Home / Biography / Smokey Wood

Smokey Wood

“Got profit my pocket/whiskey on my brain.” Therefore sings nation golf swing pianist Smokey Timber on his “Special LITTTLE LADY of Mine.” Which little bit of lyric will go quite a distance in spelling out Wood’s honky tonk ethos of fun, liquor, and great music. He strike his leading for a limited period in the past due ’30s, fronting a music group that may be counted alongside Bob Wills & His Tx Playboys among the earliest from the traditional western golf swing rings to emerge in Tx and all over the Western world around World Battle II. Referred to as the Houston Hipster, following the town he produced his tag in, Smokey Timber may not be among the best-known nation statistics, but he certainly is among the most undeniably exciting to hear. Born on Sept 16, 1918, in Harrison, AR, Timber (delivered John Bryce Timber) grew up by his dad Zack, a railroad engineer, and mom Maude, a piano participant. He spent nearly all his child years in Oklahoma before shifting to Houston in 1935 at age 17. Real wood lay out from Muskogee, Okay, bringing his music group the Oklahoma Playboys with him. Happily putting on their jazz affects inside a nation guise, Real wood and his early musical cohorts — mandolin participant Leo Raley, guitarist Randall Ray (Leo’s sibling), and fiddler Friend Ray, amongst others — in the beginning discovered it hard to break right into Houston’s musical picture; with affects like Body fat Waller (also a favourite of Bob Wills’), Jimmie Lunceford, Ellington, Benny Goodman, Billie Vacation, and Stephen Foster — not forgetting a slew of blues and nation functions — Houston’s music capabilities didn’t quite know very well what regarding the group and generally overlooked them; their hillbilly, jazz, and pop mix actually kept them from the regional musician’s union in early stages. Left with their very own devices, Hardwood and company began to make a little name for themselves playing in Houston’s many beverage joint parts — they scraped jointly a living from their one money a night charge and tips. Ultimately the music group got some surroundings period at radio place KXYZ. Hardwood would later begin using Floyd Tillman, Hezzie Bryant, Charles Keeshan, and Leon Selph beneath the name from the Blue Ridge Playboys, an clothing that lasted near a calendar year. The band after that transformed their name towards the Georgia Flyers, relocated over to train station KTRH, and transformed their name once again to Contemporary Mountaineers. It had been about this period that the kids in his music group realized that aside from music, Wood’s great like was for the wacky tobaccy, or as it’s better known: cannabis. According for some accounts, Real wood was high more often than not and even would smoke within the bandstand when the idea grabbed him (so when the cops weren’t near by, one presumes). Also to additional put stuff in perspective, Wood’s appreciate was therefore steadfast — and big, as well — he generally held at least a pound or two around for secure keeping and spared his trim budget along the way by developing some plant life of his very own. Smokey, indeed! Therefore, with Hardwood perennially in great spirits, Contemporary Mountaineers came collectively around 1937. Also to go with his very own predilections, Hardwood discovered a couple of hard-drinking players to golf swing those blues apart. Combined with the best fiddler J.R. Chatwell, pedal-steel participant J.C. Method, and guitarist Lefty Groves, the music group included the Chu Berry-inspired tenor saxophonist and clarinetist Hal Hebert and bassist Rip Ramsey. While gigging throughout the Houston region in their very own Pierce Arrow bus, Hardwood as well as the Mountaineers got their initial big break whenever a Dallas manufacturer offered them the opportunity to trim some tracks. Attempting in order to avoid any copyright costs, the music group was persuaded to record all primary materials at their March 1, 1937 program in San Antonio. Going for a bit occasionally from the strikes of your day and various nation and jazz edges, the Mountaineers lower several music that day time, the results which being among the better vintage nation golf swing committed to polish. Think about Louis Armstrong and Excess fat Waller combining it up using the wants Wills and Spade Cooley and you also obtain the picture: the tracks leap along on Wood’s pumping piano and Grove’s mightily riffing acoustic guitar work (tones of Django Rheinhardt), while Hebert and Chatwell tastefully — and having a little bit of the older lowdown, as well — weave in and from the proceedings using their particular tenor and violin lines. And capping everything off, there’s Way’s sly metal guitar