Saturday, October 29, 2011

Asleep at the Wheel, Western Swing, and Route 66

By Richard K. Barry

Music on Saturday @ The Reaction

It would be easy to post music clips quickly recognizable to everyone. Nothing wrong with the stuff everyone knows. But there is so much music out there less well known, obviously. And it's not that my musical interests are necessarily broader than anyone else's, but I've come upon a few things in my life that you won't likely hear on the radio, unless it's public radio as part of a themed program late one weekend evening. I can almost hear some breathless NPR announcer telling us all about the anthropology of southern music.

One group I was introduced to over twenty years ago, while driving through Texas to attend the annual Kerrville Folk Festival near Austin, was Asleep at the Wheel. They'd probably be categorized as a country music group, but they also play some stuff in the tradition of Western Swing or Texas Swing, most usually associated with Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys.

What little I know of Western Swing I like.

The closest Asleep at the Wheel came to a hit was with "The Letter that Johnny Walker Read," which peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard country charts in 1975. Lest you think they are not heavy hitters, though, they have won nine Grammy awards since their inception in 1970.

Here's a nice performance of Route 66 by the group. And it really swings.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)


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  • Their version of Route 66, live or not, is by far (IMO) the best out there.

    Awesome group.

    By Blogger splord, at 8:44 PM  

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