Benny Leaders & the Western Rangers was one of a group of Texas bands that boogied back and forth between western swing, country, and early rock & roll styles in the '50s. One of the most famous members of the group was the frontman Link Davis, and this is one place to find the musical pottery shards that are left from this organization's efforts. Davis, whose long string of collaborations and solo efforts included working with the great country singer and songwriter Floyd Tillman, has been the subject of a reissue anthology entitled Let the Good Times Roll: 1948-1963, but this chronicle of good times includes only one quick moment of revelry with the group Leaders led. On the remarkable Krazy Kat label, however, fans of obscure Texas bands can find a whopping three-course feast of Benny Leaders & the Western Rangers. There is the agitated "I'll Be Jumped Up and Down," a song that Nancy Sinatra needs to record entitled "Boots Don't Leave Me," and "Naggin' Woman," which would make a good answer song if she did. These are all part of Heading Back to Houston: Texas C&W 1950-1951, one of the rare compilations with a title that could double as touring advice and a repertoire suggestion. Additional Leaders tracks show up on other compilations, with perhaps his best song being the glum but sanitary "Clean Town Blues." While the fact that Leaders was a bass player would normally lead to a raft of a sideman credits, whatever bass playing he did for others didn't seem to go beyond regional releases even more unknown than the ones of his own group.
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