Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Can't Get Enough of That Ah-Ha

When I first heard the music of Bob Wills playing on my grandmother’s big old Magnavox Hi-Fi cabinet, I couldn’t help but add a little bounce to my walk.

Western swing came into being during the 1920s and ‘30s as the string bands of the Southwest blended a bit of cowboy, polka, pop, and jazz with their regular repertoire of old-time dance music. The string bands of Texas and Oklahoma added pianos, saxophones, drums, and most importantly, the steel guitar to get that full, rich sound popular with the Big Bands of the late ‘30s and pre-war ‘40s.

The popularity of western swing started to wane following the war, but its influence could still be heard in the country music of performers such as Moon Mullican, the bebop of Hank Penny, and the early rock-n-roll of Bill Haley. Asleep at the Wheel and Commander Cody’s Lost Planet Airmen revived the style in the 1970s.

The latest stack of old 78s from our friend Walt’s Cousin Wes was just jam-packed with some great swinging tunes. Giving them a spin of my turntable had me recalling those days of my youth and dancing with my grandmother across the living room floor.

Everyone up on your feet! Let’s get the Bus rockin’.

Johnny Hicks and his Troubadours - I Can't Get Enough of That Ah-Ha.mp3

Hank Penny - Jersey Bounce.mp3

Red Foley and the Dixie Dons - M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I.mp3

Tex Williams - Birmingham Bounce.mp3

Thanks go out once again to Walt’s Cousin Wes for sharing his wonderful collection.


Blogger Greg said...

You really know how to get a comment out of me Ed.... Great post! Ahh-Hahh! I was just in Texas a bit over a week ago and part of my mind & heart are still there....

January 23, 2008 9:30 AM  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Well Ed, It's winter. Seems like folks are stuck in the snow two articles back.
There is something of the great in the Lonesome Picker. The lyrics are his prophecy and legacy. Very moving. Reading Rilke at the moment. Meticulous precision and for some a simple gesture like picking up a pen or a guitar is something wonderful. Thanks Ed.

And now for the Ah Ha. This music must have lit up the lives of lots of folks during the Big Depression. They just dipped into their pockets and pulled out one goldie after another. Just like money but music is free. Maybe wrong about this but these songs appear to span the Great Depression. No ? You may have already got on board this subject.
And besides if it weren't for music who would know how to spell ? N'est-ce pas ?

It's winter and moving at a slow pace. You're right for tryin' to get the bus rockin' all the way to M-i-s-s-i-s-i-p-p-i...ah ha.

all thoughts fly...

January 23, 2008 5:53 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Well, Greg, we hadn't heard from you for awhile...
Stay tuned, buddy, I've had so much fun with this post, I may just finish out the week with more western swing.

January 23, 2008 10:19 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Black Dog, You are right about this music lifting the spirits of folks during the Depression and the Great Dust Bowl that followed. Although the western swing we know today got its start at the tail end of the Depression, as I’ll try to show tomorrow, the seed was planted much earlier.

January 23, 2008 10:32 PM  
Anonymous dan said...

This music really lifts my spirits today, so I guess that says something about our economies. And that Tex Williams just ain't too far off Rockabilly. That's a good thing. Superb post, Ed.

January 24, 2008 7:00 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

It sure is some good time music, Dan. The link to rockabilly is most evident with recordings by Bill Haley and the Saddlemen. Their rockin' western swing played a big role in his next band, Bill Haley and the Comets

January 24, 2008 9:09 PM  
Anonymous rockin'n'rollin' said...

Great thanks, great swingin' choices!

January 25, 2008 11:47 AM  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Correction : m-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i
all the way to Texas. Spoke to quickly...

pensieri volano... k

January 25, 2008 3:49 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Good to hear from you, Rockin'nrollin'. Glad to hear you are enjoying the swing.

January 27, 2008 7:22 PM  

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