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The Son Of A Former Texas Playboy Remembers Bob Wills

Stricklin Family
Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys pose with Gene Autry (in the hat) with Wills on the left side of Autry and Al Stricklin at the far right, circa 1938.

The music of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys is getting renewed attention with the release this month of a new tribute CD by Asleep at the Wheel, which features guest appearances by many of the most revered names in country music.

Wills was considered co-founder of western swing and had an immense influence through his recordings, radio appearances and live performances.

He formed Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys in 1934. Shortly afterward he recruited Al Stricklin to play piano. Stricklin stayed with the band until 1942, but would continue to periodically perform with Wills in the following decades.

Stricklin’s son David Stricklin is today manager of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, which is part of the Central Arkansas Library System. David joined KUAR’s Michael Hibblen to share stories about his dad’s experiences with Bob Wills. You can hear the interview above.

Al Stricklin
A signed photo of Al Stricklin in the 1950s.

Michael Hibblen was a journalist for KUAR News from May 2009 — December 2022. During his final 10 years with the station, he served as News Director. In January 2023, he was hired by Arkansas PBS to become its Senior Producer/ Director of Public Affairs.
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