A recent late-spring clean-up resulted in the discovery of a stash of Dallas-related 78s I'd collected back when I was music editor, which was some time between the switchover from cylinder recordings to reel-to-reel. Most are the scratchy leftovers of forgotten footnotes; one or two sound like sandpaper rubbing against the echo of a pedal steel. But among the pile, which also includes out-of-print 45s from long-ago busted-up Dallas bands from the '50s through the early '90s, I found this gem worth sharing on this flashback Friday: Bill Boyd and His Cowboy Ramblers' "Palace in Dallas," a mid-'40s B-side that survived just long enough for me to transfer it from shellac to MP3 today before it cracked in half when I laid it on a soft surface, awesome.
Boyd was a local -- born in Ladonia in Fannin County in 1910, but moved to Dallas in '29, where three years later, he debuted the first iteration of the Cowboy Ramblers on WRR before going on to record hundreds of titles for a handful of labels. Boyd, who died in Dallas in '77, remains a beloved figure among your more hardcore Western swing afficianados -- you know, those who'll spend hours arguing whether Milton Brown and the Musical Brownies were better than Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. If "Palace in Dallas" does it for you, take heart: Archive.org has some 90 downloadable Cowboy Ramblers MP3s (scroll down) for your listening pleasure, and the Western Swing on 78 blog offered more than 100 tunes back in '07 that appear to be accessible to this day.
In coming weeks, I'll share these bits of local history here and over on DC9 at Night. Assuming, of course, they don't snap in half for no good reason before then.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Bonus MP3: Bill Boyd and His Cowboy Ramblers, "Palace in Dallas"