Bob Wills: The King of Western Swing

Airs Sunday, May 18 at 6 p.m. I used to say that Bob Wills was the Elvis Presley of Western Swing. He was as charismatic a performer as ever stood on stage according to the people who have reported to me and by looking at his films." - Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel).     Imagine walking into a dance hall on a dusty Texas highway back in 1946. The room is packed wall to wall, and on the bandstand is a smiling, hollering fiddler leading 22 musicians who are working the dancers into a frenzy with hit after hit. That bandleader was Bob Wills and for over twenty years, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys were the main attraction, the biggest and one of most popular dance bands of the southwest. But it was also an unusual sound, mixing country with jazz, blues and pop music until it became its own style - Texas Swing. We’ll hear how Bob Wills became the King of Texas Swing. Texas playboy fiddler Johnny Gimble joins us, so does Bob Wills biographer and daughter Rosetta Wills. We’ll also hear from Ray Benson of the band Asleep at the Wheel and others during this one-hour documentary on his music and life.