Monday, November 30, 2020

All In Fun - City Auditorium, Pueblo (July 1947)

Hey all! I'll get back to actual records, but I've been finding loads of Colorado music-related ephemera, lately. At the Brass Armadillo antique mall, last week, and found this fantastic program from the July 1947 presentation of  All in Fun,  performed at the Pueblo city auditorium. 

Filled with amazing local advertisements, the program mentions the city's "newest" radio station, KCSJ, and how part of the show will be broadcast live. However, according to the station's history, KCSJ didn't go on the air until August, 1947. 

Described as a "succession of musical and comedy skits adapted for local casting and staging," the vaudeville-like All In Fun was on stage July 16 and 17, with KCSJ announcer and commercial manager Jack Cobb acting as the emcee. Music was donated by the Pueblo Musicians Association, under the direction of Margret Smith. Hostesses were Arietta Marrinan and Bernice Westerson. The cast included Pueblo actors, and even some local civic and union leaders, including Judge J. Arthur Phelps, and Ralph Vail, the state president of the National Association of Letter Carriers. 

In between the scenes, I included pictures of the advertisements in the program.

Scene 1 - "Spring Showers" (described as a drawing)


Scene 2 -  "To Be Announced"

Scene 3 - "Queen for a Day" - starring Jack Bailey and Claude Gray, with ladies in waiting: Norma Burnham, Jo Ann Judy, Jane Marrinan, Frances Higgins, Elsie Mae Watkins, Vivian Wright, Irene Raymond, Betty Keator, Evelyn Lewis, Dorothy Pilcher, Leona Higgins, La Vonne McDonnell, and Norma Gray.

Scene 4 - "Truth or Consequences" - starring Ralph Edward and Bill Hannahand, with Martha Kadie, Pat Morgan, Betty Lamb, Janey Sayre, Pauline Battiste, Toni Gionatti, Shirleen Stevenson, Emily Carlson, Margie Lockard, Helen Hill.

Scene 5 - "Elkhardt Trio" / Coffetunes (Quartet)


Scene 6 - "Style Show" - with male locals playing female "stars" on the runway. "Dottie Lamour" - Bill Slater, "Carmen Miranda" - Dr. H.V. Wagner, and "Ann Sheridan" - R.W. Johnson, "Judy Canova" - W.H. Ballew, "Hedy Lamarr" - Jimmy Beaman, and "Sally Rand" - Don Korber. 

Of note - Beaman and Korber were two members of the local Barbershop quartet, The Fountain City 4 (along with Howard Lukenbill and Steve Comi). 


Scene 7 - "Samoa" - starring Aldea Gobatti, Jack Meyers, Nelda Johnson plus "Bing Crosby" (Jack Meyers).


Scene 8 - "Life in the Ozarks" - starring W.H. Ballew and Jim Beaman as "Ma and Pa."

Scene 9 - "Johnson's Adorables" 

Scene 10 - "Ginny Simms" - starring Ginny Smith and "Breakfast in Hollywood" with Tom Brenneman, and Evelyn Davis, plus "The Andrew Sisters" - Jack Meyers, Vince Rusick, and Bud Dawson


Scene 11 - "Dr. I.Q." - Judge J. Arthur Phelps, along with H.L. Rose, Wayne Lewis, Ralph McDonald, and Ralph Vail. Plus "Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire" - Joyce Meyers and Warren Tucker

Scene 12 - Repeat of "Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire" along with Ginny Simms.


Scene 13 - "Bing Crosby" - starring Jack Meyers


Scene 14 - "Grand Old Opry" - starring "Red Foley" - Don Vendenti, "Minnie Pearl" - Mrs. Charles Vest, "Duke of Paducah" - Jim Beaman, "Uncle Ezra" - William Perig, plus the Oak Ridge Quartet - Horace Femmer, Floyd Pendleton, Jack Lyngdol, and Kermit Bliss. KLZ Denver Radio personality and "cowboy singer" Red Allen also performed. The program also noted the Red River Valley Gang - Clyde Casebier, Louie Rogers, and T.E. Maxie.





