A Guide to the Marvin Montgomery/Light Crust Doughboys Collection
Founded in 1931, the Light Crust Doughboys is a western swing band from the Dallas, Texas area. Original members included fiddler James Robert (Bob) Willis, guitarist Herman Arnspiger, and singer Milton Brown. The group started as the Willis Fiddle band, but changed names for a local radio show promoting Burrus Mill and Elevator Company’s Light Crust Flour. The show was cancelled after two weeks because Burrus Mill President W. Lee O’Daniel disliked the band’s music. However, public outcry brought the Doughboys back to the radio, and O’Daniel expanded the show to many other Texas and Oklahoma stations. In 1932, all original musicians left the band, and O’Daniel took a new group of Doughboys to Chicago to record with Vocalion Records. The group achieved its greatest commercial success between 1935 and World War II with lineups including fiddlers Kenneth Pitts, Clifford Gross and Cecil Brower; guitarists Muryel Campbell and Dick Reinhart; banjoist Marvin (Smokey) Montgomery; bass player Ramon DeArman; and pianist John (Knocky) Parker. The Doughboys’ radio show went off the air in 1950, but the group continued to perform and record. Through the 1970s and 1980s, the group was kept going in various forms by bandleader Montgomery, who saw the group inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame in 1989. With Montgomery’s death in 2001, Art Greenhaw took over leadership, guiding the Light Crust Doughboys to their first Grammy Award in 2003.
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Light Crust Doughboys," (accessed October 15, 2010).
The Marvin Montgomery/Light Crust Doughboys Collection, 1935-1991, documents the history of the Light Crust Doughboys western swing band through sheet music, songbooks, phonodiscs, audiocassettes, videocassettes, manuscripts and ephemera collected by bandleader and banjoist Marvin (Smokey) Montgomery. Included in the collection are Doughboys sheet music; recordings by the Doughboys, Montgomery, and pianist John (Knocky) Parker; Stamps/Baxter hymnals; a copy of the film Oh, Susanna, featuring Gene Autry and the Light Crust Doughboys; original chord and lead sheets; and flour sack advertisements for Burrus Mills.
This collection is open for research use.
Use of audio material by appointment only; please contact sound archivist for more information.
Marvin Montgomery/Light Crust Doughboys Collection, 1935-1991, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by archives staff, ca. 1991.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers