News & Information

Bob Wills Night at the Allen Public Library

Friday, July 19, 2013 : 7:30PM

The Allen Public Library will host “Bob Wills Night” on Friday, July 19 at 7:30PM. The event will be moderated by Dr. David Stricklin, Music Historian and son of Texas Playboy Al Stricklin, and will feature the music of Western Swing band, Shoot Low Sheriff. Highlights will also include ‘At Home with Bob Wills,’ a photo journey with Carolyn Wills, daughter of Bob Wills. The event is free and open to the public.

Allen Public Library
300 North Allen Drive
Allen, TX 75013
Free tickets to be issued at 7:00PM


Bob Wills Night at the Library

By Tom Keener

Relive the toe-tapping days of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys at the Allen Public Library 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 19.  Bob’s daughter Carolyn Wills and David Stricklin, son of Texas Playboy pianist Al Stricklin, will be on hand, and the band Shoot Low Sheriff will perform. Free tickets will be issued at 7:00 p.m. on a first come, first served basis.

Carolyn will share anecdotal stories and insights into the genius of the man whose career spanned five decades and who brought hope to Americans during the Great Depression.  One fan wrote “the music of the Texas Playboys was the light that got me through those days.”  Known as the King of Western Swing, Bob Wills and His Playboys recorded such hits as “New San Antonio Rose,” Steel Guitar Rag,” “Maiden’s Prayer,” “Take Me Back to Tulsa,” and “Spanish Two Step,” and “Faded Love” over the course of three decades and influenced countless musicians, from Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and George Straight to the Flying Burrito Brothers and Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.

The son of a sharecropper and a descendant of a long-line of champion fiddlers, Wills grew up in Turkey, Texas. Early on, he learned frontier fiddle music and, as a boy working in the cotton fields, he was influenced by the soulful music of African-Americans.  “I don’t know whether they made them up as they moved down the cotton rows or not,” Wills once told Charles Townsend, author of San Antonio Rose: The Life and Times of Bob Wills, “but they sang blues you never heard before.”

Texas Playboy Pianist Al Stricklin was working at Ft. Worth’s radio station KFJZ when Bob Wills appeared and asked him to perform.  A friendship emerged and Stricklin eventually played the piano for the Texas Playboys from 1935-42.  While preparing to perform “The New San Antonio  Rose,” Al Stricklin noted in his book My Years with Bob Wills, “I’d never heard bedlam like that before. . . . That’s got to be one of the greatest nights of my career with Bob Wills. We were on top. We were the honey for the buttered biscuits.”

Al’s son David, co-author of Southern Music/American Music, will explain some of the “architecture” of Bob Wills’ songs, focusing on rhythms, solos and vocals, and Wills’ extraordinary gifts as a bandleader.  Southern Music/American Music investigates the facets of American music from the South and the many popular forms that emerged from it.

For more information, call 214-509-4911.