Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Johnnie Dwyer



This one is a bit of a head scratcher. Credited on the pre-Band Box label Columbine as Johnnie Dwyer with Billy Lee and the Rocky Mountain Playboys. As there tended to be several bands calling themselves the same thing, I have no clue whether these guys are affiliated with Hank Locklin's, Jimmy Snow's,  Rocky Rauch's Rocky Mountain Playboys.

A 1949 issue of Desert Magazine notes:

December meeting of the San Fernando 
Valley Mineral and Gem society of Se- 
pulveda was a Christmas party and pro- 
gram including songs and recitations. John 
and Johnnie Anderson furnished music with 
their electric guitars; the Craig family acted 
out a skit portraying a night on a field trip; 
Johnnie Mitchell, Mary Newbold, Mr. Lil- 
jibald, and Master Johnnie Dwyer sang, 
and Master Hal Dwyer recited "What Are 
Rockhounds?" 

Johnnie (Johnny) went on to record at least one single on the Dee Jay label, re-recording "Love Grown Cold," with The Pike County Players--again there apparently was more than one group calling themselves that (sigh).

That said, this is a sweet country ditty.

The Mesa Verde Story


Lots of great memories going to Mesa Verde National Park, as I'm sure everyone does. However, I never climbed the Balcony House ladder, nor do I recollect seeing Esther the mummy - not sure how I missed that experience. Guess it's time to go back for a visit.

Eva-Tone red flexi on "The Mesa Verde Story."  Runoff shows 61071AXT, so guessing this is a 1971 recording. No indication who is voicing "Ranger Bill," or who is providing the Native American chants in the background. Cool little souvenir.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Jeannie Bradway, the Christian Cowgirl


I was going to post this record in July, when the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo was going on--but I forgot.  However, since there's a rodeo going on in Colorado practically every weekend, from now through September, I figure I'm still good to go on this little gem.

In the mid to late 1950s, little Jeannie Bradway performed with her parents, Bill and Jean, as the Harvest Time Trio.  Yes, we are talking about the same Bill and Jean Bradway, "King and Queen of the Silver Strings," who would go on to record the fantastic Gospel Hawaiianaires LP (1965).


Bill and Jean were channeling Les Paul and Mary Ford, when they added little Jeannie to the act. Around this time the couple started up the Rapture Talent Center record label, out of Denver.

Rapture Talent Center discography (label numbers noted):
1/2 - Darkest Before the Dawn / Behold the Man
3/4 - Walk with Me Lord / This Man
5/6 - ??
7/8 -  Christian Cowgirl / March Medley

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sam Johnson


Sam Johnson
Colorado Folk Ballads
(1965)
Side One:
The Place That They Call Home
A Long and Sad Farewell
Don't Blame Me
If You Like That Kind of Thing
All of September
This Weary Road

Side Two:
Where Man Once Was
Quiet Valley
Satan's Got a Way
Long Road Home
Ballad of Wilborn's Wall
There's Still a Place for Faithfulness
Together, Hand in Hand

I'm calling it.  My best obscure Colorado discovery of 2015 (actually, a fellow collector found this and sent it to me, but still).

Love. This. LP.

I first noticed the cover, the same picture used on the Emanon Majority LP I featured back in 2009. Your standard issue private vanity cover (collectors of these call this particular cover art the "burying a body," "taking a wiz," or the "Big Foot" cover).


Can't find a thing about Sam Johnson.  The only other name on this record is that of Scotty Glasgow, who produced this album in his basement recording studio on Cascade Avenue, in Colorado Springs. Scotty, who was born in 1916, worked at the Gazette-Telegraph, hosted the Scotland Pride show on KRDO-TV, and ran the Scotty Glasgow Advertising Agency, when he wasn't recording local singers.

He died in 1977.

Thankfully the LP had a typewritten insert from Sam:

"In response to recent requests for it, I have decided to release this album of original folk songs, featuring my favorites, the folk ballads."


"Concerning the songs of protest.  The purpose of 'Satan's Got a Way' is to explain the basic cause of the need to protest, not only in songs, but in everyday conversation. Understanding the cause of society's problems is certainly one big step toward realizing a solution.  If our great leaders can dig out from under their cover of intellectualism, open their hearts to Truth, and fight, not in the war between the nations, but in the war within their own hearts, more and more people will someday see a victory, at least in individual lives.  In the great physical war, as nations rise against nations, victory and destruction will be synonymous, but in the spiritual war, victory if attained, will be once and for all, and will mean real peace."

