Today I took my parents and wife to see Asleep at the Wheel and the Quebe Sisters perform A Ride with Bob. Ray Benson, the tall and lanky long-haired guitarist, took us on a bus ride. We travelled the highway from Texas to Tulsa. We accompanied Benson and the mythical Bob Wills on a bus tour through Wills’s extraordinary life. On the road, the two icons of Texas music joked, sang, picked guitars, played fiddles, and recalled the history of the legendary western swing band Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.
Spring is upon Texas! Flowers are blooming, the grass is greening, and the sun is shining. I’ve got the windows up. The breeze and the fragrances of the BBQ are blowing into the house while my tunes are flowing out the windows and into the neighborhood. I’m blaring the old western swing version of “Beautiful Texas” by the legendary Texas swing band Milton Brown and His Brownies. Milton Brown was born in Stephenville, Texas and was an original member of the Light Crust Dough Boys with the iconic Bob Wills. He left the doughboys in 1932 and formed his own Fort Worth-based band Milton Brown and His Brownies. This was the first real western swing band with twin fiddles, stand up bass, jazz piano, and soloing electrified steel guitar. In fact, the Texas Playboys would base their band on the Brownies. Unfortunately Milton Brown died at an early age in a car accident. The chorus to “Beautiful Texas” now echoes through the streets of Denton…
To beautiful, beautiful Texas,
Where the beautiful bluebonnets grow.
We’re proud of our forefathers
Who fought at the Alamo.
You can live on the plains or the mountains,
Or down where the sea breezes blow,
And you’re still in beautiful Texas,
The most beautiful place that I know.