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It Make
It Make's No Difference Now,Tommy Duncan
Published: 2007/01/24
Channel: Heikki Laakkonen
Tommy Duncan   Roly Poly
Tommy Duncan Roly Poly
Published: 2013/12/29
Channel: GatorRock788
Bob Wills with Tommy Duncan - Together Again LP (Full album)
Bob Wills with Tommy Duncan - Together Again LP (Full album)
Published: 2016/03/26
Channel: Two Rocka Four
Tommy Duncan - Beneath A Neon Star In A Honky Tonk
Tommy Duncan - Beneath A Neon Star In A Honky Tonk
Published: 2011/04/12
Channel: HonkyTexasTonk
Bob Wills_Time Changes Everything - film version & Tiffany transcription_ vocal Tommy Duncan
Bob Wills_Time Changes Everything - film version & Tiffany transcription_ vocal Tommy Duncan
Published: 2014/09/30
Channel: radiobob805
Ole Rasmussen & Tommy Duncan - Stay A Little Longer
Ole Rasmussen & Tommy Duncan - Stay A Little Longer
Published: 2006/10/24
Channel: Hal Dee
Bob Wills video with Tommy Duncan  Goodbye Liza Jane-
Bob Wills video with Tommy Duncan Goodbye Liza Jane-
Published: 2010/09/16
Channel: radiobob805
Tommy Duncan - Texas Moon
Tommy Duncan - Texas Moon
Published: 2014/06/20
Channel: When The Cowboy Sings
Bob Wills with Tommy Duncan - A Good Man Is Hard To Find & I Had Someone Else Before I Had You.
Bob Wills with Tommy Duncan - A Good Man Is Hard To Find & I Had Someone Else Before I Had You.
Published: 2014/01/07
Channel: radiobob805
Bob Wills & Tommy Duncan - 2 Rare versions of  I Wonder If You Feel the Way I Do
Bob Wills & Tommy Duncan - 2 Rare versions of I Wonder If You Feel the Way I Do
Published: 2013/10/11
Channel: radiobob805
TOMMY DUNCAN Just A Little Bit Jealous CORMAC 1950
TOMMY DUNCAN Just A Little Bit Jealous CORMAC 1950
Published: 2017/06/14
Channel: bebopcapitol
Tommy Duncan - Excuse Me, I Gotta Go 1952
Tommy Duncan - Excuse Me, I Gotta Go 1952
Published: 2014/11/05
Channel: When The Cowboy Sings
Tommy Duncan - Ida Red And Birth Of The Blues 1959
Tommy Duncan - Ida Red And Birth Of The Blues 1959
Published: 2017/01/11
Channel: When The Cowboy Sings
Tommy Duncan - San Antonio Rose (Coral 61391) [1955 western swing]
Tommy Duncan - San Antonio Rose (Coral 61391) [1955 western swing]
Published: 2015/01/12
Channel: Vinyl and shellac by Starday
Tommy Duncan - Who Drank My Beer (While I Was In The Rear)
Tommy Duncan - Who Drank My Beer (While I Was In The Rear)
Published: 2015/09/17
Channel: crister romeger
Tommy Duncan - Sick, Sober, And Sorry 1951
Tommy Duncan - Sick, Sober, And Sorry 1951
Published: 2016/07/04
Channel: When The Cowboy Sings
Bob Wills, Tommy Duncan & Leon 6 classics & rare tracks
Bob Wills, Tommy Duncan & Leon 6 classics & rare tracks
Published: 2017/09/28
Channel: radiobob805
Bob Wills  Tommy Duncan tribute ...Goodbye Liza Jane with Herb Remington
Bob Wills Tommy Duncan tribute ...Goodbye Liza Jane with Herb Remington
Published: 2011/01/04
Channel: Peter Ward
Tommy Duncan  - Relax And Take It Easy
Tommy Duncan - Relax And Take It Easy
Published: 2016/07/21
Channel: When The Cowboy Sings
Tommy Duncan - Time Changes Everything (Coral 61391) [1955 western swing]
Tommy Duncan - Time Changes Everything (Coral 61391) [1955 western swing]
Published: 2015/01/12
Channel: Vinyl and shellac by Starday
maiden
maiden's prayer Bob Wills Tommy Duncan
Published: 2016/05/22
Channel: Charles dugger
1921 Bob Wills, Tommy Duncan, Texas Playboys - What
1921 Bob Wills, Tommy Duncan, Texas Playboys - What's The Matter With The Mill
Published: 2017/09/11
Channel: Ranch Radio
Mean Mama Blues Bob Wills with Tommy Duncan with Lyrics
Mean Mama Blues Bob Wills with Tommy Duncan with Lyrics
Published: 2015/07/06
Channel: billbilladaada
TOMMY DUNCAN In The Jailhouse Now CAPITOL 1949
TOMMY DUNCAN In The Jailhouse Now CAPITOL 1949
Published: 2017/06/13
Channel: bebopcapitol
Away Out There Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys with Tommy Duncan with Lyrics
Away Out There Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys with Tommy Duncan with Lyrics
Published: 2013/06/25
Channel: billbilladaada
Tommy Duncan - Nancy Jane
