Monday, December 21, 2009

The Western Swingsters on Jet EP 611



The Western Swingsters (Jet EP 611)

"Forgetting the Blues" vocal by Bennie Hatfield



"Please Tell Me" vocal by Bill Taylor


"When Will You Love Me" vocal by Billy Myers


"I'm Dedicating My Life To You" vocal by Gene Blalock


The Western Swingsters are a complete mystery -- nobody in San Antonio, assuming they were from there, remembers a group by that name. Four different vocalists on one EP seems suspicious, though, so perhaps this was just a studio concoction rather than an actual band. "Forgetting the Blues" is the toughest cut. The whole EP has a nice, recorded-live-at-a-dance-hall feel.

This is not the Jet label that Bennie Hess owned in Houston. It's a late 1950s TNT press with the address of 347 E. Palfrey, San Antonio, which is in the Highland Hills neighborhood. Next time you're in the area, drop by and ask for Bennie Hatfield.

14 comments:

  1. WOW! on the Bennie Hatfield track. Just "Wow!"

    And the Bill Taylor... that's not the "Little Jewel" guy is it?

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  2. I don't know about the other guys, but Bennie Hatfield was from Big Spring and is, I think, still there. I believe he was in the Air Force in the late 50s -- in San Antonio. So I presume this was partly -- or perhaps entirely -- a group comprised of a Air Force guys stationed in San Antonio at the time.

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  3. Did Bennie Hatfield sing with other groups? Make other records?

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  4. Not that I'm aware of. I just remember digging into it, but getting sidetracked before I could follow up. One of us should contact him...

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  5. They did exist. I was one of them.

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    1. Gene, please tell us more. Any info would be welcomed.

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    2. Gene, I had no idea you had such great talent. You can provide our entertainment up at Lake Burton next month In Rabun County GA. Love to see ya there!!!
      Cousin Avery Blalock

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  6. We were active duty Air Force stationed at Lackland. Played NCO clubs and other clubs in Bandera, San Antonio. Had a steady booking on Saturday nights at a place near New Braunfels called the Solms Inn. Johnny Bush and Willie played with us for a few Saturday nights there. This was in the late 1950s. Naturally, eventually we all shipped out, disbanded and lost touch. Believe Bennie Hatfield is still somewhat active in music in West Texas, maybe around Midland Odessa. Bill Taylor played Steel, Bennie Hatfield played fiddle and guitar, Billy Myers was on piano, Wes Hankins Drums, and I was front man and did the majority of the vocal work. Walter Smith, civilian, worked for Pearl Brewery and played bass. Saw Bennie playing with a group in Lamesa a few (10) years ago. Haven't heard from the Billys (Taylor and Myers) or Wes Hankins in 50 years. Walter Smith was from San Antonio and I believe he is deceased.

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    1. Gene is my brother-in-law and definately that is him singing "I'm Dedicating my Life to You". My husband, Delmo, was stationed in San Antonio in 1961 and we had the honor of living close to Gene and hearing his band a lot. They were awesome. Being family, we also got to hear him sing a lot. My kids love hearing their Uncle Gene sing. He gets better with age.

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  7. Gene Blalock is my dad! He showed me this. So glad to see & hear it!

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  8. Sandy Blalock SmithJune 7, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Gene Blalock is my dad too & that is definitely him singing on "I'm Dedicating my Life to You." Ask him to post the picture of him with Ernest Tubb. Love hearing & seeing stuff about his music playing days--that was waaaay before I came along (like by decades) but so cool to see that side of my dad!

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  9. Robert Rosas, Jr.June 7, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    I had the sincere privilege to see the picture of Gene and Ernest Tubb. I would love to see that picture again. We miss ya out here in California!

    P.S. You've been knowing some stuff!

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  10. I really enjoy your singing.Didn't know you were in a band and could sing so well. Buck

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  11. I believe my grandfather was in this band. If any members (or anyone with knowledge of the band) knows of a Jim Swann (guitar) please email me at anthonygialde@gmail.com. I would be interested to hear any info. I had an old picture years ago but I could have sworn it said Chet someone and his Western Swingsters. My grandfather was from Midland, TX.

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