Shelly Lee Alley Biography

6 July 1894, Alleyton, Texas, USA, d. 1 June 1964. Little is known of Alley’s childhood except that he learned to play the fiddle and read music, and began to write songs. During his service in World War I, he led a military orchestra, and later appeared with other units on Texas radio stations. In the 20s, he played with various groups, including the Dixie Serenaders in Dallas. One of the highlights of his early career occurred on 31 January 1931, with Alley and his brother Alvin both playing fiddle on Jimmie Rodgers’ famous recording of ‘Travellin’ Blues’. In the mid-30s, Alley formed his Alley Cats, a western swing band that played dancehalls and radio stations in the Houston/Beaumont areas. In the late 30s, they recorded for ARC and over 20 singles were released on Vocalion Records including their famous ‘Alley Cat Stomp’. Later, in 1941, Alley also recorded for Bluebird Records. He finally dissolved his band around 1946, but he continued to play with other bands almost up to his death in 1964. After becoming a born-again Christian in the early 50s, he wrote several gospel songs that were recorded by various artists including Jimmie Davis. Alley had no album releases but some tracks by the Alley Cats have appeared on compilation albums of western swing music.


Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.


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