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Foy Willing

December 16, 1975 OH509


Country performer. Born 1915. Died June 24, 1978. Singer and songwriter. Leader of the western vocal group Riders of the Purple Sage. Began career in the early 1930s in New York radio with a show for Crazy Water Crystals. During the late 1930s-early 1940s worked in Texas and Oklahoma. In 1943 formed the Riders of the Purple Sage. The group appeared on the Hollywood Barn Dance, recorded for the Columbia, Decca, and Majestic record labels and backed numerous western performers on radio and film.

Interview Summary

1975 December 16
Printed transcript only. Audio recording not available.
Performer Foy Willing talks about the early years of his career. Discussion includes his childhood; comments on Nat Vincet’s promotion of his early career; adopting the name Willing; his first group and recording on Capitol Records; the harmony style of the Riders of the Purple Sage; his early career with the Three Tall Guys From Texas; working on the Crazy Water Crystals show in New York; highlights from the Crazy Water Crystals sales pitch; comments on the state of country music in New York during the early 1930s and in California during the 1940s; his decision to return to Texas to learn more about the radio industry; the formation of the Riders of the Purple Sage; memories of the Hollywood Barn Dance; his efforts to balance his radio, film, and recording work; and his decision to sign with Republic Pictures.

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