Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Blanche ("Trina") Trinajstick - Pueblo's "Grande Dame of Fan Clubs"

So I'm going through some 1955 Country Song Roundup issues, when I come across a fan club directory. Looking at all of the club addresses for everyone from Roy Acuff to Faron Young, I spot a fan club for a singer named Sunshine Ruby. The fan club was based in Pueblo!

Now I will be the first to tell you, I was not familiar with Sunshine Ruby. A quick Internet search finds that Ruby (born October 19, 1939 in Myrtle Springs, Texas; actually Ruby Jewell Bateman) was a teen singer, mostly on the Texas country music scene.
The founder of the Sunshine Ruby fan club, was one Blanche Trinajstick, of Pueblo. Blanche apparently worked behind the scenes, trying to keep Sunshine Ruby's fans in the loop, mailing out newsletters, along with photos of the singer, but apparently it didn't last long. In 1953, Ruby released a few RCA Victor label records, highlighting her 14-year-old voice. By late 1955, Ruby retired from show business.

So I'm doing some more digging, and I find the name Blanche Trinajstick again, as the president of another little-known teen country singer, Peggy Upton. Peggy recorded for both the Starday and Rose labels, before also fading off into the country music sunset. Blanche showed up again, as the president of another short-term act, Bailing Wire Bob, a country music singer and disc jockey, from Louisiana.

While these literally-unknown country singers piqued my interest, the fact that a Pueblo woman handled their fan clubs, was far more interesting.

According to a mini-biography of her, in a book entitled The Selling Sound: The Rise of the Country Music Industry (Diane Pecknold), Blanche (or Trina as she known) was originally from Texas. Born in 1923, she and her husband, Frank, moved to Colorado, after World War II. She admitted that she missed the appreciation of country music that she felt in Texas, and started her early fan clubs, to combat her feelings of being out of the loop, in Colorado. "The people in Colorado looked down their noses at you, if you mentioned country music."

Little did I know, Blanche was considered the queen of fan clubs - all from her Baltimore Avenue home.  In 1960, she started the K-T Country Roundup - a fanzine dedicated to country music fan clubs and news.

In 1977, she founded the National Association of Fan Clubs - the first organization to coordinate every fan group, dedicated to a particular celebrity.

According to a 1985 story, in the Orlando Sentinel, her fan club directory (which later expanded to include TV and movie stars, as well as music celebrities from ever genre), listed 625 active fan clubs.  By 1997, the annual publication grew to 75-pages in length, contained 1,500 groups, and listed (alphabetically) every fan club that elected to become a member of the NAFC, giving readers the U.S. mail address of the current president.

To my amazement, Blanche was quoted in several national newspapers, as the source for all things fan club related -  In 1990, the Tulsa World called her "The Grande Dame of Fan Clubs," in an article about her tireless efforts. The Washington Post, also in 1990, wrote an entire feature on the Pueblo housewife, and her fan club group. The story included how to start your own fan club, and how to contact Blanche, in Pueblo, complete with her home phone number (!!)

Blanche passed away in 1997. She's buried in the Imperial Memorial Gardens, Pueblo. After her passing, the National Association of Fan Clubs was organized out of California. It ceased operation, in 2002.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Silver and Gold - University of Colorado (1938)

Scored a small stack of 1938 The Silver and Gold issues, the University of Colorado-Boulder student newspaper, at a recent estate sale. Of course, you know me, I immediately dug in to see if I could find anything music related.

As evident by the ads below, the popular music genre of 1938 was a new pre-WWII sound called swing. Tommy Dorsey, Rudy Vallee, Dolly Dawn, and later, former University of Colorado alumn, Glenn Miller would have been on most college campus turntables. As evident by these few papers, campus formals, with bandleader orchestras, were common. I've also added the #1 national Hit Parade magazine songs, of these particular weeks, to give you a feel of that time period:

(click on pictures, to enlarge)

January 7, 1938:
#1 Hit Parade Song "Once in a While" - Tommy Dorsey 

Bay & Nickols ("for Popular and Classical Music")
2017 12th Street
Apparently this was an early Boulder record store.
The location (12th and Pleasant) is now a parking lot.

