WALDO MUNRO Original Recordings

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Waldo Munro (1930-2006) is best remembered as pianist in Don Messer's Islanders. He joined the band in 1951 upon the departure of Jackie Doyle, and remained there until Messer's death in 1973. Munro is often thought of in terms of his supporting role with Messer in which he provided the backbone of the Islander's sound, but featured in this post are 39 recordings which show his phenomenal skill as a solo pianist.
In his younger days Waldo was a star baseball pitcher around his hometown of Westville, Nova Scotia. Music became his true passion, however, and he idolized and emulated Fats Waller's stride piano style while playing with local pop orchestras. With Messer he adapted his style to old-time music, and his solo performances reflect a blend of pop standards and traditional jigs, reels, schottische, etc. He remained an Islander for 22 years, and was often featured solo on the hugely popular "Don Messer's Jubilee" TV show throughout it's run. Like many of Messer's musicians, he took a day job after Don's death and for many years drove a taxi cab in Halifax, still playing locally at night and occasionally backing fiddlers such as Graham Townsend and Bill Guest on recordings.
These recordings have been arranged chronologically into two separate collections/folders. The first collection consists of three tracks originally released on Apex 78's in the early fifties ("Sicilian Tarantella" also features solo guitar by Islander Cecil McEachern) along with all fourteen tracks from Munro's 1955 LP "Maritime House Party", Rodeo RLP 25. The second folder features the contents of two undated LPs, "Tap Dance to Waldo Munro at the Piano", Banff RBS 1144 and "Don Messer presents Piano Stylings by Waldo Munro", Point P-290. I would estimate the Banff LP c. 1960, and the Point LP c. 1965.

An obituary of Waldo Munro can be read here.

A wonderful YouTube video of Waldo backing Charlie Chamberlain on "The Broken Down Piano" and then playing a solo version of "Money Musk" is here.

Waldo Munro - Original Recordings Part 1

Tracks:

1. Abegweit Reel
2. Free and Easy
3. Sicilian Tarantella
4. Belle Dun
5. White Cockade & Rakes Of Mallow
6. Balkan Hills & Road To The Isles
7. Scenes From The Finland Woods
8. MacDougall's Polka
9. Rambler's Hornpipe
10. Bonnie Lass Of Bon Accord
11. Growling Old Man & Old Woman
12. Tina's Reel
13. Robin's Return
14. Golden Wedding Reel
15. Money Musk
16. Blue Danube
17. Big John MacNeill

*download here*

Waldo Munro - Original Recordings Part 2

Tracks:

1. You Meet The Nicest People In Your Dreams, It's A Sin To Tell A Lie
2. Piano Roll Blues, Tea For Two
3. Nola
4. Sweet Lorraine, Ain't Misbehavin'
5. Melancholy Baby, I Only Want A Buddy, Shanty In Old Shanty Town
6. Loch Lomond, Roamin' In The Gloamin', My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean
7. Shine, Nagasaki, My Gal Sal
8. Are You From Dixie, ''B'' Flat March, Tipperary
9. Black & White Rag
10. Let's Do It Again, Come On Let's Get Happy
11. Jubilee Rag
12. Money In Advance, Czar Of Russia
13. Memories, Rye Waltz, Turkey In The Straw
14. Blue Bells Of Scotland
15. Carry Me Back To Old Virginny, Camptown Races
16. Sierra Sue, MacDougall's Polka
17. Home On The Range, 12th Street Rag
18. Westville Boogie, Darlin' Nellie Gray
19. In The Sweet By And By
20. Loch Lomond, Peerless Hornpipe
21. Alley Cat, Laventine's Barrel
22. Peggy O'Neill, Peg Of My Heart, Ripplin' Water Jig

*download here*

GRAHAM TOWNSEND Famous Canadian Fiddler

Friday, November 25, 2011


With this post, I have finally wound my way back to Townsend's first LP on the Banff label, RBS 1083 from 1960, "Famous Canadian Fiddlers Volume 1". Nine of the album's ten tunes are Graham's compositions, the tenth composed by fellow Shelburne champion Victor Pasowisty. Like RBS 1116, accompaniment is provided by Waldo Munro, Duke Neilsen, and Warren MacRae, all members of Don Messer's Islanders. Incidentally, the only other "Famous Canadian Fiddlers" album issued was Volume 2 by Joe Murphy and His Band, RBS 1084 (a reissue of Rodeo RLP 14).

