dimarts, 15 de maig de 2018


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Julius Frank Anthony Kuczynski (February 18, 1914  March 7, 2000), known professionally as Pee Wee King, was an American country music songwriter and recording artist best known for co-writing "The Tennessee Waltz."

He was born in Milwaukee to a Polish American family and lived in Abrams, Wisconsin, during his youth. King learned to play fiddle from his father, who was a professional polka musician. In the 1930s, he toured and made cowboy movies with Gene Autry. King joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1937.

In 1946, while the bandleader of the Golden West Cowboys, King, together with the band's vocalist, Redd Stewart, composed "The Tennessee Waltz," inspired by "The Kentucky Waltz" by bluegrass musician Bill Monroe. King and Stewart first recorded "The Tennessee Waltz" in 1948, and it went on to become a country music standard.


King's other songs included "Slow Poke" and "You Belong to Me," both co-authored with Chilton Price and Redd Stewart. His songs introduced waltzes, polkas, and cowboy songs to country music.

Pee Wee refused to change his band's sound at the Grand ol' Opry, over the years being the first to introduce drums, horns, the accordion, and electric instruments including the pedal steel guitar to country music. His band also introduced Nudie Cohn's customized "Rhinestone Cowboy" outfits to the Opry which later became popular with Nashville and country musicians, including Elvis Presley. 

He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1974.

He joined producers Randall Franks and Alan Autry for the In the Heat of the Night (TV Series) cast CD Christmas Times A Comin performing "Christmas Time's A Comin'" with the cast on the CD released on Sonlite and MGM/UA for one of the most popular Christmas releases of 1991 and 1992 with Southern retailers.

He died of a heart attack in Louisville, Kentucky, at age 86.




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Composed by Billy Briggs & Dr. Walter Juniper

Billy Briggs:Vocals & Steel Guitar

Weldon Allard:Guitar

Jess Williams:Stand-Up Bass

Recorded in Amarillo, TX. May, 1951

Originally issued on the 1951 single (Imperial 8110) (78 & 45 RPM)

This recording taken from the 2004 4-album set "Stompin' Singers & Western Swingers" (Proper 83) (CD) (U.K.)

Billy Briggs was born in Fort Worth Texas in 1919. He apprenticed there under pioneering electric steel guitarist Bob Dunn & joined the Hi-Flyers in the mid-1930’s. He followed a stream of former Hi-Flyers to Amarillo in late 1937 to join the Sons Of The West (whose he played on « Panhandle Shuffle »)  & in the coming years became one of the earliest steel guitarists to significantly expand upon Dunn’s model. Briggs built his own nine-string steel, began experimenting with new tunings & chord voicings, and, when he formed his own band Swinging Steel in 1939, became perhaps the first steel player to attach legs to his guitar & play standing,         fronting his own group. He returned to the Sons Of The West in 1940 & took part in their tightly arranged forward-looking 1941 sessions for Okeh. He held together a makeshift Sons Of The West lineup for a while during the war, then formed his own XIT boys in 1946. In late ’46 or early ’47 Briggs began an association with Dan Allender’s Dalhart/Amarillo-based Time label that lasted to the end of the decade. A single release on Lew Preston’s Folke label followed, before a prolific stint withImperial (1950-53) gave Briggs a regional & much covered hit “Chew Tobacco Rag” in 1951. Briggs ended a nine year association with Amarillo’s Avalon club in 1956 when he dispanded the XIT boys & opened his own ill-fated hall. He left music soon after & died in California in 1984.

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About the music of Billy Briggs.

Many Imperial sides are uptempo novelties, with jivey lyrics and a significant jazzy feel. Indeed his famous steel-guitar sound is well to the fore. « The Sissy Song », « Freckle-Face, Snaggle-Tooth Gal », « North Pole Boogie » are among his best songs, but the most well-known is « Chew Tobacco Rag » (two versions), covered by at least (to my knowledge) half a dozen or ten artists, including Spade Cooley, Zeb Turner or Pee Wee King, not to mention an R&B version by Lucky Millinder.

It has been impossible to find anything more proper or complete on him. He is just beginning to get any recognition from Texan fans of Western swing music, hence a couple of Cds, more home-made than commercial. Here are below a part of the liner-notes included, which injects a little bit more light on a far underrated musician (notes by Michael Price)

Without the influence of Billy and Jess, who did their most striking work during the 1946-into-1951 period represented here, the Texas Panhandle-Plains region’s own rock-and-roll and C&W scenes of the 1950s and ’60s would have been significantly less distinctive. Jimmy Bowen, Buddy Knox, Buddy Holly, Charlie “Sugartime” Phillips, Ray Ruff, Roy Orbison and producer Norman Petty-all have, at one time or another, acknowledged their admiration for the Briggs-Williams combination, and especially for the insistent shuffle rhythms and blues-influenced vocalizing that Billy and Jess brought to the table.

Resultado de imagen de billy briggs country singer