Remembering Leon Rausch

Paul is a fiddler (TPN May 2017) who plays with Glen Collins & The Alibis, and has his own band, The Knights of Texas Swing. He credits Leon Rausch as an inspiration and had a unique relationship with the Texas legend.

Western Swing lost one of its greatest legends on June 14 with the passing of the 91-year-old Leon Rausch. Leon’s career as a Texas Playboy vocalist with Bob Wills and afterward has been well documented. His career as a Texas Playboy began in 1958. He moved to Johnnie Lee Wills’ band in 1961, and then in 1964 got the call to lead the Texas Playboys after Bob Wills sold the organization to Carl Johnson.

Leon’s version of the Playboys continued until 1968-69, when the group disbanded. In 1973 he was called back into the Playboy limelight when he was selected to perform on Bob Wills’ last recording session, ultimately released as For the Last Time. Wills, already confined to a wheelchair, had personally asked for Leon to be part of the historic session. Wills suffered a debilitating stroke during the multi-day recording session and later died in 1975. Despite the sad story of Bob Wills’ fate during the session, the album set became a national and critical success, rekindling the interest in Western Swing.



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