Eric Karlstrom



Not sure where I found this endearing folk disc. It's been in my stash for a long time, so I assumed I did some research on it awhile back, or made a note that it had SoCo regional roots (it was stamped with a Pueblo address on the label), but I since lost those notes.

Back to square one.

So thanks again to the Internet Gods I tracked down Eric, who lives in Crestone, near the Great Sand Dunes National Park, about an hour north of Alamosa.  Come to find out, the record is actually out of Arizona, but since he is still an active performer in the SoCo region, I thought I would give his record a shout-out.

I'll let him share the details.

"I wrote those two songs my senior year of high school, this would have been 1967. 'A Red Flower' is something I wrote after reading the book, The Little Prince, in high school."



'The Race to Knowhere' kind of grew out of my readings on existentialism in high school - also perhaps the general mood of the country back then - this would have been 1967 - and the fact that both my parents were pretty high-powered academics. At the time, I kind of dreaded jumping into the rat race, but did anyway, of course.  I got a M.A. and Ph.D., and became a university geography professor, but kept doing music throughout, of course.

LEM (the name of the label) stands for Lunar Excursion Module, the vehicle that the astronauts were going to use on the moon landing.  My father was one of the geologists who trained the astronauts for the moon expeditions back in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  He funded the 300 copies that were pressed.  Calling it LEM Records was his idea.

One of my high school friends' father suggested that I record the song at the local KAFF radio, in Flagstaff.  I played harmony guitar and sang, and another high school friend, Richard Cavanaugh played lead guitar, and Dennis Olesniwich played tambourine.  Before we pressed the tape into vinyl the guy at the record company suggested it needed a bass. So my father paid a local bass player $20 to dub the bass part.

A high school buddy, Dave Fronske, was so taken by the sentiment of 'The Red Flower,' that he personally distributed it to all of the juke boxes in the local restaurants in Flagstaff. The radio DJs in Flagstaff also played it a lot - so I had my 15 minutes of fame pretty early in my career."

Check out his website.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The mystery of Finer Arts 6201



Well ain't this something...

Just when I thought I had all of the releases on Morey Bernstein's Finer Arts label, I find this (actually, it was a find from a Houston-based record collector friend, who knew I freaked out over Colorado labels and mailed it to me - grin).

Look, there is a ton of information about Morey and his time in the recording industry, so I won't duplicate the info here, so let's get into the story on this record, shall we?

In 1976 Morey, who had spent quite a bit of time in Pueblo, was basing himself out of Denver and living in the Brooks Towers on 15th Street (at one time, the tallest building in the city). He befriended a young couple who also lived in the building, Frank and Lana Berta.

"We would go over to his place, where he had a piano," Frank said. "He would play songs for us, and tell us stories about his time in the record industry.  He told us that he wrote the lyrics to 'Alley Oop.'"

Morey told the couple that he was working on a new release about an oil well, and wanted to play it for them.

"I remember it sounded kind of lame," Frank said.

Frank was an aspiring photographer, who worked at the local Waxman's camera shop, and Morey wanted to know if he would be interested in shooting photos for the single. Frank jumped at the chance. "He had some idea for some pictures, but it was really vague."

 The song, "Crazy Alice," was the story of an oil strike in Utah.  The song was not short of sexual innuendo.


The song is credited to The Well Drillers, what sounds like a couple of women and one male singer. As for who they are, who knows, but the flipside of the record might offer some clues.

WOW.

"Destination Heartbreak" is credited to a group called Sweettree and singer Jeannie Wyland, who sound similar to the group on the A-side. You know, a wild guess might suggest that these folks were a local lounge act that he discovered.

So what happened to the pictures Frank took? Well, it just so happens my Houston buddy, who sent me the record, also sent me a copy of some sheet music - for "Crazy Alice."

Merry Christmas to me. 



Frank and Lana would eventually divorce, and Morey would divide his time between Colorado and his property in Florida.  He would go on to release a few more records, and eventually came back to Pueblo, where he passed away in 1999.

Little Louie Gonzales



Collector friend of mine in south Denver found this Pueblo record - of which I am eternally grateful. Kid singer, with some pretty impressive chops, singing the gospel.

Getting a Donny Osmond, Tony DiFranco vibe.

Louie Gonzales is the eldest son of the Rev. and Mrs. Manuel Gonzales.  Dad was a preacher at the 1st Spanish Christian Church of God in Christ, located on Beech Street on the east side of town.  A quick search found that he was still active until about five years ago, then the trail got cold. The bio on the back of the LP notes that Little Louie was born in 1967, so best guess is this probably came out in 1975-1977, thereabouts.