Tommy Duncan - Nancy Jane
Published: 2009/12/17
Channel: HillbillyBoogie1
Somebody
Somebody's Pushin' Tommy Duncan
Published: 2014/05/15
Channel: misterhonkytonk
Bob Wills & Tommy Duncan duet Darktown Strutters Ball & Tie Me To Your Apron Stings Again
Bob Wills & Tommy Duncan duet Darktown Strutters Ball & Tie Me To Your Apron Stings Again
Published: 2013/07/07
Channel: radiobob805
TOMMY DUNCAN Just A Plain Old Country Boy CAPITOL 1949
TOMMY DUNCAN Just A Plain Old Country Boy CAPITOL 1949
Published: 2017/06/11
Channel: bebopcapitol
Bob Wills - Home In San Antone - vocal Tommy Duncan - Oct 1944
Bob Wills - Home In San Antone - vocal Tommy Duncan - Oct 1944
Published: 2009/07/24
Channel: radiobob805
Tommy Duncan. Dance, Dance, Dance..
Tommy Duncan. Dance, Dance, Dance..
Published: 2011/11/07
Channel: billmm79
Tommy Duncan sings Jimmie Rodgers Gambling Polka Dot Blues & Miss. River Blues
Tommy Duncan sings Jimmie Rodgers Gambling Polka Dot Blues & Miss. River Blues
Published: 2013/10/21
Channel: radiobob805
1903 Tommy Duncan - You Put Me On My Feet When You Took Her Off My Hands)
1903 Tommy Duncan - You Put Me On My Feet When You Took Her Off My Hands)
Published: 2017/08/21
Channel: Ranch Radio
TEENER Tommy Duncan - Darling (You Are The One)
TEENER Tommy Duncan - Darling (You Are The One)
Published: 2014/03/13
Channel: MrTeenagedreams
tommy duncan grits and gravy blues sample
tommy duncan grits and gravy blues sample
Published: 2016/08/30
Channel: bee lee sue
Bob Wills - Home In San Antone - vocal by Tommy Duncan - Oct 1944
Bob Wills - Home In San Antone - vocal by Tommy Duncan - Oct 1944
Published: 2012/12/10
Channel: radiobob805
Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan W/ Texas Playboys  - After All
Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan W/ Texas Playboys - After All
Published: 2017/05/19
Channel: dvdman49
Tommy Duncan   It Makes No Difference Now
Tommy Duncan It Makes No Difference Now
Published: 2013/12/29
Channel: GatorRock788
Bob Wills - I Hear You Talking - Early 50s I think. Tommy Duncan left in 1949
Bob Wills - I Hear You Talking - Early 50s I think. Tommy Duncan left in 1949
Published: 2009/08/13
Channel: radiobob805
Relax and take it easy - Tommy Duncan 1951
Relax and take it easy - Tommy Duncan 1951
Published: 2011/10/08
Channel: Rokenroleg
Who Drank The Beer Tommy Duncan
Who Drank The Beer Tommy Duncan
Published: 2013/08/29
Channel: misterhonkytonk
Johnny G Lyon & JGLB featuring Tommy Duncan
Johnny G Lyon & JGLB featuring Tommy Duncan
Published: 2008/12/15
Channel: Rosey99a
TOMMY DUNCAN There
TOMMY DUNCAN There's Is No A Cow In Texas INTRO 1951
Published: 2014/04/08
Channel: bebopcapitol
Tommy Duncan & the Miller Brothers "Hound Dog"
Tommy Duncan & the Miller Brothers "Hound Dog"
Published: 2017/05/22
Channel: Tim Gracyk
Tommy Duncan And The Miller Brothers   Hound Dog  INTRO 6071
Tommy Duncan And The Miller Brothers Hound Dog INTRO 6071
Published: 2017/07/06
Channel: 53jaybop
Tommy Duncan - I Don
Tommy Duncan - I Don't Want To Hurt You
Published: 2016/09/06
Channel: When The Cowboy Sings
Tommy Duncan - Nancy Jane
Tommy Duncan - Nancy Jane
Published: 2014/06/04
Channel: When The Cowboy Sings
1561 Tommy Duncan - Walkin
1561 Tommy Duncan - Walkin' In The Shadow Of The Blues
Published: 2016/02/11
Channel: Ranch Radio
1938 version: Bob Wills - The Convict And The Rose (Tommy Duncan, vocal)
1938 version: Bob Wills - The Convict And The Rose (Tommy Duncan, vocal)
Published: 2015/07/29
Channel: MusicProf78
TOMMY DUNCAN September CAPITOL 1949
TOMMY DUNCAN September CAPITOL 1949
Published: 2017/05/31
Channel: bebopcapitol
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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Tommy Duncan
Tommy Duncan Billboard.jpg
Background information
Birth name Thomas Elmer Duncan
Born (1911-01-11)January 11, 1911
Origin Hillsboro, Texas
Died July 25, 1967(1967-07-25) (aged 56)
Genres Western swing
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Years active 1930s-1960s
Labels Capitol
Associated acts Bob Wills

