divendres, 16 de novembre de 2018

THE LIGHT CRUST DOUGHBOYS

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        The Light Crust Doughboys is an American Western swing band from Texas, United States,organized in 1931 by the Burrus Mill and Elevator Company in Saginaw, Texas. The band achieved its peak popularity in the few years leading up to World War II. In addition to launching Western swing pioneers Bob Wills and Milton Brown, it provided a platform for many of the best musicians of the genre, including Tommy Duncan, Cecil Brower, John Parker and Kenneth Pitts.





The original group disbanded in 1942, although band member Marvin Montgomery led a new version organized in the 1960s. A contemporary incarnation beginning in the 1990s (including Montgomery until his death in 2001) bills itself as the longest-running country music band in the world.

The Light Crust Doughboys were charter inductees into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame in 1989, and were also inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.In December 2005, the Light Crust Doughboys Hall of Fame and Museum opened in Quitman, Texas.
Pappy O'Daniel
In 1931, Burrus Mill's president, W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel, wanted to link radio and advertising to promote the company's Light Crust Flour. O'Daniel, who would later travel with the band and use its popularity as a springboard for his political ambitions, said the idea to start the band and link radio to advertising was pitched to him originally by Bob Wills, Herman Arnspiger and Milton Brown, who at the time were out-of-work musicians. There is disagreement about exactly when and on what radio station the Doughboys first broadcast, but it is generally accepted that by January 1931 the band had started playing on KFJZ-AM.Their first broadcasts on the station included a sad prison song, "Twenty-One Years", and a popular fiddle song, "Chicken Reel". Their radio signature was their introduction by announcer Truett Kimzey: "The Light Crust Doughboys are on the air."


The Light Crust Doughboys in the 1936 Gene Autry film, Oh, Susanna!
Though the Doughboys' early broadcasts were well-received, the notion of using radio to advertise was still new, and O'Daniel was unconvinced. He also reportedly did not like the band's "hillbilly music," and canceled them at least once (though he almost immediately reinstated them). At first he paid the band members $7.50 a week, but also required that they work a "regular" job at the mill: Wills drove a truck, Arnspiger worked on the dock loading flour, and Brown was a salesman. After a few weeks of brutally long days, the band members were allowed to stop working their "regular" jobs, but O'Daniel required them to be at the mill in their new practice room working on music eight hours each day. The band eventually won O'Daniel over by asking him to serve as their emcee during a broadcast.

The Doughboys began to hit their stride in March 1931, when they chartered a bus to Galveston, Texas to perform at a bakers convention. The band had the bus wired for sound and they played impromptu gigs at stops along the way to large crowds. Impressed, O'Daniel purchased a seven-seater Packard and rigged it with placards imploring people to eat more bread. In 1933, during a goodwill tour for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, the radio station's sound engineer, who usually accompanied the band as its "master of ceremonies," could not get away from the station. O'Daniel replaced him, to great effect—O'Daniel was a natural at showmanship and promotion, and the crowds loved him.Wills and Tommy Duncan departed in 1933; and by 1935, O'Daniel had left Burrus Mill to start his own flour company with a new radio band, Pat O'Daniel and His Hillbilly Boys. He was elected Texas governor in 1939.

Their popularity led to a short-lived film career, when they appeared alongside Gene Autry in the 1936 film, Oh, Susanna!.

The original Doughboys group disbanded in 1942 with U.S involvement in World War II, and its final recording was released in 1948.

Interim years
During the following decades, leader Smokey Montgomery kept the band going in some form.[20] In 1969, the Doughboys began recording again; and in 1973, the band took part in the last recording session for Wills in Dallas for the album, For the Last Time. In 1977, Texas State Resolution No. 463 recognised the Doughboys for their contributions to Texas history and Texas music.
Current group
In 1983, musician and producer Art Greenhaw booked the Doughboys to play at the Mesquite Folk Festival, which Greenhaw had founded.] He became excited about the prospects for reviving the band, which had been working only sporadically for several years. In 1993, Greenhaw joined the group as bassist; and as co-producer, he added horns to its sound, bringing about a new type of "country jazz" influenced by the old swing sound. Other members included Jerry Elliot (since 1960), Bill Simmons, John Walden, Jim Baker (since 1993) and Dale Cook. In 1995, the Texas Legislature declared the Doughboys the "official music ambassadors of the Lone Star State"; and they continue to perform today.

The band's collaborations with gospel singer James Blackwood earned Grammy nominations in 1998, 1999[6] and 2001; and in 2005, Southern Meets Soul: An American Gospel Jubilee, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Album.














