4/30/20 Revised Western Playlists

My “Western Music Before 1960” list had grown so large that I split it into four lists: Pre-1920, 1920s, 1930s&40s, and 1950s. The 30s&40s list is larger than the other three combined. My existing 60s&70s list remains intact.

Here’s the big link to all of the lists: https://countryopinionblog.wordpress.com/music-playlists/

One of the songs on my pre-1920 list is Billy Murray’s 1907 recording of “San Antonio.” Former Texas governor and western swing artist Pappy O’Daniel covered this in 1935, so you can find that on my 30s-40s list. Here’s an article about him: https://www.historynet.com/american-schemers-w-lee-pappy-odaniel.htm

George P Watson’s 1902 “Roll On Silver Moon” is on my pre-1920 list, and Slim Whitman’s 1955 version is on my 50s list. The song was written in 1841: https://www.loc.gov/item/sm1841.380550/

Byron Harlan’s 1905 version of “Where the Silvery Colorado Wends Its Way” is on the pre-1920 list, and the Carter Family version from the 30s is on my 30s-40s list.

4/29/20 1930s British Pathé

In 2014, British Pathé uploaded close to 85,000 items to YouTube. Here’s some history: https://www.britishpathe.com/blog/history/

I made a playlist of some of these from 1930s: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-vODYj8AwfkKY4ivPWNtxC

There’s even a bit of American country music in the mix, thanks to Carson Robison. The “Hill Billies” in the Pathé clips were a British group, rather than any of the American groups that went by that name.

In unrelated news, Music Weird published an interesting article Sunday, “The bizarre story of Delta Records of Nashville, TN (1967-78)” http://musicweird.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-bizarre-story-of-delta-records-of.html?m=1

4/28/20 Scopitones

Specialized jukeboxes with video screens were popular for a short while in the mid-1960s. The Scopitone Archive site has a lot of information: https://scopitonearchive.com/

Here’s another article with a lot of information: https://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/scopitone-60s-music-videos-youve-never-seen/

Scopitones and the other 1960s jukebox videos often featured plenty of bright colors and enough scantily-clad dancing girls to make 1980s MTV blush.

Here’s my playlist for Scopitones, Etc https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-zgwDjmnn9cB0XiQMKCQbx

My list is all-genre, but you’ll find a few country artists mixed in. This is some fun stuff.

A few of these are also on my Country Go Go list: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ09ByIpaLBlK1rR7CxxePvfF

In other news, the CMHOF announced yesterday that it will remain closed through May 31st, which is no surprise. The ACM Awards will be held in Nashville in mid-September. Here’s hoping the virus crap is out of the way by then. I was already hoping to visit Nashville that week for Americanafest, and the CMHOF Artist In Residence is often at that time, too.

Jud and Lisa Cameron of Northport, Alabama recently released an album. They also play bluegrass sometimes with my first cousin and his wife as “Bounds and Determined,” so named because my cousin is named Bounds. Here’s a video of Bounds and Determined at the 53rd Annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddler’s Convention last year: https://youtu.be/84v-Bxowv6c

Mellow’s Log Cabin is a blog that covers a lot of older and obscure country music: http://hillbillycountry.blogspot.com/?m=1

4/27/20 1950-52 Telescriptions

The Snader Telescriptions were music videos made for television: http://www.peggyleediscography.com/p/LeeResearchSnader.php

Here’s another article, “TV’s First Music Videos” http://www.tvparty.com/vaultvid.html

For my Telescriptions playlist, I included all styles of music, but you’ll find some familiar country and western names like Bob Wills: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ09oEbt-HNZ1rvvwkB70x4fZ

4/26/20 Soundies

Soundies were music videos from the 1940s, made for coin-operated machines: http://www.1940.co.uk/acatalog/soundies.html

Because they were made for just a few years, they’re great time capsules.

My Hillbilly & Western Soundies playlist includes a lot of fun stuff: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-VLIYTi97MG4Rx1jsP29bk

You’ll see some familiar “stars” of the day like Merle Travis, Carolina Cotton, and Jimmy Wakely, but some others who starred in this format might be less familiar. Here’s an article about Esmereldy: http://scratchyattic.blogspot.com/2009/02/esmereldy-slap-her-down-again-paw.html?m=1

In other news, Kristian Montgomery and the Winterkill Band just released an album, so there’s some new music to check out.

4/25/20 Binge Discs

Binge Discs & More is a new YouTube channel that features some cool, old videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCqbwsHzK53_x9LxRbgE5PQ

Bob Wills, Merle Travis, and Ramblin’ Tommy Scott are especially well represented. It appears everything on the channel has been uploaded in the last week, so I’m curious to see what else they come up with.

Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen released a video for “Rodeo Clown” on CMT. It doesn’t appear to be on YouTube. I heard the songwriter David Lee’s own version at Gruene Hall on March 2nd, the last concert I attended.

I added ten songs to my March-April Country Plus Showcase yesterday. Despite how slow things seem, I’m closing in on one hundred artists for this list.

My 2020 Bluegrass Spotify continues to grow, also. New albums from Dan Boner and Chris Roberts are represented, and there are new songs from Becky Buller and from The Earl Brothers. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6TCsrUUUUHJrVEjCjQVOPV?si=O3WJOigMQhyv2HdDbIv_LA

4/23/20 A Few Thoughts

Although new music releases have slowed down considerably, as many artists are delaying albums until they can tour again, over eighty artists are represented on my March-April 2020 Country Plus Showcase: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-hltqBox2N0JvOsy3UcFuc

My March-April 2019 list featured over 200: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-bwAXPAD9vVn5DA_X-Xhka

Nicholas Jamerson released a new album earlier this week, and a video for one of those songs is among the recent additions to my March-April 2020 list.

