That's What I Like About the South
The Way It's Supposed to Work

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Weekend Music

Last week's bit of Asleep at the Wheel made me want to hear more. Here's a nice bit from a live show. This is not the same lineup I saw, at least in that the steel guitar player was a blonde woman (who seemed to be having a great time). I think the personnel apart from Ray Benson have fluctuated a good deal.


By the way, in case you wondered about the title of the previous post, "That's What I Like About the South", this song was in my mind:


The original, by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, inventors--well, leading developers and practitioners--of the Western swing style:


And here's the very archetype, the Platonic form of the style--Wills & Co. doing "San Antonio Rose":


I never have quite understood why he does that weird "Ahh-haa" etc. kind of thing. 


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You've touched some nerves with this one, Mac. My wife and I danced more than once to the music of Asleep at the Wheel, live, in various Fort Worth honky-tonks in the early '90s. Their music is still the stuff of romance-charged memories for us.

As for Bob Wills, I was vaguely familiar with his music before I moved to Texas in 1987, but there was no way I could have been prepared for the semi-religious awe in which he's still held here -- even by Texas millenials who were born 20 years after he died. Waylon Jennings's line -- "Bob Wills is still the king" -- is as true here as it ever was. On an early trip from to Dallas to visit my in-laws in Amarillo, I was compelled (ahem) to detour to Turkey, TX, for a visit to Bob Wills's birthplace, an obligation that is the Texas equivalent of a pilgrimage to Lourdes.

As for his signature echo-y falsetto, I don't understand the appeal any more than you do. In fact, it gets on my nerves about as much as it clearly does Tommy Duncan's in that last video you posted.

When I read the first sentence of your comment, I thought "My goodness, how can anyone find this music irritating?" Glad it was a good touch of the nerves. Pretty nice stuff to have romantic memories attached.

The only live performance I can think of that communicated as much sheer good feeling as Asleep at the Wheel's was a group that played a very different kind of music--The Specials (a ska band). In both cases, though, there was a great sense of light-hearted enjoyment in the performance as well as the music.

I'm glad to hear that...thing, whatever it should be called, gets on your nerves, too. I wondered if not liking meant one really didn't like Wills. I actually don't know that much of his music, a deficiency that I'll eventually correct.

At this point I guess I should no longer be surprised, but I'm still amazed at how often bloggers I like put up videos of music I like. The hit rate is at least 80%. I'm a longtime fan of Asleep at the Wheel, country swing in general and rockabilly (among other genres, of course).

Re "Hot Rod Lincoln": I knew there were many versions (including one by The Wheel), but always thought Commander Cody did the definitive version, maybe because it was the first one I heard. This one:

Enjoyed the two Bob Wills songs. They produced a lot of good country swing way back then. Here's a fun one from 1947 ("Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)" by Tex Williams):

That's pretty interesting about the blog/music connection. Guess I could say the same.

I haven't heard the Commander Cody one. I don't have a good connection right now so will have to wait till later to listen to these. I remember "Smoke!..."--not that I can remember 1947, but it must have been played occasionally on country radio in later years, or something.

"That's pretty interesting about the blog/music connection. Guess I could say the same."

For me, it's uncanny. I'm not exaggerating about that 80% hit rate. It may be as high as 90%.

"...not that I can remember 1947, but it must have been played occasionally on country radio in later years, or something."

I can't recall 1947 either, born 10 years later. I recently heard the Tex Williams version in the opening to the movie "Thank You for Smoking" but I vaguely recognized the song from a later version. Just checked YouTube. Commander Cody again. They covered it some time around the 70s I'd guess.

Hank Williams did a bunch of songs that I'd put into the same category, like "Lovesick Blues," "Move It On Over," "Mind Your Own Business," "Honky Tonkin" or "You're Gonna Change (Or I'm Gonna Leave)":

Somehow I have an association of "Smoke Smoke Smoke" with junior high age or so, so it wouldn't have been Commander Cody's version I heard first. Pretty funny song, anyway.

The CC version of "Hot Rod Lincoln" sounds slightly off to me, which I'm sure is only because it isn't the one I first heard. They're all pretty similar, really.

"Thank You For Smoking" is a funny movie.

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