Monday, October 29, 2018

Colorado 8-tracks: World Sound Factory and Pikes Peak Tape

Hey all! So I'm digging around a thrift in Pueblo, when I discovered this "sound-alike" (Top 40 songs performed by studio singers, who attempt to sound like the original artists) country and pop music 8-track sandwiched in between a Herb Alpert album and a Firestone Christmas LP. I was about to throw it back, when I noticed the back of the tape showed a Denver address.

I know, I know, it's not vinyl, but the obscure Colorado music geek in me wanted to learn more...

Much like the Deeds Electronic Company, which produced blatantly bootlegged recordings of popular songs, the World Sound Factory, located at 1075 West Arizona, hyped studio singers recording Marie Osmond ("Paper Roses"), Chuck Berry ("Johnny B. Goode"), and Dusty Springfield ("Son of a Preacher Man"), among other popular 1970s hits.

It appears the company may have also had a West Coast office, as a 1974 Billboard ad for the company shows a Los Angeles area code.  Also of note, a 1974 Bakersfield, CA newspaper ad, with the Denver address, makes note that "factory direct prices" for the tapes cost $2.47, with a list price of $6.98.

The tape I found, Son of a Preacherman, shows it is "Country Pop Hits Vol. V," which implies there are, at least, four others out there. As is usually the case, the studio singers are not credited.

I found no earlier (pre-1974) mentions of the World Sound Factory. There were no further mentions of company, or the tapes, after 1974.

Then, a couple of days later, I'm back at the same thrift in Pueblo, and spot this - a handful of 8-tracks from a Colorado Springs outfit called Pikes Peak Tape:

I put the Carpenters Close to You tape in, and realized it was actually the "real" version of this LP, which was apparently bootlegged by the company. Further internet sleuthing indicates that Pikes Peak Tape was based at 1409 S. 8th, and was active around the same time as the World Sound Factory (1973-1974). 

Billboard Sep. 29, 1973

The catalog numbers on the tapes are pretty high (the Carpenters tape is noted as "181"), so I can't help but wonder if there are hundreds of Pikes Peak tapes scattered about. Most of these tapes found their way in truck stops, sold as budget music to drivers needing an audible boost on the road. 

I found it odd that both of these Colorado-based companies, with apparently no connection, began and ended production, around the same time. 

Short lived, much like the format itself. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Elk Bugles Radio Show - Episode 13


Every Thursday from 4:00 -5:00 pm (MT) Elk Bugles is the Colorado music show featuring the little-known vinyl of the state. Tune in every week to hear unknown and unheard Colorado vinyl records, from the 1930s to the 1980s – the records missing from the state’s music history books.

(NOTE: Today's show was a replay of Episode 2, 
which, due to a technical issue, didn't play in its entirety, when it originally aired, in August. There was obviously still an issue, about three-quarters of the way into the show - my apologies)

Soft Restraints
Trish Kinney
The Crime
Debra Lewis
Jennie Rylatt
NORAD Commanders
Up Tight

NORAD Commanders
Hot Pants
Lazy B Wranglers

Lazy B Wranglers
High Among the Colorado Rockies
Southern Colorado

Flounder DelRay
Everything You’ve Wanted To Know About Colorado That John Denver Forgot To Tell You
Orlie & The Saints
Denver Twist and Freeze

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Unearthed: Chet Atkins and the Colorado Mountain Boys


Hey all! Very excited to post this latest find. So, I was out thrifting at the local Goodwill Outlet, when I spotted this beat-to-shreds acetate in the bins. How it managed to stay in one piece was shocking to say the least (if you are familiar with the Goodwill Outlets, you may find a bag of bricks, and a baby stroller, on top of a record).

I immediately noticed the 33rpm recording showed a handwritten notation of "Colorado Mountain Boys" on the torn label. Wait. What? Like the same group which included a 20-something year-old Chet Atkins? Could this be one of his earliest-known recordings? I first thought the date on the label read "January 1949," but upon Internet searching, I'm thinking this is actually noted as 1947 (keep reading).

Back up a bit - The record is in very poor condition. Being an acetate, the metal was exposed, it's scratched (an understatement), and there appears to be some glue, or some kind of residue on the surface. I tried cleaning with soap and water, and even attempted to put Goo-Gone on the "glue," Nothing budged.

I took a chance, and put it on my portable player, thinking I wasn't going to tear up my expensive stereo needle, if this record didn't even play. In between the skips and scratches, a cover of Ernest Tubb's "I'll Get Along Someday" came blaring through the tiny speaker.

Told ya. But did you hear that guitar? If I were a betting person, it sure sounds like Chet Atkins. From what I could find, Chet had relocated to Denver, in 1946, after being fired by KWTO radio in Missouri for "not sounding country enough."

Listen to another sample on this disc - a "rocker" instrumental, which seems to reaffirm KWTO's reasoning behind firing Atkins.

"Rave on boys, rave on."

WOW. Remember, this was recorded in 1947. 

