Kaleidoscope Records Bob Wills Releases

A listing of all the Kaleidoscope Releases of The Bob Wills & His Texas Plays Tiffany Transcriptions with details information and comments on each release.

Listen to the complete songs! You can click on the title to listen to the song. These audio files come from YouTube channels. This website does not maintained, or have anything to do with the YouTube channels that contain these audio recordings. If a link does not work, please inform us tiffanytranscriptions@gmail.com

F-16  The Tiffany Transcriptions Vol. 1

Released: 1982
Reissue Production: Jeff Alexson & Tom Diamant
Graphic Design: Elizabeth Weil
Cover photo hand tinting: Stan Wolf
Cover photo taken by Robert Stinnett at a live performance in 1948 at Maple Hall in San Pablo, California
Musician’s notes by Tiny Moore
Other notes by Tom Diamant & Jeff Alexson

Catalog Number: LP: F-16, Cassette: C-16, CD: K-16

This was the first release and was to give an overview of what was to come. From the traditional sounding twin fiddle western swing , to the hot jazz vocals, blazing hot instrumentals, to old time Texas fiddle tunes. Each track was chosen so that all the musicians on the series would have a moment to shine.

The album started out with Nancy Jane an unissued cut from the transcriptions. This was chosen because in 1932 Bob Wills and Milton Brown, along with Derwood Brown and Sleepy Johnson, recorded the first two songs ever issued that Bob Wills played on, Sun Bonnet Sue and Nancy Jane (issued under the name of the Fort Worth Doughboys). Bob had recorded earlier, in 1929, two fiddle tunes that were never issued and the masters have been lost. Kaleidoscope purposely put this cut as the first tune to pay tribute to Bob’s first recordings and to start with a tune never heard before since it had been recorded.

Also, included in the album was Black Out Blues. This four and a half minute blues was the last song recorded at the December 30, 1947 session and the last Tiffany Transcriptions song ever recorded. It was also the last studio recording of Tommy Duncan with Bob Wills (until their reunion recordings for Liberty Records in 1960). The next night, New Year’s Eve, they played at the Havana Ballroom in Oakland. On January 1, 1948, James Petrillo, head of the musicians union, imposed his second ban on recording that lasted through most of 1948. By the time the ban was lifted Bob Wills had fired Tommy Duncan.

But the track that took everyone by surprise was Mission To Moscow  . Composed by Mel Powell and originally performed by the Benny Goodman Orchestra as a big band number, the Playboys took Mission to Moscow to a totally different level. It has since become something of a standard for modern western swing bands. A few big bands still do the Mel Powell/Benny Goodman arrangement, but most modern recordings are based on the Bob Wills Tiffany Transcription version. Click here to hear the Benny Goodman original version. Click here to hear the Bob Wills Tiffany Version.

A few other facts: The back photo was from the actual Tiffany Transcriptions recording session of September 6th, 1947.

On the original Kaleidoscope CD the track indexing is incorrect. Lone Star Rag follows Dinah without a separate track index. Therefore track four on the CD player index is actually the fifth song Cotton Patch Blues, and all subsequent songs are one track off.

F-19 The Tiffany Transcriptions Vol. 2
“Best of the Tiffanys


Released: 1984
Reissue Production: Jeff Alexson & Tom Diamant
Graphic Design: Elizabeth Weil
Cover photo hand tinting: Elizabeth Weil
Cover photographer unknown. Photo from the Tiffany Music Company collection.
Musician’s notes by Merle Haggard
Additional notes by Tom Diamant & Jeff Alexson
Catalog Number: LP: F-19, Cassette: C-19, CD: K-19

Bob Wills recorded most of his best known numbers for the Tiffany Transcriptions. The one tune that was not known well at the time was Faded Love. This is the very first recording of this tune, which would become one of Wills’ signature pieces. However, the Tiffany recording, from the 4/15/46 session, was an instrumental. It was an old fiddle tune Wills had heard all his life, written by his father John Wills. Later, on 4/27/50, Wills recorded it for MGM and with lyrics written by Bob’s brother Billy Jack Wills. The MGM version was a hit for Wills, and later, Patsy Cline recorded it during her last sessions in 1963. It was a hit for her as well.

