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Leon Rausch

The Voice of The Texas Playboys

Dr. John E. Perkins, Jnr


Leon Rausch with Graham

Dr John E. Parker Jnr & Graham


With a passionate affection of Western Swing music and the fact that I was married in June 2001 to Marlene, we spent part of a three-week honeymoon at the Legends Of Western Swing Festival in Wichita Falls, Texas. The highlight of the five-day festival was the performance by the Bob Wills Texas Playboys. Bob Wills died in 1975 after suffering a stroke that left him in a coma for eighteen months, but the name of the Texas Playboys has lived on. The rights to the name of Bob Wills Texas Playboys is now owned by Leon Rausch and Tommy Allsup, whom I had the greatest of pleasures in meeting at the festival.

I also met the author of this book Dr. John E. Perkins, Jnr who had a teaching career at both Corpus Christi and Austin Senior High School, the University of Texas at Austin amongst others and retired as a Professor of Economics at Texas Christian University. He has been a devoted fan of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys since the 1940's and has closely admired the career of Leon Rausch since the 1960's.

Meeting Dr. Perkins at the festival, we soon became kindred spirits in our interest of western swing. I am ever grateful to John for this gift of his biographical works of Leon Rausch, which he presented to me signed by both himself and Leon. A gift that I will forever treasure.

Born 2 Oct 1927 Edgar Leon Rauch was the voice of the Texas Playboys joining the band on St Patrick's Day 1958. Bob Wills and Leon Rausch were two men travelling in the same musical direction for many years. This book records the life and career of Leon, tells how he joined the band of Bob Wills' brother Tommy Lee Wills and ultimately became a member of the best known band in the history of western swing, Bob Wills Texas Playboys. Interviews with numerous musicians, such as Ray Benson (ASATW), Boxcar Willie, Cindy Walker (songwriter), Don Edwards (cowboy balladeer) Dayna Wills (singer and niece of Bob Wills), plus several of the original Texas Playboys, sketch out the reverence held for Leon Rausch. It tells of how Paul McCartney wanted to wrap up his long concert tour of the USA by giving a party at Soldiers Field, Chicago on 29 July 1990 and invited Leon Rausch to organise a Texas band for the occasion. McCartney said that he wanted a "Texas country band, a kicking band, true to the Bob Wills' style."

Leon in turn pays tribute to the likes of Ray Benson, Alvin Crow, Lyle Lovett and George Strait for keeping western swing alive and adds praise to DJ's including Bill Mack (songwriter of LeAnn Rimes 'Blue'), Larry Scott and George Richie (widower of Tammy Wynette) for their contribution in helping to get Leon's own music out over the airways.

269 pages, including 56 pages of fine B&W and much sort after original photos collected by Rausch during his 40 year career. It tells of Rausch's life through his youth and his celebrated musical career that started in the early 40's. Chronicling his family life, it pays special tribute to Leon's wife Vonda who has been his inspiration for 50 years. There are humorous anecdotes of times on the road; such as the time Leon was backing the tour bus into a parking lot and ran over the parking attendants hut. And then a time in Hollywood when he was backing the bus out of a tight parking space and hooked up on the bumper of somebody's Volkswagen, dragging it down the road behind him. It also tells of the stress it puts on family life, being away from home for long periods at a time. A compelling read and leaves no doubt that western swing music is the love of his life

With a full discography of every record Leon Rausch has been included on. This book tells the complete story of one of the greatest vocalists and stylists in the History of Western Swing and a man who I'm proud to have him call me a friend.

Leon Rausch...The Voice of The Texas Playboys  
Can be obtained in the UK from A& R Booksearch  01503 22 246


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