Monday, September 28, 2020

September 28, 1964

Hey gang! I've recently acquired a huge (understatement) pile of old Denver newspapers. Having a lot of fun going through these, and thought it would be appropriate to supplement the (audio) music posts with some other Colorado music ephemera finds.

Given the date, I thought I would first post some 56-year-old music-related advertisements (and other ads) from the September 28, 1964 issue of the Rocky Mountain News. Hope this brings back some memories.

The newspaper was filled with stories regarding the release of the Warren Report  - the official report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 

The 1964 Denver nightclub scene was pretty diverse, with rock/pop, country and lounge acts. Take a look at these ads (click all to enlarge):

The El Cid Supper Club - 4780 Tejon, Denver (club was earlier known as Cavaleri's)

Lee Arellano Trio 

Alibi Inn - 495 S. Federal, Denver

Randy King  

Taylor's Supper Club - 7000 W. Colfax, Denver

The Famous Taylors

Cloud 9 - 8611 W. Colfax, Denver (later became Fat Daddy's)

Gene McKnight Trio

Johnny Rivers, Chad and Jeremy, Ronnie and the Daytonas, and The Ventures

Denver Auditorium - October 10. 1964

Had to show off this record record cabinet advertisement.
While not music related, I thought you all might like seeing some other advertisements in this paper.


Monday, September 21, 2020

Al French and Candlelight Cameos

Hey all! During my recent quick trip to the west side of the state, I added to my private issue cover collection, with this LP from Al French, Candlelight A Quiet Quarter Hour, found in a Cortez thrift store. The label showed KCMS (the Manitou Springs radio station and prolific local recording studio), so I knew it had to be something from the Colorado Springs area.

Upon getting back to my turntable, I discovered that the disc, which shows AUDITION ONLY on the label, was apparently a vinyl demo for a proposed national syndicated, locally-produced radio show, originating from KVOR / KFMH, in Colorado Springs. The LP is introduced by George Beatty, a popular local announcer. 

 "I worked for George at KFMH the last half of my high school senior year, and then some," said James House. "He had a wonderful radio voice and recorded announcements at Alexander Film once a year, the most he could do without joining the union."

Listen to the introduction of the demo (3:04).

"Al French was a teacher at Widefield High School in the 1960s," according to former student, Bobby Kiess. "He did late night radio shows on KVOR. His shows were very smooth and casual."

"Mr French was a new teacher my senior year. He was about six-feet tall and about 180 lbs., with black hair, and the shoulders of a football player," said former student Thomas Rieves. "Every girl in class swooned. He was a great teacher."

Widefield High School yearbook (1964)

Mr. French would often enlist his Widefield students, to assist with the show.  "For those of us who were in his speech class, we could go down to the station and help with the production," said former student Thomas Rieves. "He would read poetry and play mood music. I spent three or four nights at the studio."

 Listen to a sample of Candlelight Cameos (4:00)

Interestingly, I could find nothing on the show Candlelight Cameos, which apparently was never heard beyond the Colorado Springs market (not to be confused with the 1950s Davenport, IA WOC-TV show of the same name). No idea how many of these vinyl demos were made, as I can only assume they were discarded if a station wasn't interested in the idea. Or, is it possible only one of these records was made?  Either way, I'm guessing this is a very rare piece of recorded Pikes Peak radio memorabilia. Amazed it survived.

As always, if you have anything to add, please contact me. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Gus Kubish

Took a much-needed break from life, and spent four days in the western section of Colorado - hitting state parks, and record digging, of course (grin).

It seems, here lately, that I've hit the mother load of faith-based Colorado records. While I was in Durango and Montrose, I discovered a honey hole of two dozen unknown state-made religious vinyl pieces (picture above). While I know the genre is not everyone's bag, I had to share at least one, which was previously unknown to me - Ship Ahoy! by Rev. Gus Kubish.

Gus Kubish was born in 1924, in Jackson, MI. He passed away, in Kansas, in 2012. In between those years, he came out to Colorado (after living in Illinois), where he served as the director of Christian education for the Calvary Baptist Church, in my hometown of Pueblo. He later became pastor in nearby Florence, at the First Baptist Church there. His resume also included the First Baptist Church in Fowler, before heading to the Western Slope, and the First Baptist Church of Montrose (which is probably why I found this album there).

According to the liner notes of the album, in his younger years, he took singing lessons from Helen Griggs, the aunt of Cliff Barrows, who served as Billy Graham's music director. With his game show host looks, one has to wonder if the televangelist circuit tried to recruit him for mass media.

