Asleep at the Wheel’s Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys is the band’s third official tribute to the late great king of Western swing, following 1993’s original Tribute and 1999’s Ride With Bob. A few songs from the Wills canon appear on more than one of these albums, most notably “Faded Love.” The Wheel recorded this latest version accompanied by the Time Jumpers, premiering with this behind-the-scenes video.
Wills wrote “Faded Love” with his father and brother, based on an old fiddle tune. It was a big hit for him in 1950 and an even bigger hit for Patsy Cline in 1963, the year she died. “Faded Love” has been in Asleep at the Wheel’s repertoire for most of the band’s 45-year existence, going back to their days backing up country star Stoney Edward in the early Seventies.
“We were playing with Stoney in some godforsaken empty room in the middle of nowhere in 1971,” says Wheel main man Ray Benson. “But one audience member requested ‘Faded Love’ and tipped us $10 for it — pretty big money back then, especially given how little we were making. A lot of memories are tied up in that song.”
“Faded Love” also appeared on Asleep at the Wheel’s Ride With Bob, with Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin trading verses. This new version features dreamily mournful playing from the Time Jumpers and vocals from Vince Gill and the late Dawn Sears, who passed away from cancer in December.
“She pretty much stole this version, which I can tell you is not easy to do when Vince Gill is in the room,” Benson tells Rolling Stone Country. “We recorded it in Vince’s studio in Nashville and we were all doing vocal overdubs right after lunch. Vince had each singer go into the booth, one at a time, and everybody needed multiple takes to get their part right. Except Dawn, who went in and threw down a perfect first take that had pretty much every hair on the back of every neck standing up. ‘Well, Dawn,’ Vince said, ‘you want some more lunch?’ There was no point in having her do a second take. She was just an amazing, amazing singer who should have been a lot more famous than she was.”