Saturday, June 22, 2013

The King of Western Swing

No less an icon than Waylon Jennings sang about him:

“It don’t matter who’s in Austin, Bob Wills is still the King.”

Wills had been in the music business for several years when he formed the Texas Playboys in 1934. He played fiddle and some vocals, with Tommy Duncan on piano and vocals, June Whalin on guitar, his brother Johnnie Lee Wills on banjo, and Kermit Whalin on pedal steel and bass. The lineup changed over the years, but the constant was Wills and his style. The band played dance music and had several hits including ‘Steel Guitar Rag’, and ‘New San Antonio Rose.’ They competed favorably with the best of the big bands, selling records and filling dance halls; keeping people dancing and smiling with their brand of music that became known as Western Swing.
The King of Western Swing is a chapter in the new book The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories by Larry Manch. The book is available for purchase in e-book form at the Kindle Store on

Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories', 'A Sports Junkie', 'The Avery Appointment', 'Between the Fuzzy Parts'.

He also writes about baseball for Climbing Tal's Hill, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.

He lives in Central Texas with his wife and family.


  1. One of the great things about your writings here are that they inspire me to go out and investigate! I will definitely be doing a little "research" on Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys! Thanks! Tom (tminet)