music in America: The Beat Goes On. Left and right hand muting and the use of barre chords (with few open strings) allowed guitarists to emulate the modern jazzy pulse.  The popular 1980s bluegrass band Hot Rize gave swing guitar more exposure with their performances as Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers. 579. Through these records, Milton expanded his vocal repertoire to include popular and jazz tunes, some of which he had learned while with his vocal group in the late 1920s.”. Leon Rhodes guitar work on this project is memorable. Vocalist/guitarist Tag Lambert traveled and performed with Wills during these years and his style shows a strong influence of earlier Wills’ guitarists including Junior Barnard. Western swing was one of the many subgenres to influence rockabilly and rock and roll.  From 1934 to 1943, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys played nightly at Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, reaching crowds as large as 6,000 people.  It is dance music, often with an up-tempo beat, which attracted huge crowds to dance halls and clubs in Texas, Oklahoma and California during the 1930s and 1940s until a federal war-time nightclub tax in 1944 contributed to the genre's decline.. Fearing the dance floor would collapse, police stopped ticket sales at 11 p.m. It sounds like there are more chords due to guitarists employing different An added benefit is that while album liner notes may not identify the musicians, Bob always did! According to Merle Travis, "Western swing is nothing more than a group of talented country boys, unschooled in music, but playing the music they feel, beating a solid two-four rhythm to the harmonies that buzz around their brains. This book includes 25 swingin' classics, including the solos of the best guitarists from yesterday and today, such as Chet Atkins, Ray Benson, Vince Gill, Roy Lanham The ethnic sounds of German, Czech, French, and Mexican Americans also were a great influence. Now, it’s time to explore playing lead guitar in the Western-swing style. Legendary jazz guitarist Charlie Christian made recordings beginning in the early 1940s with the Benny Goodman orchestra. , In 1955, Decca Records, in what Billboard called "an ambitious project", issued seven albums of "country dance music" featuring "swingy arrangements of your customers 'c&w' dance favorites". This is a list of swing and Western swing musicians. The "hot" guitarists of Southern California who were tearing it up in the late-40s and the 50s, when Western Swing was really "goin' on," were using guitars like Paul Bigsby solid bodies, Gibson Super 400, and L-5 guitars with pickups added. Many of the early Western swing bands featured a tenor banjo in their lineup and some kept the instrument long after most swing and jazz bands had replaced rhythm banjo with guitar. The group also appeared on the American Forces Network's Melody Roundup radio program during the war.. Club owners and promoters couldn't afford the combined city, state government taxes. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen, List of Western swing and swing (big band) musicians, "Answers - The Most Trusted Place for Answering Life's Questions", "A complete and up to the minute listing of dances, shows, festivals and events playing Western Swing music", Highlights, transcript, and audio links to NPR story on the Bobby Boatright Memorial Music Camp that aired 07/21/10, "82(R) SCR 35 - Enrolled version - Bill Text", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Western_swing&oldid=981569419, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The acoustic bass was a quiet instrument that didn’t compete well with the drum set, especially on recordings. The movement was an outgrowth of jazz. By 1937 the jitterbug hit big in the West and allowed much greater freedom of movement. At the height of his popularity, Wills’ calls of “Take it away, Leon” and “Ahh, come in Tommy, sing” made stars out of his band members who might have otherwise remained anonymous to the public. Robert Lee "Bob" Dunn (February 5, 1908 – May 27, 1971) was an American jazz trombonist and a pioneer Western swing steel guitarist.  Waltzes and ballads were interspersed among faster songs if the dancers, who would dance two-step or round dances, became tired after faster numbers.  