Monday, April 15, 2019

Dick Hull

 Dick Hull Plays the Hammond Organ
Monaco FT 592 (1955)

I'm a sucker for organ music. My great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother each had an organ in their homes. I remember hearing three generations of "Laura" throughout my childhood, and I guess the sound just stuck with me (for the record, the closest I ever came to personally playing the organ, was attempting to bang out "Rock Lobster," on mom's living room Hammond).

 I found this album, at the recent spring Denver Record Show, thanks to my buddy Chris. Guess he knew I would probably be the only person in the room who would quickly hand over $3 for a Colorado organ LP (grin). Turns out, it was one of the highlights of the daylong dig.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Packing finds: Theron Bennett and The Dutch Mill Sheet Music Publishing Company

The "Great Move" is underway, with packing commencing, as we prepare to relocate up the road, to the Denver metro.  The process has been daunting, but it has allowed me to rediscover a few Colorado-related music items, in my collection. Example #1 - a piece of sheet music from Theron Bennett, the original proprietor of Denver's Dutch Mill Cafe.

I won't copy and paste the extensive Theron Bennett / Dutch Mill history that's out there, so check out this fantastic synopsis and list of his published works.

"My Love's A Radio" was published in 1924, and appears to be one of the last pieces of sheet music published by Bennett. He died in 1937, at age 57, after a prolonged illness.

When the night is falling and there beams a silv'ry moon
Then comes love enthralling and my love is yours I tune
And far through heaven's blue, my heart sings to you.
My love's a radio
Each night at nine
It's calling soft and low
Your heart to mine
Tis my love light a glow
And tells you true dear
My love's a radio
That's calling you, my you.
Distance lends enchantment, and through it may have its charms
Still to me 'tis sweeter just to hold you in my arms
And so love's song a new, calls each night to you.
My love's a radio
Each night at nine
It's calling soft and low
Your heart to mine
Tis my love light a glow
And tells you true dear
My love's a radio
That's calling you, my you.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Russ Wolfe and the Flying W Wranglers

Got word, late last night, that Russ Wolfe, the co-founder of the Flying W Ranch, passed away, at the age of 94. You can see his amazing biography, along with his obituary, here.

The Flying W Ranch has put out numerous LP and 45rpm souvenirs (and later cassettes and CDs), in its history. Several of the LPs started off with an introduction, by Russ Wolfe.

Russ Wolfe's Introduction
(audio sample taken from Volume 1, below)

As I mentioned above, these chuck wagon musical mementos were plentiful, as one always manages to find one (or more) at a neighborhood garage sale, or local thrift store, around these here parts. Here are the ones I managed to corral (See what I did there? - heheh). Some of the last names are missing, in this story. If you can provide any info, drop me a line. Also, you will obviously see the label numbers and volumes are hard to keep track of, as you will note the inconsistency in the discography.

An Evening at the Flying W Ranch (Vol. 1)
Year unknown (label is marked FW-1000)
Members: Russ Wolfe, Cy Scarborough, Jack Smith, Bob Minser, Babe Humphrey, Chuck Camp, and Laramie Jordan (who was later replaced by Buck Teeter)

Echo Valley
FW-5705 (no year, possibly 1957)
Members are not noted

Folk Songs of the Western Frontier
FW-5750 (no year, possibly 1957)
 The back of this LP promotes "Vol. 1" and Echo Valley, but no other LP, which indicates this is (possibly) the third release for the group.
Members (introduced in the recorded intro): Russ Wolfe, Chuck Camp, Babe Humphrey, Bob Minser, Buck Teeter, and Cy Scarborough

The Rostvit Sisters Sing 
FW-5760 (no year, possibly 1957 or 1960)
(Fay, Sharon, Janice and Lora Jean, accompanied by the Flying W Wranglers)

An Evening at the Flying W Ranch (Vol. 2)
7961 could indicate "1961" 
Members (introduced in the recorded intro): Jim Blanton, Chuck Camp, George Jackson, Buck Teeter, Cy Scarborough, and Russ Wolfe

An Evening at the Flying W Ranch (Vol. 2)  
 (label is marked FW 1001) 
NOTE: This LP also says "Volume 2". 
Members (shown in order on LP cover): Cy Scarborough, Buck Teeter, George Jackson, Chuck Camp, Jim (J.B.) Blanton, and Russ Wolfe