function and, obviously, Wood’s laconic vocals and well-timed spoken counterpoint in the vein of Waller and Wills. However, this would end up being Wood’s just outing with Contemporary Mountaineers. Precipitated by business supervisor Roy Thames’ dislike of Wood’s tone of voice as well as the ever-growing existence of pianist and vocalist Sock Underwood, Hardwood decided to keep the group to pursue per day work at a Houston filling up place, which also occurred to accomplish a mean business moving large levels of Wood’s preferred herb. Bouncing back to recording studio, Hardwood got another possibility through the Dallas record business that sponsored the Mountaineer classes and finished up slicing ten paths on Sept 12, 1937 in Dallas. With Method along for the trip on steel acoustic guitar, Real wood was became a member of by various regional music artists on another rounded of top-notch music. Called the Solid wood Potato chips, the group reeled off such shows as Wood’s “Touring Blues” (after Jimmie Rodgers’ “Touring Blues”), “Trucking Blues” (a weed paean that requires a suggestion from Cab Calloway’s “Kicking the Gong Around”), as well as the wonderfully gin-soaked “Moonlight in Oklahoma.” Once more, for copyright issues, Solid wood borrowed from your collective musical handbag, while changing points enough to state authorship of all of the tunes. This session using the Solid wood Chips wouldn’t normally end up being Wood’s last, nonetheless it would tag the start of the longer and frequently wayward sojourn he’d consider until his loss of life some 35 years afterwards. Furthermore to taking periods to marry and also have a child, Timber roamed across the Southwest, CA, and also in the Northeast for any spell. Besides conning music shop owners out of devices and driving some of his close friends crazy along with his proto-hippy methods, Timber did find time for you to are radio announcer in Oklahoma and California so that as promoter in a variety of places. He eventually managed to get back to Tx, elevated fighting cocks, dabbled in painting, and continuing to try out music. He also discovered time to perform a flea marketplace in Waco. Wood’s certainly didn’t prevent playing with additional bands, though. From your past due ’30s until his passing in 1975, he actually had some high-profile gigs. At one stage, Bob Wills asked Solid wood and Mountaineer-alum J.R. Chatwell to create a group around his fiddle-playing dad, Uncle John Wills. Spending additional time living it up than operating, Solid wood and Chatwell had been soon with out a gig and producing their in the past to Tx. Wood’s biggest shot in the big style, though, arrived in 1945, when he arrived a gig with Spade Cooley as the vocalist was riding on top of his strike “Shame, Shame you.” After a botched try to obtain Cooley to fund a music college for Timber to perform, the Houston Hipster ambled back again to Tx just as before to fish, smoke cigarettes weed, and beverage beer. Of these ill-fated projects, Timber continued to try out solo for the money and discovered intermittent use the rings of Cliff Bruner in Beaumont, Expenses Mounce in Houston, and Adolph Hofner in San Antonio. He also spent some those twenty years from 1940-1960 touring the carnival circuit with Friend Ray and playing one-off gigs and single shows. Within the last many years of his existence, Solid wood unfortunately was living amongst fellow drifters out at his house in Meridian, TX. Besides dick fighting and developing his plants, Solid wood did have an extended gig with Houston saxophonist Joe Sanchez. Actually, his last recordings — a cover of “Lucille” b/w “Nature of ’76” — had been made out of Sanchez. After that, having drunk himself to sick health and not really interested in searching for a doctor’s help, Timber finally passed away on January 6, 1975 of what’s presumed to have already been heart failure. Sadly, not much in the form of Smokey Timber recordings can be found. Conserve for The Houston Hipster collection on Rambler, which include the majority of his 1937 recordings with Contemporary Mountaineers as well as the Solid wood Chips, and some Western golf swing compilations, the probability of additional Solid wood recordings is most likely little. Between his Sanchez edges, some slashes from his period with Cooley, Bruner, and Hofner, and perhaps also some uncommon tapes of his many single outings in the honky tonk circuit, somebody could probably think of a good collection to help expand chronicle the Houston Hipster’s rocky profession.

Check Also

Vernon Andrade

Although generally forgotten, Vernon Andrade was an extremely influential bandleader from the ’20s and ’30s …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.