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 listeners. Most guitarists think (wrongly) that the Telecaster and Stratocaster were created for Rock, blues and Country players. Eldon also remembered that Wills would often hire a singer or other musician who had very little bass experience to play bass. Western Swing music is considered a hybrid subgenre of American Jazz, Delta Blues and Frontier Fiddle music that originated nearly a century ago in Fort Worth, Texas. “Bob Wills Music” and “Western swing” have become synonyms for this infectious style. His sound rivaled that of the big bands of the era.  As early as 1934 or 1935 Bob Dunn electrified a Martin O-series acoustic guitar while playing with Milton Brown's Brownies. Western swing is a unique fusion of musical styles and cultures, primarily encompassing country, jazz, blues, swing, and big band. Tex Williams and his Western Caravan were playing there.  Recording companies came up with several names before World War II trying to market itâhillbilly, old-time music, novelty hot dance, hot string band, and even Texas swing for music coming out of Texas and Louisiana. We will examine the use of:br>br>1. His influence on swing guitar was immense. By September 1932, Milton Brown had left the Doughboys because he was interested in leading his own dance band and playing the kind of music that W. Lee O’Daniel was not allowing the Doughboys to play. The Wills band was no exception. Jazz Age dances such as the Charleston, Lindy Hop, and Fox Trot helped establish swing as the popular modern beat. Herman Arnspiger continued to work with Wills up until the early 1940s, even after Eldon Shamblin [see below] was in the band. Brown’s song selections came largely from the standard jazz and swing repertoire of the day.  The Los Angeles-area Wilmington Press carried ads for an unidentified "Western Swing Orchestra" at a local nightspot in April 1942. Western swing lives on at the Bobby Boatright Memorial Music Camp in Goree, Texas. Shamblin’s solo guitar work has been incorrectly (in my opinion) called “Christian-esque” in numerous accounts of his style. Another eyewitness report described the California crowds as "huge. Wills’ call of “Herbie, Tiny, Eldon” during harmonized solos helped establish solo careers for Herb Remington (steel) Tiny Moore (electric mandolin) and Eldon Shamblin. Western Swing was born in the '30s and is still going strong! #591256 - 04/11/20 05:24 AM [Off-Topic] An Introduction to Western Swing and Its Illustrious Guitarists Registered: 07/13/02 Posts: 2953 In 1937, Wills added a young Oklahoma guitarist named Eldon Shamblin to the Playboys lineup. The new style combined the jazz sounds of radio, records and the big dance halls of the central and northeastern United States with fiddle tunes, square dance music, blues, and other rural folk music. In the dance hall arrangement, the band would play at slow-drag tempo for as long as 15 minutes with an accompanying vocal.  Brower, a classically trained violinist, was the first to master Joe Venuti's double shuffle and his improvisational style was a major contribution to the genre. Bob Wills was heard on every jukebox with this "San Antonio Rose". Arnspiger appears with a Gibson L-4 guitar in numerous early 1930s photographs. Western Swing was born in the '30s and is still going strong! French Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt was known for his infectious guitar-driven swing music. During rehearsals at Will Ed Kemble’s furniture store, the Doughboys listened to all the latest 78 rpm recordings, which Kemble sold.  The "front line" of Wills' orchestra consisted of either fiddles or guitars after 1944. The annual South by Southwest music festival and the Austin City Limits PBS television series have contributed to this success. Early players such as Jimmy Wyble, Charlie Aldrich, Jimmy Bryant, Roy Ment Morris is an Austin based guitarist and educator specializing in Bakersfield Sound, Classic Country, Western Swing, Country Jazz, Swing/Bebop, and Electric Blues Guitar Note for note "Faded Love" and "San Antonio Rose Cooley moved up from Phillips' County barn dances at Venice, Calif., ballroom, where he was featured for 74 weeks.". Most of the big Western dance bandleaders simply referred to themselves as Western bands and their … View course $25. Wills’ group made their first recordings in 1935 for the Brunswick label. Scrobble songs to get recommendations on tracks you'll love. The Pioneers’ appearance in many Western movies helped spread the Western sound. Around 1942, Cooley's promoter, disc jockey "Foreman" Phillips, began using "Western swing" to advertise his client. The camp was profiled in a story that aired on July 21, 2010 on National Public