An Evening at the Famous Flying W 
NOTE: LP uses the same cover photo as Vol. 2, directly above, but the back cover shows a different photo (with the same members as above). The songs are the same as those on the "first" Volume 2.
SR4S-050 (no year) 

Winter Swing
FWWS 140 
(no year, but the subtitle is "Dance Album Volume One") 
Members: Russ Wolfe, Sam Nicola, Rick Martinez, Scott Vaughn, and Denny Peter

The Place Where I Worship
SW-4 (no year listed)
Members names not listed

An Evening at the Flying W Ranch (Vol. 3)
Year unknown (label marked LPFW 420) 
Members: Russ Wolfe, Sam Nicola, Babe Humphrey,  
Larry Humphrey,  J.B. Blanton, and Larry Mahan
An Evening at the Flying W Ranch (Vol. 4)
Label is marked 1970, and thus starting a new label numbering system, indicating year.
Members: Russ Wolfe, Sam Nicola, Babe Humphrey,  
Larry Humphrey,  J.B. Blanton, and Larry Mahan
Cow Country Styles (Vol. 5)
Members: Russ Wolfe, Sam Nicola, Babe Humphrey, Larry Humphrey, Terry Martin, 
 J.B. Blanton, and Larry Mahan

Centennial Show (Vol. 8)
Members: Russ Wolfe, Sam Nicola, J.B. Blanton, Babe Humphrey, Larry Humphrey, Denny Peter, and Bill___ 

This is Flying W Country (Vol. 9)
Members: Russ Wolfe, Sam Nicola, J.B. Blanton, Babe Humphrey, Larry Humphrey, Denny Peter, and Scott Vaughn

This is Flying W Country (Vol. 11)  
Members: Russ Wolfe, Sam Nicola, Vern Thomson,   
Scott Vaughn, Jim Blanton, Denny Peter, and Rick Martinez
This is Flying W Country (Vol. 12)  
Members: Russ Wolfe, Sam Nicola, VernThomson,  Scott Vaughn, Jim Blanton, Denny Peter, Rick Martinez, and LarryMahan

This is Flying W Country (Vol. 13)
Members: Russ Wolfe, Sam Nicola, Vern Thomson, Rod Black, Rick Martinez, Gary____, Jim Blanton, and Lewis Mock

On The Trail (Vol. 14)
Members: Wes English,  Rod Black, Sam Nicola, Vern Thomson, and Scott Vaughn

Where the West Begins (Vol. 15)
Members: Dennis Bailey, Wes English, Sam Nicola, Vern Thomson, and Scott Vaughn

Live at the Ranch  
(back cover doesn't show members)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Packing Up the Records...

No, this isn't a "day after April Fools' Day" joke.

After almost four years in my current Colorado zip code, I'll be packing up the records and moving to a new Colorado locale, further north. The reason is all good, but I would be lying if I admitted that I was thrilled to pack up this collection o' mine, after unpacking it all not that long ago.

Since we are trying to get everything ready for the real estate agent to come by, to evaluate the casa for resale, I'm slowly starting to box up the vinyl, and all of the ephemera, now. Which means the radio show, and my blog posts, won't be as regular.

Anyone going to the Denver Record Show, April 14? Drop by and say "hi," and help me clear out some primo prog LPs, and hillbilly ephemera, which I really don't want to pack for the move (grin).

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The KLZ Night Owls

Found this fantastic photo in that big stack of  Purple Sage Riders / Si Westbrook pictures I acquired, not that long ago. Great shot of a dance band, called the Night Owls. The microphone shows the Denver radio call letters, KLZ, which obtained its license to broadcast March 10, 1922. It was the first — thus making it still the oldest — broadcasting station in the state of Colorado, and one of the oldest in the United States.

Not a lot of clues to go on, with dating this photo. It appears it was taken, possibly before (or after) a dance contest. You can see the dance marathon clock in the upper left corner. A quick search finds that Wednesday, August 22 fell on 1923 and 1928.

Then I found a video, on the history of the station, and noticed a segment showing a dance marathon, from the 1920s, with the exact same band banner, shown in the picture (at 1:46 mark).

