Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Hey all! Doing a bit of online record digging, and spotted this private issue LP by the Colorado Springs group, The Trailriders. Spent more than I normally do ($16), but holy pork and beans on an open fire, I'm glad I roped this in.
First off, full disclosure, I love folk music. That fantastic 1960s hootenanny, three guys (or gals) and a guitar, singing about war and peace and Tom Dooley. Love the harmonies, the simplicity and the feeling. When I put the needle on the album, yup, I went to that special place...
Is that a toe tapper, or what? The whole disc is filled with folky trio offerings, with a country tinge. A real joy to listen to, in its entirety. The album was recorded at the C.M. "Bud" Edmonds KCMS radio home garage studios, in Manitou Springs (68 Minnehaha Avenue).
Clyde Casey (1932-2015), who sings lead on that song, was the group founder. Interesting background on him - As the El Paso County Director of Purchasing, he helped create the city's 911 system, the Pikes Peak Performing Arts Center, and various county parks. According to his obituary, he also "refurbished the General Palmer statute so that it would survive another 100 years." He later relocated to Roswell, NM.
Jerry Teske (1930-2017) was the choral director at Palmer High School for ten years, then later supervisor of music in District 11, until his retirement. Among his other musical accomplishments - he sang at Figaro's Restaurant, in the Grace Episcopal Taylor Choir, Colorado Springs Chorale, Abendmusik, Colorado Opera Festival, Opera Theatre of the Rockies, and the Celebration Multicultural Ensemble. Jerry also appears on the 1975 "Official State Marching Song of Colorado" single, entitled "Hail Colorado" (which I featured in 2018).
Ronn Langford is the last living member of the original group. He was once a member of the Ivy League Trio, a folk group which recorded on the Coral record label (he replaced longtime member Bev Galloway and appears on Folk Ballads from the World of Edgar Allan Poe LP [YouTube link]). Later in life he became a race car driver, and now runs his own successful driver's education company.
As luck would have it, I found a Trailriders single in my own Colorado 45 stash, "Colorado Trail" / "Land of the Velvet Hills" (cuts from the album above). The single would include guitar virtuoso Johnny Smith (June 25, 1922 – June 11, 2013), who wrote "Velvet Hills." Smith was a jazz guitarist, who wrote the classic instrumental, "Walk, Don't Run" (YouTube link) in 1954 (which was a huge hit for The Ventures, in 1960 and 1964 - YouTube link). He moved to Colorado Springs, where his daughter and his mother lived. While in Colorado he ran a musical instruments store, taught music, and raised his daughter, while continuing to record albums for the Royal Roost and Verve labels into the 1960s.
A few years later The Trailriders released another LP, minus Ronn and Clyde (who were replaced by Bill Moon and Rob Ryder).