Sunday, May 17, 2009
The late Earl Heywood (1917-2006) was one of Canada's pioneering country music performers. Born in Exeter, Ontario, he resided most of his life in Wingham where he became one of the personalities most associated with station CKNX and it's famous traveling Barn Dance. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Heywood on a few occasions, as well as exchanging letters and phone calls with him. He was always most encouraging of my musical pursuits. He also never failed to mention that his radio debut had occured in 1941 over station CFCO, in my hometown of Chatham, Ontario.
The album featured in this post is a cassette I purchased at the Ernie King Music Store in Wingham about twenty years ago (I'm not sure if this was ever on LP or not). It is comprised of recordings of Earl's old "Serenade Ranch" show which was broadcast live over CKNX from 1946 to 1953, only seven of the programs having been saved on transcriptions. These were rather crudely edited to create the program here, with what sounds to be mostly later commentary by Earl, and some mighty annoying applause and crowd noise which is certainly not original. However, this is still a fascinating document of early Canadian country radio, especially in light of how little of this type of material is extant. The performances here are top notch, with Earl and his wife Martha accompanied by "the fiddling champions" Mel Levigne and Ward Allen (who we also hear sing harmony!), Bill Mankiss on accordion, Lloyd Bank on steel, and Jack Kingston on bass(!). I hope you enjoy these memories of "Canada's Singing Cowboy", Earl Heywood.
Includes a scan of the cassette insert.
Sides One and Two are included as individual mp3s of the continuous program.
Side One - Theme Song (Intro.), You Can't Break My Heart - Earl, I Love You - Earl & Martha (Duet), Roll Along Jordan - Sage Brush Trio, My Crazy Heart - Earl, Square Dance Time - Earl Calls, Old New Brunswick Moon - Earl & Martha (Duet), Cowpoke Pokin' Along - Earl, Theme Song
Side Two - Theme Song (Intro.), Tho I Tried - Earl, Tag Along - Earl & Martha (Duet), Wait A Little Longer - Little Patsy Anne, Blues In My Heart - Earl, Square Dance Time - Earl Calls, Christmas Candles - Earl & Martha (Duet), Ridin' Down The Canyon - Earl & Martha (Duet), Theme Song