Yesterday and Today

August 1, 2002 - Fans of Texas-style country music, electric guitar pioneers, Texana, and the culture of the southwest will enjoy checking out the new history book just released at ... titled: THE LIGHT CRUST DOUGHBOYS ARE ON THE AIR! Swing and rock on, Art Greenhaw - -

Posted: June 7, 2001

Lightcrust Doughboys' Smokey Montgomery RIP

Country music pioneer and Texas music legend, Marvin "Smokey" Montgomery passed away on Wednesday, June 6, 2001. A member of one of country music's top history-making bands since the 1930's and the man known worldwide for introducing Dixieland-style jazz banjo to western swing music, Marvin "Smokey" Montgomery has died in Dallas at the age of 88. Since joining The Light Crust Doughboys band in 1935 and continuing through concert appearances as late as May 2001 with The Light Crust Doughboys, the influence of musician/arranger/composer/producer Smokey Montgomery can be heard every time western swing music, Dixieland-style jazz banjo or intricate, swinging banjo solos are played. In an eight-decade-spanning career which has seen Smokey recognized in virtually every western swing and banjo hall of fame in the world, he has more than earned the title of "Mr. Tenor Banjo" and "Mr. Light Crust Doughboy".

As recently as February 2001, Smokey was honored with a Grammy Nomination in the gospel music field for his work with The Light Crust Doughboys, and he has earned Grammy Nominations for the past three out of four Grammy periods, 1997, 1998, and 2000 for best recorded work in his category.

Since turning 80 years of age and in just the last handful of years alone, Smokey and Light Crust Doughboy Art Greenhaw have produced highly-successful musical collaborations with Amarillo's Lone Star Ballet, various orchestras including The Abilene Philharmonic, The Texas Wind Symphony, The Dallas Wind Symphony and others, Southern Methodist University's Mustang Band, gospel music's legendary James Blackwood, The Jordanaires, Ventures' guitarist Nokie Edwards, steel guitarist Tom Brumley and other notables. One of Smokey's major contributions to the legacy of American banjo music is found in his guidance and direction of The Dallas Banjo Band, one of the premier educational and performing banjo ensembles in the country.

The 74th Texas Legislature in 1995 called Marvin "Smokey" Montgomery a "national treasure" along with his fellow Light Crust Doughboys, and The Light Crust Doughboys were designated Official Music Ambassadors for The State of Texas. Bob Wills called Smokey "a genius on that banjo". Countless professional musicians and banjoists call Smokey a major influence, and through motion picture musical performances by The Light Crust Doughboys such as the Gene Autry film "Oh Susanna", Smokey's virtuoso banjo playing launched a thousand tenor banjoists.

In Smokey's last few days of earthly life, he often repeated, "The Light Crust Doughboys have never given anything less than a great performance .... We've always given fans so much more than their money's worth.....We've given 'em everything we had."

Memorial services are scheduled for Saturday June 9, 2001 in the Hall of State Museum located at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas and are open to the public. For information, please call 214-421-0281.

The Light Crust Doughboys have recently released a CD of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame label.

Posted: January 5, 2001
For Immediate Release - contact Art Greenhaw, January 3, 2001

Best Of All Worlds Marks Light Crust Doughboys' Grammy Nomination
Christian Retailing magazine called the album "the best of all worlds" in that it combines the cowboy jazz country swing style of The Light Crust Doughboys, the soft, close, doo-wap harmonies of the Jordanaires, and the powerhouse, majestic presence of James Blackwood. In ceremonies today in Los Angeles, The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences calls the album The Great Gospel Hit Parade one of five top Final Nominees in the 43rd Grammy Awards, released on the independent Art Greenhaw Records label, artist-producer Art Greenhaw says of the releases, "This legend-packed album could easily be titled 'Heroes' since it features my three biggest musical and artistic influences. The Jordanaires were my vocal idols from the age of 6 on . . . When I heard Ray Walker's solo on Elvis' 'In My Fahter's House', I was hooked on bass! A lot of kids wanted to be Elvis. I wanted to be a Jordanaire!! The Light Crust Doughboys, of course, are my pride and joy and the greatest combinations of vocalists/instrumentalists ever. And last but not least, James Blackwood is the gospel singer of the century. I'm the most blessed record producer in that I get to work with my idols in music. I'd also like to pay tribute to Smokey Montgomery, a Doughboy since 1935 and the King of Tenor Banjo, who contributes so much to the Light Crust Doughboys sound and productions."

