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"I'm a Tool Pusher from Snyder": Slim Willet's Oil Patch Songs

"I'm a Tool Pusher from Snyder": Slim Willet's Oil Patch Songs Slim Willet (born Winston Lee Moore) in action, 1953. From the author's collection. "Fm a Tool Pusherfrom Snyder' Slim Willet 's Oil Patch Songs ByJoe W. Specht* Folklorist Mody Boatright, writing in ig63, commented on the dearth of folksongs about the petroleum industry: 'There was some singing in the oil fields and attempts were made to compose songs about oil field people and their work, but none of the efforts was of sufficient appeal to attain more than brief and local distribution."1 Bill Malone, the dean of country music historians, concurred, "almost none [oil songs] emerged from the culture of oil work."2 And Elmer Kelton, the award-winning Western novelist who grew up outside of Crane, Texas, during the town's oil boom days of the late ig20s, confessed, "When I think of the oil patch, I don't think of music."3 Boatright mentioned several factors that help to explain the sparsity of spontaneous songs flowing from the oil field. First, the transitory nature of the work meant "a sense of community" was absent because crews seldom stayed together for extended periods of time.4 When compared to 'Joe W. Specht is Collection Manager of the Grady McWhiney Research Foundation in Abilene. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southwestern Historical Quarterly Texas State Historical Association

"I'm a Tool Pusher from Snyder": Slim Willet's Oil Patch Songs

Southwestern Historical Quarterly , Volume 113 (3) – Jul 6, 2010

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Publisher
Texas State Historical Association
Copyright
Copyright © The Texas State Historical Association.
ISSN
1558-9560
Publisher site
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Abstract

Slim Willet (born Winston Lee Moore) in action, 1953. From the author's collection. "Fm a Tool Pusherfrom Snyder' Slim Willet 's Oil Patch Songs ByJoe W. Specht* Folklorist Mody Boatright, writing in ig63, commented on the dearth of folksongs about the petroleum industry: 'There was some singing in the oil fields and attempts were made to compose songs about oil field people and their work, but none of the efforts was of sufficient appeal to attain more than brief and local distribution."1 Bill Malone, the dean of country music historians, concurred, "almost none [oil songs] emerged from the culture of oil work."2 And Elmer Kelton, the award-winning Western novelist who grew up outside of Crane, Texas, during the town's oil boom days of the late ig20s, confessed, "When I think of the oil patch, I don't think of music."3 Boatright mentioned several factors that help to explain the sparsity of spontaneous songs flowing from the oil field. First, the transitory nature of the work meant "a sense of community" was absent because crews seldom stayed together for extended periods of time.4 When compared to 'Joe W. Specht is Collection Manager of the Grady McWhiney Research Foundation in Abilene.

Journal

Southwestern Historical QuarterlyTexas State Historical Association

Published: Jul 6, 2010

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