Released on the prolific Garden Sight and Sound label, of Colorado Springs, Ship Ahoy! includes your typical religious album selections, accompanied by Rev. Kubish's formally-trained vocals. Upon listening to this LP, there is an obvious disconnect with the singer's vocal style and the band. You have to wonder if the (uncredited) backing group was trying to "hip" the reverend up to a more-modern, dare I say "lounge feel" take on these standards.

Listen to "Yesterday"

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church - Denver

When is a Colorado LP too trashed to purchase?


Found this almost-beyond-saving album on a recent big Colorado thrift chain crawl, this month. It had two major things going for it, in spite of its beat-up cover, and sliced and diced vinyl condition - it was obviously a Colorado record album, on the prolific Colorado Springs label John Law Enterprises, and... I had never heard of it.

Yup, much like the crazy cat lady who can't abandon a homeless feline, I'm a home for cast off Colorado vinyl.

I've had lots of luck with John Law label records. Nine times out of ten they are gospel records, which most collectors don't give the time of day.

More for me.

The Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church (1725 E. 30th Avenue), located in Denver's Whittier neighborhood, was the central meeting place every week for gospel services, led by Rev. D.M. Servine, Jr. According to the liner notes, Rev. Servine took over the Mount Carmel pulpit in 1969, after serving in Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and California.

I couldn't find a year on the LP, entitled Shine on Me, but based on my other John Law record catalog numbers, I estimated in came out in 1971-1972.

The LP is filled with gospel selections, performed by the adult choir and directed by Mrs. Mary Hoover, who also provides the vocals on the stand-out cuts.

(1:20 - one of the few audio samples I could get, minus skips)

The church structure has an interesting history, all by itself. Built in 1907, the mission style stucco building was known as the East Side Christian Church, until 1926. In 1929 it was renamed Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.  Between 1946 and 1962, the church became one of three properties owned by the Macedonia Baptist Church, before becoming known as Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist, and finally New Testament Holiness Church. By 2016, the structure sat abandoned, and fell into disrepair (much like this record album).

In 2017 the building hit the Denver real estate market, and sold for $420,000. After two years of renovation by the new owners, it was turned into a stunning six bedroom (and seven bathrooms) Airbnb property.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The Trailriders

Hey all! Doing a bit of online record digging, and spotted this private issue LP by the Colorado Springs group, The Trailriders.  Spent more than I normally do ($16), but holy pork and beans on an open fire, I'm glad I roped this in.

First off, full disclosure, I love folk music. That fantastic 1960s hootenanny, three guys (or gals) and a guitar, singing about war and peace and Tom Dooley. Love the harmonies, the simplicity and the feeling. When I put the needle on the album, yup, I went to that special place...

Is that a toe tapper, or what? The whole disc is filled with folky trio offerings, with a country tinge. A real joy to listen to, in its entirety. The album was recorded at the C.M. "Bud" Edmonds KCMS radio home garage studios, in Manitou Springs (68 Minnehaha Avenue).

Clyde Casey (1932-2015), who sings lead on that song, was the group founder. Interesting background on him - As the El Paso County Director of Purchasing, he helped create the city's 911 system, the Pikes Peak Performing Arts Center, and various county parks. According to his obituary, he also "refurbished the General Palmer statute so that it would survive another 100 years." He later relocated to Roswell, NM.

Jerry Teske (1930-2017) was the choral director at Palmer High School for ten years, then later supervisor of music in District 11, until his retirement. Among his other musical accomplishments - he sang at Figaro's Restaurant, in the Grace Episcopal Taylor Choir, Colorado Springs Chorale, Abendmusik, Colorado Opera Festival, Opera Theatre of the Rockies, and the Celebration Multicultural Ensemble. Jerry also appears on the 1975 "Official State Marching Song of Colorado" single, entitled "Hail Colorado" (which I featured in 2018).

Ronn Langford is the last living member of the original group. He was once a member of the Ivy League Trio, a folk group which recorded on the Coral record label (he replaced longtime member Bev Galloway and appears on Folk Ballads from the World of Edgar Allan Poe LP [YouTube link]). Later in life he became a race car driver, and now runs his own successful driver's education company.

As luck would have it, I found a Trailriders single in my own Colorado 45 stash, "Colorado Trail" / "Land of the Velvet Hills" (cuts from the album above). The single would include guitar virtuoso Johnny Smith (June 25, 1922 – June 11, 2013), who wrote "Velvet Hills." Smith was a jazz guitarist, who wrote the classic instrumental, "Walk, Don't Run" (YouTube link) in 1954 (which was a huge hit for The Ventures, in 1960 and 1964 - YouTube link). He moved to Colorado Springs, where his daughter and his mother lived. While in Colorado he ran a musical instruments store, taught music, and raised his daughter, while continuing to record albums for the Royal Roost and Verve labels into the 1960s.

