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Tex Williams

Background information
Birth name Sollie Paul Williams
Born August 23, 1917(1917-08-23)
Origin Ramsey, Illinois
Died October 11, 1985 (aged 68)
Genres Western swing, country
Occupations singer-songwriter
Instruments guitar
Years active 1946–1978

Sollie Paul Williams (August 23, 1917–October 11, 1985), known professionally as Tex Williams, was an American Western swing musician from Ramsey, Illinois.

He is best known for his talking blues style; his biggest hit was the novelty song, "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)", which held the number one position on the Billboard charts for six weeks in 1947. "Smoke" was the number five song on Billboard's Top 100 list for 1947, and was number one on the country chart that year.[1] It can be heard during the opening scenes of the 2006 movie, Thank You for Smoking.

Williams' backing band, the Western Caravan, numbered about a dozen members. They attained an enviable level of fluid interplay between electric and steel guitars, fiddles, bass, accordion, trumpet, and other instruments (even an occasional harp). At first they recorded polkas for Capitol Records with limited success. That was changed by the success of "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke" written in large part by Merle Travis.[2]

Williams died of pancreatic cancer on October 11, 1985.[3]



Williams and the Western Caravan appeared in the following films:

  • Tex Williams and His Western Caravan (1947)
  • Tex Williams & Orchestra in Western Whoopee (1948)
  • Tex Williams' Western Varieties (1951)



Tex Williams collection album cover
Williams collection album cover
Year Album US Country Label
1955 Country and Western Dance-O-Rama 5 Decca
1960 Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! Capitol
1962 Country Music Time Decca
1963 Live in Las Vegas Liberty
1966 A Voice of Authority Imperial
1966 Two Sides of Tex Williams 26 Boone
1971 A Man Called Tex 38 Monument
1974 Those Lazy, Hazy Days Granite


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US
1946 "The California Polka" 4 singles only
1947 "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)" 1 1
"That's What I Like About the West" 4
"Never Trust a Woman" 8
1948 "Don't Telephone - Don't Telegraph (Tell a Woman)" 2
"Suspicion" 4
"Banjo Polka" 5
"Who? Me?" 6
"Foolish Tears" 15
"Talking Boogie" 6
"Just a Pair of Blue Eyes" 13
"Life Gits Tee-Jus, Don't It?" 5 27
1949 "(There's a) Bluebird On Your Windowsill" 11
1965 "Too Many Tigers" 26 Two Sides of Tex Williams
"Big Tennessee" 30
1966 "Bottom of a Mountain" 18
"First Step Down" singles only
"Another Day, Another Dollar in the Hole" 44
1967 "Crazy Life"
"Black Jack County" 57
"She's Somebody Else's Heartache Now"
1968 "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke - '68" 32
"Here's to You and Me" 45
"Tail's Been Waggin' the Dog"
1970 "Big Oscar" A Man Called Tex
"It Ain't No Big Thing" 50
1971 "The Night Miss Nancy Ann's
Hotel for Single Girls Burned Down"A
1972 "Everywhere I Go (He's Already Been There)" 67
"Glamour of the Night Life (Is Calling Me Again)" singles only
"Tennessee Travelin'"
"Cynthia Ann"
1974 "Is This All You Hear (When a Heart Breaks)" Those Lazy, Hazy Days
"Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer" 70
"Bum Bum Bum"
1978 "Make It Pretty for Me Baby" single only
  • A"The Night Miss Nancy Ann's Hotel for Single Girls Burned Down" peaked at #27 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Kienzle, Southwest Shuffle, p. 99: "In 1985, he died of pancreatic cancer (not lung cancer, as was widely reported)."


  • Kienzle, Rich. Southwest Shuffle: Pioneers of Honky Tonk, Western Swing, and Country Jazz. New York: Routledge, 2003. ISBN 0-415-94102-4
  • Whitburn, Joel. The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits. Billboard Books, 2006. ISBN 0-8230-8291-1

External links

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