Here is another article, this one on a very interesting group who did so
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The Light Crust
1929 to the Present
they are not quite that old, but I am going to use that date anyway, for reasons
I’ll explain as you read on. And
yes they are still in existence, so let’s find out how a group with the
improbable name of ‘Light Crust Doughboys’ got that name in the first place.
am using 1929 as their start date, because that is when James Robert (Bob) Wills
left West Texas and moved to
and formed the ‘Wills Fiddle Band’. It
was a rather unimposing group made up of Wills as fiddler and Herman Arnspiger
as guitarist. They were good enough
to get a few radio appearances, and when Milton Brown joined the duo as a
vocalist in 1930, it got more recognition. Soon
they were on the air at noon each day and when they added Truett Kimsey as their
announcer with an enthusiastic announcement.
“The Light Crust Doughboys are on the
And then the theme song
“Listen everybody from near and far
If you want to know who we are
We’re the Light Crust Doughboys
From Burrus Mills”
went over so well that it became the permanent salutation of the Doughboys.
That was 1931. The name came
from ‘The Burrus Mill and Elevator Company which produced Light Crust Flour,
and who Wills, with the help of fans and friends, persuaded to sponsor the
original group as the ‘Light Crust Doughboys’.
And here they are back then. This
picture is from an old 78 album cover and probably dates to 1932 or thereabouts.
just a few weeks, W. Lee (Pappy) O’Daniel, then president of Burrus Mill,
cancelled the show because he didn’t like “Hillbilly Music” (He didn’t
like hillbilly music???. That egotistical maniac of a boss, who became governor
, used ‘Hillbilly, Country Western, Western Swing and any other genre that he
could dig up, to form his own band and help him get elected). That
was probably the start of the Wills/O’Daniel feud that went on for years.
However, the clamor that arose from the fans of the show soon put the
Light Crust Doughboys back on the air, but now, ‘the boss’ got into the act.
All the band members had to work at Burrus Mills; nobody could talk on
the air but the announcer, O’Daniel, after he fired Kimsey; and the band could
not play dances or appear anywhere else but on the show.
Band was successful even with all the limitations.
The fans loved them, but most fans had a love/hate impression of
O’Daniel. Soon the band members
began to mumble and grumble. The
first to leave the Doughboys were Milton Brown and his brother Durwood, and they
formed the band known as the ‘Musical Brownies’.
And, soon Wills and Arnspiger left and found enough good musicians around
to start a band called ‘The Playboys’ (‘The Texas Playboys’ name came
later when they moved to
said he had to fire Wills for drinking and missing shows.
However, O’Daniel was greatly impressed with the band’s large
following and as the ‘new’ announcer for the show he organized a network of
radio stations that broadcast the Doughboys throughout
and most of
. Such stations as WBAP and
KTAT, Fort Worth’ WOAL, San
Antonio’ KPRC, Houston’ and KOMA,
Oklahoma City soon were broadcasting the Light Crust Doughboys all over the
Southwest and the band became a
household name. Of all the early
Doughboys, Wills was the most influential; they never departed from the fiddle
band style that Wills established in the band’s formative years.
late 1933 O’Daniel took a brand new talented group of Doughboys to
for a recording session with Vocilion, and he continued as the bands manager
and announcer well into the 30’s. In
1936 Burrus Mills fired O’Daniel after a series of disputes and he went on to
form his own band called the ‘Hillbilly Boys’ and even started his own flour
company. O’Daniel used his band in
his successful bid for Governor of Texas in 1938.
The song “There’ll Be Some Changes Made” was really his political
statement of the times.
Doughboys reached peak popularity in the years leading up to WWII.
In addition to launching, Wills, the Browns, and O’Daniel, it provided
a venue for many of the best musicians in the Western Swing genre.
In 1937 many musicians such as Kenneth Pitts and Clifford Goss played
fiddles. In the rhythm section were
Dick Reinhart on guitar; Marvin (Smokey) Montgomery, tenor banjo; Ramon DeArman,
bass; and John (Knocky) Parker, piano. Muryel
Campbell played lead guitar and at various times Cecil Brower played fiddle.
Almost from the
beginning, the Light Crust Doughboys enjoyed a successful recording career;
their records outsold those of all other fiddle bands in the Fort Worth-Dallas
area. Their popularity on radio had much to do with their success in recording.
By the 1940s the Light Crust Doughboys were broadcasting on over 170 radio
stations in the South and Southwest.
In the early months of World War II most members of the band went
into either the armed forces or war-related industries. In
1942 Burrus Mill ended the Doughboys' radio show. The mill reorganized the band
after the war in 1946, but the broadcasts were never as appealing as they had
been in the prewar years. The company tried various experiments and even hired
Hank Thompson and Slim Whitman in the hope that somehow the radio show could be
saved. By 1950 the age of television had begun, and the dominance of radio was
over. With its passing went the
radio show that Texans had enjoyed since 1931. The Light Crust Doughboys were no
longer "on the air”. However,
even through the 1970s and the 1980s, the companies that made Light Crust Flour
enthusiastically used Doughboy great Marvin "Smokey" Montgomery and
The Light Crust Doughboys to promote and advertise their product.
Doughboys embodied the very essence of the "golden era" of radio-live
performances and the dominance of programming by advertising agencies.
Their radio program began as a way to sell Light Crust Flour.
