Bill Boyd (1910-1977) was of the kings of western swing, a key figure in the early years of the style playing in a variety of bands before starting his own band, The Cowboy Ramblers, in 1932. The Ramblers was a long-lived ensemble, recording over two hundred tracks in the 1930s, '40s and early '50s... Boyd and his band had a notably upbeat, cheerful approach, recording irresistible novelty numbers such as "Wah Hoo," "Fan It," and a number of jaunty instrumentals. Here's a quick look at their work...
Bill Boyd "Bill Boyd's Cowboy Ramblers" (RCA-Bluebird, 1975) (LP)
A stunning 2-LP set. A cult favorite of western swing fans, Bill Boyd and his Cowboy Ramblers were certainly one of the best outfits of their time. Throughout the dark ages of the minimal major-label reissues, this twofer became a Holy Grail of sorts -- thirty-two long out-of-print classics by one of the greatest bandleaders of the 1930s. This features, of course, the irresistibly wacky "Wah Hoo," as well as tunes like "I Can't Tame Wild Women," "Fan It," and "What's The Use," which somehow always find their way into the canon. Even now, when a couple of Bill Boyd CDs have popped up, this collection is the one to look for. Hard to imagine a better collection, and boy, wouldn't it be great if RCA got around to reissuing this set again?
Bill Boyd "...And His Cowboy Ramblers: 1934-47" (Texas Rose, 1982) (LP)
Also long out of print, but quite welcome when it came out, this LP mirrors the RCA twofer mentioned above. The RCA collection is far superior, in sound quality, song quantity and selection... Still, since both editions are pretty elusive, you definitely shouldn't hesitate to pick this disc up if you see it... Any Bill Boyd is mighty good stuff!
Bill Boyd "The Master Of Cowboy Swing" (Bronco Buster)
These mid-1940s recordings are not necessarily his best; there are a bunch of indifferent instrumentals, and the sound quality is iffy in parts. Still, it's certainly worth checking out, especially since RCA isn't likely to ever reissue that killer 2-LP retrospective that came out on Bluebird in the mid-'70s.
Bill Boyd "The Eyes Of Texas" (Binge Disc, 1998)
Bill Boyd "The Golden Age Of Bill Boyd" (Binge Disc, 2000)
Bill Boyd "Swing With Bill Boyd & His Cowboy Ramblers" (Binge Disc, 2002)
Bill Boyd "V.1 -- Saturday Night Rag: 1934-1936" (Acrobat, 2004)
Bill Boyd "V.2 -- Lone Star Rag: 1937-1949" (Acrobat, 2005)
Bill Boyd "Swinging & Singing" (BACM, 2005)
Hick Music Index