Dub Adams and his K-Bar Ranch Hands - Pocahuntas Stomp (sic) / Income Tax (Dude 1498)
Western swing par excellance from San Angelo cattleman C.W. "Dub" Adams (1919-1987) and his group of very swing-oriented players, who, among other things, put to rest the stupid but very persistent myth that drums were considered "the Devil's instrument" among country musicians and their audiences prior to rock and roll in West Texas. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A small army of musicians seemed to have been K-Bar Ranch Hands at one time or another, but the group heard here are Jelly Greene (fiddle), "Roly Poly" (possibly Pete Etchison) (steel guitar), Bill Freeman (piano), Gordon "Jelly" Teagarden (drums), Elgin "Tex" Johnson (bass), Hal Tennyson* (clarinet) and a trumpeter who remains unknown. This was probably recorded in San Angelo in 1947 and released the following year by Jim Beck on his Dude label in Dallas. They also had releases on Swing and Bullet.
(* Kevin Coffey confirmed that this was the same Hal Tennyson who played with Glenn Miller, Stan Getz, etc.)
Dub Adams and his K-Bar Ranch Hands on stage, c. late 1946-early 1947. From left: Joe Penny (Pennington), Claude Fewell, Vivian Earle (piano), Dub Adams, Charlie "Snuffy" Smith (bass), Bud Ashcraft (steel guitar), Mal Rhinehart (drums?). All photos courtesy Kevin Coffey Collection. Click to enlarge.
Jelly Greene, who appears on the records but not in the photos, and bassist Charlie "Snuffy" Smith, who appears in the photos but not on the records, were both pretty famous musicians in West Texas, as was drummer "Jelly" Teagarden (a relative of Jack). Two musicians who worked with Adams, Jimmie Webster and Little Joe Penny (Pennington), were also members of Hank Williams' Drifting Cowboys when he was still a local attraction in Alabama. Webster, a teen-ager who also played with Eddie Shuler in Lake Charles and Dean Rasberry in Beaumont during his brief career, was killed when a car driven by "Snuffy" Smith collided with a train at 2:30 a.m. while driving home from a Dub Adams gig. This happened in March, 1947. Joe Penny worked with Adams prior to the fatal car crash, then left for a steady job with Hank Williams in Alabama for the rest of 1947. He rejoined Adams in 1948, when they were the house band at the Ace of Clubs in Odessa. He is apparently the same Joe Penny who later cut the rockabilly single "Bip a Little, Bop a Lot" on Federal.
On stage, possibly at the Ace of Clubs in Odessa, c. 1948. From left: Claude Fewell, Joe Penny, Dub Adams, unknown bass.
Like many musicians, the concept of monogamy seems to have been lost on Dub Adams, who, according to his grandson (the Dallas musician J.D. Whittenburg), was married no less than eight times. You can read more about this character at a page created by J.D. here. It's not known how long his time as a bandleader lasted, but his recording career was over by 1950, and had receded far enough from memory by 1987 to go unmentioned in his San Angelo Standard-Times obituary that year.
Thanks to Kevin Coffey for his research and photos on Dub Adams. Dub Adams band outside of the Hangar Club in San Angelo, c. late 1946-early 1947. The sign above the club identifies them as "a Western Swing Band," possibly the first time this expression was used to promote a band in Texas. From left: Mal Rhinehart (drums?), Bud Ashcraft (steel), Billy Pieratt (piano), Pete Etchison (steel guitar), Blackie (?), Dub Adams, Joe Penny, Claude Fewell (fiddle), unknown, Snuffy Smith (bass).
Obituary from the San Angelo Standard Times
C.W. "Dub" Adams, 67, died at 8:15 a.m. Thursday in Shannon West Texas Memorial Hospital. Services are pending with Johnson's Funeral Home.
C.W. "Dub" Adams, a longtime resident of San Angelo, died Feb. 5, 1987, at Shannon West Texas Memorial Hospital after a lengthy illness.
Mr. Adams was a charter member of the International Charlois Cattle Association of America. He established the American Cattle Breeders Hall of Fame in Grand Prarie and spent many years in West Texas in various aspects of the cattle industry.
Mr. Adams was born June 20, 1919 in Comstock to Harmon Adams and Alice Martin Adams. He is survived by his wife, Brenda; and one son, C.W. "Dub" Whittenburg of Waco; and four grandchildren.
Services for Mr. Adams will be a 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9, 1987, in Johnson's Funeral Home chapel. Burial will follow at Lawnhaven Memorial Gardens.
Pallbearers will be Billie Hanks, Calvin Barbee, Gene Manning, Roy Byrd, Buddy Carmes, Bill Collins, Clarence Geistman and James Pentecost.
* Note: the original post was amended for corrections.