Billy Jack Wills

Billy Jack Wills & His Western Swing Band

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One of the most underrated (and generally overlooked) Western swing bands ever was the outfit that Billy Jack Wills (younger brother of Bob Wills) led in the early to mid-'50s. A favorite in Northern California at the time but largely forgotten since then, the band is heard performing 16 selections on this album that were recorded at a radio station in Sacramento. In addition to Wills (who takes just one vocal and is primarily in a supportive role), the group consists of the great electric mandolin player Tiny Moore (who also has six vocals), steel guitarist Vance Terry, trumpeter Dick McComb, guitarist Kenny Lowery and bassist Cotton Roberts (who occasionally switches to fiddle). The swinging material (which is highlighted by "Johnson Rag," "Air Mail Special," "Tuxedo Junction," "Twin Guitar Special" and "Summit Ridge Drive") is consistently memorable.

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