Bob Wills Country | Letters | Chicago Reader

Bob Wills Country 


To the editor:

As a regular visitor to Chicago and a longtime fan of Bob Wills, I was tickled to read Linda Ray's article on Wills and the recent Pine Valley Cosmonauts tribute to him ("The Pioneer's Spirit," October 23), especially since its appearance in the Rock, Etc. section neatly anticipated the recent announcement that Wills will soon be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as an "influence").

As it happens, Chicago can take at least some collateral pride in this honor, as it was the site of two of Wills's most important early recording sessions, which took place on September 29 and 30, 1936; among the numbers recorded then were three that appear on the Cosmonauts' album: "Right or Wrong," "Trouble in Mind," and the supremely influential "Steel Guitar Rag." It's fitting that these tunes should once again be recorded and heard where they were originally waxed.

By the same token, it should be pointed out that another artist inducted into the hall as an influence also made important recordings in Chicago; all 28 of the recordings of Bill Monroe and the edition of his Bluegrass Boys who created the style later named "bluegrass" were made in the windy city over the course of two weekends in 1946 and 1947.

Chicago's role in helping to create and popularize these two distinctive American styles of music--western swing and bluegrass--deserves to be remembered; it may have been small, but it was by no means insignificant.

Jon Weisberger

Lakeside Park


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