A few years later The Trailriders released another LP, minus Ronn and Clyde (who were replaced by Bill Moon and Rob Ryder).

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Marguerite Frey - Denver's National Beauty

My dear friend Tom Merry offered me up a stack of state-related sheet music pieces, recently. While my own collection is a small fraction of my obsessive Colorado music archive (compared to the records), I've really enjoyed diving in to this much-neglected segment of the state's music history.

One of the pieces he generously gave me was a 1907 instrumental entitled "Marguerite The Beautiful," by Josephine Clement.

In case you couldn't tell by now, I love digging deep when it comes to these finds. Of course, I had to find out more about Denver's "Own National Beauty."

In 1906, The Chicago Tribune sponsored a national contest, to find the "most beautiful woman in America." The publishers invited newspapers, from 26 major U.S. cities, to hold their own state contests.  Knowing that pretty women might be too modest to enter, the paper encouraged friends and family to enter the young lady's photo.

Marguerite Frey's sister saw the contest ad, for a "sweet, unaffected American girl, the finest creature ever created," and secretly entered her sibling's photo in the local Denver post contest.

To her shock, Marguerite, an accountant at the Bankers Supply Company (formerly located at 2830 Blake) won the contest, and was named the "Most Beautiful Woman in Colorado."

But the blue-eyed blonde's fame wouldn't end there. As the winner of the state contest, Marguerite was instantly entered in a national contest, to be held in Chicago, to pick the most beautiful girl in America.

According to the French published Au Pays du Dollar (In the Land of the Dollar), by Raymond Gros and Francois Bournand (1907), which documented American culture of the era, and the contest:

"Marguerite Frey was a 19 year old, blue eyed blonde, working for $8 a week at The Banker's Supply Co.. She stood 5' 8 1/2" tall, weighed 135 lbs. and had a 36" bust. She likes music, a clear moon, red and white roses, little white cats, chocolate cream, and theatre matinees. She dislikes cruelty, envy, snakes, gossip, and under-cooked meat.  Her ideal pleasure would be a large bouquet of violets, a box of cream chocolates, a boat ride on a lake, with the moon reflecting in the waters, and a young handsome man rowing."

The book went on to document:   
Her greatest ambition: to be a good girl. 
Her greatest hope: to earn his good fortune. 
Her greatest fear: an unhappy marriage. 
Her dearest friend: her mother. 
The one she loves the most: her sister.

According to the authors, Marguerite "saw the other candidates, and thought she couldn't win, but she still got a trip to Chicago out of the experience."

On July 7, 1909, Marguerite Frey, the accountant from Denver, was named "The Most Beautiful Girl in America."

The book notes that, according to the judges, Marguerite won because she had "a perfect profile, perfect pink and white skin, large tender blue eyes, beautiful, thick curvy light golden hair, perfect white teeth, and purity of expression."

First runner-up was awarded to 23-year-old Gabriella Worsley, from Union Grove, Wisconsin. Second runner-up went to 22-year-old Eola Rice, from Washington state.

National publicity soon followed, as reporters came to Denver to find out more about her. The Au Pays du Dollar notes: "Marguerite Frey, the most beautiful woman in America, and perhaps from all over the world, remains in a modest small house on a quiet street in the fashionable district of Denver. She lives there with her widowed mother and sisters. The father was a hard worker who saved and bought this little house for his family. He died shortly after. Marguerite, in her older sister's opinion, should receive a good education and she graduated from the Normal School. Then she entered as an accountant at Bankers Supply Company. She had to work to help her mother."

As Marguerite's fame grew, so did the creative tributes to her celebrity. Along with the sheet music, I found several postcards produced (click on each to enlarge):

(Note the "$100,000 in advertising was spent in finding her")


On October 27, 1908, She would marry Wilson McClaire Armour (1882-1940). The one-time "Most Beautiful Woman in the United States" would pass away on April 7, 1961, at the age of 72. She is buried at Fairmount Cemetery, Denver.

Monday, August 24, 2020

All in the Family - John Juenemann

Back row: Henrietta ("Hank") and Bob Juenemann 
Front row: Barbara, Carolyn, Ronnie, and Gary Juenemann...and pet chihuahua, Peanuts

Marguerite Juenemann credits her love of performing, in large part, to her Uncle John.

"Absolutely. He was a big influence on us. My brother and I got into performance, because of him," she said. "We wanted to do it like him."

Juenemann would go on to become one-third of the Denver-based, twice Grammy-nominated group, Rare Silk, but her early musical roots are based, in part, in bluegrass and country music. In 1974 she moved out to Colorado, from New York, to attend the University of Colorado - Boulder. She joined her brother Bob, who had already come out west. Her father's family members were located in nearby Kansas, including her Uncle John.

