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Adolph Hofner

Adolph Hofner (né Adolph John Hofner, Jr.; 8 June 1916 Moulton, Texas – 2 June 2000 San Antonio) was an American western swing bandleader.[1][2]

Biography

Hofner was born into a family of Czech-German origin. He grew up listening to Czech and Hawaiian music. When he was ten years old his family moved to San Antonio.[3] He and his younger brother Emil, together with Simon Garcia, formed the "Hawaiian Serenaders" performing locally.[4] Influenced by Milton Brown and His Brownies, Hofner decided to become a singer in a Western Swing band. In the mid-1930s, he joined Jimmie Revard's (né James O. Revard; 1909–1991) Oklahoma Playboys and in October 1936, he made his first recordings with them as singer and guitarist. Hofner made his solo debut in 1938 when he was offered a contract with Bluebird Records. With support from Eli Oberstein, the recording manager of Bluebird, Hofner formed a swing band[3] "Adolph Hofner and His Texans." They made their recording debut on April 5, 1938[5] and they played their first gig outside Leming on May 13, 1939.[6] Meanwhile he recorded with "Tom Dickey's Show Boys."[3] Hofner had his first and biggest hit in 1940 with "Maria Elena."[7][8]

In 1941, Hofner signed a recording contract with Okeh. During World War II, he and his band was hired by Foreman Phillips' chain of dance halls to perform around Los Angeles under the name of "Dolph Hofner and His San Antonians." Some of his hits during this period were "Cotton-Eyed Joe," "Alamo Rag," and "Jessie Polka." Despite his relative success, he failed to have his contract renewed and he returned to Texas. Sponsored by Pearl Beer in 1950, Hofner formed the "Pearl Wranglers" performing at KTSA in San Antonio with their musical mix of swing, country, rockabilly, and polka. They recorded for the obscure Sarg label.

Among the Czech-American songs they recorded, many with the original Czech lyrics, are the "Happy Go Lucky Polka," "Prune Walz," "Barbara Polka," "Geen Meadow Polka," and "Farewell to Prague" ("Kdyz Jsme Opustili Prahu"). In order to accommodate their sponsor, Pearl Beer, the Hofners recorded the original version of "Farewell to Prague," which had been known in the old country, instead of the more recent Czech-American "Shiner Beer Polka," the same song with the word Prague (Prahu) changed to Shiner. This avoided the implied reference to the rival Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Spoetzl's being closely identified with the "Shiner Beer Polka." The brothers could not however resist inserting a joke in Czech at the end of the recording, when one of the Hofners asks the other to "give me a dark beer" ("Daj mne cervene pivo"), Spoetzl's Shiner Bock being the most well-known dark beer in Texas at that time, as it remains today. The other brother firmly replies, "No!" ("Ne!").

In the mid-1980s, Hofner and the Pearl Wranglers were filmed at the Farmer's Daughter dance hall for the British Channel 4 series The A to Z of C & W. Hofner's career ended in 1993 when he suffered a stroke. He died in June 2000.[6]

Discography

  • Texas-Czech, Bohemian, & Moravian Bands - Arhoolie/Folklyric Records (1980) OCLC 30394604
  • South Texas Swing - Arhoolie/Folklyric Records (1980) OCLC 31863135
  • Country - Frémeaux Records
  • Western Swing: Texas 1928-1944 - Frémeaux Records OCLC 37799161
  • Hillbilly Blues 1928-1946 - Frémeaux Records OCLC 222283540
  • Doughboys, Playboys, and Cowboys - Proper Records OCLC 44555137

Footnotes

  1. ^ Erlewine 1997
  2. ^ Larkin 1998
  3. ^ a b c Russell 2007, p. 215.
  4. ^ Carlin 2003, p. 185.
  5. ^ Russell, Pinson 2004, p. 430.
  6. ^ a b Russell 2007, p. 216.
  7. ^ Tribe 2006, p. 88.
  8. ^ Carlin 2003, p. 186.

References

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