Joe Frank Ferguson wasn’t only an accomplished bassist in Bob WIlls’ Texas Playboys during the late ‘30s — and, later, with the Leon McAuliffe-led Playboys group put together after Wills’ 1975 death. He was also a fine tenor vocalist whom Wills often used to sing poppier material.
To lead off the latest installment of SWING ON THIS, I’ve got him singing a bluesy Gordon Jenkins-Joe Bishop composition on a 1939 recording from Bob and the boys. It’s a song that later became part of the repertoire of Nina Simone, among others.
And right after that, one of my very favorite contemporary swing vocalists, Pinto Pammy of Cow Bop, cuts loose on the band’s recording of a famed ‘40s boogie-woogie number, which features some pretty humorous commentary as well.
Before the hour’s over, listeners will also hear one of Cindy Walker’s lesser-known tunes, done to a turn by Ernest Tubb, and T-town’s own Leon Russell doing a big-band version of a number that Ella Fitzgerald allegedly named as her all-time favorite.
Plus, as I yield to popular demand, another Michael Nesmith offering and a second bluegrass version of “San Antonio Rose.” That’s right. More banjos.
There’s all that and a lot more this go-round, so please join me at 7 p.m. this Saturday night for SWING ON THIS, airing over Tulsa’s NPR affiliate KWGS, 89.5 FM, and live-streaming everywhere at publicradiotulsa.org
1. “Oh, You Beautiful Doll,” Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
2. “Right or Wrong,” Gayla Earlene
3. “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee,” Jerry Lee Lewis
(for PHIL PACK and the GLASS LIFTERS)
4. “Gonna Buy Me A Dog,” Jim Paul Blair
5. “Rub-A-Dub-Dub,” Jim Paul Blair
6 “Momma Don’t Like No Music,” Bill Boyd and His Cowboy Ramblers
7. “Listen to the Band,” the Monkees
(for SCOTT & KIM MCARTOR)
8. “I’ll Never Be Free,” Michael H. Price and His Western Swingmasters
(for CAROLE & JACK BENDER)
9. “Too Many Irons in the Fire,” Billy Parker w/Cal Smith
10. “Sugarfoot Rag,” Red Foley
(for SHELLACKED and HAMILL TIME)
11. “Dan, the Banana Man,” Nettles Brothers String Band
12. “Take Five,” Mischievous Swing
13. “San Antonio Rose,” Lou Walker
(for BRETT BINGHAM)
14. “Bugle Two Step,” Sons of Dixie