Hillbilly-Music.com—The People. The Music. The History.
Leon McAuliffe
Born:  March 1, 1917
Died:  August 20, 1988
Steel Guitar Hall of Fame (1978)

About The Artist

Leon was a native of Houston, Texas. How could anyone forget Bob Wills when he'd call out on his recordings, "take it away, Leon...". A reknowned steel guitarist bar none. Take a listen to "Steel Guitar Rag". He was part of the Bob Wills sound for many years. Later on, he formed his own band. And was at one time recording on Cimarron records. He just about adopted Tulsa, Oklahoma as a home town from his many years there both with Bob Wills and his own band. Let's read about this famed steel guitarist and band leader.

He was held in such high regard by the folks in Tulsa, that the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce held a program dedicated to Leon, in the spring of 1952 or 1953.

Leon started his career off playing with W. Lee O'Daniels' Lightcrust Doughboys. Then he moved on to play with legendary Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Bob Wills had a habit of saying "Take it away, Leon..." as part of the recordings and performances and it became one of those things that became part of hillbilly lore. He did about 50 recordings with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys while he was with them.

Then, in 1945, Leon organized his own band. Around mid-1953, it looks like their most recent release was "Sugar and Salt" that featured a vocal by Jimmy Hall. The flip side was a tune called "Panhandle Waltz", a steel guitar number featuring a solo by Leon.

Around mid-1953, he doing a daily show over the 50,000 watt KVOO in Tulsa from 12:15pm. He also appeared on Wednesday nights at 11:00pm as well as Saturday nights at 10:30pm on a show called the "Western Dance Parade".

Leon and his band also played for the dancers every Wednesday and Saturday evenings at the Cimmaron Ball Room in Tulsa as well as other personal appearances in the area.

Leon was married and had two kids, a daughter and son.

Credits & Sources

  • Cowboy Songs No. 27 (July 1953); American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT.

Related Web Links

Brad's Page of Steel

Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  4043 A Lookin' Glass
  4043 B Wapanuka
  4046 A Bear Creek Hop
  4046 B Boogie On Strings
  4047 A Water Baby Boogie
  4047 B Three Bears
  4049 A Orange Blossom Special
  4049 B Cimarron (Roll On)
  4050 A Ain't Gonna Hurt No More
  4050 B Cozy Inn
  4052 A Choo Choo Ch' Boogie
  4052 B Honky Tonk Song
  4054 A My Ace In The Hole
  4054 B Night Life
  4057 A My Little Red Wagon
  4057 B Faded Love
  4082 A Carroll County
  4082 B Little Girl Go And Ask Your Mama
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  20546 A Panhandle Rag
  20546 B Careless Hands
  20565 A Somebody Else Is Beating My Time
  20565 B No One For Me
  20622 A Sugar And Salt
  20622 B Panhandle Waltz
  20646 A The Three Bears
  20646 B Twin Fiddle Rag
  20669 A Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy
  20669 B Rag Mop
  20688 A Birmingham Bounce (Gunter)
  20688 B Cimarron Rag (Ezell)
  20706 A What Where And When
  20706 B Bonaparte's Retreat
  20755 A What've You Got
  20755 B Jelly Bean Rag
  20782 A Take It Away Leon
  20782 B Tulsa Straight Ahead
  20807 A I've Never Lived In Tennessee
  20807 B There's A Right Way And A Wrong Way
  20845 A I Didn't Know How Much I Loved You
  20845 B Blue Guitar Stomp (Smith)
  20872 A Makin' Believe You're There
  20872 B Search My Heart
  20907 A I'm Going Back To Birmingham
  20907 B Blacksmith Blues
  21020 A Stolen Love (Vbilly Walker)
  21020 B Hear Me Now (Vjimmy Hall)
  21072 A Red Skin Rag
  21072 B Bitter Tears
  21115 A Heart Attacks
  21115 B Eating Right Out Of Your Hand
  21174 A Run 'Em Off
  21174 B Blue Man's Blues
  21227 A I Wish You Would
  21227 B Tie Your Apron Strings Around My Heart
  21283 A Smooth Sailing
  21283 B Sh Boom
  21319 A One Little Dream Of You
  21319 B Mr Steel Guitar
  21398 A Dial Love For Me
  21398 B Hard Hearted Gal
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  11014 A Steel Guitar Rag
  11014 A Steel Guitar Rag
  11014 B Down At The Roadside Inn
  11014 B Down At The Roadside Inn
  11015 A Covered Wagon Rolled Right Along
  11015 B Santa Fe Is A Long, Long Way From Broadway
  11016 A Twin Guitar Boogie
  11016 B In Her Own Peculiar Way
  11027 A Search My Heart
  11027 B A Plain Talking Man From The West
  11032 A Tulsa Straight Ahead
  11032 B A Cowboy's Christmas Song
  6032 A Nobody Cares
  6032 B Take It Away, Leon