Merle Haggard & Tiny Moore – Sacramento, CA 1980

This was the only album that did not have an original member of the Tiffany band writing the notes. Knowing of Merle Haggard’s interest in the Tiffany recordings, Kaleidoscope Records asked him to write some remembrances. Haggard was a real Bob Wills fan. He had released a tribute album to Wills and at the time of the Kaleidoscope Records Tiffany re-issues he had two former Texas Playboys, Eldon Shamblin and Tiny Moore, in his band. Haggard learned how to play fiddle like Wills, picked up Wills’ unique body movements and Tommy Duncan’s vocal style, to create a Bob Wills segement of every show he did in the early 1980’s. Even Haggard’s lead guitar player, Roy Nichols, was  influenced by Texas Playboy lead guitar player Junior Barnard.

F-20 The Tiffany Transcriptions Vol. 3
“Basin Street Blues”

Released: 1984
Reissue Production: Jeff Alexson & Tom Diamant
Graphic Design: Elizabeth Weil
Cover photo hand tinting: Elizabeth Weil
Cover photo: a montage of photos taken by Robert Stinnett at a live performance in 1948 at Maple Hall in San Pablo, California
Musician’s notes by Eldon Shamblin

Other notes by Tom Diamant & Jeff Alexson
Photo montage and airbrushing: Stan Wolf

Catalog Number: LP: F-20, Cassette: C-20, CD: K-20

The album, featuring the blues/jazz side of Wills, starts out with Basin Street Blues, which Wills had recorded before on September 29, 1936 (released on 78 on the Vocalion and Okeh labels). The Tiffany version has a rare saxophone solo by Louis Tierney, who usually played fiddle in the Playboys.

But the real surprise on this album, was Frankie Jean. This was a slow, talking blues with Tommy Duncan singing accompanied by only a guitar. It is so different than anything else Wills recorded that people didn’t think it was the Wills band and thought that it had mistakenly been put on the record. Duncan had recorded the song before, on the January 26, 1945 Wills session for Columbia,and then again in 1959. It’s an old Memphis Minnie song. For more information about the song Frankie Jean and audio clips of each version, Frankie Jean

F-21 The Tiffany Transcriptions Vol. 4
“Your’re from Texas”

Released: 1984
Reissue Production: Jeff Alexson & Tom Diamant
Graphic Design: Elizabeth Weil
Cover photo hand tinting: Elizabeth Weil
Cover photographer Robert Stinnett at a live performance in 1948 at Maple Hall in San Pablo, California
Musician’s notes by Herb Remington
Additional notes by Tom Diamant & Jeff Alexson
LP originally released in 1985
Catalog Number: LP: F-21, Cassette: C-21, CD: K-21

Bob Wills may have lived in California during the time of these recordings, and he may have established his position in the music world while in Tulsa Oklahoma, but they were the Texas Playboys and they always had Texas in their souls. You’re From Texas  is a concept album featuring the intro theme, which was played at the beginning of each Tiffany Transcription show, and the outro theme with songs and tunes about Texas sandwiched between.

One of the songs Little Joe The Wrangler was from a poem written by Howard “Jack” Thorp and published in his book Songs Of The Cowboys. The melody was taken from Little Log Cabin in the Lane (a minstrel song written by Will S. Hays in 1871). It was immensely popular and was recorded by at least nine different artists in the 1920’s and 30’s. Thorpe was born into East Coast wealth and went to privileged schools, but went West and became a cowboy, working and collecting songs and poetry for 50 years. He preserved many traditional songs learned on the range, but this one he wrote. It is one of the few “story” songs the Playboys recorded and Tommy Duncan does a great job with the vocal. Junior thinks the song is ending after the second to the last verse and plays his outro tag, but Tommy keeps singing one more verse, then Junior and the rest of the ensemble play the outro.

