Who was/is Asleep At The Wheel ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Asleep At The Wheel

Mitglieder: Ray Benson, Gesang, Gitarre- Chris O`Connell, Gesang, Gitarre- Tony Garnier, Bass- Danny Levin, Fiddle, Mandoline- Lucky Oceans, Steel Guitar- Leroy Preston, Gesang, Gitarre, Schlagzeug- Link Davis,Jr., Fiddle, Saxophon- Floyd Domino, Keyboards- Bill Mabry, Fiddle- Gene Dobkin, Gesang, Bass- Reuben Gosfield, Steel Guitar- Richard Casanova, Fiddle- Scott Hennige, Schlagzeug- Ed Vizard, Tenor Saxophon- Patrick Ryan, Saxophon, Klarinette- Chris York, Schlagzeug- Andy Stein, Fiddle, Saxophon-John Nicholas, Gitarre, Piano, Gesang- Spencer Starnes, Bass- Fran Christina, Schlagzeug

Record Labels: United Artists, Epic, Capitol, MCA
Erster Hit: Choo Choo Ch'Boogie (1974)
Erster Top Ten Hit: The Letter That Johnny Walker Read (1975)

Asleep At The Wheel, eine 1970 in West Virginia gegründete Western Swing Band, die später nach San Francisco und schließlich 1974 nach Texas zog. Am Anfang noch ganz der Western Swing Tradition verpflichtet, begann die Gruppe später mit Elementen aus dem Jazz zu experimentieren, ohne jedoch den Swing ganz abschütteln zu können- dafür sorgte immer wieder als Gast der Ex-Texas-Playboy Johnny Gimble. Neben Commander Cody und seinen Lost Planet Airmen war Asleep At The Wheel Anfang der 70er Jahre maßgeblich an der Wiederbelebung des Western Swing beteiligt. Mit dem Ende der 70er Jahre war die Gruppe dann kaum noch im Gespräch. Erst 1986 erschien wieder eine neue L.P. von Asleep At The Wheel, die jedoch wenig Aufsehen erregte und die auch kaum an die Qualität der Einspielungen aus den 70er Jahren anknüpfen konnte. 1987 dann, zurückgekehrt zu Epic, brachte die Gruppe ihre Musik wieder auf den Punkt und hatte Erfolge.

Asleep At The Wheel

  Take Me Back To Tulsa

In these times when absolutely every note that Bob Wills, Milton Brown, and Cliff Bruner recorded is available on Bear Family and other labels, it's worth remembering that, in 1973, western swing was woefully hard to find on records. A few various artists' compilations and budget albums were about the extent of it. Bob Wills' then-current albums on Kapp were no incentive for anyone to go in search of his music; a bigger incentive came from Merle Haggard's 1970 album 'Tribute To The Best Damn Fiddle Player In The World.' The San Francisco western swing/honky tonk revival noted by a 'Billboard'correspondent in mid-1972 had already seen revivalist albums with a counter-culture twist released by Dan Hicks and Commander Cody. Just behind them came Asleep at the Wheel. On the east coast, they'd opened for Alice Cooper and other acts before the Commander told them to come west. "I demoed Asleep at the Wheel for Jerry Wexler at Atlantic," said group leader Ray Benson. "We sent it in and I got it back and he said, 'It's very nice but the lead guitar player needs work.' He was right. So I went to work." Then, in aninterview a couple of years later, Van Morrison said, "...there's some relatively unknown group around that I really dig. Asleep at the Wheel plays great country music." That was enough to send the record labels in search of the Wheel. Former Cricket Tommy Allsup landed the deal for United Artists.

Like many of Bob Wills' best and best-known songs, Take Me Back To Tulsa had been a fiddle tune, known as Take Me Back To Texas before Wills moved to KVOO Tulsa. He recorded it during several days of Dallas sessions in February 1941 that resulted in a plethora of transcendently great music. Of course, Ray Benson couldn't hope to match the droll, inebriate charm of Wills' vocalist, Tommy Duncan. Who could? Soon after the Wheel's first LP came out, Willie Nelson persuaded them to join the nascent Austin scene. "He heard this young band, a long-haired band, was playing Bob Wills' music," Ray Benson said later. "He was just very curious. That was in '73, and he was one of the guys who convinced me to move to Texas. We were living in California at the time. He put us on shows and introduced us around." Forty-two years and one hundred band members later, Asleep at the Wheel is still at it, and still based in Austin. Their 2009 album with Nelson, 'Willie And The Wheel,' reached #13 on the country album charts and won a Grammy.

Various Truckers, Kickers, Cowboy Angels - The Blissed-Out Birth Of Country Rock, Vol. 6: 1973 (2-CD)
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