Search - Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys :: Anthology 1935-1973

Anthology 1935-1973
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
Anthology 1935-1973
Genres: Country, Pop
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #2

Building on the sacred tradition of the Texas fiddle band, Wills's Western swing became country music's answer to big-band jazz. Wills gave his Playboys ample room for advanced improvisation, adding instruments (drums, hor...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
Title: Anthology 1935-1973
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino / Wea
Release Date: 7/2/1991
Genres: Country, Pop
Styles: Classic Country, Western Swing
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
Other Editions: Tiffany Transcriptions, Vol. 6
UPC: 081227074425

Synopsis essential recording
Building on the sacred tradition of the Texas fiddle band, Wills's Western swing became country music's answer to big-band jazz. Wills gave his Playboys ample room for advanced improvisation, adding instruments (drums, horns, piano, electric guitar) that were not associated with country music. He drew on a variety of styles--not just fiddle tunes and jazz standards, but also polka, blues, mariachi, and Dixieland--punctuating the music with his light-hearted exhortations. This 2 CD compilation provides an overview of his career: from his early Columbia hits with steel guitarist Leon McAuliffe and rhythm guitarist Eldon Shamblin to his final 1973 session, which he conducted from a wheelchair. For those wanting to delve deeper, Columbia's box set and Rhino's nine-volume Tiffany Transcriptions focus more thoroughly on Wills's prime. --Marc Greilsamer

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CD Reviews

A good collection, but not the best value
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I agree with all the reviewers who rave about the music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. This is irresistable western swing that has to leave you smiling. When the Anthology was released, it was by far the most complete collection available on disc and was worth the price for that reason. Now, however, more recent discs offer nearly as complete a sampling at a single-disc price, basically omitting only the very late works which, while of historical interest, simply aren't as good as during the peak of Bob's career. I now consider this collection to be only for the fan who wants to own it all and certainly not the best introduction for new fans. Indeed, neither disc in the set is as good as the two better (in my opinion) single-disc collections: "King of Lonestar Swing" and "The Essential Bob Wills", the first one of which has 28 tracks, versus 32 on the two-disc Anthology."
As good as it gets
Tony Thomas | SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL USA | 07/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you like the hot club of Cowtown, you will like this. This is the period of Wills' band that their work is founded on, listen to the Devilish Mary on here that they made the title of an album. Listen to the great masterful Sally Gooden, so good to be believed. This is great and hot and sometimes just so good you cannot believe it. This is more a guitar and steel guitar and mandolin players record than a fiddling record. It is also significant that while most of the Western Swingers went into the Hollywood Cowboy, mellow singing, buisnessman's bounce phase typified by Spade Cooley and Hank Penny, Will's band here in the postwar years stays red hot jazzy, bluesy, and fiddlin it all the way out!\Without getting into the history: this is just good music suitable for anyone at any time with ears.
This is the real deal in regard to Western Swing. The Tiffany recordings were done for the Tiffany Furniture Company of Oakland in the period after WWII. They were sold to radio stations as music to play over the air along with or without commercials for the furniture company. This was done when playing normal commercial records on the radio was a rare and new thing.If you look on the discography you will find there were more than 200 recordings done by Wills over the years for this operation. So even if Rounder has put out ten volumes of this music, they are still just offering the best of the collection. These were rare treats among the collectors. I remember first hearing about them around 1977 when a friend of mine who lived in NYC mentioned he knew someone in Indiana who had taped copies of these records. I remember how I treated the tape he made me like a golden jewel, carrying it with myself personally when I moved.People I know who actually heard the Texas Playboys play during the 1930s and 1940s say these recording say this is the way the Playboys sounded at their best live. This is the repertoire. Since it was officially a non-commercial recording, they recording all the songs they would play at live dates, and not just songs they recorded which were usually filtered by the Columbia, MGM, and MCA operation to make sure they recorded songs that had the right publishing andwere charting for others.

On other Tiffany recordings you can hear the Playboys make wonderful music on Nat King Cole's Straighten up and Fly Right, Basie's Swing Blues, Ellington's Take the A Train, Dinah Shore's Sentimental Journey, and even a gret instrumental on the theme from the movie Mission to Moscow!The recording quality isn't always as good as the Columbia and MGM sides, but that is because they simply recorded all day whenever the tour schedule took the Playboys into San Fransisco, cutting tunes without rehearsals, on the first take, cutting five or six or seven sides in a day, as opposed to the standard recording studio concept of 4 sides in three hours, which was never met. However, on a number of these tunes they really cut lose in instrumentals they way they don't on the commercial disks. If you love the repartee between Bob and the Band, you get a lot more of that on these tunes.What these records represent for the history of Western Swing is priceless. The guitar trio sound grew out of the duos that Eldon Shamblin and Leon MacAufliffe did with Wills before WWII. When Jimmy Wyble (who went on to be one of the key Jazz guitarists of the 1950s and 1960s) and Cameron Hill came in during the War and were joined by Noel Boggs, that sound was perfected. On these sides we hear it bluesier and hotter played by Junior Barnard or Eldon on guitar, Tiny Moore on Mandolin, and Boggs or Herbie Remington on steel guitar. You don't get as much of this on the contemporary Columbia sounds, although you did on the first MGM sides there was a revivalIf you have one CD, get this one so you can listen to the Sally Gooden on it. It is a unique recording, of which the Hot Club of Cowtown is only a pale imitation, since they only really have a trio, and this adds in guitar, steel guitar and other instruments. You must have that cut!"
Wonderful classic
Tony Thomas | 08/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This music is so great, so full of life, so musically excellent and also so much fun. I just wish that it was a 10 CD set and more of a complete collection of Wills' earlier music. Wills is a towering giant of the 20th century and some of his best moments are collected here. You would have to be remarkably morose not to feel happy with this music. Many of the musicians play brilliantly on several selections--this was an all star band of virtuosos. Like Duke Ellington's band, they did not get to stretch out for very long but they made every note count. Bob himself is such a joyful personality. This set is a treasure."