Includes jacket/label scans.

A two part video of Graham and his wife Eleanor's set at the 1994 Cobden fair in Cobden, Ontario is here and here.

Tracks:

1. George Taylor's Breakdown
2. East Coast Jig
3. The Frank McKnight Waltz
4. Mike MacNeil's Hornpipe
5. Don Tremaine's Reel
6. Sawdust Breakdown
7. The Roman Teller Waltz
8. The Rae Simmons Polka
9. Pat The Budgie Breakdown
10. The Don Valley Hornpipe

*download here*

GRAHAM TOWNSEND Fiddling Favorites


Graham Townsend's second LP on the Banff label, RBS 1116, contains ten tunes on which he is backed by Islanders Waldo Munro on piano, Duke Neilsen on upright bass, and Warren MacRae on drums.
This is the only one of Graham's Banff LPs that does not have composer credits on the labels. The following is each tune's origins to the best of my knowledge:
Honey Harbour Two Step - this is definitely a Townsend original.
Saint Mary's Polka - This is a different tune than the common Irish polka of the same name. I am unsure of this tune's origin.
Saint Francis Reel - A traditional tune found in old Messer collections. It was also recorded by Earl Mitton in the 60's.
Mel's Jig - Johnny Mooring composed a tune with this title, but never recorded it. However, as Graham and Johnny were reportedly not the best of friends, I suspect, like the following tune, this jig may have been composed by Mel Lavigne.
Rocket Richard Reel - This tune was composed by Mel Lavigne in honour of hockey great Maurice "The Rocket" Richard. For more info on Mel Lavigne, click here.
The Butler's Waltz - I suspect this is a Townsend original.
The Olympic Two Step - One of Graham's original compositions.
The Walker Street Reel - A traditional reel popular in many different traditions.
Iris Girl Jig - I believe "Iris" is a typo of "Irish". This tune is more commonly known as "Shandon Bells".
The Mouth of the Tobique Breakdown - A traditional tune named for the Tobique River in northwest New Brunswick. Popularized by Don Messer.

Includes jacket/label scans.

To see Graham participating in a fiddle workshop at the 1991 Shetland Folk Festival, click here.

Tracks:

1. Honey Harbour Two Step
2. Saint Mary's Polka
3. Saint Francis Reel
4. Mel's Jig
5. Rocket Richard Reel
6. The Butler's Waltz
7. The Olympic Two Step
8. The Walker Street Reel
9. Iris Girl Jig
10. The Mouth Of The Tobique Breakdown

*download here*

GRAHAM TOWNSEND International Champion

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


"International Fiddling Champion 1963", Banff RBS 1163 is presented in this post, but the album's name and issue number are somewhat misleading. Titled for Graham's 1963 Shelburne win, this is actually a reissue of his first LP, originally released as "Fiddling To Fortune" on Rodeo RLP 44 in 1958. Although I was not able to come up with an image of the original Rodeo jacket, to the best of my memory it was identical to the Banff issue except for the title at the top, and used a burgundy/red/pink colour scheme as opposed to blue.
Townsend made this record in Halifax when he was just sixteen years old. His son once told me that Graham was expecting Don Messer's Islanders to be at the session as his accompaniment, but arrived to be informed they were unavailable. The young fiddler was dissatisfied with the group provided, and apparently was never very fond of this album. The accompaniment is steady if not stellar, but Graham's playing already shows a maturity and confidence well beyond his years on the eight originals and four traditional tunes heard here.

Includes jacket/label scans.

A very nice 1983 interview of Townsend by Winston Simpson in Miami, Manitoba is here. In it, Graham talks about his early career.