Monday, November 23, 2020

Newspaper Find: Ray Rodriguez Trio (1971)


Ray Rodriguez Trio - Keely Brunner, Bill Weinacht and Ray Rodriguez 
Golden Daily Transcript - July 30, 1971

I often buy old Colorado paper items, if only to see if I can find anything music related in them.  At a recent estate sale, I picked up a large box 1950s-1970s-era Colorado newspapers. Will be sharing my printed finds, over the next few months, but first let's start off with this picture, from the July 30, 1971 issue of the Golden Daily Transcript - the Ray Rodriguez Trio.

The trio included Ray Rodriguez (guitar), Keely Brunner (guitar, banjo and mandolin), and Bill Weinacht (bass guitar). The story I found notes that the group will be the guest performers on the Denver TV show, Insight (which aired on Rocky Mountain PBS, Channel 6).

I couldn't find much on the Ray Rodriguez Trio, minus the fact that they were regular performers at both the Lion's Lair Lounge, in Denver, and the Blue Onion, in Aurora.

"All musicians are self taught. Brunner writes bluegrass and folk tunes, and accompanied Josh White on his tours." Side note: Josh White (February 11, 1914 – September 5, 1969) was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter, actor and civil rights activist. He also recorded under the names Pinewood Tom and Tippy Barton in the 1930s. 

It doesn't appear that the trio recorded any vinyl releases, as I struck out on a search (as always, if you know of anything, let me know).

Towne & Country Revue (Keely Brunner standing, at center)

Keely Brunner later found success in the Towne and Country Review (which included Ned Alterman, Ritchie Mintz, Steve Carnes, Ben Carnes, and Zeke Little). In 2003 the group released the Live at Mountainears CD. Keely Brunner died in 2015. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

The NORAD Radio Show

From 1966-1968, the folks at NORAD (you know, the men and women who monitor the skies for incoming nukes) produced a radio show. But this wasn't show about the nation's defense system, nor was it an update on how safe the country is from a nuclear attack. No, this show was all showbiz.

 The 15-minute program, entitled Playback, featured music performed by the NORAD Commanders Orchestra, and the side groups, The Dixietones and the Velvetones. Major Vic Molzer served as the leader of the groups. The show was hosted by Sgt. Bob Lyman.

Listen to the show's introduction

How could we live in fear, with that bouncy beat?

While I was familiar with NORAD's prolific music discography (last count I had 18 different NORAD albums in my collection), I never knew they put together a regular radio show, and I certainly had never seen the box set they sent to radio stations! Very cool addition to the stash.

 The Velvetones

The Dixietones

Major Vic Molzer

I now have three volumes of box sets, which include seven albums each (one 15 minute show, per side, so 14 shows per box). I couldn't find a volume four, so I'm only guessing that the program ended after 42 shows.

No idea how many stations actually ran the program, but I found a notation in several newspaper radio schedules, from California to Canada.

October 11, 1967
Santa Cruz (CA) Sentinel

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Rocky Mountain Jamboree Show Program (1966-1967)


Thanks to a very generous reader of the blog (who wished not to be identified), I have acquired an incredible collection of Colorado country music memorabilia. I'm going to be featuring this collection, in the coming months, but wanted to first spotlight this fantastic piece - an original 1966-1967 Rocky Mountain Jamboree show program.

There is already a ton of info on the Rocky Mountain Jamboree and Buster Jenkins, so no need to repeat it all here - but here's a brief history:

Buster Jenkins (born Frankie D. Kannard) was a KLAK disc jockey, champion fiddler, and creator of the Saturday evening program, the Rocky Mountain Jamboree. The show released a (now) very sought-after LP, on Band Box.

The Rocky Mountain Jamboree featured local acts, and nationally-known artists, including Tom T. Hall, the Stanley Brothers, and the Dillards. Supposedly a (very) young Donna Fargo was part of the show line-up (the little girl in the center of the group photo, above). The show ran until 1970. 

Buster was inducted into the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame, in 1978. He died in 2008.

Back to this show program...

This rare piece of ephemera shows pictures of the show's 1966-1967 cast. Let's take a look (some pictures are watermarked):

Buster Jenkins

Betty Shubert

Known as the "Rocky Mountain Jamboree Sweetheart," Betty was part of the Gravy Soppers band, which included Buster Jenkins, Gene Poole. and Don Henningson.