Who’s the kid on the album cover photo? What a photo, thanks Bob Stinnett.

F-25 The Tiffany Transcriptions Vol.5


Released: 1986
Reissue Production: Jeff Alexson & Tom Diamant
Graphic Design: Elizabeth Weil
Front and back cover art from the original Tiffany Music Company ad matt. Original Tiffany Transcription logo/ads designer unkown
Musician’s notes by Joe Holley
Additional notes by Tom Diamant & Jeff Alexson
Catalog Number: LP: F-25, Cassette: C-25, CD: K-25

Joe Holley wrote the album’s musician’s notes and wails on hot fiddle and a rare vocal on China Town. This album also contains the original version of Fat Boy Rag (May 20, 1946) which just started as a jam featuring Junior Barnard. As Luke Wills says in the notes to Volume 7 “…Bob just turned to Junior and said ‘Hit us with something Junior.’ Junior’s mouth flew open, like ‘What am I going to do?’ That’s where it started. It was a joint venture – everybody had a little into it.” The later Columbia Records release (Sept. 6, 1946) was a much more structured tune.

The graphics on this album were a tribute to the original, unknown designer(s) of the Tiffany Transcriptions logo and ad art.

F-27 The Tiffany Transcriptions Vol. 6
“Sally Goodin”


Released: 1987
Reissue Production: Tom Diamant & Jeff Alexson
Graphic Design: Elizabeth Weil
Cover photo hand tinting: Elizabeth Weil
Cover photograph taken by Robert Stinnett at a live performance in 1948 at Maple Hall in San Pablo, California
Musician’s notes by Monte Mountjoy
Catalog Number: LP: F-27, Cassette: C-27, CD: K-27

This album contains two versions of the old fiddle tune Sally Goodin. The first is an instrumental with just the fiddle and rhythm section, probably Bob playing fiddle. This is fiddle music as Bob learned it. The next version shows how they jazz it up with hot solos, section work and lyrics. On the Tiffany Transcription disc, it’s spelled “Sally Gooden” with an “e”. For some reason Kaleidoscope Records spelled it “Sally Goodin” with an “i”. The tune spelled, Sallie Gooden, was first recorded by Texas fiddler Eck Robertson on July 1, 1922 (Victor 18956), and is considered the first released recording of traditional country music.

The tune Jesse Polka was popularized in the western swing world by Cliff Bruner and His Boys’ 1939 recording Jesse.  Bruner says he remembered hearing it played by the Mexican railroad workers1. It comes from a Mexican orquesta tune Jesusita En Chihuahua written by Quirino Mendoza y Cortéz.

1. Kevin Coffey, notes to Cliff Bruner and His Texas Wanderers (Bear Family BCD 15032, 1997), 20
F-29 The Tiffany Transcriptions Vol. 7
“Keep Knockin'”


Released: 1988
Reissue Production: Tom Diamant & Jeff Alexson
Graphic Design: Elizabeth Weil
Cover photo hand tinting: Elizabeth Weil
Musician’s notes by Luke Wills
Additional notes: Jeff Alexson & Tom Diamant
Catalog Number: LP: F-29, Cassette: C-29, CD: K-29

Tommy Duncan started with Bob Wills in 1932, was there for the first recordings in 1935, and was Bob Wills’ lead singer until Wills had Eldon Shamblin fire him in 1948. During that time, musicians would come and go, but Bob and Tommy were the heart and soul of the Texas Playboys. His last studio recording with the band was for the Tiffany Transcriptions on December 30, 1947. They made some good music separately after that, but it was never quite the same. They were re-united for a series of recordings in 1960 and ’61 by Liberty Records.

The Texas Playboys never considered themselves “country music” musicians. As Eldon Shamblin said, they played “popular music, swing music”. So this pose of Tommy Duncan on the album cover is telling. There’s the cowboy hat, cowboy shirt and cowboy boots, but he’s leaning so cool against the piano, cigarette in hand, as suave as Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, or any pop singer of the day. Country singers didn’t pose like that in the 1940’s.

The album starts out with a song that has one of the most enduring characteristics of the Tiffany Recordings, and that’s Bob Wills riffing some crazy words behind Tommy’s vocal making him crack up while singing. The same thing happens during Sweet Moments. Another interesting moment is Tommy slurring the words to a line in I Can’t Go On This Way.

This volume was dedicated to Tiny Moore, who died on December 15, 1987. Although the copyright date on this album is 1987, we are assuming that it was released in 1988.

F-32 The Tiffany Transcriptions Vol. 8
“More of the Best”

Released: 1988
Reissue Production: Tom Diamant & Jeff Alexson
Graphic Design: Elizabeth Weil
Cover photo hand tinting: Elizabeth Weil
Musician’s notes by Luke Wills
Additional notes: Jeff Alexson & Tom Diamant
Catalog Number: LP: F-32, Cassette: C-32, CD: K-32

When Kaleidoscope Records first reissued the Tiffanys, they sold extremely well, particularly Volume 2 “Best of the Tiffanys”. By the time Volume 7 had been released, sales were slowing down, and not everyone needed every volume. So it was time for “More of the Best”.

Steel guitarist Roy Honeycutt wrote the musician’s notes to Volume 8. Noel Boggs was the steel player on the May 6, 1946 sessions. By May 13th Boggs was gone and Roy was playing steel. He was also on the May 20th and May 27th sessions. By the time Wills recorded for Columbia Records in September, Honeycutt had been replaced by Herb Remington.

As mentioned elsewhere Tiffany owner Cliff Sundin had a treasure trove of memorabilia including two items used on this volume’s album cover. A beautiful ticket to the May 14, 1946 Zoom radio show, and a tour schedule for Bob Wills from the late 1940’s. The tour schedule shows they had few days off, and as pointed out in the notes, in the first 37 days on tour they covered 10 states.

F-35 The Tiffany Transcriptions Vol. 9
“In The Mood”

Released: 1990
Reissue Production: Tom Diamant & Jeff Alexson
Graphic Design: Elizabeth Weil featuring elements of the original Tiffany Transcriptions advertising flyer, designer unknown.
Musician’s notes by Johnny Cuviello
Additional notes: Jeff Alexson & Tom Diamant
Catalog Number: LP: F-35, Cassette: C-35, CD: K-35

Johnny Cuviello and bandmates

The notes to Volume 9 were written by “Texas Drummer Boy” Johnny Cuviello. Johnny passed away on September 4th, 2012. There is an excellent article The Accidental Texan:How Johnny Cuviello Became a Texas Playboy in Volume 8., issue 1 of The Journal of Texas Music History. It has the best photo of the Zoom Radio Show.

Volume nine features the longest Tiffany recording St. Louis Blues (Part Two) at five minutes and 49 seconds. If you add up St. Louis Blues part one and two, you end up with eight minutes and fourteen seconds of St. Louis Blues.

 

The design to the album featured the Tiffany Transcriptions advertising flyer. Kaleidoscope Records found hundreds of these in Cliff Sundin’s basement. Kaleidoscope gave them away freely and at the sale of Kaleidoscope there were many still left.