According to Chet’s autobiography Me and My Guitars: “Zed Tennis had been fired from KWTO at the same time I was, so the two of us went out to Denver, and became members of Shorty’s (Thompson) western swing band called Saddle Rockin’ Rhythm. He was one of the popular acts performing on radio station KOA” (Side note: According to more Internet sleuthing, Chet's brother, Jim Atkins, managed KOA, at that time).

So, is this a KOA Denver recording I have? The dates seem to keep lining up.

Steve Sholes, the head of country music at RCA, tracked down Atkins in Denver, and immediately flew him to Chicago, to record. According to the Atkins book,  "We recorded in Chicago on August 11, 1947. I recorded a total of eight songs, and sang on five of them, RCA released the records under the name Chet Atkins and the Colorado Mountain Boys.” During these recording sessions, the other members of the Colorado Mountain Boys included George Warren Barnes, guitar, Charles Hurta, fiddle, Angus P. Klein, accordion, Harold Siegel, bass. Another recording session indicates James Atkins appears on guitar, along with C. R. Crean, bass, Buck Lambert, fiddle, Joe Biviano, piano.

According to Chet’s book, after the recording sessions, he returned to Denver and his gig with Shorty Thompson, only to find out he had been replaced with another picker, Speedy Haworth. So RCA suggested he move to New York, and continue his work with the label… and the rest is history.

So, that's why I'm thinking this discovered acetate I found is actually noted as "1947" instead of "1949." Also, a 1948 Billboard story confirms that Chet and the Colorado Mountain Boys moved from Denver to Knoxville, to be the regular radio act on WNOX, and he was also entrenched with Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, in 1949.

So, dear reader, if anyone has any information on this find, please drop me a line. Please feel free to share this post. Let's solve the mystery!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Elk Bugles Radio Show - Episode 12 (Mountains)


Every Thursday from 4:00 -5:00 pm (MT) Elk Bugles is the Colorado music show featuring the little-known vinyl of the state. Tune in every week to hear unknown and unheard Colorado vinyl records, from the 1930s to the 1980s – the records missing from the state’s music history books.

On today’s show it’s all about mountains – songs with mountain in the title.   
So let’s get to climbing...

On Top of Pikes Peak
Billy Briggs

Mountain Minstrels
Mountain Minstrels

Rocky Mountain Two Step
Timothy P and Rural Route 3

Climbing Up That Mountain
CU Buffoons

Colorado Mountain Boy
Ralph and Clyde

Clinch Mountain Backstep
Gold Rush

KOA Interview with John Dalie

Mountain Climber’s Polka
Frankie Bregar and his Polka Kings of the West

King of the Mountain
Dot and Jimmy Vaughn

Susan Polis Schutz and Summit
Come Into the Mountains, Dear Friend

Mountain Makin’ Mellow Man
Bob BoMan

They’re Going to Tear My Mountain Down
Chris and Pattie Holloway

You Gave Me a Mountain
Randy King and the Country All Stars

Mountain Cowboy’s Lament
Highway Robbery

Mountain Song

Gitar on the Mountain
Hardrock Gunter

Black Mountain Rag
Buster Jenkins Rocky Mountain Jamboree

Black Mountain Boogie
Gypsy Hale

No Credit
Joey Buffalo and Sonics

Monday, October 15, 2018

Pueblo's 1973 Country Music Spectacular

Hey all! So I'm digging through boxes of music memorabilia, which still had not been opened since I originally packed them up, for my move back home to Colorado, in 2015. I know, I know...

In between various records, and paper items, I found this program for the Country Music Spectacular, held at the Pueblo Memorial Hall*, in 1973.

*(There is no program mention of where this show took place. After this blog post went live, I received a couple of corrections, that the show was held at Memorial Hall)

Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Ernest Tubb headlined the concert, which also featured Denver's Buster Jenkins, Pueblo's Margie Bortles and David Finn, who was in Buster's group, The High Country Travelers (High Country was also the name of Buster's own 1970s-era label).

Local KPUB disc jockey and former West Texas country star, Ace Ball, served as announcer. R.W. Dick McComb, who spent several years at the helm of the Pueblo West Bulletin, and later the city manager in that zip, put together the event, and is noted as the "executive producer."

Cool piece of Pueblo music memorabilia. Let's take a look:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Elk Bugles Radio Show - Episode 11


Every Thursday from 4:00 -5:00 pm (MT) Elk Bugles is the Colorado music show featuring the little-known vinyl of the state. Tune in every week to hear unknown and unheard Colorado vinyl records, from the 1930s to the 1980s – the records missing from the state’s music history books.

Little Girl Blue
And They’ll Know
The Don Lewis Experience

It’ll Be Me
The Decades

Let Her Cry
Middle of the Road

The Farmer and the Bumble Bee
Tom Withrow   

Life in My Death
Nicky Cruz

The Big Bang
Ian Tescee

We Stand United
Sasa Di

Always Knew You’d Be There
Mel Vonne

Vic Cionetti

Coming Together

Make it Right
Daniel Hoffman

Ballad of Roger Sparks
Randy Handley

Floyd’s Song
Monroe Doctrine

No Credit
Joey Buffalo and Sonics