In 1931, Burrus Mill's president, W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel, wanted to link radio and advertising to promote the company's Light Crust Flour. O'Daniel, who would later travel with the band and use its popularity as a springboard for his political ambitions, said the idea to start the band and link radio to advertising was pitched to him originally by Bob Wills, Herman Arnspiger and Milton Brown, who at the time were out-of-work musicians. There is disagreement about exactly when and on what radio station the Doughboys first broadcast, but it is generally accepted that by January 1931 the band had started playing on KFJZ-AM. Their first broadcasts on the station included a sad prison song, "Twenty-One Years", and a popular fiddle song, "Chicken Reel". Their radio signature was their introduction by announcer Truett Kimzey: "The Light Crust Doughboys are on the air!" Though the Doughboys' early broadcasts were well-received, the notion of using radio to advertise was still new, and O'Daniel was unconvinced. He also reportedly did not like the band's "hillbilly music," and canceled them at least once (though he almost immediately reinstated them). At first he paid the band members $7.50 a week, but also required that they work a "regular" job at the mill: Wills drove a truck, Arnspiger worked on the dock loading flour, and Brown was a salesman. After a few weeks of brutally long days, the band members were allowed to stop working their "regular" jobs, but O'Daniel required them to be at the mill in their new practice room working on music eight hours each day. The band eventually won O'Daniel over by asking him to serve as their emcee during a broadcast. The Doughboys began to hit their stride in March 1931, when they chartered a bus to Galveston, Texas to perform at a bakers convention. The band had the bus wired for sound and they played impromptu gigs at stops along the way to large crowds. Impressed, O'Daniel purchased a seven-seater Packard and rigged it with placards imploring people to eat more bread. In 1933, during a goodwill tour for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, the radio station's sound engineer, who usually accompanied the band as its "master of ceremonies," could not get away from the station. O'Daniel replaced him, to great effect—O'Daniel was a natural at showmanship and promotion, and the crowds loved him. Wills and Tommy Duncan departed in 1933; and by 1935, O'Daniel had left Burrus Mill to start his own flour company with a new radio band, Pat O'Daniel and His Hillbilly Boys. He was elected Texas governor in 1939. The original Doughboys group disbanded in 1942 with U.S involvement in World War II, and its final recording was released in 1948. During the following decades, leader Smokey Montgomery kept the band going in some form. In 1969, the Doughboys began recording again and in 1973, the band took part in the last recording session for Wills in Dallas for the album, For the Last Time. The Light Crust Doughboys is a quintessential Western swing band from Texas organized in 1931 by the Burrus Mill and Elevator Company in Saginaw, Texas. The band achieved its peak popularity in the few years leading up to World War II. In addition to launching Western swing pioneers Bob Wills and Milton Brown, it provided a platform for many of the best musicians of the genre, including Tommy Duncan, Cecil Brower, John "Knocky" Parker and Kenneth Pitts. The original group disbanded in 1942, although band member Marvin "Smokey" Montgomery led a new version organized in the 1960s. A contemporary incarnation beginning in the 1990s (including Montgomery until his death in 2001) bills itself as the longest-running country music band in the world. The Light Crust Doughboys were charter inductees into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame in 1989, and were also inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In December 2005, the Light Crust Doughboys Hall of Fame and Museum opened in Quitman, Texas.


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dijous, 15 de novembre de 2018

FIDDLIN' POWERS & FAMILY

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Back in the early 1920s, there was a quest for “hillbilly music.” A&R men – A&R stood for artists & repertoire – were heading out of their studios in New York and other big cities to find recording talent that played the traditional music they knew would sell.

And there were plenty of musicians who were ready to play their tunes into the acoustic horn (and later the electric microphone) and lend their music and voices to a cylinder or 78 recording that carried that tune to others. One of those artists was Fiddlin’ Cowan Powers, who led The Powers Family, hailed as the first family string band to be commercially recorded.


The Powers Family are on the front row of this group of musicians with, from left to right, Cowan Powers, daughters Orpha, Carrie, and Ada, and son Charlie. Photograph courtesy of James Powers, Patty Powers, and Stephanie Collins

Fiddlin’ Cowan Powers was born James Cowan Powers in October 1877 in Russell County, Virginia (as with many old-time musicians, birth dates vary depending on the source; I’ve also seen 1879). He married Matilda Lambert, and they had four children together. Powers was a musician, and he also worked the land and as a carpenter and leather worker – making leggings and underarm holsters, amongst other things.

With a father who played fiddle and a mother who played banjo, it was inevitable that the children would also play a host of instruments: Charlie on banjo, Orpha on mandolin, Carrie on guitar, and Ada on ukulele. After Matilda died in 1916, Powers looked to music as a profession and took his children on the road with him as members of the family string band.

