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",, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Wills’ vocal antics should be addressed here. Download now w/ tab, jams, & more: The aging Wills’ “Ahh-haas” and other vocal interjections are obviously over-dubbed and the results are often “cheesy” and the songs definitely do not swing. Michael Campbell. The Pioneers’ appearance in many Western movies helped spread the Western sound. In the 1940s, many copies of these transcribed performances would have been made. is home of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, the ultimate resource for flatpick and bluegrass acoustic guitar learning. Price, "Jazz Guitar and Western Swing", p. 81. Wills moved to Fort Worth in 1929 and formed the Wills Fiddle Band as a duo with himself on fiddle and Herman Arnspiger on acoustic guitar. The carved top, round sound hole, raised pick guard and tailpiece of this model make it very distinctive. No list of Western swing musicians, let alone guitar players, is complete without the name Eldon Shamblin. In this infectious genre, twin fiddles, bouncing double bass, driving guitar solos, and singing lap steel are all married to a beat that’s designed for dancing. The winner would be named "the King of Swing". Western swing was one of the many subgenres to influence rockabilly and rock and roll. Western swing was born in Texas in the 1930’s with the formation of a band called the Light Crust Doughboys, which later split into two other bands; Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies, and Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. This opened up a guitar position in the orchestra, so Wills added two electric guitarists, Jimmy Wyble and Cameron Hill. This gives you a much more melodic sounding lead, and you’ll find it’s really not that difficult to do! Shamblin’s first recorded guitar work with Wills was on the acoustic. Clinton “Sleepy” Johnson later replaced Arnspiger in the Doughboys (see the photo on the next page). Texas-style backup evolved from 1940s and ’50s Western swing guitarists who used swing-style “sock” chords to back up fiddle tunes. Wills continued with the Light Crust Doughboys on into 1933. Popular Music in America: The Beat Goes On. The acoustic arch-top guitar chording of Freddie Green anchored Count Basie’s popular big band from 1937. Michael Campbell. Hugh Farr on fiddle and Karl on guitar created a Western version of the Reinhardt/Grappelli sound. The Quebe Sisters Band are real sisters Grace Quebe, Sophia Quebe, and Hulda Quebe. Wills was creating a new sound and these recordings were the first steps toward the new genre. After that, the music was known as Western swing. Learn to play the 1920s and ’30s chord melody and rhythm guitar styles of Eddie Lang, Nick Lucas, Freddie Green, Carl Kress, and other early jazz greats. On mid-1930s sessions, two guitars and a banjo were often listed on the track listings, although the guitars were hard to hear in the rhythm section. 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. Both recordings feature acoustic rhythm guitar played in the open bass-chord style by Derwood Brown. Shamblin recorded with the Super 400 guitar and kept a bass line running through the songs, often with a new chord every two beats. "The hordes of people and jitterbuggers loved him. We was just tryin' to find enough tunes to keep 'em dancin' to not have to repeat so much. The pandemic, like many, has me feeling noticeable less inspired but this one kind of … Western swing began in the dance halls of small towns throughout the lower Great Plains in the late 1920s and early 1930s,[26][27] growing from house parties and ranch dances where fiddlers and guitarists played for dancers. [51], Riverside Rancho, operated by Marty Landau, had a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) dance floor, three bars and a restaurant. Western Swing was born in the '30s and is still going strong! Price, Michael H. "Jazz Guitar and Western Swing". Apparently, you couldn’t buy a trumpet in Texas in the ’20s. Blessed with some of the most nimble fingers imaginable, Smeck's approach to music often bordered on the showy, novelty side, but he also influenced many Western swing guitarists in the process. "Spade Cooley, who moved in with his Western swing boys several months ago, has released the Breakfast Club. 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. The fact is that these two iconic guitars were created for the Western Swing genre. 579. Photographs of the Light Crust Doughboys taken as early as 1931 show two guitars along with fiddle player Wills. 