The Buffalo Club
"Dance to the Music of Westerberg-Durnell"
Club was owned by James Marshall
The Buffalo Club was located on 13th Street, and was there through at least 1940 (later becoming the Anchorage). It's now home to the Fox Theatre.

January 11, 1938:

ASUC ("Associated Students University of Colorado") Dance
Music by the Emmett Ryder Orchestra (pictured below) and Robert Lee Holloway.


January 14, 1938

Pete Smythe and his Orchestra
Before Pete became a well-known Denver TV personality, he was a band leader. He graduated CU-Boulder, in 1934, and fronted the band the Whiz Bang Four, which morphed in the Pete Smythe Orchestra. Three years, after this particular concert (above) he went on to his first disc jockey job, as the host of "Meet The Boys in the Band," on KMYR.
The Canon Park Nite Club was located about a mile from the Boulder city limits (which was then a "dry" alcohol town, until 1967). 

1938 Junior Promenade
George Hamilton and his Music Box Machine
(George Hamilton was the father of the actor, George Hamilton)

January 18, 1938:
 #1 Hit Parade song: "Rosalie" - Sammy Kaye

Lewis Frazier Orchestra

Joe Cook and his Orchestra

(Postcard of the Joe Cook Orchestra - courtesy of the Longmont Museum)

February 11, 1938:

St. Valentine's Day Law School Formal
Matt Kramer and his Orchestra

Barb Formal
Robert Lee and his Swinging Violins

February 18, 1938:
#1 Hit Parade Song: "Bei Mir Bist Du Shon" - Andrews Sisters

Wally Wallace and Al Menke playing at the 
Engine Ball
 Al Menke was a popular big band band leader, from Minnesota. 

February 25, 1938:

Buffalo Club
Dance to the Music of Red Gray and Band

Monday, January 13, 2020

Elk Bugles - Show 19


Hodgepodge episode today, as I play the latest obscure Colorado vinyl finds, discovered in Denver-area thrift stores and at the last Denver and Colorado Springs record shows! Very diverse episode, to say the least!

You Say - Fogcutters

No Name - The Lawmen

Here I Am in Denver - Crystal River Band

Revolution's Dream - Parker Quartet

Psychotic Reaction - Sequel

Sail Away - Fairview High School

Tomorrow is a Long Time - Patti Taylor Singers 

Unknown Recording - Rocky Mountain Radio Council

Muscrat Ramble - Action Brass

Steppin' Out - Doug Duggan and Family Jam

Ballad of Highlands Ranch - Joe Bob Mundell

A Good Man is Hard to Find - Tetra Chords

Tag-A-Long - Julie D'Anne

Tell Them - Dianne Bascom

Trees - Duncan Tuck

Dancing - Steve Sajich

Rosewood Bitters - Michael Stanley

No Credit - Joey Buffalo and Sonics

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Silver Slipper Saloon owner Lanning Likes (1944-2019)

So yesterday, I'm doing my normal ritual - hitting up the estate sales in town, when I drive up to a wonderful two story home, near downtown Denver. The line was stretched around the front, which is always a good sign.

What caught me as odd, as soon as I walked in, I found several pieces of memorabilia, from the Silver Slipper Saloon, in Central City. Then, I noticed a huge stack of records, all from artists who had some connection to the Gilpin County town.

So I'm immediately thinking, "Is this the estate sale of someone who had something to do with the Silver Slipper?" I Googled the address, and did a bit of detective work, and discovered I was in the former home of Lanning Likes, the owner and operator of the bar, from 1968-1978, and who passed away, last summer.

According to his obituary, Mr. Likes was born in Lamar, in 1944, to Dr. Edwin C. Likes and Juanita Likes.  After graduating from Lamar High School in 1962, he attended college at Tulane University and Southern California University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Denver. He began studying for a law degree but stopped just short, to start his own business - as owner and operator of the Silver Slipper Saloon in Central City.

