Welcome to ‘The Music of Bob Wills’ as told by historian and writer David Stricklin. David heads the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies in Little Rock. He received his Ph.D. in U.S. history from Tulane University, where he studied with legendary country music authority Bill C. Malone. His father, Al Stricklin, played piano with Bob from 1935 to 1942, from time to time with him in the 1950s and ’60s, and with the Texas Playboys after Bob’s death in 1975 until Al’s death in 1986. This synopsis largely focuses on Bob’s earlier years and is an information piece prepared for the Bob Wills Swing School.

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The Bob Wills Legacy

Throughout the rest of his career, Bob continued to provide musical performances presented by hard-working, creative musicians who knew that music is more to most people than just entertainment. He knew that music defines a great deal of the human experience, that it provides the soundtrack by which people celebrate milestones, welcome new experiences, relive old ones, and date their memories.

His is a great story, started by a great American artist who was never different simply to be different, but whose willingness to try new things, to embrace creative freedom, and to demand that everybody who ever played for him give everything they had in every performance set him apart from every other musician and bandleader of his age.

From the very start, something about Bob’s music was different.