Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Swing High, Lonesome
Once again, thanks for all your drinking suggestions. I'm overwhelmed, but in a very good way. I'll be taking submissions until the bitter(s) end, so keep 'em coming if you've got 'em. The panel of judges is selected, including a very special guest, so thanks to all those who volunteered.
It's the other Tex.
Tex Williams was probably best known for the classic "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette", written with (by?) Merle Travis, and featuring the rather retrospectively interesting lyric "It ain't cuz I don't smoke myself/And I don't reckon that it'll harm your health/Smoked all my life and I ain't dead yet." He can also be spotted in the occasional singing cowboy of the time.
Like his better-known contemporary, Bob Wills, Williams was a pioneer in the Western Swing tradition, melding a traditional and pedestrian style of localized popular music with a more "dance" and "citified" one. Fiddles gone crazy.
Williams' style was more conversational than Wills, and this may have led folks to dismiss him, in retrospect, as more of a novelty act than a serious purveyor of the origins of Western Swing. Which is too bad, because Williams is a hoot. And he's no slouch when it comes to getting bodies on the dance floor.
It's common, of course, to focus on the legends, such as Mr. Wills, and forget about the fringes that circled and helped influence the larger stars.
None of which is to lessen Williams' impact or talent. He's damn good, and worthy of the attention of any lover of Western Swing, or just great party music.
"That's What I Like About The West" is a swell response to "That's What I Like About the South".
Swing your partner.
Tex Williams: That's What I Like About the West (mp3)
Tex Williams: Western Jamboree (mp3)
Tex Williams: I Got Texas In My Soul (mp3)
Please support your local Swingers Club. Erm....