At 102 years of age, Louise Tobin is one of the last surviving musicians of the Swing Era. Born in Aubrey, Texas, in 1918, she grew up in a large family that played music together. She once said that she fell out of the cradle singing and all she ever wanted to do was to sing. And sing she did. She sang with Benny Goodman and also performed vocals for such notables as Will Bradley, Bobby Hackett, Harry James (her first husband), Johnny Mercer, Lionel Hampton, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Peanuts Hucko (her second husband), and Fletcher Henderson.
Based on extensive oral history interviews and archival research, Texas Jazz Singer recalls both the glamour and the challenges of life on the road and onstage during the golden age of swing and beyond. As it traces American music through the twentieth century, Louise Tobin’s story provides insight into the challenges musicians faced to sustain their careers during the cultural revolution and ever-changing styles and tastes in music.
In this absorbing biography, music historian Kevin Edward Mooney offers readers a view of a remarkable life in music, told from the vantage point of the woman who lived it. Rather than simply making Tobin an emblem for women in jazz of the big band era, Mooney concentrates instead on Tobin’s life, her struggles and successes, and in doing so captures the particular sense of grace that resonates throughout each phase of Tobin’s notable career.
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Published by Texas A&M University Press