|Tex Williams was an American Western swing musician, well known for his talking blues style. His most popular song was "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)."
Tex was born near Ramsey, IL, the youngest of eleven children. He, like his siblings, learned much about traditional folk songs from his father, a fiddler who worked as a blacksmith and ran a sawmill shop. Tex took music lessons from an older brother as a child; he became a multi-instrumentalist, able to play fiddle, bass fiddle, guitar, and banjo. He made his professional debut on station WJBL in Decatur, IL at thirteen years old.
After high school, Tex began making a living from his music, touring the country with his fiddle; on one of these trips, he met Dallas Orr, who he married In 1943 and settled with in California.
In the early 1940s, Spade Cooley hired Tex as a vocalist in his popular western swing band, his deep baritone voice meant to compete with that of Tommy Duncan, popular lead vocalist in Bob Wills' Texas Playboys. He began pursuing a solo career in the late 1940s, fronting his own band, the Western Caravan. He appeared in films, on radio, and eventually hosted his own TV show and radio program, the Tex Williams Show, which was filmed/recorded at Knott's Berry Farm.
b. August 23, 1917 (Ramsey, IL, USA)
d. October 11, 1985 (Newhall, CA, USA)|