Radio's Morning Edition program. , A documented instance of a Western swing group adopting the newer, by then mainstream 44 meter swing jazz style, replacing the 24 style, was when producer Art Satherley required it at a September 1936 Light Crust Doughboy recording session.. Price, "Jazz Guitar and Western Swing", p. 82. It wasn't done in the music's heyday of the 30's and 40's, but in 1973, in Nashville. Cowboy Chords: An Introduction to Western Swing and Its Illustrious Guitarists MARCH 24, 2019 From the May/June 2019 issue of Acoustic Guitar | BY WHIT SMITH Vol. The lead style also developed from swing and early jazz music of the 1920s-40s. That duo soon joined with another duo, vocalist Milton Brown and his younger brother Derwood Brown on guitar. By the end of the Thirties, Milton Brown’s band had broken up (following the leader’s death on the highway), and the best-known, most influential Western swing pickers were guitarists Eldon Shamblin and steel guitarist Leon , According to one report, crowds of ten thousand people were not uncommon at Western swing dances in the Los Angeles area. Many guitarists have made major contributions in the field, but the cornerstone remains Eldon Shamblin, whom Rolling Stone magazine once called the "World's Best Rhythm Guitarist". Introduced in 1931, the hollow-bodied electric guitar was immediately sought-after by guitarists struggling to be heard in the swing era of brass … The open ringing guitar chord rhythm style so popular in Appalachian styles was slowly replaced in the West by the newer style. For some, it is specifically the rhythm guitar style developed by the great Eldon Shamblin while he was a member of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Marble, Manning; John McMillian; Nishani Frazier (eds.).  In January 1953 Billboard reported Cooley played to 192,000 payees over 52 Saturday night dates at the Santa Monica Ballroom, grossing $220,000. " Western swing bandleader Hank Thompson, who was stationed in San Pedro during World War II, said it was not uncommon to see "ten thousand people at the pier" at Redondo Beach. Jazz drummer Max Roach argued, "This tax is the real story why dancing...public dancing per se...were just out." Still others think of cowboy music, beginning with the Sons of the Pioneers and including modern groups such as Riders In The Sky. He was a member of The Strangers during the 1970s and 1980s.  Later incarnations have also included overtones of bebop. Although his trademark rhythm style was not yet as obvious, his jazzy lead style was featured on several recordings in 1938.  In November, Billboard reported Decca was rushing out three more albums in the series, albeit with less of a Western swing flavor. The greatest players throughout history could communicate their musical ideas to stunning effect.  According to Jimmy Thomason, "It happened when Dunn was working at Coney Island in New York...he ran into this black guy who was playing a steel guitar with a homemade pickup attached to it...hooked up to this old radio or something and was playing blues licks...and he got this guy to show him how he was doing it. ...It was nobody intended to start anything in the world. Most flatpicking recordings include at least one good swing tune.  On the other hand, The Billboard, in its January 29, 1944 issue, reported Cooley came fourth in the orchestra section, behind Sammy Kaye, Freddie Martin, and Jimmy Dorsey. Photos from 1933 show three guitar players in the Doughboys. , Western swing was extremely popular throughout the West in the years before World War II and blossomed on the West Coast during the war. A 1941 Metronome Magazine article said of Shamblin, “[he] comes closer than any other white plectrist to getting the solidity and swing and steady flow of ideas of Charlie Christian.” Although these men were both from Oklahoma, it seems unlikely that Shamblin heard Christian play before Christian’s first landmark recordings with Goodman in 1939. The roots of Western Swing began in 1929 at the Crystal Springs Dance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas and grew to small towns throughout the lower Great Plains throughout the 1930s, growing from Fort Worth house parties and West Texas ranch dances where fiddlers and guitarists played for dancers. Western swing has certainly been an outlet for virtuosic expression on the guitar—like Karl Farr’s sophisticated, jazzy approach and Eldon Shamblin’s athletic single-note solos. Texas-style backup evolved from 1940s and ’50s Western swing guitarists