The Hi City Clan Band 

Another group which included Buster (pictured second from right). Also note Don Henningson was a part of this line up. Band also included Mike Hogan, Carl Jewell, and Jerry Street (who would go on to record on Buster's High Country label - "Cold Cold Winter's Coming On" / "Don't Worry About the Poor Folk" and "Table Number Three" / "I'm Goin' Crazy)"

Curtis Willis

Would later record on Buster's High Country label "She Just Lays There" / "The Whole Town is Looking Down on You"

Jerry Lee

The program notes that he started with the Jamboree in 1966, and that "he plays better clubs in Denver."


Mike Domer

(Born Marion Domer - 1933-2009) The program notes that he is an original member of the Jamboree and that the crowd loves his versions of Hank Williams songs.

Donna Harris

Recorded on the CLW and ABC labels. Her version of "Almost Persuaded," made both the Billboard and Cash Box charts ("bubbling under" the Top 40 charts at #45 on Billboard, and making the Top 30 on Cash Box). The program notes that her next hit will be "If You Think You're at the Bottom." She also recorded another CLW release, "Time to Hurt Again" / "Please Mr. DJ."


Hal Franks 

"Known for his big Texas smile." Hal would record for the Newland (CLW subsidiary label), "How Can You Tell True Love" / "I'm Leaving You Tomorrow"

Joan Owens

Born in Wisconsin, she was listed as a member of the Blue Mountain Gang and the Possum Trotters. The program notes that she has been with the Jamboree for four years. She was inducted in the Colorado Bluegrass Society Hall of Fame in 2017. 

Bobbie Kay

Wife of Mike Hogan (Buster's Hi City Clan Band).

Bonnie Humphrey

(1944-2019) Originally from Casper, WY., her signature song was "Ain't Nothin' Shakin'." She would later serve four terms as the mayor of Evansville, WY. Recorded on the Big Sandy label (with Dave Finn - see mention in The Prairie Sisters) "If You Had Looked Me in the Eye" / "I'm Hangin' On".


Bennie Jo-Jola

Was noted in the program as a popular service club entertainer.

Jim Rogers

Known for his duets on stage with Doris Fischer, in the early years of the Jamboree. He apparently took some time off, and according to the program, came back to the show in 1966. 


The Prairie Sisters - Donna Cay and Frances

According to a 1968 Billboard story. "Marve Hoerner has signed Donna Cay and Frances Ann, the James Sisters, to a personal management pact. The girls will be co -managed by Vi Flageolle, in Denver. Formerly known as the Prairie Sisters, the girls now are appearing in the Bobby Parrish show package." The Bobby Parrish touring group also included Dave Finn (see Bonnie Humphrey above). 

Jack Lyons

Also recorded on the CLW label ("Why Do You Let Me Hang Around" / "Will You Go Find My Daddy"). The program notes that he is the show emcee and is managed by Buster. 


Charlie Waggoner

The program notes that Charlie is part of the warm-up show and does imitations of famous country singers. He recorded on the Linco label ("One Eyed Sam" / "And Old Memory" and "Just Like Before" / "Dying Love").

Monday, November 2, 2020

Coming Together with Brownstone (and the Willie Lewis connection)


Take a listen to this record

If I hadn't seen the "1987" on the label, I would have sworn this Byrdsy guitar and the folky psych vibe record was made in the 1960s.

Yeah, I know.  Crazy, huh? 

As is sometimes the case, I couldn't find anything on this group. I assumed it was a Denver-area record, because of the Aardvark Records mastering notation, but I just didn't know.  Sadly, the folks at Aardvark didn't have any information in their archives. When I originally posted this, in 2013, I asked readers to please help a gal out, and enlighten me on this recording. 

I never received a clue - or so I thought.

Fast forward to 2020...

So I'm going through some old emails today, and I spotted a 2013 note, titled "Brownstone," which apparently (I guess) got lost in my message files.  It was from Willie Lewis, the Denver rockabilly icon, and founder of the Rock-A-Billy record label!

"Hey Lisa, this song was written by Richard Valdez and John Casados. Richard also wrote a number of very nice songs of which I personally had the pleasure of either recording myself or having a hand in helping him to record them. Sadly, he was killed in a automobile wreck a few years ago while he was on his way back home from a day of gambling in Central City, and nothing else of his was ever issued. Really digging this piece of vinyl." 

No idea why I didn't follow up with him. Sadly, Willie would pass away just nine months after he sent that email, so whatever else he could tell me, is lost forever.