Tracks:

1. Graham's Hornpipe
2. Sunset Jig
3. The Royal Princess Two Step
4. Halifax Polka
5. Midnight Waltz
6. Gay Fiddler's Hornpipe
7. Month Of May Reel
8. Dusty Miller's Reel
9. East York Jig
10. Buckingham Reel
11. Port Severn Breakdown
12. Reefer's Hornpipe

*download here*

The Inimitable GRAHAM TOWNSEND


Winding our way back through Graham's Banff releases, here's SBS 5239 from 1966. This album is particularly nostalgic for me, as in my youth I had a cassette copy which I nearly wore out in my walkman! It contains ten original Townsend tunes, many of which are his best known, such as "Ice On The Road", "Waltzing Through The Leaves", etc.

Includes jacket/label scans.

A great video clip of Graham and Peerie Willie Johnson playing jazz at the 1991 Shetland Folk Festival is here.

Tracks:

1. Ice On The Road
2. Waltzing Through The Leaves
3. Little Robbie's Jig
4. Alex & Maureen's Two Step
5. President Kennedy's Waltz
6. Harvey's Tune
7. Blue Bells On The Hills
8. Pinetree Jig
9. Pretty Little Cindy
10. The Rainbow Waltz

*download here*

ROMANIUK FAMILY Point Recordings


The contents of two 1960s albums on the Point label comprise today's post. Ed Romaniuk and his sisters Elsie and Anne grew up in Edson, Alberta as devotees of the original Carter Family, whose music came into their home via radio and records. As the Romaniuk children grew up, they played this music themselves, entertaining on local radio, festivals, concerts, etc. They eventually were able to meet their idols, A.P. Carter himself granting their efforts his approval. An account by Ed of he and Elsie accompanying Sara Carter to Memorial Celebrations in Bristol, Virginia in 1971 is included in the notes to a Carter Family LP I previously featured, click here.
On each of the two albums, half the songs are traditional Carter repertoire, the other half being Romaniuk originals. The download includes scans of the covers and labels, which include composer credits. I feel I should make mention to followers of the Attic that albums posted here without a scan of the back of the jacket, usually indicate that a generic back slick (often advertising other LPs on the label) was used. Unfortunately, many Canadian LPs were released this way, thus depriving us of any biographical information about the artist.

I would like to thank Andyrama for providing access to his copy of "Songs We Love To Sing."

Tracks:

1. In The Sweet Bye & Bye
2. Jimmy Brown The Newsboy
3. Anchored In Love
4. The Homestead On The Farm
5. Wildwood Flower
6. My Alberta Rose
7. My Dear Old Foothills
8. The Lover's Plea
9. What A Lovely World To Live In
10. 'Neath The Pine Tree On The Hill
11. Church In The Wildwood
12. When The Springtime Comes Again
13. The Wreck On The C & O
14. Beautiful Home
15. My Little Home In Tennessee
16. My Rocky Mountain Home
17. Pray Unto The Lord
18. I'm Losing My Friend
19. Do You Sometimes Think Of Me
20. Soldier Boy's Mother
21. I'll Never Take You Back Again

*download here*

GRAHAM TOWNSEND Salute's Canada's Centennial

Monday, November 21, 2011




Keeping on with the posts of Graham Townsend's Banff albums, here's RBS 1258 from 1967. Twelve tunes are featured in honour of the Centennial, each one commemorating a Canadian locale. Three are Townsend originals, the balance either traditional or tunes composed by legendary fiddlers Ned Landry, Earl Mitton, Ward Allen, and Cecil McEachern.
I would like to thank Andyrama for access to this LP to transfer, and Su for sending me the jacket and label scans.

A 1988 live video of Graham playing "Bully of the Town" and the "Clarinet Polka" is here.

