Willie Nelson sings on, Johnny Gimble’s, “Celebrating With Friends”


Johnny Gimble has a new album, set to be released next Tuesday, February 16, 2010.  Johnny’s friends and fans joined on the album, including Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Garrison Keiller, Ray Benson and more.

1. Johnny Gimble Reflects
2. Fiddlin’ Around
3. Somewhere South Of San Antone
4. Sweet Georgia Brown
5. Gardenia Waltz
6. Lady Be Good
7. I Needed You
8. If I Had You
9. Rural Riffin’
10. Under The X In Texas
11. Hey Mr. Cowboy
12. Mandelopin’
13. Do What You Did, When You Did
14. Owed To Johnny Gimble

Michael Corcoran, of Austin-Statesman, www.Austin360.com wrote about Johnny Gimbel, and the album:

Several of the songs on the album are ones Gimble played with Wills and the Texas Playboys, as well as later Gimble compositions “Fiddlin’ Around” and “Gardenia Waltz.”

Bob Wills and his band, which formed in 1933, were already well-established when Gimble was hired in 1949. Wills and his former Light Crust Doughboys bandmate Milton Brown are considered the architects of Western swing, which was the Texas version of big band music. When Brown, whose Musical Brownies pioneered the essential twin fiddle sound, died in a car accident in 1936, Wills became the undisputed king of Western swing.

“I grew up listening to the Light Crust Doughboys on WBAP,” Gimble says of the powerful Fort Worth radio station. “And then I’d see the Texas Playboys play Mattie’s Ballroom in Longview, where they outdrew Tommy Dorsey and Harry James.” Gimble got to know Playboys mandolinist Tiny Moore at Mattie’s and even sat in with the band once.

After coming home from the Army in 1947, with an affinity for waltzes he heard while stationed in Austria, Gimble spent time in Austin, where he joined the Roberts Brothers Rhythmaires. The Western swing band had an hourlong radio show in Austin on KTBC every day at 12:30 p.m.

One night in 1949 they opened for Wills’ band at the Trocadero Ballroom in Corpus Christi, and Moore remembered the smiling fiddler, who also played a wicked mandolin. Moore asked if Gimble wanted to audition to replace Jesse Ashlock in the Playboys. After playing “Draggin’ the Bow,” the old Cliff Bruner fiddle workout, with the Playboys one night in Waco, Wills told Gimble, “You’ll fit.” And just like that he was a member of country music’s swingingest band ever.

“To join Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys was like throwing a baseball around in your front yard and somebody coming over and signing you to play for the New York Yankees,” says Gimble, who fiddled on Wills’ final recording session in 1973.

mcorcoran@statesman.com;  445-3652
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