Jump 1947-48 [IMPORT] The Light Crust Doughboys
Swing Chronicles, Vol. 4
Century Gospel The Jordanaires/Art Greenhaw & The Light Crust Doughboys
Light Crust Doughboys became the most famous, and most successful,
western swing group in Texas in the 1930s,
and a derivative of the group still performs today, although they
are no longer "on the air."
The original Doughboys followed a rough road to success. Bob
Wills moved to Fort
Worth and organized the Wills Fiddle Band in 1929. Despite
that auspicious name, the "band" was just Wills
playing fiddle while Herman Arnsparger accompanied him on guitar
until Milton Brown joined the band as a vocalist the next year.
talked W. Lee O'Daniel, president of Burrus Mill and Elevator
Company, makers of Light Crust Flour in Fort
Worth, to sponsor his band on a local radio show. The groupšs
name was changed to Light Crust Doughboys because Burrus wanted to
sell more flour. Shows opened with, "The Light Crust Doughboys are
on the air!" followed by their theme "Listen everybody, from near
and far, if you wanta know who we are. Wešre the Light Crust Doughboys
from Burrus Mill." OšDaniel fired the band two week later, then had
to hire them back when he found out how much the listening public
liked the show. That began an uneasy association between O'Daniel
whom he eventually did fire completely, and the remaining Doughboys,
until O'Daniel left the company in 1935.
O'Daniel joined the program for a time as master of ceremonies. He
often read poetry and homilies and attracted a sufficiently wide following
himself to be elected governor in 1938.
Following a final firing from the group by O'Daniel, Wills
moved to Oklahoma and then to Waco
and organized a new band called the Texas Playboys, which he
continued to lead until his retirement. Eventually Wills
was recognized as the "father" of the musical genre known as "western
When O'Daniel left Burrus and the Doughboys, he developed the Hillbilly
Flour Company and hired a new band called the Hillbilly Boys.
Meanwhile, Burrus continued to sponsor the Light Crust Doughboys on
a statewide radio network each day at noon. The band members changed
frequently, but the music of the fiddle remained their specialty.
A modern version of the Light Crust Doughboys continues to perform,
enabling youngsters to hear an old sound and oldsters to remember
to pass the biscuits to
January 25, 2004 column
A syndicated column in over 40 East Texas newspapers
Published with permission
by Archie P. McDonald