Interview with Gary Smith conducted February 2011.
In the early 1980s, KEKB radio hit the airwaves of Grand Junction, playing the latest country hits. In an effort to promote the new station, the local Old West Recorders studios pitched an idea for an album featuring local performers.
"As part of the promotion, the LP was sold as a fundraiser for Hilltop, a local head trauma hospital," said Old West Recorders owner Gary Smith.
The OldWest Hilltop 99 Country concept began as an idea to support and promote musical talent that is "home grown" right here in Western Colorado. In a few short months, the concept has captured the imagination of Western Colorado so much that it has generated a tremendous wave of interest and enthusiasm. The result of this interest and enthusiasm is inside this album jacket. - Album liner notes.
The 11 songs featured were performed entirely by the Old West Singers (the studio singers for the local Old West Recorders studios - Jim Showalter, Dick Mullen, Sonja Makowski, and Vickie Wolfe), and other Grand Junction performers.
"The album also included Clyde Jorgensen and Ralph Smith, who performed locally as Ralph and Clyde, and Tom Bayne who had the FTM Band," said Smith.
Other singers included Geri Vaughn, Judy Lee, Doug Lenard, Mark Magruder, Cherie Slogar, Steve Back, and Johnny Garner.
Among the selections was a two minute jingle for the station. Composed by Gary Smith, "KEKB Song" was sung as a duet with Steve Back and Vickie Wolfe.
Long Legged - Doug Lenard
You and Me - Cherie
I Had the Music - Ralph and Clyde
Whiskey Nights - Judy Lee
The Hustler - Steve Back
Love Dorito Style - Tom Bayne and FTM Express
My Song is You - Jim Showalter and the Old West Singers
Paper Back Lies - Mark Magruder
KEKB Song - Steve and Vickie
All I Can Promise is Today - Geri Vaughn
Before Gary Smith moved to Grand Junction, he enjoyed a lengthy music career, working with a variety of performers, including Bernadette Peters, Frankie Laine, The Coasters, The Platters, and Danny and The Juniors. He has produced over 75 albums. In addition, he has produced music for the Nickelodeon Television Network.
While the album's title implied that there would be a second volume, Smith said the follow-up project never materialized.
COMING NEXT POST: Bill Goodwin