W. Lee (Pappy) O’Daniel quickly learned how to exploit the power of
radio to influence voters, and he put that lesson to good use to become Governor
of Texas, and the model for Pappy O’Daniel in the movie “Oh Brother, Where
Art Thou?”. But, the Group was a
lot more than the talented musicians associated with them, Bob Wills and Milton
Brown, each of whom receive credit for founding Western Swing. Even
after all three of those figures were gone, the Light Crust Doughboys soldiered
on, becoming one of the most popular Western Swing bands in Texas; versions of
the group continued to perform right up into the present.
speaking of talented musicians, and founders of musical genre, a mention here of
the oldest member of the Light Crust Doughboys is surely in order. Marvin
joined the band in 1935 and continued playing with them until his death, June
6, 2001, at the age of 88. He was
known worldwide for introducing Dixieland style jazz banjo to Western Swing
music. The influence of musician,
arranger, composer, and producer, ‘Smokey’ Montgomery could be heard every
time Western Swing music, Dixieland style jazz banjo, or intricate swinging
banjo solos were played. In an
eight-decade-spanning career which had seen ‘Smokey’ recognized in virtually
every Western Swing and Banjo Hall of Fame in the world, he had more than earned
the title of "Mister Tenor Banjo" and "Mister Light Crust
Doughboy". In February 2001,
‘Smokey’ was honored with a Grammy Nomination in the gospel music field for
his work with The Light Crust Doughboys, and he had earned Grammy Nominations in
1997, 1998, and 2000 for best recorded work in his category. In
1995 the 74th Texas Legislature called Marvin ‘Smokey’ Montgomery
a “National Treasure” along with his fellow Light Crust Doughboys.
The Light Crust Doughboys were also designated “Official Music
Ambassadors for The State of Texas”.
But, from the very first "The Light Crust
Doughboys are on the air" in 1931, and
continuing through their silver age renaissance in the 1990s and beyond, the
Light Crust Doughboys and their illustrious alumni like Bob Wills, Milton Brown,
Herman Amspiger, Tommy Duncan, Johnnie Lee Wills, W. Lee O'Daniel, Leon
McAuliffe, Marvin Montgomery, Cecil Brower, Knocky Parker, Kenneth Pitts, Muryel
Campbell, Leon Huff, Dick Reinhart, Hank Thompson, Slim Whitman, Jim Boyd,
Johnny Strawn, Ronnie Dawson, Carroll Hubbard, Jerry Elliott, Bill Simmons, John
Walden, Art Greenhaw and others wrote a large and important chapter in the
history of both Texas and American music and are continuing to do so today.
And here are some updates and recent history of the group.
Millions of Texans and Southwesterners
have been touched over the years by the Light
Crust Doughboys. From 1930 to 1952,
fans faithfully tuned in to their early-morning
and, later, noontime radio program, and turned
out in droves to hear them play live.
Many are still doing so today wherever they appear.
Here is a recent picture of the group.
And here is their website:
Texans and anyone else who read this may want to know where they will be
appearing and what they are doing the rest of this year on onward.
And, you may also want to know where to get CDs and DVDs of the
Light Crust Doughboys are considered the longest-running country and western
band in the world and one of the top historical bands of all time.
quote THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS,
Light Crust Doughboys are to Western Swing what Bill Monroe is to
. When the ultimate western swing
music book is written, The Light Crust Doughboys will be in Chapter 1, Page
The present day leader and chosen protégé/keeper of
the Light Crust Doughboys is Art Greenhaw as chosen by Marvin ‘Smokey’
. They are still Western Swing,
through and through, but have won Grammy’s for their gospel music recordings.
And here is the very latest:
as reported on August 8, 2007, by Frank W. Greenhaw,
CRUST DOUGHBOYS RECEIVE WILL ROGERS AWARD AND
In August 7,
2007 ceremonies in Garland, Texas at the Granville Performing Arts Center hosted
by the international Academy of Western Artists, The Light Crust Doughboys have
received the Will Rogers Award and statue for Western Swing Duo/or Group for
The Award and
statue are designed according to AWA credo "to recognize and honor those
individuals who, through outstanding personal accomplishments, have helped
preserve and perpetuate the traditions, values and heritage of the American
Members of The
Light Crust Doughboys, State of
' Official Music Ambassadors and touring musicians through the Texas Commission
on the Arts, include Art Greenhaw, Jim Baker, Maurice "Reece"
Anderson, Kevin Bailey, Dale Cook and oftentimes "Doughgirl" Teresa
Anderson and Doughboy Emeritus Jerry Elliott. Says AWA Director Bobby Newton,
recognizes The Light Crust Doughboys for all the band has done to preserve
's country and western heritage, and we know others will strive to achieve their
accomplishments. The Light Crust
Doughboys are bringing the cowboy movement into the 21st century through their
contemporary work and by carrying on in the tradition of those who preceded
Light Crust Doughboys' Will Rogers Award and statue will be on display at
various upcoming Doughboys' concerts including September 10 at Dallas' Pocket
Sandwich Theatre, reservations 214/821-1860.
Sandwich Theatre, Dallas, 1 block east of Central Expressway at Mockingbird
Lane, call box office after 2 pm daily.)
and written by
C. Helmer, Honorary Member Of The Light Crust Doughboys.
the help of Art Greenhaw, the present leader of the Doughboys, and on-line