Antonio Rose – Life & music of Bob Wills
by Charles Townsend (1976)
The first and best book on Bob Wills still in print after 35 years. About 400 pages containing a masterpiece of layout and design featuring many photos, discography and filmography.
An absolute must for Bob Wills fans
Brown & the Founding of
by Gary Ginell (1994)
374 pages of this hardcover book about the band that predated Bob Wills by a year. Highlights are the reminiscences by Milton Brown's brother, Roy Lee Brown. Approx.$34
Bent For Music – Life of Pee Wee
by Wade Hall (1996)
Pee Wee King's band was very popular in the 1950s and 1960s and featuring the rhythms of polkas, waltzes and western swing. Recorded best western swing in mid 1950s.
From the Southwest
by Jean Bond (1998)
Subtitled “ An Oral History of Western Swing”. A completely different slant on western swing by a lecturer of Texas University with chapters on fiddlers, steel guitarists, horn players etc. I reviewed this book in a past WSMS newsletter, but other reviewers did not agree with my high praise...a position I still hold.
of Western Swing & Hot
String Bands (1928-1942)
by Gary Ginell & Kevin Coffey (2001)
Bound hardcover book with 288 pages. Of course the title tells all. As my interest is in the later period of western swing I look forward to a second volume. Kevin Coffey is the writer of many excellent booklets released with quality produced western swing CDs.
by Rich Kienzle (2003)
Rich Kienzle is my favourite writer of articles, books, and CD booklets on the subject of western swing. In this great book he compiles the best of his writings into an extremely informative 288 page book.
Shame – Saga of Spade Cooley
by Robert Joling (2009)
Tells the story of Spade's dark side with little mention of his great music. Reviewed in the 2010 WSMS newsletter. Not a book I recommend.
Cooley – A Novel
by Ellen Milinkoff (2010)
Tells the story of his music and violent life. As the title suggests, a novel, but not an accurate account of his musical life. Better than Shame Shame, but not recommended.
Swing Performers –
(Wikipedia Encyclopedia ) ( 2010)
This compact 122 page book features the listing from Internet's largest reference website of 33 Western Swing performers.
This book may interest western swing enthusiasts unable to log onto Wikipedia. However, for anyone who has access to the Internet Wikipedia is a gold mine of information
The average 2-page biography applies to Bob Dunn, Milton Brown, Junior Barnard, etc. Other performers such as Spade Cooley and Speedy West get 6 pages and Bob Wills scores 11 pages. The text in this book is direct from the Wikipedia encyclopedia but without Wikipedia's images ( photos, illustrations, charts, etc.)
This will only interest non-Internet users as the Internet user will have access to far more than these 33 performers as well as regular updated information and images.
|Of course there will be other
titles, not in my personal library, and
books that are now out of print. Amazon also has a service
listing second hand dealers offering rare out of print book
titles. Another excellent website for
searching for a rare book is www.abe.com This site covers
second hand book dealers from around the world and I have used this
website for many years and find it the ultimate rare book search
In closing I must mention another book that is out of print and rarely available.
From Bob Wills to Ray Benson – History of Western Swing Music
by Tom Dunbar ( 1988)
This small 100 page book is often cited in bibliographies as it is an excellent reference source for all bands. As the title suggests ,all bands from Bob Wills to Asleep At the Wheel are covered by biography, photo and selected discography. It looks like it was self-published, although it claims: Term Publications, Austin, Texas.
I borrowed a copy of this rare gem from an Australian western swing fan who received it from western swing giant, Smokey Dacus, who also autographed the book in 1991. As I could not purchase it, I photocopied the 100 pages which I bound in a hard cover folder. As I previously mentioned it is extremely rare but worth regular searches on www.abe.com