Because I got an unusual amount of commentary on the Bob Wills big-band-style song I played last week, “When It’s Honey Suckle Time in the Valley” (yeah, that’s the way “honeysuckle” is spelled on the original record label), I thought I’d start this week’s SWING ON THIS with another from the augmented group Bob had in the early ‘40s — before the war came along to break everything up.
This time around, it’s the beautiful brass-and-reeds version of “A Maiden’s Prayer.” Even though, as we noted last week, the label’s A&R man, Uncle Art Satherley, didn’t think Bob’s audience was sophisticated enough to embrace big-band arrangements, “A Maiden’s Prayer” shot up to the top spot on the BILLBOARD Magazine hillbilly chart (predecessor of the country chart) in June of 1941.
This was a vocal version, with lyrics credited to Bob himself. Earlier, he and the Playboys had recorded a non-big-band instrumental version, which had been released in 1938. The melody went all the way back to the mid-1800s, having been written by Polish composer Tekla Badarzewska-Baranowska. Among other things, it was used in stage productions by such heavyweights as Kurt Weil, Bertolt Brecht, and Anton Chekov. So by the time Bob came along to add words to it, the song had quite a pedigree.
That’s only the beginning of this week’s SWING ON THIS. In the hour following, you’ll hear from all kinds of great acts, from Milton Brown and Jimmie Revard to Michael Nesmith and Guy Clark. Indeed, there’s something for everybody — and, as always, plenty for the musically adventurous.
So please join me for an hour of western swing, cowboy jazz, and a few surprises this Saturday at 7 p.m. Tulsa time. In the T-town listening area, SWING ON THIS airs over radio station KWGS, 89.5 FM. You can also get it live-streaming anywhere else in the world by pulling up publicradiotulsa.org on your computing device.
1. “Maiden’s Prayer,” Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
(for ROSE SINCLAIR)
2. “Old Fashioned Love,” Gimbles
3. “Here’s to You,” Three Chord Justice
(for MARK MARKOWITZ, LIZ GRACE, and the GLASS LIFTERS)
4. “Back Up A Little Bit,” Hank Penny and His Radio Cowboys
5. “Homegrown Tomatoes,” Guy Clark
(for JAY at THE PALATE)
6. “Sounds Like A Winner,” Billy Parker
7. “San Antonio Rose,” Bob & Eddy
(for AP MCQUIDDY)
8. “Texas Morning/Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” Michael Nesmith
9. “Woodchopper’s Ball,” Sagebrush Bandits
(for TONY RAMSEY)
10. “I Had Someone Before I Had You,” Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies
11, “Faded Love,” Felix Slatkin
(for HAMILL TIME)
12. “That’s Life,” Brazos Valley Boys
13, “Don’t Make Me Blue,” Cliff Bruner and His Texas Wanderers
(for GUY T. MILLER)
14. “Everything’s Gonna Be All Right,” Jimmie Revard and His Oklahoma Playboys
(for CAT & CHRIS BURTON)