Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys: Basin Street Blues


Basin Street Blus


Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys


The Tiffany Transcriptions (Collectors' Choice 991)

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Bob Wills (fiddle, spoken vocals), Tommy Duncan (lead vocals), Dean McKinney (vocals), Evelyn McKinney (vocals), Millard Kelso (piano),

Alex Brashear (trumpet), Louis Tierney (fiddle, tenor sax), Noel Boggs (steel guitar), Lester ‘Junior’ Barnard (electric guitar), Johnny Cuviello (drums) Billy Jack Wills (bass)


Composed by Spencer Williams


Recorded: San Francisco, May 6, 1946


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

Bob Wills's syndicated radio show distributed by Tiffany Music in 1946-47 found his Texas Playboys tackling a wide range of material, encompassing country, jazz, blues and traditional songs. Here they deliver a carefree "Basin Street Blues" with a Dixieland sensibility. Tommy Duncan impresses with his conversational vocal delivery—was there was ever a more plainspoken jazz singer? Wills interrupts with his usual shtick, but can't dislodge Duncan's poker face. Louis Tierney, for his part, sets down his fiddle to fiddle with the sax and Alex Brashear offers up some credible New Orleans trumpet. But the highlight here is Noel Boggs's steel guitar, which sounds like it just came back from a luau. Is there a Basin Street in Honolulu? Put some pineapple on my po' boy, and please play that record one more time.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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  • 1 Dear Oakie // Jan 25, 2009 at 02:32 PM
    How do you get Hawaii in Boggs's steel playing? I don't hear it. That "pineapple-po-boy" business is nonsense. Boggs was a jazzer from the getgo, an Oklahoman who played on WWL in New Orleans and later joined Hank Penny's Radio Cowboys, a western swing band based in Atlanta in the late 1930s. After WWII he went on to work with Spade Cooley's band in California. McAuliffe was the more Hawaiian of Wills's steel players.