Henry Alfred Clauser was born in Manitoa, IL, on February 23, 1911. A guitarist and songwriter, he claims to have used the term Western swing as early as 1928. Clauser and his string band had a popular radio slot in the mid-'30s on WHO in Des Moines, IA, where they were regulars until 1942, when Clauser moved the band to Tulsa, OK, and began a regular gig on KTUL. While at KTUL, Clauser added a teenaged singer named Clara Ann Fowler (who went on to pop fame as Patti Page) to his band, which was now being billed as the Oklahoma Outlaws.
The band specialized in Western swing, although a large part of the group's repertoire was simply amped-up traditional string band tunes, with Clauser's sturdy original songs added in at strategic points. Al Clauser & His Oklahoma Outlaws appeared in an early Gene Autry film, Rootin' Tootin' Rhythm, and recorded a dozen tracks for ARC in the 1930s. Clauser disbanded the Oklahoma Outlaws in the 1950s, but continued to work for KTUL. He died on March 3, 1989. The surviving ARC sides, along with several radio transcriptions, were collected and released by Krazy Kat Records in 2004 under the title Hot Western Swing 1937-48. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi