Perhaps no western swing album better illustrates that its roots lie as much in the popular big bands of the 1940s as in country music.
Pee Wee King's Swing West was first issued as a 10-inch RCA Victor LP in 1955 and reissued with three additional tracks and this cover in 1977.
King is best remembered today as the composer of Tennessee Waltz, one of the most popular country songs of all time. His contributions as a songwriter, bandleader, musician and showman spanned four decades and helped increase the popularity and sophistication of country music.
King spent 10 years on the Grand Ole Opy, introducing horns, drums and electric guitars to its stage. He was also a pioneer in presenting country music on television.
King, who is of Polish extraction, grew up immersed in polkas and waltzes. And he took much inspiration from big bands like those of Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton and Woody Herman. Among the tunes on Swing West was Herman's early theme song, Woodchoppers Ball. The MP3 is taken from vinyl.
As luck would have it, all 11 tracks from Swing West are available as digital downloads from several sources. There is Pee Wee King CD out there called Swing West, but it doesn't contain any of the selections from the RCA LP.
To close, a sampling of King from 1950, Birmingham Bounce. There's an interesting selection of visuals in this YouTube posting.