F-39 The Tiffany Transcriptions Volume 10 “Fiddlin’ Man”

Released: unissued
Reissue Production: Tom Diamant & Jeff Alexson
Graphic Design: Elizabeth Weil (cover art lost by Rhino/Warner Brothers Records)
Cover photo hand tinting: Elizabeth Weil(cover art lost by Rhino/Warner Brothers Records)
Musician’s notes by Dean McKinney
Additional notes: Jeff Alexson & Tom Diamant
Catalog Number: LP: F-39, Cassette: C-39, CD: K-39

Side One:

      fiddlingman.mp3

      There's a Big Rock In The Road 1

      Black Rider

      Punkin Stomp

      El Rancho Grande

      I Don't Love Nobody

      Everybody Does it in Hawaii

Side Two:

      Silver Bells

      Ridnin' on a Humpback Mule

      Bob Wills Special

      Go Home With The Girls in the Morning

Papa’s Jumpin’

Echoes From The Hills

Rubber Dolly (Tk 2)

Volume 10 was planned, but never came out due to Kaleidoscope Records being sold. Its new owners never released it. Kaleidoscope got as far as having test pressings and art work made. It was planned to come out on LP, CD and Cassette. The LP was going to be a picture disc with a hand tinted (pre-Photoshop days) picture of Bob Wills on one side and a tinted picture of Tommy Duncan on the other. The CD and cassette were going to have pictures on them as well. This was to be the last of the LPs and the last of the cream of the crop issues.

Some people call The McKinney Sisters CD, “Volume 10” but this is not true. That was part of a new series and was numbered 6002. 6001 was to be an album of Bob Wills fiddle tunes from the Tiffany Transcriptions.

The fiddle album never got past the planning stages.

The Tiffany Transcriptions Volume 10 “Fiddlin’ Man” has never been issued. Unlike the songs that have been issued it’s not on YouTube except for a few songs. There are  short clips of the songs not found on YouTube.

C-6002 The McKinney Sisters

Released: 1990
Reissue Production: Tom Diamant, Jeff Alexson & Dean McKinney Moore
Graphic Design: Elizabeth Weil
Cover photographer unknown.
Musician’s notes by Dean McKinney Moore
Catalog Number: Cassette: C-6002, CD: K-6002

On February 12, 1946 Dean and Evelyn McKinney received a telegram “Come at once am sure salary and job will make both happy. Wire when you arrive.” It was signed “Lee Bowman Business manager Bob Wills”. The McKinney started right off, their first recordings with Bob Wills were for the Tiffany Transcriptions at the very first sessions on March 25, 1946. They sang on over 42 of the Tiffany Transcriptions recordings. Dean and Evelyn recorded with Bob Wills in 1946 and 1947, not only for the Tiffanys but on both Columbia and MGM Records. By May of 1947 Evelyn married Bob’s brother Billy Jack Wills and stopped touring with the band, although she still recorded with them. On February 11, 1948 Dean married Tiny Moore and stopped performing with the band. By the time the Wills band was recording again in 1949, the McKinney Sisters were no longer with the band.

Dean and Evelyn kept performing as a duo and recorded two gospel albums for Cornerstone Records, (dates unknown).

With the reissue of the Tiffany Transcriptions on Kaleidoscope Records, there was a renewed interest in the McKinney Sisters and they began performing once again. Dean passed away in 2009 and Evelyn, passed away just recently, on December 24, 2012.

Click here to watch the McKinney Sisters with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys singing I Betcha My Heart I Love You

The Rhino Records Texas Shaped Record

In 1984, Rhino Records licensed four songs from Kaleidoscope Records and released a Texas Shaped vinyl, 331/3 RPM record. The record was packaged in a clear vinyl sleeve with thin cardboard backing with notes.

There were two versions of the disc. One was on clear vinyl with a Texas shaped map on one side and a striped patter in the reverse shape of Texas on the back. The other was black vinyl with the same map of Texas on the front, but the back was black with a small striped label sized circle in the center.

Demon Records

Around 1990 Kaleidoscope Records entered into a licensing agreement with Demon Records of England to release the Tiffany Transcriptions series in Great Britain on their Edsel label. They released both LPs and CDs and used the original Kaleidoscope Records art work. The only difference was the Edsel logo and address on the back and the Edsel label on the discs.

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