The streets around the Historic Courthouse Square will be THE place to be on Saturday May 28, 2011 in San Saba. The "Pecan Capital Street Dance" is an event which will be the "icing on the cake," following a special edition of "Pecan Capital Trade Days" held that morning from 8am till 2pm, on the square in San Saba, Texas…"The Pecan Capital Of The World." It’s a FREE Dance as a gift to the city from 8pm till Midnight and an opportunity to showcase our city, celebrating the progress that we have made with Historic Downtown. It’s Graduation weekend and Memorial day weekend, bringing friends and family home to San Saba for the fifth celebration in the series.
"Live" on the City Stage will be The Kings of Western Swing, Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys! James Robert Wills was born in 1905 on a farm in Limestone County near Kosse, Texas. Jim Rob as he was known in his youth grew up in a musical family of frontier fiddlers. When he was eight the family moved to the town of Turkey in the panhandle of Texas. It was there at the age of ten that he played the fiddle at his first ranch dance as a fill-in for his father. Turkey has celebrated, for many years, his life and music with a Bob Wills Day that annually draws several thousand people. It is a little overwhelming since the town has a population of only six hundred. Bob left Turkey in 1929 and took up residence in Fort Worth. After a
brief stint on radio he joined a traveling medicine show. While in it he met guitarist Herman Arnspiger and later teamed up with him to form the Wills Fiddle Band. They played for parties and private dances and also performed on radio six days a week. In the fall of 1930 Wills and Arnspiger teamed with brothers Milton and Durwood Brown. The group then accepted an offer with WBAP, Fort Worth’s most famous and powerful station, and adopted the name Aladdin Laddies. From that point their fame and reputation spread as fast as the enthusiasm for the new music they played. Radio exposure meant more dances with larger crowds and it led to the biggest break in Bob Wills’ career. In 1931 Wills, Arnspiger and Milton Brown went to work for radio station KFJZ in Fort Worth. Their morning program was Photo from the collection of Ray Reed. sponsored by the Burrus Mill and Elevator Company and its major product, Light Crust Flour. It was not long before the band inherited the name "the Light Crust Doughboys." They literally ruled the airways throughout the southwest.
Before the breakup of the original Doughboys a number of prominent musicians joined their ranks including Sleepy Johnson, Leon Huff, Leon McAuliffe and Bob’s brother, Johnnie Lee Wills. Another personality who was associated with them was W. Lee O’Daniel, who was the general manager of Burrus Mill and became the band’s master of ceremonies. He also wrote a number of songs that were performed and recorded by the Doughboys. "Pappy" O’Daniel ultimately rode the coattails of the Light Crust Doughboys to statewide acclaim, the governorship of Texas and a seat in the United States Senate. Bob left the Doughboys in 1933 and with Johnnie Lee Wills, Kermit Whalen, Tommy Duncan and June Whalen took the name "Bob Wills and his Playboys." The Playboys moved to Waco, briefly tried Oklahoma City where they added "Texas" to their name, and then traveled on to Tulsa.
During their nine year stay on radio station KVOO in Tulsa, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys achieved their greatest artistic and commercial success. When their 1940 recording of New San Antonio Rose went gold, Wills and his band were firmly entrenched as the most famous western band in America. The songs that were written by Wills and his fellow band members also became American classics: San Antonio Rose, Faded Love, Take Me Back to-Tulsa, Eight’r from Decatur, Time Changes Everything and Panhandle Rag.
Bob and the Playboys moved to the west coast in the 1940’s and operated from California. They were still extremely successful because of their records and radio, personal and movie appearances. This waned in the early 1950’s, however, as there was a decline of interest in western swing and it became dormant for about twenty years. This dormancy remained until the renaissance of the early 1970’s when a new generation discovered the music: and legacy of Bob Wills, and western swing was born again.
Their last recording session was set for December 3-4, 1973, to coincide with a reunion of the group in Dallas. Bob Wills was there the first day and led the band from a wheelchair but that night he slipped into unconsciousness. The album of twenty-four songs was completed the following day and was appropriately titled, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, For The Last Time.
Bob died on May 13, 1975, without ever regaining consciousness. The Texas Playboys are now led by the legendary vocalist Leon Rausch and master guitarist Tommy Allsup. Opening the show will be special guests Johnny Dickinson and Big Country. Pecan Capital Street Dance is a FREE dance, but if you would like a table with 10 chairs, they are available from the San Saba Volunteer Fire Department for $100 by calling 325-372-5544. The event is BYOB and Pecan Capital Street Dance V would not be possible without the support of our fabulous sponsors: Harry’s, Double G Pit Stop, Everett’s Furniture & Emporium, Rick’s, River City Paint, Oliver Pecan, Hamrick’s Automotive Center, and Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore. This is a family event and everyone is encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Tony Guidroz at 325-372-8291 and visit www.sansabatexas.com