Thursday, November 20, 2008
– A massive 10-CD, 150-song collection of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboy's "Tiffany Transcriptions" will be out Jan 27, 2009 on Collector's Choice, the reissue label's first ever box set.
The 1940s San Francisco radio transcriptions from the king of Texas swing music are remastered. Set features liner notes by journalist Rich Kienzle and comments from swing disciples Ray Benson, Ranger Doug and Big Sandy's Fly-Rite Boys.
Wills and his band were the originators and best-known practitioners of Western swing with such well known songs as New San Antonio Rose, Faded Love and Take Me Back to Tulsa. In 1945, Wills teamed up with Oakland, Cal. disc jockey Cliff "Cactus Jack" Johnson and businessman Clifford Sundlin to launch Tiffany Music. The goal was to supply syndicated radio programs to subscribing stations. Wills and the Playboys were the featured performers.
"For all the great records Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys made in 1946-47 for Columbia and MGM - and there were plenty - the Tiffany sessions captured something deeper, intangible and vibrant, music that even the occasional miscue or missed note can't diminish," Kienzle said. "It represents the very soul, spirit and musical passion of Bob and the band as they really were on those Western and Southwestern bandstands. Sixty years later, it still sounds like yesterday."
"To be honest," wrote Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson, "without the Tiffany Transcriptions, Asleep at the Wheel would not have had the materials needed to become proficient Western swingers...which I hope we are."
In 1946-47, Wills and the Playboys recorded dozens of songs - not just their hits and their bandstand repertoire. They utilized the sessions as an opportunity to work out new tunes, revisit older Playboys recordings, and cover songs by other country and western acts along with pop, big band classics, fiddle tunes, blues and instrumentals created on the spot. Not bound by the space restriction of 78 rpm singles, the programs were furnished to subscribing radio stations on 26 16-inch vinyl discs, encouraging the band to stretch out and jam.
The band included singer Tommy Duncan, steel guitarists Noel Boggs, Ray Honeycutt and Herb Remington, guitarists Eldon Shamblin and Lester "Junior" Bernard, and fiddler/mandolinist Tiny Moore. The band often recorded the sessions directly following tours.
The Tiffany sessions were broadcast over a network of radio stations that spanned Wills country (Oklahoma and Texas) to Oakland (home of Tiffany), plus Houston, Texarkana, Austin. Pacific Northwest and Santa Monica, Cal. Tiffany partner Cliff Sundlin retained ownership of the material until he died in 1981. El Cerrito-based Kaleidoscope Records later purchased the materials from Sundlin's estate, issuing selected tracks on a series of LPs, later reissued on long out-of-print CDs. The Collectors' Choice collection reissues the original Kaleidoscope albums intact.