The Sons of the West

The Sons of the West were a Western swing group who played mostly in Amarillo, TX, during the late '30s and early '40s, becoming the Panhandle area's first significant outfit working in that style. They were founded in 1936 by fiddler Son Lansford, a cousin of Bob Wills who'd performed with the Texas Playboys for a time. Lansford actually started the group in Fort Worth but moved them to Amarillo in search of a largely untapped market for music. The Sons ran through 11 members during the course of their brief existence: bassist/lead singer Jimmy Meek (who later assumed leadership of the group when Lansford departed), steel guitarist Billy Briggs (an innovative player who added a seventh string to his instrument in order to play chords), pianist Loren Mitchell, guitarists Freddie Dean and Jess Williams, banjoists Cliff Wells and Jess Robertson, and fiddlers Leonard Seago, Pat Trotter, and Buck Buchanan. They cut an album for Decca in 1938, which featured mostly pop standards, and recorded through 1941, when they scored their biggest hit with "Sally's Got a Wooden Leg" on Columbia. Most of the members were drafted into World War II in 1942, putting an end to the band. Briggs later played around the area with a band called the XIT Boys, which also featured Trotter and Williams, among others. ~ Steve Huey

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