Grammy Nominees will be honored along with their nominated recordings at the 2001 Grammy Awards February 21 in Los Angeles, and other Grammy-sponsored events that take place the entire week. The Light Crust Doughboys Grammy Nomination category is "Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Album of The Year". The album is available at select stores including all Texas Borders Books and Music stores and online at:, and

Update: September 18, 2000

Lightcrust Doughboys New CD
NASHVILLE - September 18, 2000 - The Rockabilly Hall of Fame is proud to announce that the latest CD from the legendary Texas band, The Lightcrust Doughboys, is released and available now. This is the ninth CD issued on the Rockabilly Hall of Fame label. Three more releases are planned within the next thirty days. The Lightcrust Doughboys have put together a great variety of rockabilly and western swing - some thing for everyone. Finally, you get get to hear the Doughboys "rock." TRACK LISTINGS:
1. It's No Sin To Rock
2. Take Me Back to Tulsa
3.ĘShe Bops a Lot
4. Teenage Boogie
5. Milk Cow Blues
6. The B.S. Boogie
7. Jailhouse Rock
8. Miss Molly
9. That's All Right Mama
10. Just Because
11. Hello Mary Lou
12. Pussy Pussy Pussy
13. Hey Good Lookin'

by Charles R. Townsend

Of all the western swing bands in the Fort Worth-Dallas area, the one that has enjoyed the greatest and longest success is the Light Crust Doughboys. Its history covers more than half a century of American music. In 1929 Bob Wills moved from West Texas to Fort Worth and formed the Wills Fiddle Band, a rather unimposing aggregation made up of Wills as fiddler and Herman Amspiger as guitarist.

In 1930, Milton Brown joined the band as vocalist, and in 1931, the Wills Fiddle Band - Wills, Amspiger, and Brown - became the Light Crust Doughboys. With help from friends and fans in Fort Worth, Wills persuaded Burrus Mill and Elevator Company to sponsor the band on a radio show by advertising the mill's Light Crust Flour.

After two weeks of broadcasts, W. Lee O'Daniel, president of Burrus Mill, canceled the show because he did not like "their hillbilly music." The Light Crust doughboys were literally "brought back by popular demand" when thousands of fans and housewives, who used Light Crust Flour, demanded that Burrus Mill sponsor their radio show. People listened at noon each day for a couple of licks on Bob Wills' fiddle and Truett Kimsey's enthusiastic introduction: "the Light Crust doughboys are on the air." Then the Doughboys sang their theme song which began:

Listen everybody, from near and far if you wanta know who we are, We're the Light Crust Doughboys from Burrus Mill.

This went over so well, it became the salutation of the Doughboys and has lived to the present.

W. Lee O'Daniel became the announcer for the show and created a network of radio stations that broadcast the Doughboys throughout Texas and most of Oklahoma. The "Texas Quality Network" included several radio stations, among them WBAP and KTAT, Fort Worth; WOAI, San Antonio; KPRC, Houston; KOMA, Oklahoma City. The show became one of the most popular radio shows in the history of the Southwest.

