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date: 22 September 2019

Western swinglocked

  • Bill C. Malone

Extract

A style of Country music originating largely in the fiddle and guitar bands in Texas during the 1920s. Such groups regularly played traditional frontier dance music at country dances, but they were more innovative than country bands in the Southeast: they were eclectic in their repertory and improvised like jazz bands, from whom they borrowed freely. An early group, the Light Crust Doughboys of Fort Worth, were of the fiddle and guitar tradition but also performed current popular songs, blues and jazz. After 1934 two former members popularized western swing. The singer Milton Brown led one of the most popular country string bands in the Southwest, the Musical Brownies of Fort Worth. Bob Wills formed the Texas Playboys, which performed in Tulsa (1934–42) and later in California and elsewhere; he was a traditional country fiddler, but receptive to innovative and jazz-oriented musicians. The Playboys began as a fiddle-dominated string band, but soon added drums, piano, electric guitars and wind, and became very similar to the big popular swing bands of the 1930s....

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