After he left the Saloon, in 1978, he moved to Denver, where he became a licensed stockbroker.

Among the stack of records, I found this tape of the original Silver Slipper musical opening (sadly, my reel-to-reel player died, so I can't supply audio, at this time. Will post when I get it dubbed off).

Several Colorado singers performed in Central City, while Mr. Likes was the Slipper's owner, and he had apparently kept copies of their vinyl recordings. I found a large stack of an Ozie Waters picture sleeve single, even I had never seen, the Verne Partlow-penned, "Old Man Atom." This re-recorded single was originally released, by Ozie, on the Coral label, in 1950. The single below features Harvey Gosman on fiddle, and Gill Blagg on bass (it also appears on Ozie's Central City Favorites albums, which were recorded at the Silver Slipper).

I bought the entire batch.

Waters, who was a cowboy movie star. and Denver TV personality, was a regular Central City performer. He also recorded the albums, Central City Favorites.  He was later elected town marshal.  He passed away in 1978, in Central City.

 Photo of Ozie Waters, outside the Silver Slipper Saloon 
(click on picture to see the original menu, in the window, which is also pictured at the estate sale)

Around that same time, CD Draper was a regular at Earl's Toll Gate - another Central City area hangout.  Among the estate sale collection, I found a stack of Curtain Call records, (CD Draper's homemade label) including those by Joe Diamond and Lois Lane.


While I didn't need to duplicate the albums being offered at the sale, there was also an impressive offering of Central City-related albums, including those by Draper, The Gilded Garter house band Band on the Bar Room Floor, and two Ozie Waters LPs.

Interesting note, on the CD Draper LP, CD Draper Featuring Crisser, Tom Likes (Lanning's brother) is listed as percussionist. 

According to David Forsyth, the executive director and curator of the Gilpin County Historical Society, the Silver Slipper changed hands, after Mr. Likes left, and eventually closed, in the 1990s (the building is now part of the Bonanza casino. The original Silver Slipper mural, shown in the Lanning Likes picture at the top of the blog, is still there). 

My thanks to the Likes family, for keeping these records safe, and allowing them to be purchased, so they may be preserved. 

Monday, January 6, 2020

Dianne Bascom - "Funky soft rock track...great breaks!"

Took a day to visit a record digging city I had never visited before, Greeley. The Colorado vinyl was pretty sparse, but before I left town, I hit up the local ARC thrift, where I found a large stack of state-made, faith-based albums.

You all know that I'm not one to leave any private Colorado record on a shelf, no matter the genre, so I gathered up my 16 (!!) religious/church albums, and headed back down, to D-Town.

Got home and, one by one, put them on the turntable. Yeah, you can guess, they were all pretty much Happy Goodman-style, religious fare... that is, until I put the needle on Dianne Bascom, and her album I'd Rather Have Jesus.

I was immediately taken by the fact that this wasn't your typical nails-on-a-chalkboard, off-key female soprano, screeching her way through your standard-issue choir book song (trust me, I have lots of those).

But as pleasant as that cut was, I was not prepared for the surprising funky guitar breaks on the track "Tell Them."

And apparently I'm not the only one who digs this cut. In 2019, a copy of this album sold for $40, on eBay, with the seller stating: "Very rare self release / private label LP...funky soft rock track with nice drum / bass & a great wah pedal guitar that starts mid song & ends with it as well. Great breaks!"

As is usually the case, little is known about this LP, which was recorded at Applewood Studios, in Golden. The producer (and the funky guitarist) is Randy Gipson, of the Colorado Springs-based Gipsons, who recorded the Television Anniversary Album - Vol. 1, in 1972.

Randy and his brothers would go on to record the LP, Heavy on Gospel (which I also found on my Greeley dig, but was apparently used to sharpen knives, so I can't add an audio sample).