Cover for TOWNSEND: San Antonio Rose: The Life and Music of Bob Wills. Click for larger image

San Antonio Rose

The Life and Music of Bob Wills

"Until Hank Williams came along, it was just Bob Willis," says Willie Nelson. "He was it." And indeed he was, especially for the thousands in the Southwest who knew and loved Bob Wills. The colorful band leader-composer-fiddler from Turkey, Texas, was the one performer who for years lassoed the emotions of country-and-western fans nationwide. For a while in the early forties, his records sold better than those of any other recording artist. He was voted not only into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, but also into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, the only performer other than Gene Autry to be so honored.

Affectionately written by a Texan who responded to the legendary fiddler's magnetism, San Antonio Rose is a meticulous recapturing of Wills and the musical excitement he created. Charles R. Townsend traces Wills's colorful and dynamic life, from his birth into a family of frontier fiddlers (1905), through the development of his career and the poignancy of his last recording session (1973), to his death in 1975. He shows how Wills brought black and white musical traditions together and examines the tremendous impact he had on both popular and country music through the more than 550 selections he recorded and the forty years he and his Texas Playboys performed in dance halls and on radio.

"One can only stand in awe at the kind of work that went into Townsend's book. . . . San Antonio Rose must be recognized as a major advance in the study of American music. It is a masterpiece of layout and design, rich with photos and well-done illustrations, [and] should be in the library of anyone interested in American music."--Charles Wolfe, Journal of Country Music

"A warm and honest portrait of the man who brought the music of 'country folks' to town, who merged the spontaneity of country fiddling with the Big Band Sound, giving birth to Western Swing."--Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A landmark in country music scholarship."--Michael Mendelson, Western Folklore

Charles R. Townsend, professor of history at West Texas State University, won a Grammy Award in 1975 for his brochure notes accompanying United Artists' release of For the Last Time, the last recording session of Bob Willis and his Texas Playboys.

To order online:

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Franklin D. Roosevelt - Cover
Franklin D. Roosevelt

The War Years, 1939-1945

Roger Daniels

American Music - Cover
American Music

Edited by Gayle Sherwood Magee

Franklin D. Roosevelt - Cover
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Road to the New Deal, 1882-1939

Roger Daniels

Cinematic Encounters - Cover
Cinematic Encounters

Interviews and Dialogues

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Bluegrass Generation - Cover
Bluegrass Generation

A Memoir

Neil V. Rosenberg

Lincoln's Confidant - Cover
Lincoln's Confidant

The Life of Noah Brooks

Wayne C. Temple Edited by Rodney O. Davis and Douglas L. Wilson

The Selected Papers of Jane Addams - Cover
The Selected Papers of Jane Addams

vol. 3: Creating Hull-House and an International Presence, 1889-1900

Jane Addams Edited by Mary Lynn McCree Bryan, Maree de Angury, and Ellen Skerrett

Black Opera - Cover
Black Opera

History, Power, Engagement

Naomi André

Music and the Moving Image - Cover
Music and the Moving Image

Edited by Gillian B. Anderson & Ronald H. Sadoff

Los Romeros - Cover
Los Romeros

Royal Family of the Spanish Guitar

Walter Aaron Clark

Mayor Harold Washington - Cover
Mayor Harold Washington

Champion of Race and Reform in Chicago

Roger Biles

The Man That Got Away - Cover
The Man That Got Away

The Life and Songs of Harold Arlen

Walter Rimler

James Baldwin and the 1980s - Cover
James Baldwin and the 1980s

Witnessing the Reagan Era

Joseph Vogel