Thomas Elmer Duncan (January 11, 1911 – July 25, 1967), better known as Tommy Duncan, was a pioneering American Western swing vocalist and songwriter who gained fame in the 1930s as a founding member of The Texas Playboys. He recorded and toured with bandleader Bob Wills on and off into the early 1960s.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Duncan was born near Whitney, Texas on a large farm into a large and impoverished family of truck farmers. He was one of 14 children. His most profound influences as a young singer were Jimmie Rodgers, Bing Crosby, Emmett Miller and other country and blues musicians. He left home at 13 to sharecrop on a cousin's farm, and by 1932 was surviving as a busker in Fort Worth singing at a root beer stand. That year he won an audition against 64 other singers to join the Light Crust Doughboys, a popular local band which featured Bob Wills on fiddle. Another man had auditioned who sounded almost exactly like Duncan but was turned down because of his crossed eyes. Duncan was hired after he sang a version of Emmett Miller's "I Ain't Got Nobody" and impressed Wills with his yodeling ability and bluesy phrasing. As was common at the time, the Doughboys appeared on a radio show under the sponsorship of a local business, in their case Light Crust Flour. Duncan quickly became a sensation, both on the show and at dances and other appearances.

Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys[edit]

When bandleader Wills decided to form an independent band, he and Duncan became the creative core of The Texas Playboys. Duncan was versatile in his singing style and repertoire, was credited with a fine voice and range, and was ideal for the kind of dance music Wills performed and recorded. He sang everything from ballads and folk to pop, Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, Blues and Cowboy songs.

As a lyricist, he contributed to "New San Antonio Rose" (1940); the recording, with Duncan on vocals, sold three million copies for Columbia Records. Duncan married, but after only a few years his wife developed cancer and died. Ironically, Duncan's first royalty check for "Time Changes Everything" was used to cover her funeral expenses.

Duncan soon set the standard for Western swing vocals. In California he became friends with Bing Crosby when they stabled their horses together. A virtual "human jukebox," Duncan memorized the lyrics and melodies to more than 3,000 songs. He was a master stylist with the ability to make each song sound as though he wrote it. Duncan was also a multi-instrumentalist who could play piano, guitar and bass.

