Lost Treasures: Original Texas Playboys – “Gambling Polka Dot Blues”

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Our Lost Treasure this week was originally recorded in 1965 but never released at that time.  Texas Swing pioneer Bob Wills back-up group of many decades, the Texas Playboys made a few recordings on their own without Bob Wills, who retired from the music business in the mid-60’s after a long, successful career performing on radio & on records.  Wills formed the Texas Playboys in 1934 & they backed him on both radio shows & on record through to his retirement. “Gambling Polka Dot Blues” had been intended for release on Kapp Records & promo copies were issued to country stations, who showed no interest in a form of country music that had long since past it’s prime. 

In 1965, the antiquated sound of Texas swing was as distant from the contemporary sounds of both the genre & country radio as could be.  Successful country stations went to great lengths to distance themselves from their “hillbilly” past.  They wouldn’t touch the record.  Kapp withheld the 45, but it was finally released as a ‘promo copy’ in 1977 on Capitol Records after hippie Western swing band Asleep At The Wheel achieved moderate success performing on TV show “Austin City Limits” & received airplay on a few progressive country stations in addition to eclectic/AAA adult rock FM outlets.  However, “Gambling Polka Dot Blues” debut week on the country charts it peaked at #94 & was gone by the following week.  Capitol declined to press large copies of the release & pulled it from their catalog.  It’s only appearance is on an LP compilation of Texas music released in 1977.  Missing of course, is the unique vocals, “conducting” & band introductions made famous by Bob Wills as the group records on their own. Texas swing your way into the weekend with this great classic & thanks for pointing your browsers to Puget Sound Radio.

 

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Mike Cherry

Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

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