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 Johnson is shown with a small mahogany-topped Martin in photographs. In the meantime, Fender put its new Stratocaster into the hands of the western swing and pop guitarists Leo intended it for—players such as Buddy Merrill (of Lawrence Welk’s band), Alvino Rey, Eddie Cletro, Charlie Aldrich, Al The duty of a guitar player in a classic Western swing group is first and foremost to play four-to-the-bar rhythm, not unlike how the jazz guitarist Freddie Green handled comping in his nearly half-century gig with the Count Basie Orchestra. Logsdon, Guy. The 1936 recording of “Bluin’ the Blues” features a guitar solo by Sleepy Johnson on the jazzy acoustic lead. In the 1950s and 60s, country stars Hank Thompson and Ray Price kept the Western swing sound alive but otherwise this was a dark period for the style. Haggard continued to show his love for Western swing by hiring other swing musicians such as singer Freddie Powers and country-jazz guitarist extraordinaire Clint Strong. Influences on Western swing style guitar came from many sources. He was particularly important to the development of Western Swing music as one of the true innovators of the electric guitar. The horns played more in a 1920s Dixieland style and the arrangements sounded dated compared to mid 1930s dance orchestras. The genre developed in Oklahoma, Texas, and California, and thrived in dance halls throughout the Southwest during the ’30s and ’40s. Perth, Australia is a vibrant city with beautiful year-round weather, boundless beaches, and an active music, arts, and jazz guitar scene. Tommy Allsup, an excellent swing guitarist who continues to be involved with numerous swing related recording projects, was the producer. [38] Waltzes and ballads were interspersed among faster songs if the dancers, who would dance two-step or round dances, became tired after faster numbers. [47], Phillips developed a circuit of dance halls and bands to play for them. Rhythm guitar was not featured prominently in these first sessions. Speaking of Milton Brown and himself—working with popular songs done by Jimmie Davis, the Skillet Lickers, Jimmie Rodgers, songs he had learned from his father and others—Wills said, "We'd...pull these tunes down an set 'em in a dance category. That winter, influential LA-area jazz and swing disc jockey Al Jarvis held a radio contest for top popular band leaders. Guitars [ edit ] Acoustic guitars have been a firm favourite for country musicians since the 1920s. 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. Forrester produced an instructional video on swing guitar for Homespun. This album featured many of the original Playboys including Shamblin. If you can pull out your guitar and play rhythm backup with these Texas swing chords for the local fiddle players, you may get a cheaper rate on your car repair. This album is now available in CD format at a bargain price and contains lots of great Eldon-style rhythm guitar. During these years Wills carried a full line-up of horns. Left and right hand muting and the use of barre chords (with few open strings) allowed guitarists to emulate the modern jazzy pulse. Another eyewitness report described the California crowds as "huge. The acoustic bass was a quiet instrument that didn’t compete well with the drum set, especially on recordings. Tex Williams and his Western Caravan were playing there. Wills’ group made their first recordings in 1935 for the Brunswick label. Milton Brown and His Brownies, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Spade Cooley and His Buckle-Busters, Adolph Hofner and His San Antonians, Tex Williams and His String Band, Grady Martin and His Winging Strings, and Billy Gray and His Western Okies all had their own albums. Through Hendrix, guitarists everywhere finally seemed to get it on a much larger scale than ever before—the Stratocaster was an instrument capable of extraordinary things. [48], One group which played at the Venice Pier Ballroom was led by Jimmy Wakely with Spade Cooley, his successor as bandleader, on fiddle. According to Merle Travis, "At that time "Western swing" was a household word. In Western bands, even fully orchestrated bands, vocals, and other instruments followed the fiddle's lead. Series: Guitar Recorded Versions TAB Composer: Fred Sokolow Western Swing was born in the '30s and is still going strong! 187k members in the Jazz community. Western Swing was born in the '30s and is still going strong! Bob Wills and others believed the term Western swing was used for his music while he and his band were still in Tulsa, Oklahoma between 1939 and 1942. The music in this early period of the Wills band was definitely swing-influenced but lacked the focus and drive the band would find by 1940. (Guitar Recorded Versions). [11] As early as 1934 or 1935 Bob Dunn electrified a Martin O-series acoustic guitar while playing with Milton Brown's Brownies. 