Book Review: 33 Revolutions Per Page
Tall tales of Texas and beyond
Reviewed by Adam Schragin, Fri., June 15, 2012
Dance All Night – Those Other Southwestern Swing Bands, Past and Presentby Jean A. Boyd
Texas Tech University Press, 361 pp., $39.95 (paper)
In Dance All Night, Baylor University professor Dr. Jean A. Boyd takes what we do know about Western swing – the saga of Bob Wills, the influential career of Milton Brown – and uses that as a springboard to examine bands from West and South Texas, Oklahoma, and more, which existed during this curious flashpoint where the ballroom jazz of Benny Goodman met with the earliest strains of country to make something new and very danceable. Boyd's book takes a close look at other developmental artists in the genre, many of whom scattered in the wake of World War II. She shines a deserving light on innovators like the Hi-Flyers, Bar X Cowboys, and more – all while carefully setting into place the technology and culture that fostered these groups. In her quest to uncover each voice in Western swing and put it all into place, Boyd sacrifices some of the readability and editorial touch that might make these characters jump off the page, but she's writing here as an academic, not a novelist, and regardless of approach, Dance All Night swings as a sometimes forgotten and exciting tale of Texas music history.