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Texas Bill Strength

Although much better known for his career as a radio personality, Texas Bill Strength also cut a series of country and rockabilly efforts, including a session for the legendary Sun Records backed by former Elvis Presley guitarist Scotty Moore. Born August 28, 1928 in Bessemer, Alabama, Strength was all of 16 when he won an amateur contest at Houston's Joy Theater -- local station KTHT was in the market for a cowboy act, and soon he was working part-time on the air. In 1945 Strength began deejaying full-time for St. Joseph, Missouri station KFEQ, followed by a stint singing for Sioux Falls, South Dakota radio KSOO -- after a tenure with Denver's KMYR, he returned to Houston, in quick succession appearing on KLEE, KATL and KNUZ. During this time, Strength also cut a series of little-heard singles for the 4-Star label, among them "Who's the Lucky One" and "I'm Doing a Peach of a Job." In early 1950 he was hired by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) to promote the organization via radio and convention appearances -- for 4-Star, he even cut the labor anthem "We Will Overcome." He also continued his radio career for Atlanta's WGST and Decatur's WEAS, and in late 1950 signed to Coral Records, debuting with "Black Coffee Blues." Strength's "Coral" stint would prove the most successful and long-lived of his peripatetic recording career -- he enjoyed his biggest hit there with "You Can't Have My Love," a duet with the underrated Tabby West, and also scored with singles including "Nobody Knows This More Than Me" and "I Was Only Teasing You."

In 1954 Strength was named "Mr. DJ USA" by influential Nashville station WSM, and by year's end he relocated to Memphis station KWAM, where he witnessed the birth of rock & roll via the emergence of Sun acts Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. After accepting a position with St. Paul, Minnesota's KEYD, home to fellow DJs/singers Roy Drusky and Dave Dudley, Strength signed to Capitol Records for efforts including "Cry, Cry, Cry," "Turn Around" and "Do You Think I'm Happy" -- in the Twin Cities, he also hosted a children's television show, Adventures With Texas Bill. But as his long battle with alcoholism grew more severe, Strength returned to Memphis in mid-'60, accepting Sun promotional manager Cecil Scaife's offer to record for the label -- with Moore on guitar and D.J. Fontana on drums, he cut seven songs, with only "Guess I Better Go" and "Senorita" ever receiving commercial release. After a short stay with Bakersfield, California station KUZZ, Strength returned to the Twin Cities, first for KTCR and later for WMIN. He remained there for the rest of his life, recording the occasional single for labels like Starday ("Nervous as a Cat"), Golden Wing ("Let the Chips Fall") and Bangar ("Paper Boy Boogie"). During the early 1970s, he also penned for the monthly Upper Midwest & Western News Scene a column entitled "Down Memory Lane," documenting stories about his life and experiences in the music business. On August 5, 1973, Strength was paralyzed from the waist down following an auto accident -- he then slipped into a coma, dying on October 1 at the age of 45. He was inducted into the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame in 1990. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Hillbilly Boogie

Disc 1

1. Travelling Boogie

2. Freight Train Boogie

3. Streamliner Boogie

4. Pan American Boogie

5. Louisiana Boogie

6. Tennessee Boogie

7. Tennessee Boogie

8. Georgia Boogie

9. Texas Boogie

10. Mississippi Boogie

11. Oakie Boogie

12. Dixieland Boogie

13. Kentucky Waltz Boogie

14. Mobile Boogie

15. Colorado Boogie

16. Fort Worth Boogie

17. Waxahachie Boogie Woogie Dishwasher Boy

18. Del Rio Boogie

19. Downtown Boogie

21. North Pole Boogie

22. Three Way Boogie

23. Smokey Mountain Boogie

24. Humble Road Boogie

25. Peach Tree Street Boogie

Disc 2

1. I've Got The Boogie Blues

2. Pretty Baby Boogie

3. Slick Chick Boogie

4. Mother-In-Law Boogie

5. Mean Mama Boogie

6. Jesse James Boogie

7. Old MacDonald Boogie

8. Baby Buggie Boogie

9. George's Playhouse Boogie

10. Long Tom Boogie

11. Jack & Jill Boogie

12. Boogie Woogie Lou

14. Boogie Woogie Blues

15. Rip Ramsey Boogie

16. Richey Boogie

17. Porky's Boogie Woogie On Strings

18. T. Texas Boogie

19. Paper Boy Boogie

20. Cowboy Boogie

21. Lost John Boogie

22. Merle's Boogie Woogie

23. Bennie Hess Boogie

24. G.I. Boogie

Disc 3

1. Boogie Man Boogie

2. Boogie Woogie

3. Boog-Boog Boogie

4. Super Boogie Woogie

5. Boogie Woogie In The Village

6. Doin' The Boogie Woogie

7. Hillbilly Boogie

8. Boogie Barn Dance

9. Dream Band Boogie

10. Hayride Boogie

11. Boogie Woogie On A Saturday Night

13. Hillbilly Boogie

14. Green Tree Boogie

15. No Shoes Boogie

16. Shufflin' Shoes Boogie

17. Juke Box Boogie

18. Juke Box Boogie

19. Boogie Woogie Baby

20. Boogie Woogie Gal

21. Cornbread Boogie

22. Catfish Boogie

23. Goatburger Boogie

24. Sundown Boogie

25. Alarm Clock Boogie

Disc 4

1. Crazy About The Boogie

2. Crazy Boogie

3. Crazy Baby Boogie

4. Guitar Boogie

5. Mandolin Boogie

7. Piano Pete's Boogie

8. Banjo Boogie

9. Be Bop Boogie

10. Real Hot Boogie

11. Red Hot Boogie

12. Hula Boogie

13. The Shotgun Boogie

14. Hot Rod Shotgun Boogie #2

15. Doghouse Boogie

16. Dirty Boogie

17. Snake Dance Boogie

18. Rhumba Boogie

19. Hadacol Boogie

20. Playboy Boogie

21. Hesitation Boogie

22. New Broom Boogie

23. Hangman Boogie

24. Mule Boogie

25. I'm Too Old To Boogie Anymore

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