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. Despite the presence of great musicians including former Playboy Johnny Gimble and a who’s-who of session musicians, the Nashville sessions are generally lack luster and pale in comparison to Wills’ best work. These Western dances were a huge success. Most flatpicking recordings include at least one good swing tune. All subsequent cowboy bands have featured the swing guitar rhythm style. In 1946 and 1947, the Wills band recorded many “live in the studio” songs for the Tiffany Transcription Company. 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. Marble, Manning; John McMillian; Nishani Frazier (eds.). Very few of the Big Bands survived the war years. The greatest players throughout history could communicate their musical ideas to stunning effect. 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. “Bob Wills Music” and “Western swing” have become synonyms for this infectious style. The music that they played in the dance halls was different than that which they played on the radio as the Light Crust Doughboys because the sponsor, W. Lee O’Daniel, picked the songs that the Doughboys played. The open ringing guitar chord rhythm style so popular in Appalachian styles was slowly replaced in the West by the newer style. In the 1978 interview cited above, Shamblin acknowledges Christian’s great playing, but doesn’t single him out as an influence. Now, it’s time to explore playing lead guitar in the Western-swing style. )[66], In 2011 the Texas Legislature adopted a resolution designating western swing as the official "State Music of Texas". His band sound was decidedly more sophisticated than Wills’ early band although Brown never incorporated drums or horns as did Wills. Numerous players in the 80s and 90s helped keep the Western swing rhythm style alive. Green’s great rhythm sound featured three-note chords formed mostly on the sixth, fourth, and third strings of the guitar. All these styles can rightfully be called Western swing style guitar. [41] The "front line" of Wills' orchestra consisted of either fiddles or guitars after 1944. In February of 1932 the Victor recording company came to Dallas from New York City to make recordings with local artists. Although the band was in a decline as far as popularity went, these years produced some of Wills most exciting music. 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 Cooley moved up from Phillips' County barn dances at Venice, Calif., ballroom, where he was featured for 74 weeks."[25]. 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. Haggard later added both Moore and Shamblin to his band, the Strangers. According to guitarist 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. Jazz drummer Max Roach argued, "This tax is the real story why dancing...public dancing per se...were just out." Some music historians feel Brown’s band would have eclipsed Wills’ in popularity if Brown had lived. Regardless of genre, these pioneering players shared the ability to use the guitar as a channel for self expression. [18][19][20] 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. An estimated 1,800 persons attended a New Year's Eve Dance there in 1955. An added benefit is that while album liner notes may not identify the musicians, Bob always did! "We sure not tryin' to take credit for swingin' it." Some observers have called Barnard the first rock and roll guitarist. I’ll show you how to play a few jazz runs by targeting the notes within the chord. Eldon Shamblin, Herb Remington (steel), Tiny Moore (mandolin, fiddle), and Johnny Gimble (fiddle, mandolin) were among the dynamic musicians who worked with Wills in the late 1940s. The music was broadcast as a radio show, The Cavalcade of Western Music, on KFI-AM. This duet was worked out over several months and was first recorded on “Bob Wills Special.” On the recording, Wills identifies the new sound with his call, “Ahh, twin guitars.” Eldon recalled that on these recordings and others, including the landmark 1940 sessions, he played an acoustic Gibson Super 400 Wills had sold him. We will examine the use of:br>br>1. The 1930s cowboy music group Sons of the Pioneers featured (beginning in 1934) a hot fiddle/guitar duo from Texas. It wasn't done in the music's heyday of the 30's and 40's, but in 1973, in Nashville. 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. The group also appeared on the American Forces Network's Melody Roundup radio program during the war.