Light Crust Doughboys (1931-present)
The Light Crust Doughboys are a Western swing group. Although they have typically performed secular music throughout their history, their path has crossed with Southern Gospel in a significant way on a number of occasions.
The group was formed in 1931 by Bob Wills, Herman Arnspiger and Milton Brown who approached flour king Pappy O'Daniel with the idea to form a group to promote O'Daniel's Light Crust Flour. O'Daniel himself would later join the group. They rode around in a Packard with speakers encouraging people to buy Light Crust Flour and performing impromptu concerts. The group was one of the inspirations for the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou?.
The Light Crust Doughboys disbanded in 1942, but the name soon resurfaced in a unique manner.
The Sunshine Boys began as a Country and Western band in Macon, GA in the early 1930s. During the 1940s, the group performed on WAGA radio in Atlanta. When the station wanted to add another group, the Sunshine Boys were tapped to pull double duty. They performed a 15-minute radio program as the Light Crust Doughboys with guitar, bass, fiddle and an accordion as accompaniment. During a thirty-second commercial break, the group would transform themselves into the Sunshine Boys and sing a 15-minute gospel program. This lasted for several years, and very few listeners realized they were listening to the same group.
In 1969, the Doughboys began recording again. In 1973, they took part in a tribute recording for Bob Wills titled For The Last Time.
The Doughboys would impact Southern Gospel again when they recorded several albums with the late James Blackwood during the 1990s. Those collaborations with Blackwood earned Grammy nominations in 1997, 1998 and 2000. Their tribute album to Blackwood titled We Called Him Mr. Gospel Music (2002) won the Grammy for the Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album of the Year category in 2003.