Dale Thomas

& The Bandera Boys


Birth name Dale Thomas Years active 1956-present

always klick on pic’s.

Original release, SKY 12837 (US) 1957  ;  This release, repro SKY 12837 (US) 1970s/’80’s ?

Crocodile hop  b/w  Don’t wait

Crocodile Hop - 1957

Don’t Wait - 1957

Unknown Town, Iowa ?, USA

Born Unknown


Discog. & Info  Dale Thomas

Dale Thomas & The Bandera Boys

Dale Thomas and the Bandera Boys, 1958 clockwise from center: Dale Thomas, Keith Reed, Bob Langhurst, Larry Fountain, Al Hunzinger, Don Thomas

Dale Thomas and the Bandera Boys were inducted into the Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. The members of the group pictured above performed at the Induction Ceremonies at Lake Okiboji; their first reunion in 40 years. The same group re-assembled in August of 2001 for a three day reunion tour.

Dale Thomas and the Bandera Boys to play in Dysart

Dysart Reporter June 10, 2009

Dale Thomas and the original Bandera Boys will be playing in Dysart at the Community Building on June 19, at 7 p.m. The group formed in 1956 and played together until 1964. This is the fifth year that they will hold their Summer Reunion concert. They play 50's music and were inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame in 1999. Come on out to hear some of the best music there is and bring your friends.

On a final note: This weekend’s performances by Dale Thomas and the Bandera Boys may be their last
by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · June 18, 2008

Dale Thomas and the Bandera Boys — a group originally made up of West Branch teenagers — formed in 1956 and became one of the first prominent rock ‘n roll bands this side of the Mississippi. The 1959 version of the band was, in 1999, inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Association’s Hall of Fame. They were the “top draw” for homecomings and proms from 1958 through 1964 and have been on and off for the last few decades.
     But this weekend may be your last chance to hear them.  Thomas, now 70, said he and fellow band members thought last year’s Hometown Days would be their last. But they decided to gather again for two more shows this weekend to mark the 50-year high school reunion for Dale’s younger brother, Don Thomas, also a band member.  Original members include brothers Dale and Don as well as Larry Fountain and Dewayne Stepanek. The band changed and grew to its heydey in 1959, made up then of Dale, Don, Bob Langhurst, Keith Reed, Larry Fountain and Al Huntzinger. Today’s group consists of all the same members except that Langhurst has been replaced by Jerry Kracht.  Ironically, the Hall of Fame wanted to induct the Bandera Boys a few years earlier, but the band always seemed to have a gig scheduled at the same time.   “Every time they called me, I had a conflict,” Thomas said. “But they kept me on the list.” Starting in seventh grade, Thomas had been part of another band, the Rainbow Rangers. But when he became a senior in high school, he wanted to form his own.  The band practiced at the Thomas home. Country music was still popular and the Bandera Boys would play that in ballrooms, but “spiced up” the set with music from Bill Haley, Fats Domino, Elvis, Gene Vincent, Little Richard and Ray Charles.   “When we started adding those, we became the top draw,” he said, and the band was booked solid for homecomings and proms from 1958 through 1964. In 1959, Thomas was asked by Dot Records’ Max Wisemen to come to Nashville himself and record an album. The album was released in three cities as a test and worked its way up to No. 17 in Tulsa, Okla., and No. 13 or 15 in Cedar Rapids. Unfortunately, Wiseman was replaced by Wink Martindale (known mostly for bluegrass music and TV game shows) who wasn’t interested in Thomas’ music. Thomas then realized he was only one among hundreds in Nashville, but was a star back home, so he returned to the area.  Then, in 1964, came the British Invasion of guitar bands like the Beatles and Rolling Stones, and Thomas did not want his band going that way, and the group all but disbanded. Thomas went back into country music. That year was also when he got married and started teaching. His father, former West Branch mayor and school board president Minard Thomas, had insisted everyone go to college, and Thomas earned a degree in music education. Thomas taught music at West Branch schools from 1964 to 1971. 

    From 1964 to 1967, which he calls the “hootnanny days,” he was one-third of the William Dale Singers, playing banjo and 12-string. In 1967, Thomas played guitar with country music singer Jack Barlow of the Quad Cities until he signed up and moved to Nashville.  Next was the Dale Thomas Band, a group that was so good that the CBS affiliate in Cedar Rapids, WMT, put them on Channel 2 for a weekly show from 1969 to 1971. 
    In 1971, the band became so big that Thomas left teaching to play full-time until the mid 1980s, when he went to work as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. He retired from that in 2001. The Bandera Boys had many reasons to “reunite” throughout the years, but Thomas couldn’t help but notice the transition from playing at proms to playing at reunions. And that those reunions included his 50th, in 2006. Thomas, who has served for 50 years directing the choir at the West Branch United Methodist Church, plays guitar, bass, banjo, keyboards, trumpet, steel guitar and dobro. Dale Thomas and the Bandera Boys’ most requested song is the Waltz of the Angels. Thomas’ favorite song to perform is Lily Dale. The band’s name comes from a mix of Thomas’ music idol, Hank Thompson and the Brazos Valley Boys, and Slim Whitman’s Bandera Waltz. The Bandera Waltz is also the band’s signature closing song — the one that cues the boys to make sure they get the last dance with their favorite girl, Thomas said. It will also be their last song at Hometown Days. “Personally, I think this would be the end,” the band leader said, but thinks the band members could easily talk him into another gig. “I can’t say ‘never.’” 

Dale Thomas and the Bandera Boys play 8 p.m. June 20 at Hometown Days and 7 p.m. June 22 at Walcott, in what could be the 52-year band’s last gigs.

© Stefan Schröder 2017