Tracks:

1. Montreal '67
2. Banks Of Newfoundland
3. Nova Scotia Hop
4. Spud Island Breakdown
5. New Brunswick Breakdown
6. Quebec Reel
7. Ontario Swing
8. Alberta Polka
9. Saskatchewan Jig
10. Manitoba Waltz
11. B.C. Centennial
12. Canadian Centennial Breakdown

*download here*

KING GANAM and his Sons of the West 78s

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Back in September of last year I posted all the available LP tracks by the late fiddler, King Ganam (click here). While all his albums are comprised of instrumental fiddle tunes, he apparently released some singles featuring vocals as well. I have been able to track a couple of these rare 78s down, which I am presenting in this post.
The first, on RCA Victor's Canadian Bluebird series, contains the song "Forever In My My Heart" which credits Ganam as composer. The vocal is by Pete Vitelli, about whom I can find absolutely no information. The flip side is "The Island Breakdown", a tune which never made it to any of his LPs. I don't have an exact date for this record, but it would be around the mid fifties.
The next 78, on RCA Victor's Canadian 56-3200 black label series (usually reserved for pop material) features two vocal performances by a young Tommy Hunter. Hunter's CBC-TV show ran from 1965 to 1992, and was beyond popular. The Canadian Encyclopedia states that he made his first recordings with Ganam in 1958, so it's a pretty safe bet that these tracks were among them. Tommy sings the pop-like ballad "Teenage Love Is A Losing Game" which again is credited to Ganam. It's hard to say if King wrote these songs, or was simply savvy enough to copyright them in his own name. On the flip Hunter performs the Hank Williams composition "I Don't Care (If Tomorrow Never Comes)", originally recorded by Molly O'Day (it can be found here).
I would like to thank the Attic's good friends Andyrama and Stephen of Cedar Island for providing access to these records which have allowed me to share some rare vintage Canadian country.

Tracks:

1. Forever In My Heart
2. The Island Breakdown
3. Teenage Love Is A Losing Game
4. I Don't Care (If Tomorrow Never Comes)

*download here*

GRAHAM TOWNSEND Salutes Canada's P.M.s

Monday, November 14, 2011


In 1967 Canada celebrated it's Centennial and Graham chose to mark the occasion by composing fourteen tunes, each named in honour of one of the country's (then) fourteen Prime Ministers. It is a testament to Townsend's influence that some of these tunes wound their way into Canadian fiddle culture and are still played today. By the end of the year following the release of this LP, "Trudeaumania" had set in and John Durocher would compose "Prime Minister Trudeau's Reel" for Don Messer. I am not aware of any subsequent memorializing of Prime Ministers via fiddle tunes...

Includes jacket/label scans.

To see a video of Graham playing for legendary Ottawa Valley stepdancer Donnie Gilchrist at the 1983 Pembroke, Ontario fiddle contest, click here.

Tracks:

1. Sir John A. MacDonald Waltz
2. Alexander MacKenzie March
3. Sir John Abbott Waltz
4. Sir John S.D. Thompson Jig
5. Sir MacKenzie Bowell Jig
6. Sir Charles Tupper Waltz
7. Sir Wilfred Laurier Reel
8. Sir Robert Borden Waltz
9. Arthur Meighen Two Step
10. W.L. Mackenzie King Strathspey
11. R.B. Bennett Hornpipe
12. Louis St. Laurent Reel
13. John Diefenbaker Polka
14. Lester Pearson Clog

*download here*

GRAHAM TOWNSEND and His Fiddle


Another classic in this post, SBS 5284, which is touted as "Introducing Rodeo's Golden Stereo Series." One of three albums Graham released on Banff during the centennial year, it contains many of his signature compositions and one by Ned Landry. It also has a few traditional tunes of which I think Townsend's version of the "Les Guenilles" ("The Rags"), a fine French Canadian tune, is a standout. Also, you're not dreaming, that really is a chorus of backup singers adding "oooh-wahs" to "Sidewalk Waltz", a tune popularised by Nashville fiddler Chubby Wise. They really were all listening to one another back then...

Includes jacket/label scans.

A great video of Graham playing a medley of reels at an outdoor festival is here.

