Ride with Ray

Ride with Ray

There is perhaps no better friend to the memory of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys than Ray Benson. Benson and his band, Asleep at the Wheel, have been playing Wills' music almost longer than he did over the course of their three-decade career. Benson's love for Wills' Western swing culminated in 1993's simply titled Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and its 1994 dance-mix companion, discs featuring contributions from Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, George Strait, Lyle Lovett, and even Huey Lewis. Over the past two years, Benson and Asleep at the Wheel assembled another all-star cast to pay homage to the late, great Wills, resulting in Ride with Bob, a 17-track testimonial to his enduring legend, due out on Dreamworks Records on August 10.

The disc includes the Squirrel Nut Zippers backing Merle Haggard on "St. Louis Blues," Willie Nelson and Manhattan Transfer's take on "Goin' Away Party," and our own beloved Dixie Chicks' version of "Roly Poly." Benson also enlisted the help of Dwight Yoakam, Reba McEntire, Don Walser, and Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin (who duet on "Faded Love") to complete the album. Methinks the Dixie Chicks were brought on board before Natalie Maines joined the group and convinced the Erwin sisters to put away their frilly Western duds. And speaking of the Chicks, their new album, Fly, will hit stores on August 31. We're lining up right now.

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