Billy Jack Wills

Crazy Man Crazy [Western]

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The second of two Billy Jack Wills albums put out by Mutual Music in their Western swing series is the equal of the first. Wills (Bob's younger brother) led one of the last great Western swing bands, a mighty outfit which on this LP features the leader taking four vocals, the great electric mandolin player Tiny Moore (who also pays a bit of fiddle and has five vocals of his own), steel guitarist Vance Terry, trumpeter Dick McComb, Kenney Lowery on rhythm guitar, Cotton Roberts on bass and fiddle, and the supportive drummer Tommy Perkins. The radio transcriptions featured on the two albums showcase the group at the height of its power; the second LP's highlights include "Skiddle Dee Boo," "Stardust," "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Jazz Me Blues," and "Steel Guitar Stomp," but all 16 selections are enjoyable. In addition to combining country music and swing, Wills' band was open to the influence of bebop and early R&B. Highly recommended.