Tracks:

1. Sidewalk Waltz
2. The Lighthouse Keeper
3. Prince County Jig
4. Les Guenilles
5. Waverley Two Step
6. Ottawa Valley Reel
7. Fred Wilson's Clog
8. Spirit Of Springhill
9. Evelyn's Waltz
10. Point Prim Hornpipe

*download here*

GRAHAM TOWNSEND and his Country Fiddle

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Here is the next of Graham's Banff LPs, SBS 5296, "Graham Townsend and his Country Fiddle" from 1968. The ten track album is comprised of three of his original compositions, two traditional tunes, as well as tunes by Graham's fiddling contemporaries June Eikhard, Al Cherny, Ward Allen, and Andy DeJarlis.

Includes jacket/label scans.

Incidentally, a wonderful video of Graham playing and discussing fiddle styles is here.

Tracks:

1. Journeyman's Jig
2. Fisher's Hornpipe
3. Jemeny Cricket Polka
4. Minstrel's Fancy
5. Donnie Gilchrist's Breakdown
6. Frenchie's Reel
7. Fairy Toddler
8. Carousel Waltz
9. Gilles Roy
10. St. Patrick's Day In Quebec

*download here*

GRAHAM TOWNSEND plays Don Messer


A little over a year ago I presented "World Champion Folk Fiddler", Banff SBS 5406 (click here), Graham Townsend's last album on Rodeo's Banff line of LPs (he recorded 10 for the label). With this post I begin to wind my way back through Graham's Banff output by featuring his 1969 collection, "I Like Don Messer", SBS 5306. On it Townsend plays twelve of Don Messer's signature tunes as only he could. I feel these LPs, especially 5239 onward, are really his seminal recordings. He never made a bad LP, but to me the 1960's Banff LPs really defined his style.
Graham is accompanied here by fellow fiddle great Paul Menard on guitar, singer/producer Dougal (Dougie) Trineer on bass and tenor banjo, and the great Carol Kennedy (now Carol Dawson, wife of fiddler Peter Dawson) on piano.

Includes jacket/label scans.

Tracks:

1. Big John McNeil
2. Rippling Water Jig
3. Don Messer's Breakdown
4. Country Waltz
5. Lightning Hornpipe
6. Vail's Breakdown
7. Uncle Henry's Reel
8. Little Burnt Potato
9. Norweigan Waltz
10. Rambler's Hornpipe
11. Grandfather's Reel
12. Blue Mountain Hornpipe

*download here*

BOB KING Original RCA Recordings

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Featured today is a great RCA Camden collection comprised of 10 original 1950's recordings by the legendary Bob King. King (1934-1989) was a successful regional country singer in the Ottawa Valley in the fifties, during which time he was signed to RCA Victor's Montreal division. These fantastic recordings have been out of circulation for years, this LP being the only edition of these tracks other than the original single issues.
Some standout tunes are "Josephine", a King original which contains the magnificent line "I'm a singin' hillbilly from Montreal" and "Crazy Me", also an original which was covered by Smilin' Jack Silvers on his Acadia album previously featured here. Perhaps his best work of this era is his original 1954 single of "Laurel Lee" which is reputed to have sold 40,000 copies regionally.
Bob's Montreal producer tried to interest the company's Nashville division in his work but to no avail and by the end of the fifties he was recording for George Taylor's Rodeo label, where he made some remakes of his old hits, as well as keeping new singles on the market. In the sixties he was a member of CFRA Ottawa's "Happy Wanderers", a regional supergroup that broadcast daily and played dates all over eastern Ontario. He continued to record and perform with his wife, French language country singer Marie, until his death.

I would like to thank Two Dollar Bill for the use of this rare LP.

I have also transferred some of Bob King's post RCA albums for Uncle Gil's Rockin' Archives, click here.

A brief biography of Bob King is here.

Tracks:

1. Josephine
2. Crazy Me
3. Hey Mam
4. I Don't Believe In Settlin' Down
5. Let's Make A Fair Trade
6. Anxious
7. Laurel Lee
8. Did You Do It
9. Always Lend A Helping Hand
10. Pretty Little Girl In Blue

*download here*

JIMMY SHAND and his Strict Tempo Band

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Having enjoyed the previously posted collection of Jimmy Shand recordings immensely, I was happy to come across this LP which I had forgotten was in my collection. Being a little Shand crazy lately, I decided to transfer and post it as a companion to the "King of the Melodeon Men".
The LP was produced for the North American market, and received the following notice in the July 1, 1957 issue of Billboard:

One of Scotland's most popular bands makes it's North American debut in this Capitol of the World album. Shand's jaunty accordion solo work and "strict tempo" are showcased on a group of lively Scottish country dance tunes: Merrily Dance (sic) the Quaker's Wife," "Primrose Polka," etc. Authentic Celtic wax for the specialty market.

