Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Billy Jack Wills|
Billy Jack Wills & His Western Swing Band
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock
Bob Wills's youngest brother had assembled a top-quality band of his own in the early 1950s, and these 19 radio transcriptions (from KFBK) certainly attest to the group's brilliance. Spearheaded by Wills (on vocals and dru... more »
Bob Wills's youngest brother had assembled a top-quality band of his own in the early 1950s, and these 19 radio transcriptions (from KFBK) certainly attest to the group's brilliance. Spearheaded by Wills (on vocals and drums), Bob's former Playboy Tiny Moore (on electric mandolin and vocals), and young pedal steel whiz Vance Terry, this band dominated the Sacramento Western swing scene with a typically diverse repertoire, dynamic arrangements, and fierce drive. Material came from classic old blues standards, R&B, country, and jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman, as well as brother Bob's songbook. --Marc Greilsamer
As good as it got!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The peak of evolution in western swing. This is an astoundingly tight, tasteful swinging outfit. Just to think that the genre would devolve into the mega-schmaltz of Spade Cooley and his mates! It makes me want to cry! The featured instruments here are Tiny Moore's electric mandolin & fiddle, Dick McCombs trumpet, Cotton Roberts' fiddle (when he's not on bass) and Vance Terry's steel. Kenneth Lowry (guitar) seems to stick to rhythm, although I believe he featured at live gigs, on straight country numbers.These recordings display a balance of beatifully arranged section work (with voicings would have been approved of by Duke Ellington!) yet with plenty of room for solo after brilliant solo, as well as what appears to be spontaneous collective improvisation, as in a New Orleans style jazz group, with the steel playing the trombone's role, the trumpet similarly playing its accustomed role, and the mandolin that of the clarinet.The selection of material is a fair balance of 40s/50s R'n'B tunes and pre-war show tunes/jazz standards, as well as some instrumentals of the bands own making.Top all this off with the hip, driving vocals of Billy Jack, and you have an unbeatable record. This appears to be the twilight years of when jazz still had a strong influence on popular music at large, instead of being relegated to "ART".Nobody will ever play music quite like this again."
luckydenvermint | Okla, usa | 09/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had the privelege to know Billy Jack Wills personally, during the 1980's. He was a "parts runner" for a plumbing company some family members owned near Shawnee, Oklahoma; I was working in a local plumbing supply house. He didn't talk about music unless you brought the subject up, and was humble about it when you did. During the last couple of years of his life, I made a few visits out to his house and got to hear him play some, usually just himself & an old acoustic guitar, or sometimes another picker would be there too. He was always glad to have the company and an audience. I never asked exactly how he ended up where he was, doing what he was doing; it was odd that the man who co-wrote "Faded Love" was shuttling plumbing supplies to job sites & keeping the shop in order.
I know this isn't a review of his music, but still may be an interesting personal note on the man that produced it."
Tiny Moore a Master Musican
Tony Thomas | SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL USA | 09/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This band was one of the very good second ranked Western Swing Bands going strong in the 1950s. It started when Bob Wills who based himself in Sacremento with his Music Ranch Wills Point decided to leave the area, leaving his brother Billy Jack there with the usual brother's farm team band. The real light of the band was Tiny Moore, fiddler and probably together with Jethro Burns the greatest electric mandolin player ever.
Tiny plays electric mandolin on these cuts and sings a lot of the better vocals. He does the announcing--this band never made any records; these tunes come recordings of their radio show.
Tiny stayed on becoming a major TV personality in Sacreto with a kids show and then a weather show I believe until Merle Haggard picked him up in the 1970 and made him a member of his band until his death.
Tiny plays with amazing musical fluidity. There are a lot of pure bop passages on this and its companion record. There is also a lot of stuff that's part of the turn to Rock and Roll, including a version of Billy Haley's Crazy Man Crazy. Of Course Haley had started out with a Western Swing band too!
The other players on these records are OK and spirited but nowhere near where Tiny was. What probably makes this easier or seem more evolved to more recent ears is that there is a lot here than is already gotten to or is at least on its way to rock and roll.
If you like Tiny check out the duet albums he did with Jethro Burns, with Eldon Shamblin doing the honors on rhythm guitar, and the great Ray Brown playing bass!"