Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Texas Troubadours: Backup Band Extraordinaire

Perhaps it’s not fair to single out a backing band in country music, since there are so many outstanding ones – The Texas Playboys, The Cherokee Cowboys, The Drifting Cowboys, The Golden West Cowboys, The Brazos Valley Boys, The Western Caravan, The Buckaroos, The Strangers – and yet I am unable to stop myself from nominating Ernest Tubb’s 1960s incarnation of The Texas Troubadours as one of the all-time great backing bands in country music.

This live rendition of “Rhodes-Bud Boogie” knocks me out every time:

For extra fun, click here to enjoy Willie Nelson backed by the Texas Troubadours, with help from fiddler, Wade Ray, and a beehived chorus on “My Window Faces the South (Blues).”

Texas Troubadours Discography


  • Ernest Tubb Presents the Texas Troubadours  [1964]
  • Country Dance Time  [1965]
  • Ernest Tubb’s Fabulous Texas Troubadours  [1966]
  • The Terrific Texas Troubadours  [1968]


  • Decca 31699  “New Panhandle Rag” / “Rhodes-Bud Boogie”  [1964]
  • Decca 31770  “Honky Tonks and You” / “Cains Corner”  [1965]
  • Decca 31837  “Highway Man” / “Leon’s Guitar Boogie”  [1965]
  • Decca 32065  “Walking the Floor Over You’ / “E.T. Blues”  [1966]
  • Decca 32121  “Gardenia Waltz” / “Honey Fingers”  [1966]
  • Decca 32185  “Almost to Tulsa” / “Oklahoma Hills”  [196?]

Texas Troubadours Personnel Over the Years

– Bill Drake (circa 1947)
– Billy Byrd (lead guitar, circa 1949-1959)
– Buddy Charleton (steel guitar, 1962-1967)
– Buddy Emmons (steel, 1960-1961)
– Cal Smith (rhythm guitar, 1961-1967
– Dickie Harris (circa 1956)
– Hal Smith (circa 1947)
– Jack Drake (bass guitar, circa 1945-1967)
– Jack Greene (drums, 1962-1965)
– Jimmie Short (circa 1943-1948)
– Johnny “Boy” Sapp (circa 1945)
– Leon Rhodes (lead guitar, 1960-1967)
– Leon Short (circa 1945)
– Ray “Kemo” Head (circa 1945)
– Rusty Gabbard (rhythm guitar, circa 1956)
– Tommy “Butterball” Paige (circa 1947)

One Response

  1. my second cousin is wayne fleming,he was a member of ernest tubbs band in the late forties.would like to fing out any information about his playing days

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