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Old time western swing music! Lithium God and Xhzartic stopped by to appreciate the vocal stylings of Tommy Duncan with us and we explored his specific legacy. Tommy Duncan was a special person in the world of western swing. He was the lead singer on many of the recordings by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. His jazzy, smooth, baritone vocals had more in common with a lot of jazz singers than country artists. The Mills Brothers, Eddy Arnold, George Morgan and other contemporaries of Bob Wills are in there for context and to give us a better inclusive sense of the music of the time.

We also found out a little bit about the western swing genre in general. From it’s origins in pop music from the 1900s to 1920s, it shares characteristics with sentimental war songs like I’ll Never Smile again and borrows moods from jazz and big band standards by guys like Glenn Miller.

While western swing didn’t pan out into any genre that you could call a direct descendant. It’s happy, jaunty, upbeat feel carried over into early Rock and Roll (not Rock, mind you) by dudes like Fats Domino and the Everly Brothers, but country on the whole owed much of it’s sentimentality to the down tempo love songs of Bob Wills. That emotive style you hear from Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline and later outlaw country ballad stuff owes a lot to our hero, Tommy Duncan, who plucked our heart strings HARD with his crooning.

And why don’t we also explore how the basis of the feeling of Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan filtered out further into other genres moving forward to? The emotional connection to country lived on in diverse artists like Al Green, who loved old country records, and remnants of it are even found in the likes of Taylor Swift.

Plus, this EPIC Glen Miller guitar solo. Check it out!


216 November 25th, 2017

Posted In: Music, Music Shows