Other players on the record are Joan Peterson on piano, drummer Steve Adams, Bob Vigil on bass, lead and rhythm guitar, and Philip Abeyta on trumpet.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Boulder's Southern Hills Junior High (1975-77)



Southern Hills Junior High School
Show Choir and Jazz Ensemble 1975-1976
Chris Finger and Vince Gnojek, directors
Audicom Corporation (USR 9272)

Side One:
I Believe in Music
Laughter in the Rain
Sorry, No Gas
Precious and Few
The Surrey With the Fringe on Top
December Child
Sausalito Strut

Side Two:
Love Will Keep us Together
California Dreamin'
I Won't Last a Day Without You
You're Sixteen
Love One Another
George M. Cohan Patriotic Fantasy

 I figure that since May is the time most schools start wrapping up the semester, I would spotlight an LP from the kiddos this time around.  I'm a sucker for any and all school-related LPs that feature pop covers, and this album from Boulder's Southern Hills Junior High (now Middle School) doesn't disappoint.

There are actually two (that I know of) releases from SHJH. Both are on the prolific Audicom label. Unfortunately, my copy of the 1974 release is trashed (someone decided to donate it to the thrift store where I found it...after they used it to sharpen knives), so I'll sample from my 1975-1976 album.


 

Gypsy Hale





Found this single shortly after I posted the previous blog entry on Carol Rose, so it's back to Grand Junction this month.

As noted in the previous story, a bio on Carol Rose mentioned that she owned the Misty record label.  This record was put out the same year as her debut LP.  No clue who the band members are on this,  if Gypsy Hale is the name of the band, the female vocalist, or if Carol Rose is, in fact, Gypsy Hale.  I'm sure someone can fill me in.  The only other names on here are producers Frank Chamberlain and Don Jones. Sorry for the quality of this sample. Sounds muddy to me, but I guess that's how Frank and Don mixed it.


Sample of Sleepy Lovin Summer Sunday Sunrise
Misty 784 (1978)

Flipside is a country instrumental, "Black Mountain Boogie."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter with Shorty Thompson





Found this holiday appropriate 78rpm - the second Shorty Thompson disc on the Ace label in my collection (also have Ace 001 "Colorado Rose" / "Baby I've Got the Goods on You"). Maybe 002 will turn up, someday.

There's already a ton of bio info about Shorty on the Internet, so I won't copy and paste here (I mention a bit about him in a past blog post on Dave Spielman and his Rhythm Rangers). That said, I can't find ANY information on this release.  Every discography I have found on Shorty fails to mention this record.  Can't imagine stumbling upon a rarity here, but who knows.

Happy holiday...

Virginia Unrein

  NOTE:  DivShare has been acting up (again) and a good chunk of my audio has disappeared.  Sorry if you have tried to listen to the samples and instead hear the the sound of silence. Going through the monstrous task of moving over all of the DivShare audio on here to my own hosting and embedding my own player.

I'm a sucker for the whole song-poem genre. For those unfamiliar, the concept was this: Write a song (or poem), then pay a company to take your composition, set it to music, back it with studio singers and a band and viola, you have a record! Check out the outstanding American Song-Poem Music Archives site.

Take for example Virginia Unrein of Montrose, and her ode to her nautical love, Sailor Joe.



No idea on when this was recorded, or who the studio singer is.  Virginia's song appears to be part of an EP with three other folks who handed over a few hundred bucks to the prolific Halmark label.

Virginia left this world in 2013. Her obituary mentions that she "successfully wrote and published several of her own songs on CD."

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Del Carsan




A bit early for an income tax song, but I have an Easter-related record planned for April.

Nice hillbilly, ridin' the rails ditty about the revenuer man from singer, Del Carsan. Unfortunately, not a lot to go on. Address listed is in a Springs residential area, between East Pikes Peak and East Bijou. The current resident has no clue on the past owner.

A search of the BMI register for "Kimbro Music Associates" brings up nothing, and a White Pages directory search for the singer's name - zilch.

Flip side is an equally enjoyable country ditty, "My Plea."

Carol Rose

Going back to 1978 for this vanity release from Grand Junction's own Carol Rose.


Hi...I'm Carol Rose (Misty Records MSA-78-127) was recorded at Real to Reel Studios in town, and published by Mountain West Music. Studio players include Bobby T (just Bobby T) and Bob Mueller on guitar, Stormy Lee on drums, John Velarde on violin, and Jim O'Connor on bass. Jim also produces the album, and pens the lead off cut, "Tears of a Broken Lady."