Includes jacket and label scans.

Tracks:

1. My Love She's But A Lassie Yet
2. Birks Of Invermay
3. St. Bernard Waltz
4. Teviot Brig (Jig)
5. De'il Amang The Tailors
6. Lord Hume's Reel
7. Primrose Polka
8. The Cumberland Reel
9. The Duke Of Perth (Broon's Reel)
10. The Glasgow Highlanders (Strathspey)
11. The Gordon Waltz
12. Merrily Danced The Quaker's Wife (Jig)

*download here*

JIMMY SHAND The King of the Melodeon Men

Monday, October 17, 2011


I have long enjoyed the vintage recordings of the great Scottish accordionist Jimmy Shand (1908-2000) and was thrilled to locate this 1994 collection of some of his classic 78's. Shand's name is synonymous with the Scottish Country Dance movement, and no doubt dancers have comprised the majority of his record buyers through the years. Nonetheless, I find his recordings, especially his earlier ones, to be fantastic listening.
The present compilation contains 21 tracks spanning the years 1934-1954, including 3 of his earliest for Regal-Zonophone, the remainder originally released on the Parlophone label.
Shand's career is well documented, a nice bio can be read here.
The folder contains all 21 tracks on mp3, as well as a text file with complete tune lists, release number and year for each track.

Tracks:

1. Set of Reels - The Punch Bowl/My Love She's But Lassie Yet/Fair Maid of Perth
2. The Drunken Piper/The Laird of Drumblair/De'il Amang The Tailors
3. The Machine Without Horses/My Wife's A Wanton Wee Thing/Glendaruel Highlanders
4. La Russe - La Russe/The Punch Bowl/Cairdin 'Ot
5. Scottish Waltz - Jock O' Hazeldean/We'd Better Bide A Wee/My Nannie's Awa'/Auld Scotch Song
6. Hornpipes - Dundee Horpipe/Millicent's Favourite
7. Eightsome Reel - The De'il Amang The Tailors/Staten Island/Speed The Plough/The Wind That Shakes The Barley/Mrs. McLeod
8. Bluebell Polka
9. Dundee Reel - Bonnie Dundee/Rock And Wee Pickle Tow/Atholl Gathering
10. Merrily Danced The Quaker's Wife - Merrily Danc'd The Quaker's Wife/Dumfries House/Bonnie Doon
11. Miss Betty Fitchet's Wedding
12. The New Rigged Ship/Off She Goes/Kinloch of Kinloch
13. The Queen Mary Waltz
14. La Valeta
15. The Londonderry & High Level Hornpipes
16. Primrose Polka
17. Petronella
18. The Duke of Perth (Broon's Reel) - Duke Of Perth/This Is No My Ain Lassie/The Wandering Drummer
19. Reel of 51st Division - The Drunken Piper/Bonnie Ann
20. Inverness Gathering/Braes Of Tullymet/Kitty High
21. The Agnes Waltz

