Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Patti Page - Honey Come Back

I studied in Sin Min B Primary School from 1968 to 1973. Sin Min B is a Chinese primary school located in Sungai Petani, Kedah, Malaysia. As the students of a Chinese school, all my classmates and I did not understand English well so we hardly listened to English songs. Even when I watched English shows on TV during those days, I only watched the actions but understood very little about what the actors said.

When I was in primary 4, I befriended a neighbour, Ah Beng, who was about 3 years older than me. As an English educated student, Ah Beng listened mainly to English songs. I remember that on many Fridays and Saturdays (my school closed on Fridays and Saturdays), I went to his house and spent time with him listening to English songs from a small radio belonged to Ah Beng’s father.

It was during that time that I came to know Cliff Richard, Beatles, the Beach Boys and other English singers. Ah Beng had some cassette/cartridge tapes(can't remember exactly) and one of them was Patti Page’s tape. It contained many of Patti Page’s greatest songs such as “Tennessee Waltz”, “I Went to You Wedding” and “How Much is That Doggie in the Window”. The last was my favourite then. I remember that Ah Beng and I replayed the song so many times in order to copy its lyrics so that we could sing (and bark) along with Patti Page.

When I started my LP collection, I also started to search for Patti Page’s LPs. I managed to find this LP in September 2006. This album was released in 1970. It did not contain the 3 signature songs listed above. Anyway, I was not disappointed because Patti Page delivered the songs in this album with her silky smooth voice. My favourite song in this album is “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”.

Song List:

Side 1 – I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, Come Saturday Morning, Wonderful World Wonderful People, A Brand New Me, Early in the Morning

Side 2 – La La La, Something, Yester-Me Yester-You Yesterday, Winter World of Love, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, Honey Come Back

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Song - I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven

I dreamed I was there in hillbilly heaven
Oh what a beautiful sight

Last night I dreamed I went to hillbilly heaven
And you know who greeted me at the gate?
The ole cowboy-philosopher himself, Will Rogers.
He said to me, he said "Tex, the Big Boss of the riders up here has asked me to kinda show you around.
Now, over yonder are a couple of your ole compadres
My, was I glad to see them,
Carson Robison and the Mississippi blue yodeler Jimmie Rodgers

I dreamed I was there in hillbilly heaven

Oh what a beautiful sight

He introduced me to Wiley Post
And he showed me the Hall of Fame with all the gold guitars and fiddles hanging on the walls.
Then he said, "Tex, step over this way, there’re two more of your friends I knowyou'll want to see, they're waitin' for you."
There they were standin' side by side and smilin' at me
Hank Williams and Johnny Horton.

I met all the stars in hillbilly heaven

Oh what a star-studded night

Then I asked him who else do you expect in the next, uh, say a hundred years?
He handed me a large book covered with star dust
Will called it the Big Tally Book
In it were many names and each name was branded in pure gold
I began to read some of them as I turned the pages:
Red Foley, Ernest Tubb, Gene Autry, Roy Acuff, Eddy Arnold, Tennessee Ernie, JimmyDean, Andy Griffith, Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter

Whaaaatttt??? Tex Ritter?

Oh, well, that's when I woke up, and I'm sorry I did
Because I dreamed I was there in hillbilly heaven

Oh what a beautiful sight

* * *

I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven is a song collected in Tex Ritter – Songs of the Golden West album. This song is quite hilarious.

The song described about Tex Ritter dreamed that he went to hillbilly heaven, a heaven that housed only western movie actors and singers.

There Tex Ritter met Will Rogers (1879-1935) at the gate of hillbilly heaven. Will Rogers then gave Tex Ritter a guided tour around the heaven where Tex met legends like Carson Robison (1890-1957), Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933), Wiley Post (1898-1935) (checked Wikipedia. He was an aviation pioneer who died together with Will Rogers when their small airplane crashed), Hank Williams (1923-1953) and Johnny Horton (1925-1960)

The curious Tex Ritter then asked Will Rogers about other actors and singers who would end up in hillbilly heaven upon their death. There went another list of legendary names and the last one was TEX RITTER himself!!!

Tex Ritter woke up at that instance. He then continued to narrate embarrassingly that “I'm sorry I did because I dreamed I was there in hillbilly heaven”. That was a gem!

