Wednesday, February 15, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Smokey Wood & His Wood Chips

Artist:Smokey Wood & His Wood Chips
Song:Keep On Truckin'
Album:Kings Of Western Swing

John "Smokey" Wood was a pioneer of Western Swing which is a mix of country and jazz. The problem was he only got a couple of opportunities to record. And when it didn't work out, he went back to being a sideman. He was born Sept. 16, 1918 in Harrison, AR. His mother played piano. Wood grew up in Oklahoma and he moved to Houston in 1935. His nickname was The Houston Hipster. Wood's first band was called The Oklahoma Playboys. The big difference between Wood and other Western Swing pioneers was he leaned more towards jazz than country. The band played local clubs but they weren't able to get on the radio consistently which would have led to recording. So Wood formed bands like the Blue Ridge Playboys and the Georgia Flyers. When he finally got on a radio station, Wood changed the group name to the Modern Mountaineers. Wood was also well known for his love of weed. Apparently he was high most of the time and he even grew his own. The Modern Mountaineers finally got the opportunity to record in 1937. The problem was the band's manager didn't like Wood's voice. Wood was replaced as lead singer and he left to take a job at a gas station. The same record company asked Wood to put together a band to record. They were called the Wood Chips and they recorded several songs in Sept. 1937 including Keep On Truckin'. This was Wood's final opportunity to record as a leader. You can get Keep On Truckin' on this 2CD various artists comp from the Irish label Pazzaz. Wood had other opportunities in music including with Spade Cooley in 1945. But they never seemed to work out. He seemed to be more interested in financing his weed habit. Wood toured the carnival circuit for many years and his final gig was with sax player Joe Sanchez. Smokey Wood died on Jan. 6, 1975 of heart failure at age 57. Here's a video of Keep On Truckin' by Smokey Wood & His Wood Chips.

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