Bob Wills is the king, but who else has got the swing?
August 17, 2006 5:35 PM   Subscribe

What else is good in Western Swing besides Bob Wills or Asleep at the Wheel?

I just randomly checked out an AaTW CD from the library the other day and looove it. What else should I listen to? I love Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, etc. of course but I'm looking for the real original thing.
posted by exceptinsects to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Merle Haggard did an album called "A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World (or my salute to Bob Wills)" which is pretty damn good.
posted by Frank Grimes at 5:40 PM on August 17, 2006

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks for early 70's. For contemporary check out Hot Club of Cow Town.
posted by sourwookie at 5:43 PM on August 17, 2006

Early Lyle Lovett, too.
posted by libraryhead at 5:47 PM on August 17, 2006

Willie Nelson's tribute to Cindy Walker.
posted by stet at 5:49 PM on August 17, 2006

Try that again...
Ray Condo and his Ricochets are great.
posted by lekvar at 5:51 PM on August 17, 2006

spade cooley was a totaly bastard, hence the name, but his stuff was good. i hate that.
posted by kendrak at 5:55 PM on August 17, 2006

There's a fantastic compilation called "Hillyblly Music, thank God" on Bug Records, which is one of the best compilations in any genre that I've ever heard.

Here's the track listing:

1. How Cold Hearted Can You Get - Hank Thompson & His Brazos Valley Boys,
2. Stratosphere Boogie - Jimmy Bryant, Speedy West
3. Nine Pound Hammer - Merle Travis
4. Merle's Boogie Woogie - Merle Travis
5. You're Learning - The Louvin Brothers
6. Twice the Lovin (In Half the Time) - Jean Shepard, Speedy West
7. Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young - Faron Young
8. Yearning, Burning Heart - The Farmer Boys
9. Hog Tied Over You - Tennessee Ernie Ford, Ella Mae Morse,
10. You Oughta See Grandma Rock - Skeets McDonald
11. There's a Tear in My Beer - Big Bill Lister
12. Johnson to Jones - The Milo Twins
13. Texas Blues - Foy Willing
14. Fort Worth Jail - Tex Ritter
15. I'm Diggin a Hole to Bury My Heart - Jimmy Lee
16. It's No Use Talkin' Baby (I'm Through) - Gene O'Quin
17. Flash, Crash and Thunder - The Farmer Boys
18. Two Whoope and a Holler - Jean Shepard
19. I Wish It Had Been a Dream - The Louvin Brothers
20. Great Atomic Power - The Louvin Brothers
21. Roll, Truck, Roll - Red Simpson
22. Take Me Back Again - Rose Maddox
23. Mental Cruelty - Rose Maddox, Buck Owens
24. You're for Me - Buck Owens

If you've never heard Stratosphere Boogie, RUN DON'T WALK to buy this compilation now as it's one of the single most jaw-dropping guitar performances ever recorded, featuring Jimmy Bryant on a 12-string tuned in thirds (!!!!).

Hog Tied Over You is also a brilliant, brilliant track. It's not all swing but a good deal of it is. Of the swing-I'd-never-heard, Texas Blues by Foy Willing & his Riders of the Purple Sage (even the band name rocks) is the standout.

I'm in love with Rose Maddox, by the way.
posted by unSane at 6:02 PM on August 17, 2006

Best answer: Hank Penny is one I can't stop listening to.

But the place to go if you're just getting into Western Swing -- and I'm only a few months ahead of you -- is the Doughboys, Cowboys, and Playboys box set. Reasonably priced 4 discs of brilliance.
posted by .kobayashi. at 6:03 PM on August 17, 2006

Oh, and don't forget about Milton Brown & his Musical Brownies!!!
posted by .kobayashi. at 6:04 PM on August 17, 2006

Leon Russell aka Hank Wilson,
posted by hortense at 6:12 PM on August 17, 2006

Buck Owens!! Faron Young!! The Louvin Brothers!!

... and more recently, BR549!! Hotclub of Cowtown!!
posted by ab3 at 6:36 PM on August 17, 2006

Ray Condo was great and if you can find his stuff, for sure you should pay attention.

The band his Hardrock Goners founded later on, the Crazy Rhythm Daddies, is also great.
posted by mikel at 7:28 PM on August 17, 2006

second vote for Buck Owens and the Louvin Brothers. And Roy Acuff hasn't been mentioned. You may also want to check out the Eddie Stubbs radio show for more early country/swing.
posted by destro at 7:29 PM on August 17, 2006

I've always been partial to The Amazing Rhythm Aces and early Norton Buffalo for some au natural swing.
posted by ptm at 7:35 PM on August 17, 2006

oops. sorry for the repeats on Cooley and the Doughboys. Let's say I second them.
posted by dog food sugar at 7:41 PM on August 17, 2006

Shelby Lynne's Restless, from just before her career makeover, has some incredibly good swing.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:52 PM on August 17, 2006

I second Big Sandy their new album "Turntable Madness" is a keeper. You may be more interested in one of their earlier records, "Swingin' West".

You may also wanna check out Deke Dickerson as well...
posted by punkrockrat at 8:19 PM on August 17, 2006

Deke Dickerson! That trick with the beer bottle! Yay!
posted by unSane at 8:43 PM on August 17, 2006

Shelby Lynne did a slammin' cover of Don't Get Around Much Anymore.

Don't confuse Country with "Texas" or "Western" Swing. Western Swing is derived from "Hot" Jazz which came from post-Django Gypsy stylings.
posted by sourwookie at 9:46 PM on August 17, 2006

(Buck Owens didn't do Western Swing--that is one thing I learned from growing up in Buck's dusty stomping grounds.)
I love Asleep at the Wheel and I am thrilled someone posted this question. Thank you!!!
posted by FergieBelle at 6:51 AM on August 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

Yes, Spade Cooley was an amazingly unsaintly man, but I like his music more than Bob Wills', believe it or not!
posted by billtron at 10:59 AM on August 18, 2006

Best answer: Compilations of golden era western swing artists are farily difficult to come by unless it's of a well known artist or on a specialty label with lousy distribution. Fortuantely there's a budget-line record label out of the UK that has released an excellent 4-CD compilation of vintage western swing. You get the big names, a bunch of obscure ones, and great liner notes all for less than $25. Start here and then dig deeper.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 11:28 AM on August 18, 2006

Whit Smith and the Hot Jazz Caravan
Might have one of the worst band names ever, but I find their mix of western swing and Hot Club jazz to be pretty awesome.
posted by TheCoug at 10:59 AM on August 19, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your great suggestions! I ordered the 'doughboys and cowboys' CD set so I marked those answers as best, but really the whole thread is best. Thanks again.
posted by exceptinsects at 4:57 PM on August 20, 2006

I'm a day (or more late), but I can't stop listening to Don Walser's (wikipedia) Archive Series 1.
posted by turbodog at 3:53 PM on August 21, 2006

George Lipsitz turned me on to Adolf Hofner.
posted by billtron at 3:17 PM on August 23, 2006

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