In 2008 Carol Rose was inducted in the Seattle Western Music Society’s Hall of Fame as a pioneer in western swing. Her bio notes that she was born in 1943, in Oak Creek, Colorado. "After spending several years performing in the state, she moved to Vegas and did the nightclub/casino circuit." Bio also shows that she actually owned the Misty label, and that she has a total of three LPs. 

In 2013 the local Grand Junction paper had a mention of a concert she gave, featuring Big Band music.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dead Silence - the guys who had the name first...

 

Apparently there are (were) not one, but two Colorado bands going by Dead Silence.

This post is about the first one, formed in 1980 (Ken Just, Brooke Besser, Perry Gragas, and E.D. Meyers). They were only together about five years, but made quite an impression on the harder edge local music scene. Bummer they only released one single.


 Sample of "Can't Stop"
(DSR 001/ 1984)

Looks like they're still in business, with a CDBaby page of never-to-vinyl songs available.

Good stuff. Dig in, but don't hurt your neck.

Imogene (Gene) Bloomfield



 I first ran across the name Gene Bloomfield on the 1983 Ace Ball album, Ace Ball Sings Gene Bloomfield And Some Of His Own. You can read all about Ace's Pueblo years here.



 Not much is known about Imogene Eleanor BloomfieldFound out she was born in 1914, and the 1940 census shows she lived in Illinois with her husband, Leo (who passed away in 1972).

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, in 1949 she penned "Forever and a Day" with song-a-minute guy David Hall of Nordyke Publishing, the big song poem racket out of Los Angeles.

Somewhere along the way the Bloomfields made it to Pueblo, where she continued to write songs, eventually partnering with Ball.  At the age of 71 she recorded what is believed to be her only solo record, the endearing "My Letter of Prayer." Found this demo via my buddy Joel Scherzer.



She left this world in 1992 and is buried, next to Leo, at the Imperial Cemetery, off the Beulah Highway. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Dave Krane - Life is a Wonderful Thing



Found this on Ebay. Was a no-brainer to add this private custom 78rpm to the collection.

Kinney Recording Service disc. Found a few other pieces from the same outfit, including a 45 from Denver East High, and this red vinyl release from the Sterling ISD (Elementary, Junior, and High School concert). A Google map search of 766 Marion Street, as noted on the label, finds a four bedroom near Cheesman Park. Records from the 1940s show Harold and Margaret Wunderwald lived there.  What their affiliation is (or isn't) to the Kinney Recording Service is anyone's guess.


As for Dave Krane? No clue. Can't find a thing on this guy. I look to the readers for help solving this mystery.

So live it, and love it....

Monty Baker and the Trolls, in pictures.

(NOTE: Pictures are watermarked)


The Trolls
Doug Rymerson, Fred Brescher, Monty Baker, 
Phil Head, and Richard Gonzales
Pueblo, Colorado
September, 1965

As I mentioned in the last post, Monty Baker and his family gave his collection of Trolls, New World Blues Dictionary, and Jade memorabilia to me, to keep his memory alive. I truly didn't know where to start, as I have been entrusted with pictures, videos, and reel-to-reels of never-before-seen pieces of Southern Colorado music history. The gift is truly overwhelming.

Unfortunately when I met with Monty, shortly before he passed away, he couldn't recollect much about these images.  He remembered that they were shot in and around Pueblo, in the summer and fall 1965, but that's it.





Monty thought the first picture might have been taken at a school dance. The Trolls were regulars at the Pueblo nightclubs The Honeybucket, The Columbine, and Jerry's. He thought the other two pictures originated from one of those locales.






 Monty Baker, Fred Brescher, Phil Head, 
Richard Gonzales, and Doug Rymerson

Photos above were taken during a photo shoot for a gig poster (below).


As noted in the 2011 profile piece, Monty recollected the photo shoot for the band's one and only picture sleeve for "I Don't Recall"/ "Stupid Girl":

“Freddie wasn’t in the picture. Two nights before we took that shot, he touched his amp with one hand, while he played the organ with the other, resulting in a violent jerk of his arms, collapsing his lungs, and he ended up in the hospital."


Alternative picture sleeve photo for "I Don't Recall" / "Stupid Girl."

The above photo was deemed "too serious" for the picture sleeve, so the group (minus Fred) headed over to Mineral Palace Park, for a more lighthearted shoot.


"Our manager, Tony Spicola took that picture (of the sleeve)," Baker said, in 2011. "He wanted us eating ice cream. When he took the shot, Phil’s ice cream came out of his cone.”


Below is an "after the fall" shot (note ice cream residue on table and both Richard's and Doug's ice cream has been consumed).


My sincerest thanks to Monty and his family. Stay tuned to the blog for more posts from the Monty Baker archives.