In 1932, the original Doughboys began leaving the band. Milton Brown left the show that year to form the Musical Brownies, and in 1933, O'Daniel had to fire Wills for drinking and failure to make the broadcasts. In 1933, Wills organized the Playboys in Waco. Of all the early Doughboys, Wills' influence was the most significant and enduring; the Light Crust Doughboys never departed from the fiddle-band origins Bob Wills established in the band's formative years. In October, 1933, O'Daniel took a new and talented group of Doughboys to Chicago for a recording session with Vocalion (later Columbia Records). O'Daniel who deserves much credit along with Brown and Wills for the initial success of the Doughboys, continued as manager and announcer until the mid-thirties. In 1935, when Burrus Mill fired him, O'Daniel formed his own band, the Hillbilly Boys, and his own flour company, Hillbilly Flour.

The years between 1935 and World War II were among the most successful in the long history of the Doughboys. By 1937, some of the best musicians in the history of western swing joined the band. Kenneth Pitts and Clifford Gross played fiddles. The rhythm section consisted of Dick Reinhart, guitar; Marvin Montgomery, tenor banjo; Ramon DeArman, bass; John "Knocky" Parker, piano. Muryel Campbell played lead guitar. At various times Cecil Brower played fiddle in the string section. Almost from the beginning, the Light Crust Doughboys enjoyed a good recording career; their records outsold all other fiddle bands in the Fort Worth-Dallas music scene. Their popularity on radio had a good deal to do with their success in recording. By the 1940's, the Light Crust Doughboys broadcast over 170 radio stations in the South and Southwest. There is no way of knowing how many millions of people heard their broadcasts. Though the Doughboys played a show band whose purpose was to entertain. Their shows took the listeners' minds off the economic problems of the thirties and added minutes of joy to their lives each day.

In the early months of world War II members of the band either went into the armed forces or war related industries. In 1942, Burrus Mill ended the Doughboys' radio show. The mill recognized the band in 1946, and they tried various experiments, even hired Hank Thompson and Slim Whitman, hoping somehow the radio show could be saved. By 1950, the age of television had begun, and the age of radio was over. With its passing went the radio show that Texans had enjoyed since 1931. "The Light Crust Doughboys" were no longer "on the air" with a daily radio program.

But from the first "The Light Crust Doughboys are on the air" in 1931, and continuing through their silver age renaissance in the 1990s and beyond, the Light Crust Doughboys and their illustrious alumni like Bob Wills, Milton Brown, Herman Amspiger, Tommy Duncan, Johnnie Lee Wills, W. Lee O'Daniel, Leon McAuliffe, Marvin Montgomery, Cecil Brower, Knocky Parker, Kenneth Pitts, Muryel Campbell, Leon Huff, Dick Reinhart, Hank Thompson, Slim Whitman, Jim Boyd, Johnny Strawn, Ronnie Dawson, Carroll Hubbard, Jerry Elliott, Bill Simmons, John Walden, Art Greenhaw and others wrote a large and important chapter in the history of both Texas and American music.

The legend of the Light Crust Doughboys continues in the release of new recordings, music publications, and concerts throughout the world. This collection of old and new selections reflects the enduring appeal of the Doughboy musical tradition. Marvin "Smokey" Montgomery represents the link to the past. If he is not the best musician in the history of the band, he was certainly among the best. Bob Wills referred to Smokey as a "genius on that banjo," and added he would select Marvin as banjoist if he were forming an all-star western swing band. The "new generation" is made up of the following: Marvin Montgomery, banjo and guitar; bill Simmons, piano; Jerry Elliott, electric guitar; Art Greenhaw, electric bass and guitar; John Walden, Jim Baker, fiddles; Bob Krenkel, tenor saxophone, clarinet; Bud Dresser, trombone, flugabone; John Anderson, trumpet; Frank Greenhaw, baritone horn; Jerry Elliott, John Walden, Art Greenhaw, vocals; Walter Hailey, announcer.