"The 1970s were incredible for the local Denver-area music scene, back then, We would go out to the Oxford Hotel (Denver), or the Colorado Coal Company (nearby in Erie) every week. You would see lots of people show up - Stephen Stills, members of The Turtles. One night we were standing in line, at the Oxford, we saw Tom Waits standing there. He was writing a song, which would later become "Nighthawk Postcards" [from the 1975 LP Nighthawks at the Diner  - "Maybe you're standing on the corner of 17th and Wazee Streets, yeah/Out in front of the Terminal bar there's a Thunderbird moving in muscatel sky..."].

It didn't take long for her to form her own group. Joined by her brother Bob, and bassist Doug Howe, they became the trio, Odessa.

Doug Howe, Bob Jueneman and Marguerite Juenemann (1976)

"Doug was from Illinois, but he went to school in Texas, so we chose to look at map of Texas, to find our group name. We just liked the name Odessa."

While her Uncle John was a farmer, and worked in the co-op industry, in Oberlin, Kansas, he was an aspiring singer, who wanted to turn his love of songwriting and performing into a vinyl recording.

"John was my dad's youngest brother. It was a big family, and we would always get together and sing harmonies, so I don't think he had to look very far to find a trio of musicians to help out on his record."

Recorded in 1976, at Viking Studios,  John Juenemann not only included niece and nephew Marguerite and Bob on the recording, but also his wife Henrietta ("Hank"), and the kiddos - daughters Barbara (5-years-old) and Carolyn (10-years-old), and sons Ronnie (9-years-old) and Gary (8-years-old)...and pet chihuahua, Peanuts.

"The recording session was in the trailer of Viking's 18-wheeler mobile studio. It was in the parking lot, I believe in Englewood."  

Also included on the album were session players Mary Martin (steel guitar), Kit Autry (drums), and Mike Reese (lead guitar).

"I'm on banjo and guitar. My brother plays harmonica and washboard, and Doug played bass," she said.

In spite of having four children in the studio, Juenemann says the session was all professional.

"Uncle John was quite serious. The kids had fun doing it. To be honest, I think the whole experience gave them so much opportunity later in life. They learned how to not be afraid to speak in public, because they had so much experience performing, early in their lives." 

While the album features cover songs (including the Shel Silverstein "Daddy What If" and "Singin' in the Kitchen" along with the Leroy Van Dyke "The Auctioneer," the Lonzo and Oscar "You Blacked My Blue Eyes Once Too Often" and the Hank Snow / Johnny Cash version of "I've Been Everywhere") it's apparent John Juenemann took his songwriting inspiration from his family. The album includes original-penned songs dedicated to each of the children, and one dedicated to his wife.

The John Juenemann Family at Country Music Acres was released on the CMA record label, and sold during the family shows, or by mail order. Marguerite says the local Oberlin radio station played several cuts, as well.

"It was exciting to see the album. It was the first time I appeared on a record, so seeing yourself documented like that was a thrill."

It would be the one and only vinyl recording produced by the family.

John Juenemann passed away March 21, 2020.

Odessa stayed together about three years, breaking up shortly after the release of the album - but it wouldn't be the end of the brother and sister Juenemann siblings.

While in Boulder, Marguerite got into the street performance scene.

"The Pearl Street Mall was just being built, so my brother and I formed the Street Corner Choir, with my brother Bob, and Paul Weston."

While the trio would be well-known regulars in the Boulder street music scene, they would later appear on the 1979 Ophelia Swing Band LP Spreading Rhythm Around (as the Street Corner Choir), with Dan Sadowsky.

Around that same time, brother Bob was recording with the High Plains Drifters. The band would release the 1980 LP The Last of the High Plains Drifters. The album would also include Steve Bauer, John Fike, Robert Patterson, and Beth Tryon.

In February, 1978, while in the Street Corner Choir, Marguerite was joined by fellow local singers, Gaile Gillaspie and her sister MaryLynn.

"The crowd was very receptive and in May, we had our very first Rare Silk gig."

The group took off, as the opening act for Benny Goodman, at the Playboy Jazz Festival. They recorded their first album New Weave, in 1983. Their freshman effort was nominated for two Grammy Awards (Best new vocal jazz group and best jazz vocal arrangement).

Juenemann would leave the group, before their second effort, the 1985 LP American Eyes. Rare Silk would go on to release the 1986 Black and Blue, before disbanding, in 1988.

In 1983, Bob and his wife Karen appear on the Cats' Night Out LP, with Sandra Fauth, Mike Fitzmaurice, and Phil Scheuer.