Bob Wills / Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys

Boot Heel Drag: The MGM Years

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Wills' peak is usually reckoned as the late '30s to the mid-'40s. His slightly later recordings, dating from the time his popularity began to slip, have received comparatively little attention. However, you really can't detect much of a drop in quality, on record anyway, on this double-CD compilation of 50 tracks he did for MGM from 1947-1954. This was not a total dry spell for him hit-wise, and all five of his Top Ten country charters (all from 1948-1950) during that span are here: "Ida Red Likes the Boogie," "Thorn in My Heart," "Keeper of My Heart," "Bubbles in My Beer," and "Faded Love." True, it was not a time of great stability for the Texas Playboys. No less than nine different lineups are heard on the record, and their most famous vocalist, Tommy Duncan, left in 1948 (and appears on only about a third of the songs on this compilation). Still, overall they still ground out top-notch western swing on disc, the commendably diverse repertoire drawing on blues, boogie, jazz, pop, and novelty humor. The material and production get a little slicker than his earlier recordings occasionally, but there's plenty of exuberant vocal and instrumental interplay.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
2:43 Spotify
2 2:18 Spotify
3 2:54 Spotify
4 2:55 Spotify
5 2:28 Spotify
6 2:42
7
2:33 Spotify
8
2:40 Spotify
9 2:43 Spotify
10 2:32 Spotify
11
2:53 Spotify
12 2:52 Spotify
13 2:23
14 2:34 Spotify
15 2:42 Spotify
16 2:50 Spotify
17 2:33
18
2:18
19 2:55 Spotify
20 2:57 Spotify
21
3:12 Spotify
22
2:31 Spotify
23 2:45 Spotify
24 2:36 Spotify
25 2:19

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:25 Spotify
2 2:04 Spotify
3 3:07 Spotify
4
2:41 Spotify
5 2:56 Spotify
6 2:32 Spotify
7 2:22 Spotify
8 2:19 Spotify
9 2:51 Spotify
10
3:12 Spotify
11
2:35 Spotify
12
2:44 Spotify
13 2:29 Spotify
14 2:54 Spotify
15
2:55 Spotify
16 2:42 Spotify
17
2:30 Spotify
18
2:35 Spotify
19
2:58 Spotify
20 2:54 Spotify
21 2:30 Spotify
22
2:38 Spotify
23
2:29 Spotify
24 3:24 Spotify
25 2:25 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick