Born on February 22, 1915 , Jesse Ashlock was a fiddler, songwriter (“My Life’s Been A Pleasure,” “The Kind of Love I Can’t Forget”), and occasional vocalist, best known for his longtime work with Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. In addition to being an integral part of that group for many years, Jesse was apparently one of the band’s top smart-alecks.
Luke Wills once told me about going to the West Coast in the early ‘40s to make B-westerns with his brother Bob and several of the Playboys, including Jesse. In one film — I believe it was 1943’s RIDERS OF THE NORTHWEST MOUNTED, starring Russell Hayden — band member Leon McAuliffe was shot and killed by the bad guys. Of course, Bob and the Playboys had recorded the songs for the film earlier, and when the group sings a lachrymose farewell to their fellow musician (I think the song is “The Last Goodbye”) you can clearly hear McAuliffe’s voice singing along.
Recalled Luke, “Jesse told Leon that was probably the first time anyone had ever sung at his own funeral.”