Couldn't find a thing on the band, Night Owls. If anyone has any information, please drop me a line.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Lottie Keas


Hey all!  So a couple of weeks back, I did a big Denver crawl, and met up with the walking encyclopedia of Colorado music, Mike Stelk. Mike is a big supporter of this blog o' mine and invited me up to hang with him, at the north Black and Read store. Had a fantastic time, finding lots of new additions to the collection. As I was headed to check out, Mike said, "I have some things for you."

Holy cats, did he ever.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Crystal Touch's $1,009 Record

I know I'm going to regret reporting this, as this Colorado Springs funk 45 has eluded me, and I'm pretty sure will continue to do so (given the realized price, and my affinity for dollar bin records).

On Sunday, March 17, 2019, at approximately 12:06 p.m. (MT) this happened:

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Dick Hoopes - In a Maze of Grace

I found this album, during the big La Junta-area crawl I did, last month. I thought I had a pretty solid collection of Pueblo-area vinyl, so this local find surprised me, as it was not on my radar. I got it home only to also discover that it is mentioned in the collector's "bible" of  religious-music genre recordings, the Archivist:

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Purple Sage Riders

Harry Fletcher's Purple Sage Riders
(Left to right) Rusty McGee, Deuce Spriggins, Don Winston, Speed Bastien, Hank Caldwell, Skeeter Bill, Spike Watson, Baby Doll (horse), and Texas Tommy. 
No date noted (possibly 1935). Not pictured: Si Westbrook
(Photo courtesy of Kevin Coffey, who obtained it from a relative of Speed Bastien)

Included in this massive stack of KOA radio photographs, I posted last week, I found several incredible pictures of a group calling themselves the Purple Sage Riders, which included KOA Denver cowboy singer and radio actor, Si Westbrook. I knew of the Foy Willing and Buck Page (Donald Duffy) groups, both called Riders of the Purple Sage (and later, the 1969-formed New Riders of the Purple Sage - best known for "Panama Red"), but was unfamiliar with this earlier 1930s group.

According to a quick Internet search, the exact history of who was the "first" to use the band name Riders of the Purple Sage, is open to scrutiny: The first "original" Riders of the Purple Sage was allegedly formed in in 1932, by Jack Dalton, and was disbanded after a couple of years. When Buck Page's group appeared at the Village Barn in New York, they were advertised as the "Sons of the Purple Sage." According to Sharon Lee Willing, Foy Willing's widow, and author of No One to Cry To, his biography, Foy and Buck Page never met. Although Foy disbanded his group in 1952 it was temporary; he never relinquished the name and periodically reorganized and recorded his Riders of the Purple Sage until his death, July 24, 1978.

As previously posted, I found a 1934 Montana newspaper article, which indicates the Purple Sage Riders are "an aggregation of well known radio performers."

June 24, 1934
Great Falls Montana newspaper

The Purple Sage Riders group had several rotating members - included fiddle player "Dynamite" (Leonard Dossey), formerly of the Arizona Wranglers; The Lonesome Cowboy (Roy Faulkner), formerly of XER (Mexico/Del Rio, TX radio station); "Freckles" from the Happy-Go-Lucky Hour at KHJ, in California; the Lone Ace and Aaron "Shug" Fisher, who starred in the early cowboy band, "Beverly Hill Billies;" and the Arizona Kid, who was a trick roper. The group also included Texas Tommy, who appeared in several early movies with Tom Mix and Ken Maynard. Si Westbrook ("formerly of KOA") is noted as the master of ceremonies, but he also appears in the band photos.

According to music archivist/historian Kevin Coffey, who contacted me, after reading the first post, "It sounds like the stuff you have is possibly mostly from the 1934 tour. Speed Bastien and Hank Caldwell joined the group in 1935, so did "Ace" Spriggins' brother "Deuce" Spriggins. Spade Cooley was in the group for a while, too. I believe Shug Fisher left the group before the end of 1934, to join Hugh Cross in Ohio/West Va, where he stayed for the next eight years. Len Dossey went back to LA and joined Stuart Hamblen's group."

