Leon Pappy Selph & His Blue Ridge Playboys

b. Spencer Leigh Leon Selph, 7 April 1914, Houston, Texas, USA, d. 8 January 1999, Houston, Texas, USA. Selph played classical music on the violin as a child, including a spell with the Houston Youth…
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Artist Biography

b. Spencer Leigh Leon Selph, 7 April 1914, Houston, Texas, USA, d. 8 January 1999, Houston, Texas, USA. Selph played classical music on the violin as a child, including a spell with the Houston Youth Symphony Orchestra. Then, in his mid-teens, he joined Bob Wills and the Light Crust Doughboys. When Wills moved on into the bigger world that opened up before him, Selph opted to stay behind. He formed his own band, the Blue Ridge Playboys, in 1936, playing highly charged honky tonk music. Among musicians in this band over the years were Floyd Tillman, Moon Mullican, Ted Daffan, Bob Dunn and Cliff Bruner. When he joined the band, Tillman brought with him a song he had written but which his previous leader, Mack Clark, did not like. Selph did like the song, ‘It Makes No Difference Now’, and the band played it but their record company agreed with Clark and vetoed it. Instead it fell to Gene Autry and Bing Crosby to turn the song into a hit. Selph also wrote songs, including the popular ‘Give Me My Dime Back’.

During World War II, Selph joined the Houston Fire Department, remaining a fireman until 1972. Selph, who picked up the nickname ‘Pappy’ after marrying and starting a family in the late 30s, continued to run a band, which was based as he was in Houston. Mostly, he led a lively country band, but he did lead a big dance band for a while in the late 40s. After retirement from the fire service, Selph’s musical boundaries widened and, sponsored by the US State Department, he played engagements in Europe and the Soviet Union. Plagued with poor health from the mid-80s, he continued making music. In 1991, his home town declared a Pappy Selph Appreciation Day and in 1995 he was inducted into the Western Swing Hall of Fame.