Leon McAuliff - Swingin' Western Strings of Leon McAuliff LP (Ltd Blue Vinyl Edition)Label: Modern Harmonic
Established in 1953, Starday Records quickly became one of the premier independent country labels of the 1950s. Specializing in hardcore honky tonk and rockabilly, Starday released some of the wildest rockabilly of the 1950s and launched the career of country music superstar George Jones. When label co-owner “Pappy” Daily sold out to his partner Don Pierce in 1958, country music was transitioning to a slicker, pop-oriented sound. Pierce chose a different path, targeting a still-thriving market for LPs of traditional country music and such niche genres as bluegrass and steel guitar instrumentals. Over the next 10 years, Pierce built Starday into the largest independent country label in the world through a massive mail order operation and a rack jobber distribution network placing Starday’s distinctive-looking LPs in truck stops and rural markets across the U.S. Modern Harmonic is proud to begin its exploration of the vast and eccentric Starday catalog with classic steel guitar instrumental long players.
Leon McAuliffe began his musical career in 1933 at the age of 16 as a member of the pioneering Western swing band, the Light Crust Doughboys. Two years later, McAuliffe joined Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys. Along with Bob Dunn of Milton Brown’s Musical Brownies, McAuliffe was responsible for establishing the electric steel guitar as a centerpiece of the Western swing sound through such songs as “San Antonio Rose” and “Steel Guitar Rag,” as well as becoming the best known steel guitar player in the world through Wills’ enthusiastic introduction of McAuliffe’s solos — “Take it away, Leon!” After serving as a naval flight instructor in World War II, McAuliffe returned to his musical career, launching his own Western swing band, Leon McAuliffe and the Cimarron Boys, opening his own nightclub in Tulsa, Oklahoma and recording for a variety of labels (sometimes spelling his name “McAuliff.”)
Recorded in Dallas in 1962, Swingin' Western Strings of Leon McAuliff, was a showcase for McAullife’s distinctive steel guitar playing and his skill as a bandleader as he directs his band through a dozen new instrumental arrangements of Western swing and honky tonk classics. Mastered from the original analog mono reels and pressed on blue vinyl, Modern Harmonic says, “Take it away, Leon!” for the 21st century!