Alvin Crow: Alvin Crow & the Pleasant Valley Boys (1975) MP3/Flac

One of the most heartening tangents to Austin's late '60s and early '70s progressive country movement was the revival of Western swing. Among the bands carrying on the tradition set by Bob Wills, Milton Brown, Bill Boyd, and many others, two of the most prominent and influential in Austin were Asleep at the Wheel and Alvin Crow. Crow, who hails from Oklahoma, started the Pleasant Valley Boys in Amarillo in 1968 before moving them to Central Texas in 1971. With their mix of Western swing, Texas honky-tonk,and Buddy Holly-style rockabilly, they became favorites at local dance halls - especially the legendary Broken Spoke. Alvin, who bears a striking resemblance to Holly, handled lead vocals and played a mean fiddle inspired by the greats of Western swing. The original Pleasant Valley Boys included brother Rick on lead guitar, Bobby Earl Smith on rhythm guitar, Roger Crabtree on harmonica, and Herb Steiner on steel. Their self-titled recording of 1976 featured a guest appearance by Jesse Ashlock of the Texas Playboys, covers of Bob Wills ("Stay a Little Longer") and Jesse Winchester ("That's the Touch I Like"), plus originals like "Fiddler's Lady" (Crow) and the classic crowd pleaser, "Nyquil Blues" penned by Steiner. In 1977, Alvin and the Boys made their big label debut with High Riding, a more straight ahead Western swing/honky-tonk recording, with production by Tommy Allsup and guest appearances by pianist Al Strickland and vocalist Leon Rausch from the Texas Playboys. The album featured tunes like "Yes She Do, No She Don't" (originally done by Milton Brown), "Wine Me Up" (Faron Young), "Cotton Eyed Joe," and a tribute to the King of Western Swing, "Here in Turkey Texas (The Home of Bob Wills)" by Steiner. Incidentally, it also had two songs - "High Stepper" and "Retirement Run" (one last marijuana haul) - by the original King of White Trash, D. K. Little. Over the years, Crow and various incarnations of the Pleasant Valley Boys continued to record lots of excellent Western swing/honky-tonk/rockabilly and nailed down a permanent spot at the Broken Spoke. They cut several albums on the Broken Spoke label, including one of classic cowboy songs, Cowboy 1. In the early 1980s, Crow joined Doug Sahm's band and played fiddle and guitar on several recordings. He was a member of the Texas Mavericks, a side project with Sahm, Speedy Sparks, and John X. Reed that recorded one pseudonymous album of country, rockabilly, blues, and Tex-Mex called Who are These Masked Men? Into the late 1990s, Alvin Crow and the Pleasant Valley Boys could be found several times a month at the Broken Spoke, and as hosts to that venues' annual New Year's Eve party.