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“I’m a Tool Pusher from Snyder”: Slim Willet’s Oil Patch Songs

Joe Specht will speak at the W. K. Gordon Center on 14 November 2010. He will play some recorded versions of oil field songs and discuss them, concentrating on a local celebrity, Slim Willet. The Sunday program begins at 2:30 pm and is free to the public.

Slim Willet recorded a number of oil field songs, starting with "I'm a Tool Pusher from Snyder" in 1950 and an album "Texas Oil Patch Songs" in 1959. His real name was Winston Lee Moore and was born in Victor, Erath County, Texas in 1919. He was a student manager of the Hardin-Simmons University radio station, KHSU, and went to work full time at Abilene radio station KRBC. With the success of his song "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes", Willet started his own record label. He also handled emcee duties for the Big State Jamboree on Saturday evenings and hosted a weekly variety show on KRBC-TV. He continued to be a radio DJ on KRBC until 1957 when he moved to KNIT.

Joe W. Specht is collection manager of the Grady McWhiney Research Foundation and former director of the Jay-Rollins Library at McMurry University.  He is the author of The Women There Don’t Treat You Mean: Abilene in Song and co-editor, with the late Lawrence Clayton, of The Roots of Texas Music.  Specht has published articles in Southwestern Historical Quarterly, The Journal of Texas Music History, West Texas Historical Association Year Book, Heritage Journal, and Old Time Music, and contributed to The Encyclopedia of Country Music and The Handbook of Texas Music.