On New Year’s Night 1935, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys first played Cain’s Ballroom in downtown Tulsa. The dance hall would eventually become known as the Home of Bob Wills, with the music broadcast on KVOO. What those who tuned in would hear was something new and different. It was a take on country and Western music that infused jazz, blues, mariachi and more into a gumbo known as Western swing.
Those songs would be a precursor to rock ’n’ roll, to decades of music that all started with people hearing those radio broadcasts. Today, a giant portrait of a grinning Bob Wills greets fans as they pass through the doors, going to hear music that can in part trace its origins back to Wills and those rowdy Texas Playboys.
Courtesy/OKPOP/Bob Wills Estate Collection