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Cooley, Spade (17 December 1910–23 November 1969), western swing bandleader and fiddler, was born Donnell Clyde Cooley in or near Pack Saddle Creek, Oklahoma, the son of John Cooley and Emma (maiden name unknown). Some sources indicate that he was born on 22 February 1910 in Grand (or Grande), Oklahoma. The family moved in 1914 to Oregon, where at age seven Cooley received his first musical instruction in classical violin, though soon he was applying his musical talents by fiddling at local dances. As one-quarter Cherokee Indian (from his father’s side), Cooley attended Chemawa Indian School, at which he played the cello in the school orchestra. It was also at Chemawa that Cooley acquired his nickname “Spade” during a poker game in which he drew a number of spade flushes....

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Wills, Bob (06 March 1905–13 May 1975), fiddler and band leader, was born James Robert Wills near Kosse, Limestone County, Texas, the son of John Tompkins Wills, a migrant farmworker and farmer, and Emmaline Foley. When Wills was age eight, the family moved to Hall County in West Texas. The eldest son in a family that eventually included ten children, Wills worked in cotton fields to help support the family, attending school only through the seventh grade. Impressed by the African-American music that he heard in migrant farm camps, Wills later incorporated some of its features into his own work. He had begun to play professionally at an early age, providing mandolin accompaniment for his father, an accomplished fiddler who supplemented the family income by playing at dances....