Country Chat - May (April/May 2020)
1st May. Hi Everybody, I’m back to say a few words on the new releases for May/June. It seems it always happens that I hit some blockages when putting together the new releases. Sometimes it’s a mental block, sometimes it’s real. Either I come up short and can’t find enough recordings to fill the album or I discover that some other label has already thought of it. And sometimes I find the recordings but the sound quality isn’t good enough. But somehow, it always works out in the end!
This happened with this month’s Jimmy Wakely collection . I’d made a start and was soon hitting the roadblocks and almost given up hope – then whilst browsing through a pile of LPs I’d not looked through for years I came across some excellent radio transcription discs – many of them the same songs I’d been hoping for and the quality was excellent. And what’s more, the LPs were all autographed by Jimmy and his family – once upon a time that one-time hero of mine had actually held them in his hands!
The tracks were featured on softly spoken Radio Shows from about 80 years ago. Each show had their own compere and there was usually a guest segment where another artist would do a song or two for a segment usually doing two of their own hits and one doubling up with the star of the show.
So Jimmie Wakely Volume 5 will be our first CD for the month and one to treasure. A selection of wonderful Western flavoured songs that have stood the test of time and just the thing to listen to whilst settling back in your favourite armchair to help you forget the situation of the times.
Our second CD is a compilation of recordings on Blue Ribbon, a label which specialised in cover versions of popular country and rockabilly songs, using talented musicians who were either unknown or had become out of work because of changing tastes. One track by the later to be famous, Roy Clark. Hearing these songs with a slightly different take to the originals is like fresh air to the ears. The CD was a work in progress by our long time collaborator and friend the late Phil Tricker and the tracks came from the collections of Phil and another of our long time collaborators, Al Turner. So we dedicate the CD to Phil’s memory and instead of the usual short biography of the artists concerned we will use the liner notes to share with you some thoughts from Phil’s close friends.
For our third CD, Kevin Coffey has dug pretty deep into his collection and picked out a number of rare recordings from the San Joaquin Valley region of California. In the years following the Great Depression there was mass migration to the agricultural areas of California from Oklahoma and Texas and elsewhere adding Western and rural influences to the local musical scene. Hard work and good music was the theme as you will hear. Great sounds that these fine musicians were playing in the period just after WW2.
I hope all our friends and supporters are staying well and safe through this difficult time we are having
with the coronavirus still at large. I’m lucky enough to have someplace in which I can work alone and that’s here in the Archive where I can continue my lifetime hobby of country music.
Even at the best of times, visitors are not very frequent, so we are not going to have trouble with the authorities telling us we’re not doing enough isolating.
And now we’ve switched to doing two CDs every two months instead of every month I am managing to find a bit more time to carry on with jobs that I wouldn’t get around to in normal times. So in a way it’s been a blessing to me but I can’t help sometimes thinking of the poor people who have lost family members in all this upheaval.
So I take this chance to extend our best wishes to all our friends and customers, and hope that you stay free from it all. Please, do what the government says until you are given the all clear. No matter how old you are this evil virus holds no bars on younger people, although I must say most of the readers of this message are of a senior age or can at least hold memories of the musical sounds of the 50s/60s.
So without further ado and fingers crossed we’ll be back again at the end of June with some more magical music.
THE BACM BOYS, Dave, Brian and Barry