Western swing great Tom "Wolf" Morrell has been in the business of making music for longer than many of today's hot new stars of country have been alive. Others might talk about country music history, but he was there in the middle of a lot of it. During a career that has spanned more than four decades, Morrell has served as a member of a number of Western swing bands, toured and recorded with some of the best in the country genre, and earned a place in the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1988. All of this he accomplished before he finally got around to doing an album of his own in 1995. He must have liked the ending results, since it turned out to be the first of many albums he has completed.
Tom Morrell was raised in Texas. He showed an interest in music at a young age, learning to play guitar, steel guitar, and even the Dobro. By the '50s he had moved to California, where Western swing bands were popular. He landed spots working and touring with Ray Price, Tex Williams, Wade Ray, the Texas Playboys, and the Western Starlighters. Morrell has offered his talents for use on albums by artists like Asleep at the Wheel, Talking Heads, Don Edwards, and Willie Nelson. In 1995, Morrell finished up work on a debut album of his own, How the West Was Swung. He uses his own band, the Time-Warp Top Hands, on the recording. Over the next few years he finished many more volumes to How the West Was Swung, including On the Money, No Peddlers Allowed, Let's Ride With Bob & Tommy, Pterodactyl Ptales, Go Uptown, Let's Take Another Ride With Bob & Tommy, Smoke a Little of This, and Son of No Peddles Allowed. Morrell brought in some impressive musicians to help out with his recordings, like guitarist Leon Chambers, fiddler Bobby Boatright, trumpeter Rodney Booth, clarinetist Randy Lee, saxophonist Pete Brewer, accordionist Tim Alexander, and steel guitarist Jerry Byrd. The resulting music is a little bit of country, a little swing, a little jazz, and all Western swing -- done only like Tom "Wolf" Morrell can. ~ Charlotte Dillon