The Powers Family first made their mark in a Johnson City, Tennessee, music competition in the early 1920s. They were soon traveling around southwest Virginia, northeast Tennessee, and neighboring states, performing at a variety of stage shows and dances, and also playing in fiddle and music competitions. James Powers, youngest son of Fiddlin’ Cowan Powers, tells us that he found around 25 $10 gold coins in his father’s belongings after he passed, all winnings from fiddle contests. The band also played on local radio stations, including WOPI in Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia.


The Powers Family got their “big break” at a music competition in Johnson City, Tennessee, in the early 1920s. They are seen here to the far left of the stage. Photograph courtesy of James Powers, Patty Powers, and Stephanie Collins

After the Johnson City competition, a Victor Talking Machine Company representative singled The Powers Family out, asking them to do a test field recording. Their stint behind the mic impressed, and in August 1924, they rode the train up to the Victor studio in Camden, New Jersey, and made their first commercial recordings. In all, The Powers Family recorded 17 songs over two days there, including “The Little Old Cabin in the Lane,” “Sour Wood Mountains,” “Sallie Goodin,” and “Cripple Creek.”

In 1925, The Powers Family recorded for the Edison label in New York City – performing several of the same songs recorded with Victor – and then in September 1928, they recorded six sides for the OKeh company. One of the recordings for OKeh was “Old Virginia Reel,” which was unusual in its length – around six minutes – and thus divided into two parts, one on each side of the 78 record. This piece also features each member of the family performing solo, highlighting the band’s individual talents and personalities. Part 1 of “Old Virginia Reel” starts off with a “master of ceremonies” saying:

“Folks, we’re goin’ to have a real old-time square dance. And while the crowd is gathering and everybody getting their partners, we will have a little rehearsal by Fiddlin’ Powers and Family. First, Miss Orpha with the mandolin…”

Orpha was followed by her brother and then her sisters, each playing their own instruments. Fiddlin’ Cowan Powers – with the anonymous emcee calling him a “fiddlin’ ace” – came next with his version of “Buck Creek Girl,” and then Part 1 ended with a harmonica player. Part 2 brought the whole string band together to play a selection of dance tunes. One can imagine that this recording – the last of The Powers Family’s career – was a pretty good rendition of what a live Powers Family show would have been like.



Photographs of Fiddlin’ Cowan and his children show a very serious-looking bunch – they stare out at the camera with dark eyes and rarely a smile. But from the stories told to us by the family and accounts from those who remember their performances, we know that a Powers Family show was filled with jokes and laughter, a variety of magic tricks performed by Fiddlin’ Cowan Powers, and clog and buck dancing by little Ada. And also sometimes a bit of drama: another family story tells us that Powers shot a man in the leg at one of their shows after the man got fresh with one of his daughters. The man wasn’t killed, but he surely learned a lesson, and Powers had to pay a fine of around $1,000 dollars for his paternally protective action.


Powers Family artifacts and photographs are currently on temporary display in the museum, including Cowan Powers’s fiddle and some of his magic tricks, Orpha’s mandolin, and the gun shot by Powers at a fresh young man at one of the Powers Family’s performances. Objects on loan from James Powers and Stephanie Collins; photograph © Birthplace of Country Music

The Powers Family stopped performing together in the 1930s when the children began to marry. Cowan Powers continued to play his fiddle with other groups, including the Stanley Brothers, until his death in 1953; the story goes that he died of a heart attack while playing “Cluck Old Hen” on stage at a Stanley Brothers show. Son Charlie had enlisted in the United States Air Corps in the late 1920s, and he passed away in 1942 in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Daughters Orpha, Carrie, and Ada (now playing the autoharp rather than the ukulele) came back together, along with Orpha’s husband Eugene Ireson, as a band, in the 1970s. They performed on local radio and television, and at a number of festivals in the region. Later, after Orpha’s health affected her ability to travel and perform, Carrie and Ada continued together as a duo.

The story of the Powers Family and their music underlines their place as pioneering figures in the history of early commercial country music. They made their mark as the first family string band to record commercially when they took that train up to New York City to record for Victor. And their performance of “Old Virginia Reel” – with Part 1 showcasing each musician on their respective instrument and Part 2 featuring their performance of popular string band tunes – underlined the level of talent in each member of the family and the harmony and energy of the music when they came together.

Most importantly, the memory of The Powers Family and their place in music history is being carried on by their descendants, and luckily for us, shared with the museum and our visitors through objects, stories, and photographs.

René Rodgers is Curator of Exhibits & Publications at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

                     Logo: The Birthplace of Country Music Museum               https://www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org



10 de 10 , con este post acabamos la breve exposición dedicada a PIONEERS OF COUNTRY MUSIC de R. CRUMB, en su presentación en Trading Cards. 


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