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date: 16 February 2020

Brown, [Willie] Miltonlocked

  • Rich Kienzle

Extract

(b Stephenville, TX, Sept 7, 1903; d Fort Worth, TX, Apr 18, 1936). American singer and bandleader. Brown, along with Bob Wills, created and defined the idiom known as Western swing. An aspiring professional vocalist, he grew up in Fort Worth singing in amateur trios. In 1930, he met Wills and guitarist Herman Arnspiger when the pair played at a local dance and began singing with them. He turned to music full-time after losing his job as a cigar salesman. Wills and Brown developed a broad repertoire of fiddle tunes, blues, jazz, and pop songs that widened the group’s appeal at local dancehalls. In 1931, when Light Crust Flour began sponsoring their daily broadcasts at Fort Worth’s KFJZ, the group became the Light Crust Doughboys. Their popularity grew to the point their show was broadcast statewide. Brown left in Sept 1932 to form the Musical Brownies. The first actual western swing band, it grew to include piano, tenor banjo, bass, guitar (younger brother Derwood Brown), twin fiddles, and Brown’s effervescent vocals. Based at Fort Worth’s KTAT, they recorded for Bluebird Records in ...

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