Text Ritter first recorded the song in 1961. This song only listed 6 legends in heaven. The LP album that I own contains this version. Please view this version of the song on YouTube,

This song continued to evolve as there were more western actors and singers passed away. I found another version on YouTube, performed live by Tex Ritter presumably during the late 60s. Here’s the link to this version on YouTube,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tex Ritter - Songs of the Golden West

When I bought this album in Oct 2006, I had never heard of Tex Ritter (1905 – 1974). However, I was attracted by its beautifully designed album cover that showed a deserted cowboy street flanked by some shops, a bank and a bar. This is a familiar movie setting where countless high noon duals take place.

From my research on the Internet, I realized that Tex Ritter was a cowboy movie actor and a singer. Wikipedia credited him with over 70 movies.

Tex Ritter has a deep and macho voice. He was the first country and western singer signed with Capitol Records in 1942. He was also the fifth person and first singing cowboy to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

This album contains 12 tracks. The songs that I like most in this album are “I dreamed of Hillbilly Heaven” and “There’s a New Moon over My Shoulder”

Song List:
Side 1 - I Dreamed Of A Hillbilly Heaven, Green Grow the Lilacs, Love Me Now, High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me), Deck of Cards, Jealous Heart

Side 2 - Have I Stayed Away Too Long, Ol' Shorty, We Live In Two Different Worlds, There's a New Moon over My Shoulder, Jingle Jangle Jingle, Pledge of Allegiance.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sons of the Pioneers - Wagons West

The Sons of the Pioneers were the foremost vocal and instrumental group in country and western music. They group was well-known for its harmonious singing.

The group was formed in 1933 by 3 members, Leonard Slye, a.k.a Roy Rogers (1911 - 1998), Bob Nolan(1908 – 1980) and Tim Spencer (1911 - 1976). Hugh Farr (1906 - 1980) joined the group in early 1934. The group was joined by Hugh Farr’s brother, Karl Farr (1909 – 1961) in 1935 and Lloyd Perryman (1917 - 1977) in 1936. Besides singing, the Sons of the Pioneers acted in many cowboy movies. When Leonard Slye became so busy in his acting career in 1938, he was replaced by Pat Brady.

The Sons of the Pioneers’ popular cowboy songs are Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Cool Water, Happy Trails, Ride Ranger Ride and Ghost Rider In the Sky.

In this album, the sons of the Pioneers sing with their typical harmonious voices. The sounds of guitars and other musical instruments gel so well at the background.

I love to listen to this album late at night. Whenever I placed this LP onto the platter and when the stylus started to glide through the groove, I found myself riding freely on the great wide grassland under the western sky and with cattle roaming around (minus the gun-fighting part, of course!). Sometimes, I wonder am I a cowboy reincarnated.

Song List:
Side 1- Land Beyond The Sun, Santa Fe New Mexico, Teardrops In My Heart, Wagons West, Cowboy Camp Meetin', Hundred And Sixty Acres
Side 2 - Down Where The Rio Flows, Will There Be Sagebrush In Heaven, Moonlight And Roses, Calico Apron And Gingham Gown, Waltz Of The Roses, Whiffenpoof Song

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Country Side of Roy Rogers

Roy Rogers (1911-1998) was a very famous cowboy actor. He acted in over 100 cowboy movies. From his nickname “King of the Cowboys”, we could imagine how famous he was as an actor. Actually, Roy Rogers started his career in 1934 as a singer by forming a cowboy music group called Sons of the Pioneers. He filming career only started a year later at 1935. However, when Roy Rogers became very popular as an actor in 1938, he had no choice but to leave Sons of the Pioneers.

Although Roy Rogers had sung as part of the Sons of the Pioneers group, the note at the back cover describes this album, The Country Side of Roy Rogers, “ is the milestone because it represents the very first time Roy Roger – “King of the Cowboys” - has recorded an album of contemporary country music”.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear Roy Rogers yodeled in the song “The Night Guard” although his yodeling skill was not as good as Jimmie Rodgers and Slim Whitman.

Song List:

Side 1 - Money Can’t Buy My Love, I Washed My Face in the Morning Dew, The Blizzard, Down Home, Okie From Muskogee

Side 2 - The Fightin' Side of Me, Green Green Grass of Home, The Night Guard, Vision at the Peace Table, You and Me Against the World

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wagon Wheels. Legendary Songs of the Old West - Part 2

I could say that this is one of my most treasured LP albums. The conditions of the LPs are very good, the quality of the recording is very high and the songs are simply superb.

