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

Book Reviews

crowds in the country. Folks wanted to swing to jazz and see and hear
Wills play the fiddle. Having been featured in several cowboy movies
beginning in 1940, "Western Swing" was on its way.
In the course of nearly one half century, Wills and his bands re-
corded over 500 songs. At their peak Wills and the Playboys reportedly
could perform 3,600oo numbers. Wills's greatest happiness was found
in music. While working with the Playboys, he was not only band
leader but fun leader too. He so inspired the band members that a
strong sense of loyalty and companionship characterized the group.
Many particularly talented musicians turned down offers to play with
big-name bands because of the comradery of the Playboys and espe-
cially because of Wills personally and his musical imaginativeness.
What worked for the band unhappily did not work in Wills's private
life. Married five times he was intensely jealous of each of his wives.
He was an insecure man and a periodic drunk, especially in the later
years of his career. Never was he able to maintain a happy personal
Wills is remembered mainly for his fiddle and string bands. He had
difficulty accepting this preference since he always thought of his big
horn bands as his best. Wills never fully understood that what folks
liked most of all was Bob Wills and his fiddle.
Townsend has written a definitive biography, the work of extensive
research. Though he has an undeniable pro-Wills bias, the author's
interpretations are so well documented that the book is persuasive.
In addition to over i,ooo footnotes, many annotated, there also is a
helpful essay on sources. Over 150 photographs covering Wills's life
make the book additionally attractive. Bob Pinson's discography and
filmusicography provide further guidance to those wishing additional
information. The book should be read seriously by those interested
in the development of American music.
Austin, Texas WAYNE OAKES
Clark and the Anderson: A Personal Profile. By N. Don Macon. (Hous-
ton: The Texas Medical Center, 1976. Pp. ii+272. Illustrations.
In 1941 the legislature of Texas appropriated half a million dollars
for the establishment of a cancer research hospital with the provision
that it be under the control of the Board of Regents of the University
of Texas but not a part of the medical school. John W. Spies, then
dean of the University of Texas Medical School at Galveston, had a


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 25, 2016.

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