Monday, March 28, 2022

Frank Hummel and Leon Dudley

Was driving through the Springs last Friday, and decided to hit a few of my old thrift stops. The city has been kinda hit or miss lately, at least for esoteric Colorado vinyl finds, but took a chance before heading back up to D-Town.

Glad I did. Take a look at this find from KGHF radio, in Pueblo!

You may remember the story I published a few months ago, on the first Pueblo radio stations. KGHF went on the air in 1927, and stuck around until 1964 (later becoming KKAM). No date on this recording, but the tune "Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)" was popular in 1954, as a song included in the movie "White Christmas."

The disc was in atrocious condition. You could barely hear anything, over the surface noise, but I had to at least attempt to clean it up.

Listen to "Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)" (2:22)

The flipside of the disc was a cover of "My Best to You," a 1942 Gene Willadsen and Isham Jones composition recorded by Slim Whitman, the Sons of the Pioneers, and others. Sadly, this side was audibly beyond repair. 

As for the performers - vocalist Frank Hummel worked at CF&I, with his wife Cora. According to Cora's 2018 obituary, the couple moved to Fort Morgan, and later Greeley, in 1960. Leon Dudley was very well known in Pueblo. While he was visually impaired, he was a regular entertainer at The 85 Club and The Broken Dollar, and later at La Renaissance restaurant. He often performed live on KGHF, along with ragtime performer Max Morath. He passed away in 1992.

Monday, March 21, 2022


 UPDATE 9/1/22: Found this newspaper ad for the band, in the Aspen Times (1971)


Hey all! Needing your help to find out more about this fantastic record. My friend Lance Ortiz, who runs the most-awesome Colorado-based Vinyl Heard Facebook page, offered me this find, at the Vintage Voltage show, on Sunday.

Listen to a sample of "Chicago" (2:17)

Looks like an acetate from Summit Studios. Guessing the year would be around late 1960s, based on the song titles: 

Side One

Funky Broadway (Wilson Pickett cover originally released in 1968)
Chicago (Paul Butterfield Blues Band cover originally released in 1965)
Heard It Through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye cover originally released in 1968)

Side Two

Who's Making Love (Johnnie Taylor cover originally released in 1968)
I'm a Man (Spencer Davis cover originally released in 1967)
Brown Eyed Woman (Bill Medley cover originally released in 1968)

Listen to a  sample of "Funky Broadway" (3:12)

Monday, March 7, 2022

Denver-area Thrifting Unearths Rare San Francisco Country Radio Discs

Hey all. Going to take a break from posting Colorado finds, because this discovery is pretty amazing.

So I'm digging at the big Denver thrift chain here, and found a stack of homemade-looking 78rpm recordings. I never skip looking at these, even if they aren't from Colorado, as I have found some incredible discs.

The label immediately caught my eye - East Richmond Radio and Appliance Center, Richmond, CA. These appeared to be home recording records, possibly recorded on the Packard Bell Phonocord machine (as noted on the label).

The labels note Dude Martin, who was a West Coast-based country singer and bandleader. Dude's Round Up Gang originated on KTAB radio, but moved over to KYA in 1939, where he stayed until 1950. 

Dude Martin and his band 
(photo courtesy of David Ferrell Jackson's


KYA Radio ID (:21)

These are incredible audio samples of 1940s radio. They all show a date of August 27-28, 1948. One of the discs includes an Amarillo-area singer named Jimmy Ledbetter, who was the fourth contestant in the station's "Talent Tournament."

Give a listen to this sample (2:22)

On this record you also hear Dude mention that they have been using a mic for "16 years," which would imply that he had been singing since 1932. Dude's first band, The Nevada Nite Herders, first appeared on KLX radio on April 15, 1932. Dude (John Stephen McSwain) would later take his show to television, appearing on the The Dude Martin Show, KTTV Ch. 11, Los Angeles. He died in 1991.

Give a listen to this sample (1:22)

Again, no clue if these are simply home recordings of a radio broadcast, or if they were actual radio transcription recordings. My guess would be home recordings, based on the penciled notations on the labels. Still an incredible find. The outstanding Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame has another sample of his show, on its website.

"Wow -- what a find," museum founder David Ferrell Jackson told me. "Dude Martin is a personal favorite of mine; I have numerous photographs, promotional pieces and recordings of his music from over the years -- but only one aircheck. The odds and ends of Dude Martin on the air are rare, so these are amazing to hear."

On a side note, there IS a Colorado connection to Dude Martin. Eddie Kirk, who often provided the musical backing for him, was from Greeley (but left the state in 1934).