The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

scenes relate chapters of the saga of ranching on the Plains, compli-
menting the many written histories of this facet of the frontier move-
ment westward.
The one feature that stands out above all others in this beautifully
executed work-fifty-seven out of the eighty paintings are in color-is
Rogers's sensitiveness to the environment that gave birth to ranching
culture in the region. His ability to capture the vastness of the sky, to
bring to each canvas a sense of the extensiveness of the landscape, and
to pick up the muted tones of the flora of western Texas results in a
powerful statement that elicits an immediate response from the viewer
as regards an aspect of ranching decades ago.
In the introduction Rogers provides insight into his inner self-to
his feelings and understanding of a way of life that has largely passed.
His paintings reenforce that insight. He also has made brief comments
-capsules of historical data relating to the buildings and people who
built them-about each of his paintings.
All will welcome this addition to the ever growing list of historical
art published under the aegis of Frank H. Wardlaw.
University of Texas at Austin L. TUFFLY ELLIS
San Antonio Rose: The Life and Music of Bob Wills. By Charles R.
Townsend. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976. Pp. xv+
395. Preface, pictures, discography, bibliography, index. $12.50.)
Bob Wills came from a family of frontier musicians who of necessity
supplemented their uncertain income by playing country dances. The
family lived and worked across the breadth of Texas, exposing their
children to the gamut of cultural influences. Wills worked in cotton
camps, mostly with blacks, where he learned blues and jazz. In West
Texas he worked on some of the state's largest ranches where he learned
the cowboys' songs and their penchant for a music reflective of the
vastness of the plains. By the time Wills was twenty, he was a man
of many musical parts. His music reflected those many influences
throughout his life.
Wills was an innovator. He was never satisfied with a strictly con-
ventional sound. By the mid-thirties, he was experimenting with ways
to combine a variety of musical expressions to give his style added di-
mension. He added to his band instruments previously unused in dance
bands. By the late thirties he had included horns, reeds, and percussion,
with his strings to produce the sound of swing with a heavy dose of jazz.
By 1940, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys were drawing the largest

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101205/. Accessed September 15, 2014.