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Country Chat - January 2013

Early January 2013.

Hi Everyone

Well, all that shopping for presents that hardly anyone wants is now over although there’s still the January sales to contend with. I hope you all had an excellent Christmas & New Year, as for once it was very quiet just the wife and cat. We had no visitors thank goodness and I spent the day watching a couple of films that I’d seen so many times before and the cricket from India which was perhaps the most exciting, if you enjoy that sort of thing. A day without entering the archive was unheard of in previous years but as it was a pretty awful day I didn’t venture outside.

Boxing Day was a bit better and I spent it searching for lost records and eventually recording enough things for a release in February. I won’t say what it was as I’d spoil the excitement of opening the packet each month.

At this point in the month we are usually a bit further ahead of ourselves in putting the new CDs together, so I think we may be a little late due to the fact that it was Christmas and some people don’t work over this period. I can assure you that when they do arrive on your doorstep you’ll not be disappointed. We have finally come to a magic figure of over 400 CDs, all of which are available. That’s over 10,000 songs out in just 10 years. I sincerely hope that my age doesn’t overtake me and my mind stays aware of what we’re trying to do and we can get in another 10 years. You would think that so many songs would cover the history of Country Music but I’m afraid not. When you’ve gone into the subject as much as I have over the past 60 years there’s so many branches that you can take from the main stem that lead to the different styles you are listening to today.

So on with a brief run down on this month’s releases…

CD 400 Eddie Zack; His Dude Ranchers with Cousin Richie and Babs &Maril. Although you’ll hear Eddie from time to time on this CD, the main vocal work was taken on by Cousin Richie and the girls Babs and Maril. Quality of the songs vary a bit from excellent to mediocre. As they were mainly recorded on Decca Records, Owen Bradley had a hand in producing them and possibly played the organ on a few tracks which completely spoiled the overall sound. The organ is ok on some religious or gospel items but not when a cowboy is sitting around a camp fire in the middle of nowhere, But it’s good to have this collection all on one CD where you can pick and choose the songs of your liking.

CD 401 Shelly Lee Alley & his Alley Cats. This CD is a follow up to the one issued on Krazy Kat some time ago. Unfortunately we were unable to pick and choose the best titles of him and these are the “Left Overs” that Krazy Kat didn’t use on their album. There’s some great music here by one of the popular musicians of the day playing and singing some great old time tunes. The sounds that they produced in those days leave me hanging in the air, wanting to hear more and more of that old time sound. I believe that his son continues with the music to this day.

CD 402 Custom Made Gospel. These are originally from a bunch of singles published by Starday in the gospel vein. These have been hand picked by Phil Tricker and Al Turner to give you the best of Bluegrass & Gospel artists, some popular and some obscure and very rare. There’s some fantastic singing &picking on these and if you’re not too keen on the spiritual side of the singing, then just listen to the exceptional mandolin, banjo, fiddle & guitar played in the way that they only know how. Just out of this world.

So this adds another part to the history of Country Music, from the early 20s to some 40 years later when Country was at its peak and an era where it was called the Golden Age. After 1960, County Music was becoming more popular with a whole host of good performers and song writers, churning out hundreds or thousands of songs which the record producer had to update with various extra instruments and vocal choruses in a bid to keep up with the times. Country music was played on just about every radio station in the United States and the sound was leaking out to countries far away from the USA. Groups emerged from these countries but although the songs were very popular the accents of the artists rather killed them off. People liked to hear that old western drawl and it would insult some listeners to hear an Englishman or Australian singing country .

But why not ? I could never understand why people didn’t like Australians singing about their land, cattle, rivers or people. I just love the raw sound of an Australian hillbilly with his guitar. English groups didn’t sing about their country or people, why I’ll never know. There’s enough history within the British Isles to make up songs, plenty of tragedies, criminals, events, 36 disasters, but I’m afraid that was overlooked to copy the American stage setters, Scottish or Irish came out a little better with songs about their country.

Back in the 1930s through to 50s there was hardly a British born performer singing hillbilly songs here in the UK, except for a handful that appeared on various radio shows or with a big band of the times. There were a few people that emigrated to the USA or Canada that began to sing hillbilly or western songs but they were few and far between.

I’d like to thank the few people that have helped the archive fill it’s gaps in its LP library, we still have a long way to go but I hope that in the future we can exchange some of the doubles that we have to add to your collections. Without the dedicated collectors a great deal of the music that was issued in various formats so long ago would have been lost. So keep your eyes open for that gem that’s hidden away in the back of the shop, or wherever it may be.

Well I guess that’s wraps up another month of idle chatter, but from us all here (Dave, Brian and Barry) we sincerely wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year. Remember that if you have a friend who would like to receive our CDs every month please let us know his or her address and we’ll do the rest. We’ll also send you a couple of our CDs as an introductory gift.

Here’s to 2013.

Your friends Dave, Brian & Barry, The BACM Boys.

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