May 4, 1934
Woodland Daily Democrat - Woodland, California

The original Purple Sage Riders-related pictures I obtained are incredible. Take a look (all are watermarked):

Pictured: Unidentified, Arkansas Johnny Luther, Texas Tommy, Baby Doll (horse), Si Westbrook, Len Dossey, and (possibly) Rusty McGee 
(thanks to Kevin Coffey for IDs)
The group was calling itself the Riders of the Purple Sage. According to Coffey, "I think Zane Grey, or his estate, complained about them using the name of his novel, and they changed it to Purple Sage Riders. For some reason, when Foy Willing formed his Riders of the Purple Sage, there was no objection."

Harry Fletcher's Purple Sage Riders 
(NOTE: photo notes it's outside a Denver theatre, but doesn't specify which one). 
 Pictured: (possibly) Rusty McGee, unidentified, Bud Durfee, Si Westbrook, (possibly) "Pop Hemingway, Texas Tommy, "Baby Doll" (horse), (possibly) Skeeter Bill Schwendt, Spade Cooley, and Chuck Woods
(thanks to Kevin Coffey, for the IDs)

Interesting photo showing Si Westbrook (middle, with banjo), at KDKA, in Pittsburgh. According to more Internet digging, Buck Page formed a staff band for Pittsburgh radio station KDKA, that he named Riders of the Purple Sage. The band performed five, one hour-long shows a week, on KDKA, from 1936–1938.  So is this the Purple Sage Riders, or the Riders of the Purple Sage radio band? Yeah, it is pretty confusing! (NOTE: According to Kevin Coffey, this KDKA picture appears to have no relation to any of the "Purple Sage" groups)

This photo was autographed to Si and his wife, from "Jimmie Barrum" (sp?), as noted on the back, but according to Chuck Anderson, who is the mastermind behind the fantastic The Old Corral, "That's Arizona Wranglers member Shorty Wells. Look real close, at his left shoulder, and you'll see the beginnings of his nickname SH..."

The Lone Ace - Hollywood Hill Billies and Purple Sage Riders
NOTE: Kevin Coffey says his real name was Ace Spriggins / Carl Braunsdorf.

Deuce (spelled Duce in the picture) Spriggins (Ace's Brother)
- Beverly Hillbillies and Purple Sage Riders

Skeeter Bill - Purple Sage Riders

Texas Tommy - Purple Sage Riders

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Si Westbrook, KOA Denver's Strolling Songster

 A dear friend clued me in to an online auction, featuring a massive stash of old KOA Radio, Denver pictures. I was beyond shocked I was the only bidder. That said, shocked doesn't begin to express my reaction to actually opening the mailed package, and seeing this cache of incredible early Denver radio and music history memorabilia.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Gospel Melody Men

Drove down to La Junta, yesterday, to hit some area thrifts I hadn't visited since 2010. Was going through boxes of albums, at one store, when the manager asked, "We have a whole bunch more, in the back. Wanna see 'em?"

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Colorado Springs High School Audio Annual (1956)

So last week I found myself in an antique mall, one of which I hadn't visited for about a year. I struck out finding any new vinyl additions. On my way out, I spotted a 1956 Colorado Springs High School annual. The sticker said "1956 CSHS Yearbook, with RARE RECORD included!"


Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Elk Bugles L-O-V-E Episode


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 L-O-V-E... 
(click link to the show - Episode 17)

No Sweeter Love
Mac McClanahan

Boy and Girl in Love
Jim and Lyn

Loving You
Joe Diamond

Another Love
CD Draper

Cause I’m Loving You
The Marvells

Can’t Buy Love

Your True Love
Bob and Shirley

Give Back My Love
Maxine Watta

Whispering Your Love
Patti Jo and the Teardrops

Beware My Love
Vicki Martin

Gonna Have Love
Judy Summers

Sunday Kind of Love
The High Seas

Howlin’ Lovesick Blues

Punishment of Love
Don Rutherford

To My Darling with Love
Rodeo Jim Peters and the Western Ramblers

Do You Really Love Me
Don Sloan

I Want the Whole World to Love You
JJ Dickens and the Barrier Breakers

Lover’s Eyes
Dody and Barbara Weiger

Oh Love Divine
Isi Doro

Walk In Love
Terry Collard

That’s the Way my Love Is
The Trolls

No Credit
Joey Buffalo and Sonics