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Slim Willet
Born:  December 1, 1919
Died:  July 1, 1966
Country Music DJ Hall of Fame (1994)
KWKH Louisiana Hayride
KRBC Abilene, TX
KNIT Abilene, TX (1956)
KCAD Abilene, TX (1964)

Slim Willet started off as a songwriter as he related to Cowboy Songs magazine in a March 1953 article. His first song recorded was a tune called "Pinball Millionaire" by Hank Locklin in 1950, who at the time was on the 4 Star label. That tune got recorded a few months later on Capitol by Gene O'Quin. He said his tunes were usually novelty tunes that he sang for the entertainment of his audiences.

Then in 1950, during the midst of the big oil boom in Snyder, Texas, he wrote another tune. And that turned into his first record on the Star Talent label - "Toolpusher From Snyder". That tune sold like wildfire in Texas. He then recorded a few other tunes after that hit, "Nobody Loves A Fat Man", "A Cold Can of Beer", "My Story's Sadder Than Yourn". (Wouldn't you love to hear those songs just by the title of those tunes?)

He then moved to the 4 Star label and his first release with them was "Let Me Know" along with "Love's Prison".

Slim said his recording band was Shorty Underwood and The Brushcutters.

When this article was written in 1953, he was working as a disc jockey for radio station KRBC out of Abilene, Texas. And was also hosting the "KRBC Big State Jamboree" that was held down in Abiliene every Saturday night. He was spinning records six days a week there until he wrote a song that caught on like crazy - "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes". Behind every song like that there is usually a story of how it came to be. Slim told the readers how it came about.

He got a letter from a soldier stationed in Korea along about September of 1951. It was one of those long letters, but wanted a song played for his sweetheart that lived near Abilene. He wrote poetically that his darling had stars in her eyes on moonlit nights. He told Slim, play her a tune, tell her to wait for me and to not let the stars get in her eyes.

He said it didn't come to him right then, but about a week later, he was strumming around on his guitar and singing. His style was a bit different than most hillbilly singers then. He had a Spanish influence he said that he had picked up years before. Not that he was Spanish himself, actually one fourth Cherokee Indian and three-fourths Irish. He said when he was 16, he spent a year in Arizona at the CCC camps. There were about 15 Mexican boys at the camp when he was there and every night they would sing. And Slim listened. And he said he had never been really to get too far away from that kind of tempo and style that he remembered.

He wrote that tune, "Don't Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes" and wrote many verses he said. Sang it for hours. It grew on him. It wouldn't leave him alone.

Finally, one night after the Big State Jamboree show, they set up the recording equipment and cut the record for the 4 Star label.

But did the 4 Star folks think it was a hit? Slim said he kept the letter they wrote him. "Here's a song that is off beat, off meter, off everything." ... "..it wouldn't sell." Well, the legend goes, ten months later, they put it on the back side of another oil song called "Hadacol Corners". Have you ever heard "Hadacol Corners" he asks?

Credits & Sources

  • Cowboy Songs Magazine No. 25; March 1953; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT.

Sound Sample—(RealAudio Format)
The Red Rose

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Recordings
 
4 Star
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1614 A Hadacol Corners
  1614 B Don't Let The Stars (Get In Your Eyes)
  1625 A Let Me Know (w/His Hired Hands)
  1625 B My Love Song To You (w/His Hired Hands)
  1637 A The Red Rose (w/His Hired Hands)
  1637 B Live While You're Young (Dream While You're Old) (w/His Hired Hands)
  1642 A Hungry Slim
  1642 B Villa Cuna
  1643 A Hard To Love Just One
  1643 B Little Bluebird Keeps Singin'
  1645 A Shibuya
  1645 B Don't Waste Your Heart
  1653 A Will There Be Stars In My Crown
  1653 B Life Today As You Know
  1663 A Lonely Tide
  1663 B Don't Laugh At Me Now
  1672 A Love Me Baby
  1672 B When Lovers Go By
  1677 A Mati Hari
  1677 B Tell Me Now
  1679 A When Nobody Cares
  1679 B Tall Men
  1698 A It Ain't Gonna Rain
  1698 B The Politician
  X-32 A Love�s Prison
  X-32 B Let Me Know
 
Decca
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  29066 A Leave Me Alone Now
  29066 B Starlight Waltz


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