Although albums are a bit slow lately, many artists are releasing individual songs and “virtual concerts.”

The Alabama Fiddle Fest in Tuscaloosa that was scheduled for June has been cancelled, but they have announced next year’s date in June. This is a non-profit event that is free to the public and supported by local sponsorships, so I like supporting events like that.

I’m glad I got to attend a few shows earlier this year, before the shit hit the fan. In February, I visited Memphis for the Ameripolitan awards, and Nashville for Robby Turner’s all-star fundraiser (spectacular lineup of talent in a smallish venue) and the Grand Ole Opry (Ricky Skaggs et al). The last show I got to attend was David Lee at Gruene Hall for Texas Independence Day, March 2nd.

SiriusXM’s extended free preview has done well for us. We listened to Willie’s Roadhouse a lot this weekend, and I was able to add a few songs to my organ playlist as a result. I have covered just about every instrument I had planned for my instrument playlist series, and I’m not sure what to tackle next.

4/21/20 Birmingham WVOK Dixie Jamboree

There were many huge “barn dance” radio shows in the country in the 1940s-1950s. Today, let’s take a look at a somewhat lesser-known barn dance from Birmingham, Alabama.

Hillbilly-Music is an excellent resource for hillbilly-era country music, and here’s their write-up on the WVOK Dixie Jamboree: http://www.hillbilly-music.com/programs/story/index.php?prog=560

Harry Blevins was one of the regulars: http://www.hillbilly-music.com/artists/story/index.php?id=12933

Note the bits near the end of the article about Harry Blevins at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in the mid-50s with Faron Young and Roger Miller.

The WVOK Dixie Jamboree Memories site has a lot of photos and letters: http://wvok-memories.tripod.com/id40.html

The Hillbilly-Music article mentioned the amazing story of the armless musician Ray Myers. His FindAGrave memorial includes photos of the Pennsylvanian playing the steel guitar with his feet, and also driving his car: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/84307228/raymond-r-myers

There were many, many “barn dance” programs around the country, usually with some mix of “local stars” and national talent. If you’re looking for some “country oldies” that aren’t just the same few that everyone knows about, then the old radio barn dances are great places to start.

Joe Rumore was a big part of Birmingham radio for decades, including WVOK, and here’s a playlist with dozens of his shows: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHL3qN-aN2Nvw_v3FtoklaIz0XgMNaMfF

While I’m on the subject of Birmingham, I’ll mention that Hardrock Gunter figures prominently on my Rockin’Country Roots playlist. Here’s a great write up about the Alabama rock and roll pioneer, and his country roots: http://www.hardrockgunter.com/hardrockstory.html

Hardrock Gunter hosted a Birmingham TV show, and performed with a puppet named Ernest Tubb.

Another Birmingham legend I should mention is Country Boy Eddie, who had a television show from 1957-1993: https://www.bhamwiki.com/w/Country_Boy_Eddie

Tammy Wynette and others played on that show early in their careers.

I’ll close today’s post with some 1958 rock and roll from the Rhythm Rockets on the WVOK Dixie Jamboree: https://youtu.be/tCI1egxMqJE

4/20/20 The Ozark Jubilee

The Ozark Jubilee was hot stuff in the fifties. Here’s a good read from Ozarks Alive: https://www.ozarksalive.com/looking-back-ozark-jubilee/

“The program, which aired weekly from 1954 to 1960, drew around 25 million viewers. It helped make Springfield the third leading producer of network television in the entire country behind New York City and Los Angeles.”

The Ozark Jubilee Digitization Project: https://libraries.missouristate.edu/OzarkJubilee.htm

The project is still in the early stages (considering there are 60 episodes to be digitized), but the Ozark Jubilee YouTube channel has some good content already: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNc7tF09cPH0l7rhF_u_Scg

The Musical Divide’s recent article “Country Music’s Been Everywhere, Man” mentions the Ozark Jubilee: https://themusicaldivide.com/2020/04/19/country-musics-been-everywhere-man/

4/19/20 More Instruments

Recently added YouTube playlists include Thumb Piano, Rabab and Sarod, and Hurdy Gurdy and Nyckelharpa. Here’s my master list with the links to those and all the rest: https://countryopinionblog.wordpress.com/music-playlists/

I had planned to make separate posts for these, but I couldn’t think of much to say. They’re all cool instruments, so if you’re looking for something a little different to listen to, these should qualify.

For those looking for more straightforward honky tonk country, I’ll note that Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen and Mark Chesnutt are among the recent additions to my Spotify Honky Tonk list: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3ZWhx8LAAYE45anT9Rt81d?si=y1WR3PT0TAiMWTnIVQCX7g

I enjoyed listening to the Grand Ole Opry last night. Ricky Skaggs and Dailey & Vincent brought the bluegrass, and it was refreshing to hear a band with instruments again. I like the solo acoustic guitar “quarantunes,” too, but I’ve missed hearing the other instruments.

Also, Brad Paisley was the guest DJ on Willie’s Roadhouse on SiriusXM, and did very well with that. Ranger Doug’s Cowboy Corral was as good as ever, too.