Ray Benson - vocals, lead guitar
Chris O'Connell - rhythm guitar, vocals
Link Davis, Jr. - saxophone, accordian, vocals
- piano, organ
Danny Levin - fiddle, mandolin
Pat Ryan - saxophone, clarinet
Spencer Starnes - bass
Fran Christina - drums
Ruben "O-Lucky" Gosfield - pedal steel
Asleep at the Wheel, spearheaded by Texan legend Ray Benson, has found a solid home with a country music fan base. But during the 1970s, when they were still a new, novel act, the Wheel were anything but a pure country band. Benson loved all varieties of musical Americana, a fact that's wholly apparent on this 1977 New York City recording.
The group moves from a Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys-esque sound (by whom they were obviously influenced), to a more adventurous R&B/Boogie Woogie flavor (originally made famous by Louis Jordan), to zydeco/Cajun music and finally to big band jazz with their show stopping version of Count Basie's "One O'clock Jump." Back during the days of this performance, the band was genre-defying and impossible to categorize.
And in many ways, Asleep at the Wheel has remained that way ever since - though these days, the ensemble seem to have lodged themselves at the heart of the popular "Country Swing," movement. But there's something for everyone here on this classic recording - no matter what kind of music you enjoy.