Like most people, I imagine, my knowledge of western swing is limited to Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys and Asleep At the Wheel. Loopy, corny, and relaxed in equal measure, it can be a difficult style to appreciate, too country for jazz and blues fans, too jazzy and bluesy for most country fans, too lacking in intensity, grit, and speed for most modern pop fans, never serious enough for the intellectual crowd. But as a bridge between the various genres that merged to become rock and roll its importance is underestimated, and like most older genres that have come to be represented by only one or two artists, it sports far more musical variety than most give it credit for.
All of which is just a way of saying that you should check out Western Swing on 78, a blog offering carefully curated mixtapes of otherwise uncollected 78s from the prime years of western swing. I’m currently listening to a wonderful compilation of cajun swing records, and I can’t wait to get to the mix that ends with “When the Curtains of Night are Pinned Back by the Stars” by Zora & the Hometowners. The title alone holds enough poetry for a hundred records. Check it out.
(HT: Roger Ebert)