*download here*

RAY FRANCIS & The WHIPPOORWILLS

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I have presented many vintage albums of great Canadian country music here at the Scratchy Attic, but none gives me as much pleasure to share as these two 1960's LPs by a great band from my hometown of Chatham, Ontario, Ray Francis and the Whippoorwills. Growing up in a "country music family", I often heard my grandparents speak fondly of this band, proudly proclaiming they were "as good as anything out of Nashville". I believe my grandmother even sang a number with the boys on an occasion or two. Many years later I was privileged enough to get to share the stage a few times with the group's steel guitarist, the late Max Dauphin.
Francis and his outfit cut two albums in 1963 and 1964, for the Arc and Canatal labels, respectively. The notes to the Arc LP state "As soon as Arc Records heard Ray Francis and The Whippoorwills they immediately recognized that here was one of the most professional sounding country bands in the land." I can only wholeheartedly agree with that statement; I feel that the album is one of the real gems in Arc's early catalog. At a time when Canadian recordings tended to be of the "one microphone in a room" variety, the Whippoorwills albums sound balanced and cohesive, unlike many other "local" albums of this period, which while quaint, are often decidedly amateurish. The Whippoorwills were really more a regional than a local band, with some very impressive connections and credentials, as outlined in the articles at the following link to the Chatham Music Archives.
As of 2009, Ray Francis was still active as a musician, and in 2007, the local Chatham newspaper ran a story on his career with the Whippoorwills. A scan of that article is included along with the original LP jackets and labels, and of course the contents of the LPs are downloadeable as mp3s below.
The fact that the Chatham area was home to such a great traditional Country band back in the day makes me very proud to be carrying on the tradition of this kind of singing and playing in the present. Kudos to Ray Francis, John Tengelis, Ray Dauphin, Max Dauphin and Bill Taylor for leaving a great legacy!

Tracks:

1. Crying In The Deep Blue Sea
2. I've Got A Right To Know
3. A House With Everything But Love
4. I'll Kiss The Past Goodbye
5. The Same Old Me
6. All Over Again
7. Toujour Moi
8. I Can't Run Away From Myself
9. Three Hearts In A Tangle
10. Anymore
11. A Dimes Worth Of Dreams
12. Carribean
13. Honey Lovin'
14. When Two Worlds Collide
15. Lost In The Islands
16. A Wound Time Can't Erase
17. Ridin' High
18. Little Darlin'
19. Drivin' Nails In My Coffin
20. Dead End Twist
21. What Would You Do
22. South Of The Border
23. Tears Broke Out On Me
24. Tears Will Fall

*download here*

BURL IVES The Wayfaring Stranger

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Between McCarthy era testimony, a slew of unbelievably bad 1960's LPs, and Claymation snowmen, it's pretty easy to forget that at one time, Burl Ives was a dynamic and convincing performer of American folk songs. When I picked this 78 album up at a local junk store, the latter day Burl was on my mind and it languished on my shelves for some time. I'm glad I finally gave these discs a spin, though, because they're wonderful.
This album of three 78rpm discs was recorded and released by Asch Records (Moses Asch, later to found the Folkways label) in 1944. Asch 78s of this era are notoriously lo-fi and noisy, but enjoyable nonetheless. Incidentally, Columbia released an 78 set by Ives in 1944 with the same title, but comprised of different tunes.

Tracks:

1. Poor Wayfaring Stranger, Buckeyed Jim
2. The Bold Soldier, The Sow Took The Measels
3. The Foggy Foggy Dew
4. Black Is The Color
5. The Blue Tail Fly
6. Henry Martin (Pirate Ballad)

*download here*

JIMMIE OSBORNE Original King Recordings

Friday, July 22, 2011



The Attic's new friend, Bobsluckycat, has kindly supplied these 49 tracks by Jimmie Osborne, whose Audio Lab LP was featured a couple of posts back. He transferred them from the original King LPs in his collection, and states:

These are listed by song title, record number and recording date. Missing B or A sides of any number have never been re-issued outside the original 78rpm and/or 45rpm release. Most were very topical, for the time, which date badly. Some are gospel songs or just missing. A few songs beyond the 49 here in 1954 and 1955 were never re-issued at all and probably only saw very limited release (1000 copies total or less) to fulfill the contract between King and Mr. Osborne which ran 7 years.
Jimmy Osborne was a minor country star, who put out some pleasing recordings, but while he had regional followings, he couldn't latch on to the "Big" one. I don't know why. He was at WLS, KWKH, WLW on their radio & TV shows, but never caught on there. He was mostly a low paid radio D.J. and when his King contract ended at the beginning of the rockabilly/rock-n-roll era, his career was essentially over in country music. When you listen to these songs, the melodies on some may sound familiar. Reason being is while Osborne wrote the lyrics to a lot of his songs, he "borrowed" heavily from previous songs for the melodies. Some more than others.