who used swing-style “sock” chords to back up fiddle tunes. The band moved to California and starred in numerous “B” Western movies over the next several years. #591256 - 04/11/20 05:24 AM [Off-Topic] An Introduction to Western Swing and Its Illustrious Guitarists Registered: 07/13/02 Posts: 2984 In the 1940s, many copies of these transcribed performances would have been made. His recorded introductions however did much for the musicians that may not be immediately obvious. "The hordes of people and jitterbuggers loved him. ", In 1950, Hank Penny and Armand Gautier opened the Palomino in North Hollywood, "one of country music's most fabled venues, the commercial and social focal point of Hollywood's country set." With chord melody solos to popular swing melodies, advanced rhythm guitar techniques, and acoustic jazz picking techniques. Eldon’s characteristic rhythm style is first heard clearly on the 1940-41 recordings of Wills’ classics such as “San Antonio Rose” and “Take Me Back to Tulsa.” Sometime later, he began playing electric and is pictured in 1941 playing a Gibson non-cutaway archtop electric (possibly an ES-150). , In late 1933, Wills organized the Texas Playboys in Waco, Texas. No one had ever augmented a string band with horns and drums before. In 1931, with the Burrus Flour Mill as their sponsor, they became the Light Crust Doughboys. During these years Wills carried a full line-up of horns. The carved top, round sound hole, raised pick guard and tailpiece of this model make it very distinctive. But the jitterbug was different in the West. Shamblin recounts that he developed his trademark rhythm style at Wills’ urging. More recently, their two Wills tribute albums featured many top country stars and scored a few hits with Lee Ann Womack’s “Heart to Heart Talk” (featuring Tommy Allsup’s tasteful introduction) and the Dixie Chick’s “Roly Poly.”. Lonnie McIntosh (July 18, 1941 – April 21, 2016), known as Lonnie Mack, was an American singer-guitarist.Mack was a pioneer of blues-rock music and rock guitar melodic soloing.Mack emerged in 1963 with the LP, The Wham of that Memphis Man. Doug Green (Ranger Doug) of Riders In The Sky is considered by many to be one of the best acoustic arch-top rhythm players today. Western Swing was born in the '30s and is still going strong! From the Texas dance halls of the 1930s, the home of the legendary Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, to the modern-day swing of the Hot Club of Cowtown, Western swing has remained a gem of country music. Recording rosters show that beginning in September 1935, Wills utilized two fiddles, two guitars, and Leon McAuliffe playing steel guitar, banjo, drums and other instruments during recording sessions. The term swing, meaning big band dance music, wasn't used until after the 1932 hit "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)".  This, however was preceded by this item on page 11 of the May 6, 1944 Billboard. Leon Rhodes, who played hot country/jazz guitar with Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadors and was the staff guitarist for the Grand Ole Opry for many years, was featured on some of the 1960s Nashville recordings. Band members Tim O’Brien and Nick Forrester both played the style well using vintage Gibson ES150 guitars. (Boatright was a fiddle player originally from Goree. Later recordings of “Roly Poly” generally include musical “quotes” from Wyble’s memorable solo. This concept is shown with a I–V (G6–D7/A) progression in the key of G major in Example 1. In February of 1932 the Victor recording company came to Dallas from New York City to make recordings with local artists. Musicians trying to learn solos off the records hear Wills as an unwanted distraction that sometimes covers up a great lick on the recording. He was a member of The Strangers during the 1970s and 1980s. The second acoustic guitarist on these recordings was often either Johnson or Leon McAuliffe, who would become best known as an electric steel guitarist. Duncan stopped playing guitar with the band so it was offered to Eldon when he joined the band. They all made the switch to solid body guitars made by Leo Fender, and custom guitars by Semie Moseley during the 1950s. Karl Farr’s rhythm and lead style helped set the swingy drive of Western music. The Quebe Sisters Band are real sisters Grace Quebe, Sophia Quebe, and Hulda Quebe. Western Swing Monthly, based in Austin, is a newsletter for musicians and fans. Swing. Michael Campbell. 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