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Tex Williams: I Got Texas In My Soul
Centenary Tribute - His 29 Finest
rec. 1944-1954

Sollie Paul “Tex” Williams was a western swing musician and singer who became enormously popular during the 1940’s and 50’s. He played guitar and had a smooth baritone singing voice, friendly and engaging, and was well-known for his “talking blues”, a vocal style characterized by chatty rhythmic patter, sort of a free-floating, relaxed Cowboy rap.

Western swing originated in the American southwest as a blend of jazz, hokum, blues, and hillbilly music, and its development was led by some interesting characters, including Milton Brown, Bob Wills, and Spade Cooley. Milton Brown developed his style in the early 1930’s around Fort Worth, Texas with a fiddle player named Bob Wills and a band called the Light Crust Doughboys. Milton became known as the “Father of Western Swing” after he left the Doughboys and formed a new band, the Musical Brownies. Bob Wills left the Doughboys and formed his own band, the Texas Playboys, and became known as the “King of Western Swing”. Spade Cooley was an accomplished fiddle player and big-band leader on the West coast, and developed his own style in California, where he was also known as the “King of Western Swing”. Spade’s career abruptly ended in 1961 when he was convicted of killing his second wife.

However, he gave Tex Williams his start in 1942 when he hired him as the featured vocalist for his band. Tex performs six songs with Spade Cooley and his Orchestra on this disc, including Shame On You, featuring a fine accompaniment by Joaquin Murphey on steel guitar, and recorded in December 1944 on the Okeh label. Tex sings along with vocalists Smokey Rogers and Deuce Spriggins on a lively version of Detour, accompanied by a smooth trio of Spade Cooley, Rex Call, and Cactus Soldi on fiddles. The song was recorded in January, 1946 on the Columbia label. Tex formed his own band, the Western Caravan, later that year and recorded I Got Texas In My Soul in Los Angeles for Capitol Records. The song, composed by Ernest Tubb and Zeb Turner, features solos by accordionist Pedro DePaul, guitarist Benny Garcia, Jr., and a quartet of fiddlers.

Tex composed the tune Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette! with Merle Travis, and Tex and the Western Caravan recorded it in March 1947 on the Capitol label. The song became their biggest hit and sold over two million copies, and features great solos by Spike Heatherstone on accordion, trumpeter George Wendt, drummer Muddy Berry, Cliffie Stone playing double-bass, and fiddlers Harry Sims and Rex Call. Artistry In Western Swing, recorded in December 1947 on the Capitol label, is a unique instrumental version of Stan Kenton’s 1947 song Artistry In Rhythm. It features guitarist Johnny Weis and Benny Garcia, Jr., trumpeter Manny Klein, Pedro DePaul playing accordion, and Joaquin Murphey on steel guitar, and shows how remarkably talented these musicians really were.

This music collection was compiled by Ray Crick. Martin Haskell performed the audio restoration and remastering, and the sound quality is excellent. A 12-page booklet is included, with liner notes and comments by Brian Golbey.

Bruce McCollum

Tex Williams & his Western Caravan
I Got Texas In My Soul (2:56)
Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette! (2:51)

Spade Cooley & his Orchestra
Shame On You (2:48)
I’ve Taken All I’m Gonna Take from You (2:36)
A Pair Of Broken Hearts (2:54)
You Can’t Break My Heart (2:55)
Detour (2:37)
Crazy ‘Cause I Love You (2:35)

Tex Williams & his Western Caravan
Rose Of The Alamo (2:53)
The California Polka (2:58)
Foolish Tears (2:57)
The Leaf Of Love (2:34)
Banjo Polka (1:25)
Talking Boogie (2:45)
Missy Molly (2:35)
That’s What I Like About The West (2:46)
Don’t Telephone, Don’t Telegraph, Tell A Woman (2:26)
Never Trust A Woman (2:55)
Artistry In Western Swing (2:52)
Suspicion (2:55)
Just A Pair Of Blue Eyes (2:25)
Who? Me? (2:49)
There’s A Bluebird On Your Windowsill (2:21)
Ham ‘N’ Eggs (2:48)
Birmingham Bounce (2:44)
Wild Card (2:35)

Tex Williams & his String Band
Rancho Boogie (2:21)

Tex Williams & his Western Caravan
Life Gets Teejus, Don’t It? (2:54)

Bonus Track: Tex Williams with unnamed orchestra & female chorus
He’ll Have To Go (2:18)



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