From its origin in 1931 throughout its long and distinguished career, the Doughboy band was versatile and eclectic. As these recordings and music reveal, the band has always played whatever was popular and borrowed from all areas of American music. "Chili & Beans Blues" represents both the blues and pop music. Doughboy music has always swung - it has generally been danceable. For example, play the Doughboys' version of "Big Beaver." "Big Beaver" was a Doughboy and Bob Wills favorite. The band even included in this folio a song by an original member of the Doughboy broadcasts, "Beautiful Texas" composed by "Pappy" O'Daniel (as Marvin Montgomery always referred to the Governor and United States Senator from Texas). "That's All, Brother (Sit Down)" featured the fiddles, guitars, and banjo that reflects the fiddle band origins of the Light Crust Doughboys and western swing. A band without fiddles would not be the Light Crust Doughboys.

The religious faith of the musicians in this collection is very important in both their lives and music. For example, hear "Lord, Take All of Me" and "the Chari That Never Got Mended." There is a tradition that originated in the early years of the Doughboy broadcasts - that of including a hymn on each radio show. Marvin Montgomery laughed as he told of how certain Doughboys, some half drunk and some "hung over," played and sang hymns with a pious look on their faces. This writer assures you that this was not the case when these religious songs were recorded.

There is everything on these recordings, from country to dixieland, from western swing to big band swing, from blues to cool jazz. These selections capture every mood, from the sadness of "Amarillo Where the Wind Blows Free" to the philosophizing of "Talking' Too Much Taxes Blues," from the seriousness of religious music to light-hearted rattime, from the happy sound of Marvin Montgomery's banjo in "The Toy Yodeler" to the brilliant, swinging recording of "When All God's Children Go Marching In."

"Some time when we're down your way, we'll drop in and spend the day, we're the Light Crust Doughboys from Burrus Mill!" is the way the Light Crust doughboys go off the air and end their personal appearances - their "Closing Theme." Let us hope it merely closes their many concerts and that there will always be the familiar sound that lightened the burdens and lifted the spirits of millions of Southwesterners:
Charles R. Townsend
Professor of History
West Texas A & M University

About The Author
Dr. Charles R. Townsend, Professor of History at West Texas A&M University, is the author of the definitive biography of Bob Wills, San Antonio Rose: The life and Music of Bob Wills (Urbana: University of Illinois press, 1976). In 1975, Townsend won a Grammy Award for his brochure notes accompanying the album Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys for the Last Time. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin where he studied Cultural and Intellectual History of the United States with Merle Curtis.

Welcome to the
About The Light Crust Doughboys

The first - and still the best - of all the western swing bands in Texas, the Light Crust Doughboys's history covers almost seventy years of American Music. In 1929, Bob Wills moved from West Texas to Fort Worth and formed the Wills Fiddle Band, a duo of Wills as fiddler and Herman Amspiger as guitarist. In 1930, Milton Brown joined the group as vocalist. With help from friends and fans in Fort Worth, Wills persuaded Burrus Mill and Elevator Company to sponsor the band on a radio show advertising the mill's Light Crust Flour and, in 1931, the Wills Fiddle Band became - The Light Crust Doughboys! Eager audiences listened at noon each day for a couple of licks on Bob Wills' fiddle and Truett Kinsey's enthusiastic introduction: "The Light Crust Doughboys are on the air!" Then the Doughboys sang the theme song which has opened and closed every show they've done since that time. It began:

"Listen everybody from near or far,
if you wanna know who we are
We're the Light Crust Doughboys from Burrus Mill."

The show became one of the most popular radio shows in the history of the Southwest. Nobody can estimate how many millions of people heard the Doughboy broadcasts during those early years on radio. Despite the loss, in 1932 and 1933, of several key members such as Milton Brown and Bob wills, the doughboy's success escalated as they continued their radio shows, made many major-label recordings, and filmed several movies with Gene Autry, the most popular of all the movie cowboys. They played good, danceable music, and always put on great, entertaining shows that took listeners' minds off the economic problems of the thirties, and added much joy to their daily lives

In 1952, Burrus ended the radio show. The entertainment scene was changing. Television was taking place of radio; rock and roll was beginning its relentless pursuit of the American audience. For five decades - '50s - 90's - the Doughboys have continued to play under the strong and astute leadership of Marvin "Smokey" Montgomery, the legendary tenor banjoist who started with the band in 1935.

