According to historian Charles R. Townsend, professor of history at West Texas A & M University, the Light Crust Doughboys were formed in 1931 and went on the air when Bob Wills, one of the original members of the band, persuaded the Burrus Mill and Elevator Co. 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 "hillbilly music." The Doughboys, however, were brought back by popular demand when thousands of fans and housewives, who used light Crust Flour, demanded that Burrus Mill sponsor their radio show."With hat in hand, W. Lee O'Daniel had to ask the Light Crust Doughboys to return to the show," said Art Greenhaw, who sings and plays the guitar with the band and also is the group's historian and promoter."They said that they would come back if 'Daniel didn't make them work in the flour mill anymore and sell flour, and he agreed to that with the stipulation that he wouldn't make them work in the mill any more if they would come in to the shop every day , punch the clock and then work on songs and tunes for the show for eight hours every day like it was a regular job. They agreed and really wrote some wonderful music during that time."
Excerpt from The Mesquite News, July 1, 1999, written by Jim Gibbs.
The Light Crust Doughboys have been to Europe, the Grand Ole Opry,
played with the SMU Mustang Band and were named Official Music Ambassadors
for the State of Texas by the 74th legislature. They have starred in Western
movies with Gene Autry. Their music is varied and accessible by people of every age.
|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 violonist", 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 band still performs across Texas under the direction of veteran banjo player and bandleader Smokey Montgomery, whose career spans 65 years of doughboys history. At 86 with a vigor that rarely wanes, Smokey uses a computer to compose and arrange music. His own memory bank holds thousands of songs and musical scores, most of which he arranged, and at least 40 of which he composed. He joined the Doughboys in 1935, just four years after the band formed. Smokey Montgomery has played for seven presidents...and one governor of Arkansas, whom he met through trumpeter Al Hirt at the races in Hot Springs. "Al sat in with us to play, but I didn't ask the governor. I didn't know he played sax or that he would become president," says Smokey. "If I had known, I would have asked him to play, too."
(Taken from the Travel Magazine Of Texas, Texas Highways, January 2000.)
|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-produces the musical projects of the Doughboys, has scored a film on the life and times of actor Bela Lugosi, and produced the Doughboys' western swing gospel albums with his friend and mentor James Blackwood of the Blackwood brothers and the Jordanaires.|
|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 "Forth Worth's Singing Sentation" 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.||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 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."|