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Tex Williams: I Got Texas In My Soul - A Centenary Tribute, His 29 Finest 1944 -1954

RTR4309
£7.99

Details

This year we celebrate the centenary of Sollie “Tex” Williams (1917-1985), the great Country star of the 40s (who actually hailed from Illinois), famous for his fast-talking monologues. He was one of the top ten most successful Country recording artists of the decade. After first gaining prominence, and having a number of hits, as vocalist with the Spade Cooley western swing band, he formed his own Western Caravan and went on to achieve 24 Country chart successes between 1946 and 1974. I Got Texas In My Soul makes a notable addition to Retrospective’s Country list. Of the relatively few Tex Williams CDs currently on the market, none cover his late-40s golden period so comprehensively.

Tex had Capitol Records’ first-ever million-seller with Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette! (ironically, he eventually died of lung cancer) and eight others of the genre that became his speciality are included (Life Gets Teejus, Don’t It?). But with all his songs delivered in laid-back style by his warm bass-baritone voice, it is easy to see why he was so popular. Six of his recordings with Spade Cooley and his Orchestra are featured, all of them big hits such as the No.1 smash Shame On You. In fact, all 19 of Tex’ Country Hits charting at No.15 or above are featured, 13 of them Top Fives (e.g. Dont Telephone, Don’t Telegraph, Tell A Woman). The musical range is surprisingly wide, stretching as it does from the simple, chirpy California Polka to the adventurous Stan Kenton number Artistry In Western Swing. And, as a special bonus track, there is Tex’ 1960 cover version of possibly the biggest ever country hit, He’ll Have To Go.

Tex Williams: I Got Texas In My Soul - A Centenary Tribute, His 29 Finest 1944 -1954

Reviews

RETROSPECTIVE RTR4309 [79:15]

Sollie Paul “Tex” Williams was a western swing musician and singer who became enormously popular during the 1940’s and 50’s. He played guitar and had a smooth baritone singing voice, friendly and engaging, and was well-known for his “talking blues”, a vocal style characterized by chatty rhythmic patter, sort of a free-floating, relaxed Cowboy rap.

Tex performs six songs with Spade Cooley and his Orchestra on this disc, including Shame On You, featuring a fine accompaniment by Joaquin Murphey on steel guitar, and recorded in December 1944 on the Okeh label. Tex sings along with vocalists Smokey Rogers and Deuce Spriggins on a lively version of Detour, accompanied by a smooth trio of Spade Cooley, Rex Call, and Cactus Soldi on fiddles. The song was recorded in January, 1946 on the Columbia label. Tex formed his own band, the Western Caravan, later that year and recorded I Got Texas In My Soul in Los Angeles for Capitol Records. The song, composed by Ernest Tubb and Zeb Turner, features solos by accordionist Pedro DePaul, guitarist Benny Garcia, Jr., and a quartet of fiddlers.

Tex composed the tune Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette! with Merle Travis, and Tex and the Western Caravan recorded it in March 1947 on the Capitol label. The song became their biggest hit and sold over two million copies, and features great solos by Spike Heatherstone on accordion, trumpeter George Wendt, drummer Muddy Berry, Cliffie Stone playing double-bass, and fiddlers Harry Sims and Rex Call. Artistry In Western Swing, recorded in December 1947 on the Capitol label, is a unique instrumental version of Stan Kenton’s 1947 song Artistry In Rhythm. It features guitarist Johnny Weis and Benny Garcia, Jr., trumpeter Manny Klein, Pedro DePaul playing accordion, and Joaquin Murphey on steel guitar, and shows how remarkably talented these musicians really were.

This music collection was compiled by Ray Crick. Martin Haskell performed the audio restoration and remastering, and the sound quality is excellent. A 12-page booklet is included, with liner notes and comments by Brian Golbey. Bruce McCollum, MusicWeb