Now - due in part of the popular eclectic new recordings and the fact that, according to Smokey, the present Doughboy group is "our best-ever show band" - the world's longest-running western swing band is enjoying a "tremendous measure of renewed success". In 1995, The Doughboys were designated "Texas' Official Music Ambassadors" by the 74th Texas Legislature. The band has toured Europe and has appeared with several symphony orchestras in the Southwest. This year, they were nominated for a Grammy Award (that's the second year in a row that they have been so honored). They were also nominated for a Dove Award, America's most prestigious award for gospel music achievement.

Located at
105 BROAD ST., MESQUITE, TX 972/329-6788

An eclectic array of individual shops featuring quality antique furniture, clocks, glassware, collectibles, music, jewelry, Holy, Celebrity & Boyds Bears, barnwood, custom framing, artwork by local artists, Dreamer Candles, custom lamp shades, Pokemon, a wide variety of gifts, Light Crust Doughboy merchandise, & much more!


Marvin "Smokey" Montgomery, a true Texas musical legend in his own time, has been a Light Crust Doughboy for 65 of his 87 years. A multi-talented instrumentalist-arranger-composer- producer, Smokey continues to dazzle generations of fans with his banjo artistry and remarkable knowledge of popular music history. Smokey's touch is evident in today's western swing music - he introduced Dixieland-style banjo to the folk form, and was instrumental in the development of the music's distinct jazz and big-band leanings.

Art Greenhaw, the youngest member of the Light Crust Doughboys, has been dubbed a true Renaissance Man by the Dallas Morning News, and is an instrumentalist, singer, composer, producer and author. He co-produced the Doughboy's western swing gospel album with his friend and mentor, James Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers.

Bill Simmons' multi-faceted accomplishments in music go back to Memphis' most popular radio show of the era, Eddie Hill's High Noon Roundup," where Bill, as staff pianist, co-starred with the likes of the Louvin Brothers and the Blackwood Brothers Quartet. Bill composed the the pop classic "M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I," recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, the Doughboys, and others, and played on million-selling records such as Marvin Montgomery-produced "Hey, Paula."

Jerry Elliott, a critically important part of the sound of the Doughboys since 1960, is an expert guitarist and vocalist, and part of the film series, "legends of Western Swing Guitar". Originally dubbed "Fort Worth's Singing Sensation" in billboard and trade ads as early as 1949, Jerry was a key player for Ted Daffan and adapted and arranged a hit for Roger Miller. Jerry's smooth, expressive vocals are featured on the entire catalog of Light Crust Doughboys recordings available today.

John Walden, nicknamed by Smokey as "the wild man on the fiddle", due to his innovative technique and contemporary yet classic style, is a multi-instrument performer as well as singer. John has shared the stage with such legendary performers as Hank Williams, but his true genius perhaps shines best with the Light Crust Doughboys, where he exhibits his mastery of musical styles ranging from classical to rock and roll.

Jim Baker, is called by his Doughboy peers an "excellent violinist", high praise indeed from these guys. He also will pick up (or, rather, stand next to) the bass fiddle when called upon to do so. Jim also performs most Saturday nights with the Grapevine Opry. He considers working with the Doughboys a "tremendous thrill. Sometimes I feel like a trailer hitch on a Rolls Royce. I mean - this is the band that was in the lab when western swing was invented."

The Light Crust Doughboys are - most definitely -

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Art Greenhaw
105 S. Broad St.
Mesquite, TX 75149
Ph. 972-285-5441
Fax 972-285-5442

Post Office Box 693
Crowley, Texas 76036
Sharon M. Dickerson, President
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