George Corley

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One of the real old-timers on the Austin, Texas, music scene, George Corley was a trombonist whose slide brushed against the tops of his cowboy boots. He was principally associated with Texas and its…
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One of the real old-timers on the Austin, Texas, music scene, George Corley was a trombonist whose slide brushed against the tops of his cowboy boots. He was principally associated with Texas and its various territory bands, give or take a west coast jaunt here and there. His family was steeped in music and his brothers Reginald Corley and Wilford Corley were sidemen in George Corley's Royal Aces Orchestra on trumpet and tenor saxophone, respectively. The great bassist Gene Ramey played sousaphone in this group, formed in 1930, and has credited the Corley clan with greatly inspiring him.

By 1932 the band had undergone something of a coup, with Terrence Holder taking charge and operations moving north to Dallas. The brothers Corley hung with the band, no doubt grooving to the sounds of superb sax players Buddy Tate and Earl Bostic. George Corley later went on to gig in a wide range of territory bands including the Troy Floyd Band, Tommy Brooks, Sammy Holmes, and Boots & His Buddies, the latter outfit led by Clifford "Boots" Douglas.

It was during a more expansive tour with Henry "Rabbit" Thompson that the trombonist decided to stay in California. He spent from 1943 to 1950 on the west coast, mostly working with Ben Watkins, a bandleader of that era. Up to the early '60s when he faded from the music scene, this Corley brother spent most of his time back in his home state. He did work again on the west coast with the buttery rhythm & blues singer Jimmy McCraklin.