This Week in Texas Music History: Shelly Lee Alley
This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet an alley cat who wrote hits for some of country music’s biggest stars. Shelly Lee Alley was born July 6, 1894, in Alleyton, Texas. During the 1920s, he led several jazz and pop orchestras that broadcast on radio stations across Texas. In 1936, he formed the Alley Cats, which played a blend of pop, jazz, swing, and country, and helped launch the careers of Floyd Tillman, Ted Daffan, and Cliff Bruner.
Shelly Lee Alley also was a successful songwriter. His 1931 tune, “Travelin’ Blues,” was recorded by such country music icons as Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, and Jimmie Rodgers. Although failing health prevented him from performing during the final years of his life, Shelly Lee Alley continued to write and record up until his death in Houston on June 1, 1964.