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Country Chat - May 2018

May 1st 2018. I will begin with telling you about our CDs for the month of May.

First we have BONNIE LOU Vol. 2. Bonnie began her career as a down home country songstress appearing on radio in 1941, aged 16, as “Mary Jo, the Yodelling Sweetheart”, her style modeled on Patsy Montana. This Vol 2 focuses on the mid 1950s when country singers were forced to go crossover to maintain their living just as Presley and  Bill Haley had a just a few years earlier. Not what  I would call country by any means but she had a fine voice and delivers some nice ballads as well as more upbeat numbers.

AL CLAUSER & His Oklahoma Outlaws.  A fine selection of country and cowboy songs from Al Clauser and his Oklahoma Outlaws – but actually with two different line ups. The first 11 tracks are from 1937 with the superb Don Austin on guitar and tenor banjo and the remainder from 1947 when the line up included fiddler Joe Hedrick and steel man Denny Cole.  I cannot believe that anyone who hears this will not like it.  The CD starts off with a rousing version of Arkansas Traveller  leaving you with a longing to hear what is coming next. You won’t be disappointed.

CARL BELEW Vol. 2. After our first CD by Carl Belew, it went without question that we would follow up with a volume 2.  This is for country fans who like the smooth sounds of the late 1950s and early 60s characterised by the likes of Jim Reeves and Eddy Arnold.  As well as a top singer in his field Belew was also a superb songwriter and his much recorded Lonely Street and Am I That Easy To Forget have become classics.

My overall view on this month’s CDs is that they near the top of the list with any we have done so far.

Anyone out there wants to join our team who research and write liner-notes for our CDs?  We don’t really need information taken straight from a book or the internet, as in many  cases they prove to be wrong. We need somebody who has some in depth knowledge perhaps from working within the country music circle, either as a writer or  musician. Drop me a line or email if you are interested.

Last week’s Johnny Denis CD was controversial with many of you sending us letters saying it wasn’t country enough. Okay I plead guilty – this release was a bit of a nostalgia trip for me.  He was often on the radio when I was a kid and would sometimes throw in a cowboy song or two and it made me at the age of 10 or 12, sit up and take notice and it encouraged my liking for Western and Cowboy songs.  As I grew older I found out that he wasn’t the genuine article like Wilf Carter, Eddy Arnold, Gene Autry, Hank Williams, Roy Rogers and hundreds of other artists that were performing in the USA in the 40s & 50s; by that point I was beginning to collect records from these artistes and was also discovering legends like Carson Robison, Frank Luther and Cliff Carlisle. So I perhaps owe a little debt to Johnny Denis as if he’d not done those cowboy songs who knows if I’d still have become a serious country fan and collector? But don’t worry, we promise not to put out anything that even resembles him in the future!

Whilst on the subject of dislikes etc, we have had a customer complain about our recent Riley Puckett CD because of the Cat Came Back song which he thought was cruel and not at all funny.  I don’t disregard his views but in my opinion the song was not to be taken literally but in a humorous way in the same way as people might enjoy nursery rhymes like Who Killed Cock Robin or Three Blind Mice without taking them literally.  I am an animal lover, and think they should all be treated with respect, but nonetheless I can enjoy a silly song like The Cat Came Back – and don’t forget that in the end we see it’s  the cat that rules the owner! So let’s not take these songs seriously, they all have to be listened to with tongue in the cheek.

Best wishes to all our friends and customers worldwide and do take advantage of any good weather we might get over the next few weeks. Take Care,


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