Song List:

LP1 (Sony Music)

Side 1 – Back in the Saddle Again (Gene Autry), Cherokee Maiden (Bob Wills), High Noon (Tex Ritter), Pistol Packin’ Mama (Al Dexter), Mule Train (Frankie Laine), I’m an Old Cowhand (Patsy Montana), The Streets of Loredo (Marty Robins), Down in the Valley (Slim Whitman), El Rancho Grandee (Gene Autry), Jingle Jangle Jingle (Tex Ritter), Wabash Cannon Ball (Roy Acuff)

Side 2 – Home on the Range (Gene Autry), Bury Me Not in the Prairie (Tex Ritter), New San Antonio Rose (Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys), Have I Told You Lately That I Loved You (Gene Autry), I Want to be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart (Patsy Montana), That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine (Gene Autry), I’m Thinking Tonight of my Blue Eyes (The Carter Family), Red River Valley (Slim Whitman), Jealous Heart (Tex Ritter), Deep in the Heart of Texas (Bob Wills),

LP2 (RCA Record)

Side 1 – Wagon Wheels (Sons of the Pioneers), Cattle Call (Eddy Arnolds), Along the Santa Fe Trail (Bing Crosby), Take me Back to my Boots and Saddle (Jimmy Wakely), Cool Water (Sons of the Pioneers), South of the Border (Patsy Cline), Goodnight Irene (Red Foley and Ernest Tubb), The Last Roundup (Rex Allen)

Side 2 – Don’t Fence Me in (Bing Crosby), Whopee Ti-Yi-Yo (Sons of the Pioneers), Blue Yodel No 1 (Jimmie Rodgers), Empty Saddles (Sons of the Pioneers), Nobody’s Darling but Mine (Jimmie Davies), The Shifting Whispering Sands (Jim Reeves), Riders in the Sky (Vaughn Monroe & Sons of the Pioneers)

LP3 (RCA Record)

Side 1 – Tumbling Tumbleweeds (Sons of the Pioneers), It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angel (Kitty Wells), Sioux City Sue (Bing Crosby), Along the Navajo Trail (Sons of the Pioneers), Someday You’ll Want Me to Want You (Elton Britt), The Prisoner’s Song (Vernon Dalhart), Old Shep (Red Foley)

Side 2 – When It’s Springtime in the Rockies (Montana Slim), You Are My Sunshine (Jimmie Davies), Teardrops in My Heart (Sons of the Pioneers), Mexicali Rose (Jim Reeves), Beautiful Brown Eyes (Jimmy Wakely), Twilight on the Trail (Sons of the Pioneers), Happy Trail (Roy Rogers and Dale Evans)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wagon Wheels. Legendary Songs of the Old West - Part 1

During the CD era of 80s 90s, I listened to Mandarin pop/oldies, Cantonese pop songs and English pop/rock/rock n roll/folk/country n western/oldies. In short I listened to almost all types of songs. When I started collecting LPs in June 2006, I started by buying LPs of different genres. However, I soon found that I was attracted to country and western more than other genres. So I started to pay more attention to country and western LPs whenever I went to search for old records. I even informed a vendor to segregate his country and western albums for me.

One day in November 2006, when the vendor saw me during one of my excursions, he quickly pulled out an album from a tub and proudly announced to me that he had a “mother of all country and western albums” for me.

The title of the album is “Wagon Wheels. Legendary Songs of the Old West”. It contains 50 classic country and western songs!!! It is also a very unique album because it is made up of 3 LPs, 2 of them are RCA records and another one is Sony Music record.

Having bought that mother of all country and western albums, I declared my hunt for the day done and drove back home immediately. When I reached home, I quickly performed my ritual of water-washing/drying/anti-static solution rinsing/drying the LPs. Then I started to spin the LPs and searched the Internet for those cowboy singers who sang in this album (partially listed below).

Eddy Arnolds (1918 – 2008). Issued the first single in 1943
Gene Autry (1907 – 1998).
Jim Reeves (1923 – 1964). Issued the first singles in 1949
Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933). Issued the first singles in 1927
Sons of the Pioneers. Formed in 1934
Roy Rogers (1911 – 1998). and Dale Evans (1912 – 2001)
Tex Ritters ( 1907 – 1973). Issued the first singles in 1932
Wilf Carter (1904 – 1996). Issued the first singles in 1933

I enjoyed listening to almost all the songs in the 3 LPs. I immediately scribbled the names of those singers I liked in a little notebook. For many months, the little notebook became my guide whenever I went hunting for country and western LPs.