Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
For the Last Time
Genres: Country, Jazz, Pop
In 1973, 40 years after founding the Texas Playboys, Bob Wills gathered many of his Playboy stars from the past in a Dallas studio for a final hurrah. On December 2 the Playboy alumni enjoyed a homecoming meal at the Wills... more »
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In 1973, 40 years after founding the Texas Playboys, Bob Wills gathered many of his Playboy stars from the past in a Dallas studio for a final hurrah. On December 2 the Playboy alumni enjoyed a homecoming meal at the Wills house, and the following day they entered the studio as Wills guided the session from his wheelchair (put there by a debilitating stroke in 1969). Among the musicians were three vital contributors to the very first Playboy session in Dallas in 1935--pianist Al Stricklin, drummer Smokey Dacus, and steel player Leon McAuliffe--as well as guitar great Eldon Shamblin (who joined in 1937) and disciple Merle Haggard, who'd waxed his own Wills tribute in 1970. With Wills mustering only the meekest of hollers, the Playboys joyously rolled through an assortment of Wills favorites, not knowing they would never see their leader again. Tired from the session, Wills left after only six songs and was unable to return for the next day's session. With Hoyle Nix filling in for Wills, the musicians completed the record with tears in their eyes. Wills had a second stroke the next day, lapsed into a coma, and never regained consciousness, perhaps content in his final long sleep for having heard his distinctive music one last time. --Marc Greilsamer
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I wonder why I dont listen to it all the time!
Tony Thomas | SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL USA | 06/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have hundreds of CDs, and more tapes. If I had to have one, this would be it. This is a masterwork. In fact, thinking about it, I wonder why I dont listen to it all the time!
Wills is joined by the best of the survivors (although I would have preferred having Joe Holly there along with Johnnie and Keith), along with Tommy Allsup (bass player in Johnnie Lee Will's band and in the second edition of Buddy Holly's Crickets) Haggard, Jody and Hoyle Nix (whose band Wills performed with after the Playboys disbanded). Smokey Montgomery the virtuoso tenor banjo player of the Light Crust Dough Boys ran the control boards. Wills suffered a stroke the second day of the session and never recovered full consciousness.
The work is superb. Even though all of these men had worked with Wills in the 30s and 1940s, it's all up to date. I think a lot of it invokes some of the advances in Western Swing represented by Leon McAuliffe's Western Swing Band, particularly the jazzy and quirky fiddling of Keith Coleman who worked with McAuliffe on tenor and violin, but not with Wills. The fiddle work by Johnnie Gimble and Keith Coleman is excellent. There's also a great old time fiddle tune done by Hoyle Nix with some grade back beat drum work by Jody Nix. Leon McAuliffe's work all over the album is really great.
It's hard to believe that this was just a pickup date with head arrangements and that players on the album had been with wills in different periods. Only Eldon Shamblin, the guitarist who worked with wills the whole stretch from 1937 until the Playboys disbanded in the 1960s, as either guitarist or band manger manager), could have said to have worked with most of the players. Some were in the prewar group; a few were in the groups in the 1940s and early 1950s. However, these were the players Bob asked for, or players Leon McAuliffe, who Bob asked for first and wanted to run the session, selected.
I would advise listeners to pay special attention to the rhythm work done by Smokey Dacus, Eldon Shamblin, and Tommy Allsup. It is much better than first rate. It sets a level of rhythm playing for Western Swing that aspires to the quiet fire that the all American rhythm section performed for the original Basie Band. If you are serious about playing any kind of music, sit and listen to it.
Finally, there is Leon Rauch. Rauch was one of Bob's last singers. On the historic Liberty sessions in the 1960s he only appeared as a backup singer for Tommy Duncan. He does most of the vocals on this record and shows what a master of voice and its subtleties he is.
This record is fun, instructional for those of us who aspire to musicians, and fun to listen to.
No wonder, it is the first album ever put into the Country Musical Hall fame on its own."
Heartbreaking Final Farewell From a Living Legend
James Morris | Jackson Heights, NY United States | 01/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is pure magic in this album, which has been one of my favorites for years. I have often named Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys as my favorite band. Although I am very fond of his 1930's and 1940's recordings, this album is special.
As others have noted, Bob only participated in a quarter of the songs that appear on this album. The next day, he had his final stroke and entered a coma from which he did not regain consciousness, and died about a year later. An oft-told story is how the Playboys did San Antonio Rose with tears streaming down their faces, as they knew they would never see their beloved leader again.
Bob Wills left a legacy of hundreds of wonderful recordings, and if you like this one, I urge to check out his classic records from the 1930's and 1940's (his 1950's and 1960's sessions aren't bad, either).
There are two comments here that I would like to correct - the original vinyl album contained every track on this CD; nothing is missing. One reviewer said that the vinyl contained only ten tracks; mine has all 24 tracks. Another reviewer complained that Take Me back To Tulsa is missing from the CD release; but that song doesn't appear on my two-record vinyl.
If you're unfamiliar with Bob Wills, For The Last Time - his last album - is not a bad place to start - highly recommended.
"The Last Time" brings it full circle
firstname.lastname@example.org | Denver, CO | 07/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bob Wills bucked the odds and and played his own brand of ecclectic Western/Swing (he pretty much invented the genre) much to the raised eyebrows of "legite" musicians of his day. Unwittingly, he created a monster. This album was concieved and recorded by those who loved him and helped create the Legend of Bob Wills, The Texas Playboys. Knowing his days were numbered, they gathered in Dallas TX in 1973 and made these cuts with their old master (wheelchair bound) and paid homage. Bob made it through the first day's session and managed a few "Ah haas!" to the delight of the old guard. He suffered a stroke and fell into a coma the following night. The Playboys completed the session the next day without his watchful eye. The music is sweet, poignant and necessary for every seeker of a slice of western music. Bob's last few strained hollers in these cuts mark the end of a voice that will haunt generations of music lovers come. A must for your collection of classic americana"