After a decade of musical success, Duncan was the first member of Wills's band to volunteer for the armed services after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. His service lasted less than a year when he received a medical discharge and he rejoined Wills in 1944 as the war neared its end.

He appeared with Wills and the other Playboys in several movies, including Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys (1944), Rhythm Roundup (1945), Blazing the Western Trail (1945), Lawless Empire (1945) and Frontier Frolic (1946). His voice matured in the middle to late 1940s. Duncan joined Wills in writing several more numbers, including "New Spanish Two Step" (1945), "Stay A Little Longer" (1945), "Cotton-Eyed Joe" (1946) and "Sally Goodin" (1947). One night in a bar visiting with songwriter Cindy Walker, Duncan motioned for her to look at a gentleman sitting just a few tables away who was staring at his glass of beer. Duncan commented to her that he's just "watchin' the bubbles in his beer."[citation needed] Instantly they both realized they had a song idea and "Bubbles in My Beer" became one of the staples of Western swing songs. Aside from "Faded Love", sung by Rusty McDonald, every Texas Playboys record that was a hit featured Duncan on vocals, cementing his status as the finest vocalist Wills had.

Rumors about Duncan having been a heavy drinker were false; Duncan would only have a drink or two at social events and his brother Glynn stated that otherwise he never saw Duncan drink even while they lived together in Fresno, California. Many band members considered him a troublemaker, but the accusations may have stemmed from professional jealousy. Duncan was admired by contemporaries including Tex Ritter, Tex Williams, Teddy Wilds, Hank Penny and Ole Rasmussen.

Later career[edit]

By 1948, Wills' drinking was becoming too out of control for Duncan. Wills often missed shows, and when the headliner failed to appear, the band's pay reverted to union scale. After a string of performances in 1948 without Wills, Wills overheard Duncan complaining one night before a performance. Wills told guitarist Eldon Shamblin to "fire" Duncan, who set out to form his own band.

He organized another Western swing band called Tommy Duncan and His Western All Stars featuring his younger brother Glynn (1921-2013), a Western swing pioneer, on bass (who would later become Wills' lead vocalist in the late 1950s). Another brother, Joe Duncan, was the lead vocalist for Johnnie Lee Wills' band for a period of time. At the height of the band's popularity, Duncan and the band made an appearance in the 1949 Western film, South of Death Valley, starring Charles Starrett and Smiley Burnette. Musical tastes were changing, however, and attendance at the Western All Stars' dances ranged from fair to poor, certainly not enough to sustain a large band, which lasted less than two years.

From 1959 to 1961, Duncan again toured and recorded with Wills, rekindling much of their former success. By this time Duncan's voice had evolved to a mature mellow croon and he used it to the greatest effect. But when Wills began drinking, he again left and made personal appearances with various bands. Wills' band never achieved the same greatness it had with Duncan, and Duncan's solo efforts mostly paled in comparison to his Wills output. Although known for Western swing, Duncan enjoyed singing country hits of the day.

Death[edit]

Duncan, who had previous heart problems, died in his motel room in San Diego, California after a performance at Imperial Beach on July 24, 1967. The coroner's report said he was "lying...on the floor...Evidence victim had a heart condition, numerous pills for heart were found among personal effects." He is buried near Merced, California.

Legacy[edit]

Duncan's reputation was that of a unique and distinctive talent, a hillbilly Bing Crosby who never compromised his style to be more popular or commercial. On his own and with Wills, he was an influence on such artists as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Roy Orbison, Merle Haggard, Buddy Holly, Red Steagall, George Strait, Clint Black, Randy Travis, and Garth Brooks.

As a member of The Texas Playboys, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an Early Influence in 1999, and was also inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. Texas singer Billy Mata has released the Volumes I and II of a planned trilogy of tunes a tribute to Duncan entitled This Is Tommy Duncan. Glynn Duncan and his son Larry are among thousands of people who consider Duncan one of the most versatile vocalists of the 20th century. To get the best feel for Duncan's versatility, check out the "Tiffany Transcription" recordings.

Singles[edit]

Year Single US Country
1949 "Gamblin' Polka Dot Blues" 8

External links[edit]

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