He was a keyboardist, fiddle and mandolin player, singer and bandleader born in Luling, Texas and moving to Beaumont, Texas with his family in 1942 and to Houston in 1946. His stepfather, Shelly Lee Alley, was an extremely active and pioneering musician in Western Swing music.
From about the time he was ten years old he gave performances in Luling and Beaumont at dances and on radio shows and regularly recorded with Link Davis during the late 1940s and 1950s.
From the time he was young he performed with the majority of the big names and groups in Texas including Alley Cats, which was a group he formed with his stepfather, Tillman, the Village Boys, The Weavers, Bob Wills, and his idol Cliff Bruner. He was subsequently dubbed a “Musician’s Musician” by his peers.
After performing with all these other acts he moved on to form his own band in 1971 and co-founded The River Road Boys. They became a very respected group of musicians based in Houston, Texas. They became one of the major Western Swing dance bands and made appearances at numerous venues and music festivals all over America. They were internationally known through the albums they released which were in excess of 20 and also won several awards for being the “Best Western Swing Band”. Their song “We’re Proud Dubya’s from Texas” won them the Will Rogers Award for “Best Western Swing Song of the Year” in 2004. They also held the accolade of having the first country album to have been broadcast behind the Iron Curtain.
Throughout his professional career he performed with countless artists in the studio and some of the albums he appeared on include his own The Texas Touch and The Twin Fiddles of Bob White and Clyde Brewer and also Free Range Trout by Bill Aspinwall, Hot Lickin’ by Paul Buskirk, Devil in the Bayou – The Gold Star Recordings by Harry Choates, Big Mamou by Link Davis, Send Me the Pillow You Dream On by Hank Locklin, I’ll Sail My Ship Alone by Moon Mullican, Nite Life: Greatest Hits and Rare Tracks 1959-1971 and It’s Been Rough and Rocky Travelin’ by Willie Nelson, Blue Bonnet Lane, Don’t Ever Take Our Picture Down, Down the Trail, Expressions of Faith, Houston, Swingin’ South, Texas – Born to Love You, Texas Two-Step Time and 2000 by The River Road Boys and the compilations All Time Texas Dance Faves,Steelin’ It: The Steel Guitar Story and Stompin’ Singers and Western Swingers.
Very much recognised for his contribution to music he was an inductee into several country music and western swing Halls of Fame throughout the United States including the International Country Music Hall of Fame. He was a member of the Recording Academy and honoured in 2008 with a Heart of Western Swing Award. In 2010 he was named “Man of the Year” in Western Swing Monthly.
Paul Buskirk recordings
Paul’s Boogie (arr. Paul Buskirk)
Stoneway: No. 1131-1 LR-13689
Piano – Clyde Brewer
With thanks to Clyde Brewer who very kindly contributed information to this page in 2008.
Here’s Clyde playing keyboards with the River Road Boys in a performance of “Pipe Liner Blues”…