Asleep at the Wheel: My Baby Thinks She‘s a Train
My father grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the years leading up to World War II. This was before video games, before television even, and radio was king. Years later, my father could still recite from memory a radio ad for Carter’s Little Liver Pills. And the music he grew up hearing on the radio was western swing. My brothers and I may have been the only boys in 1960’s New Jersey who had heard of the Lightcrust Doughboys and Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. After the war, western swing all but disappeared. It surfaced occasionally as a flavor used by country artists, but there were no bands solely devoted to playing it.
In the early 1970s, that changed. Asleep at the Wheel was a band that had its roots in Philadelphia (!), but eventually settled in Austin, Texas. And from the beginning, they were devoted to reviving western swing. For me, this meant that I could finally hear the musical style my father remembered so fondly from his childhood. And I loved it then, and I still do. So it should come as no surprise that My Baby Thinks She’s a Train was the first song I thought of when I saw this week’s theme.
Asleep at the Wheel: Choo Choo Ch‘boogie
Choo Choo Ch’boogie was actually a more popular song for Asleep at the Wheel than My Baby Thinks She’s a Train. And it is also a better example of the sound of western swing. But it’s more of a train station song.