[57]. The Wills band was no exception. As the popularity of tangos faded, the tango banjo became the tenor banjo and was used in the late teens and 1920s dance orchestras to supply dance rhythm at a volume to compete with drums, horns, and other instruments. "[23] A more widely known "first use" was an October 1944 Billboard item mentioning a forthcoming songbook by Cooley titled Western Swing. Influenced by influential Hawaiian lap steel guitar player Sol Hoʻopiʻi, Dunn played in his own original bluesy style and was one of the first to record an electric guitar, preceding other country & western guitarists following him shortly. His 1930s recordings with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France featuring swing violinist Stéphane Grappelli were studied closely by scores of Texas fiddlers and guitarists. By 1937 the jitterbug hit big in the West and allowed much greater freedom of movement. This style was born in the late 1940's with the rise of Western Swing - a hybrid of western-themed songs with jazz rhythm and harmony. pp. page 176, 177. It was the South’s answer to big-band music, minus the horn section. "Here's the way I figure it," he said. [5][58] The decline of Western swing in the years following the war also reflected the waning of the more mainstream big band sound. 1938 session rosters for Wills recordings show both "lead guitar" and "electric guitar" in addition to guitar and steel guitar. Browse the top western swing artists to find new music. [62], Western swing influenced genres known as honky-tonk, rockabilly, and country rock,[63] popularizing the following in country music: use of electrically amplified instruments, use of drums to reinforce a strong backbeat, expanded instrumentation, a honky tonk beat of a heavy backbeat superimposed onto a polka or waltz beat, and jazz/blues solo styles.[64]. The ethnic sounds of German, Czech, French, and Mexican Americans also were a great influence. Emulating The Pedal Steel Guitar. Note the four note rhythm chords and the use of dominant 9th and 13th voicings. A mile down the hill was the Riverside Rancho. His sound rivaled that of the big bands of the era. [44], Western swing was extremely popular throughout the West in the years before World War II and blossomed on the West Coast during the war. Western swing style guitar suggests many different images. Between 1934 and 1936, Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies recorded nearly one hundred selections for Decca and Victor. Swing rhythm features steady four-to-the-bar strums with chords typically changing every two beats. Introduced in 1931, the hollow-bodied electric guitar was immediately sought-after by guitarists struggling to be heard in the swing era of brass … Jazz Age dances such as the Charleston, Lindy Hop, and Fox Trot helped establish swing as the popular modern beat. During a 1940 recording session, Wills asked him to “put some runs” into his rhythm guitar part on “Take Me Back To Tulsa.” Shamblin remembers this was the only time Wills ever told him what he wanted from the guitar. [60], 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". Acoustic flatpick and bluegrass guitar lessons in every issue. Additionally, Cecil Brower and Jesse Ashlock played twin fiddles and Wanna Coffman played the upright bass (bull fiddle). Its short neck and high tuning (CGDA) made it a loud acoustic instrument. 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. Price, "Jazz Guitar and Western Swing", p. 82. Both played on numerous 1945 recordings including the classic “Roly Poly.” The guitar solo on this Cindy Walker tune includes two guitar licks that have become Western swing clichés. Among these halls in 1942 were the Los Angeles County Barn Dance at the Venice Pier Ballroom, the Town Hall Ballroom in Compton, the Plantation in Culver City, the Baldwin Park Ballroom, and the Riverside Rancho. It is similar to the left hand piano rhythm style called “stride,” but played on the guitar. The tenor banjo may well have been the first instrument to play swing rhythm in Western swing. Western swing, jazz: Occupation(s) Musician: Instruments: Guitar: Years active: 1930s–1940s: Associated acts: Bob Wills: Junior Barnard, born Lester Robert Barnard (December 17, 1920 – April 15, 1951) was an American Western swing guitarist who was a member of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Wills’ brother Johnny Lee, who later led his own band in Tulsa, played the banjo. In this week's guitar lesson, I'll show you an easy way to play lead chord changes over a Western Swing style rhythm. Although the tax was later reduced to 20 percent, "No Dancing Allowed" signs went up across the country.