Many thanks to Bobsluckycat, who's lucky cat, Mr. Lucky, is pictured below!

Tracks:

1. My Heart Echoes (King 715 A) (10-1947)
2. Your Lies Have Broken My Heart (King 715 B) (10-1947)
3. Forever Far Apart (King 725 A) (10-1947)
4. It's So Hard To Smile (King 725 B) (10-1947)
5. Mom Is Dying Tonight (King 736 A) (12-1947)
6. A Vacant Sign Upon My Heart (King 736 B) (10-1947)
7. Son, Please Meet Me In Heaven (King 768 A) (12-1947)
8. Not Unloved Nor Unclaimed (King 768 B) (12-1947)
9. The Death Of Little Kathy Fiscus (King 788 AA) (04-19-1949)
10. Your Lovin' And Huggin' (King 817 A) (04-19-1949)
11. Tears Of St. Ann (King 817 B) (08-31-1949)
12. Forever And A Day (King 831 A) (08-31-1949)
13. I'm Gonna Strut My Stuff (King 831 B) (08-31-1949)
14. What A Price To Pay For Love (King 863 A) (08-31-1949)
15. You're The Only Angel (King 863 B) (03-12-1950)
16. God Please Protect America (King 893 AA) (07-26-1950)
17. The Moon Is Weeping Over You (King 893 A) (07-26-1950)
18. The Old Family Bible (King 908 A) (10-02-1950)
19. The Door To My Heart Is Wide Open (King 926 A) (10-02-1950)
20. My Saddest Mistake (King 942 A) (07-26-1950)
21. No Bitter Tears (King 942 B) (10-02-1950)
22. I Hate To Be Jealous (King 958 A) (03-27-1951)
23. Tell Me Daddy If You Know (King 958 B) (03-27-1951)
24. He'll Come Like A Thief In The Night (King 971 A) (03 -27-1951)
25. It's Just A Habit With You (King 988 B) (10-11-1951)
26. Love Me Or Leave Me (King 1012 A) (10-11-1951)
27. It's Me Who Has To Suffer (King 1012 B) (10-11-1951)
28. Missing In Action (King 1038 A) (12-1951)
29. Give Back My Ring And Picture (King 1038 B) (12-1951)
30. A Million People Have Died (King 1048 A) (12-1951)
31. God Has Taken My Flower (King 1048AA) (03-27-1951)
32. How Many Hearts Can You Break (King 1066 A) (10-11-1951)
33. We Can't Take It With Us To Our Grave (King 1066 AA) (12-1951)
34. Mama Don't Agree (King 1117 A) ( (07-31-1952)
35. Automobile Baby (King 1117 B) (07-31-1952)
36. This Evil Life Don't Pay (King 1144 A) (07-31-1952)
37. Don't Slam The Door (King 1144B) (07-31-1952)
38. Nag, Nag, Nag (King 1193 A) (03-1953)
39. I'm Scared To Go Home (King 1193 B) (03-1953)
40. Hills Of Roan County (King 1231 B) (03-1953)
41. You All Come (King 1295 A) (11-10-1953)
42. My Tissue Paper Heart (King 1314 A) (11-10-1953)
43. It Just Tears Me All To Pieces (King 1314 B) (11-10-1953)
44. I Did And I Does And I Do (King 1354 A) (04-20-1954)
45. A Tennessee Ocean (King 1354 B) (04-20-1954)
46. Blue Days And Lonely Nights (King 1363 A) (04-20-1954)
47. An Empty Old Cottage (King 1993 A) (09-02-1954)
48. Helpless Heart (King LP 730 Previously Unissued)
49. You Get The Roses, I Get The Thorns (King LP 892 Previously Unissued)

Please note that due to size, the 49 files have been split into two folders.

*download folder #1 here*

*download folder #2 here*

JIMMY WILLIAMS Three's A-Crowd

Thursday, July 21, 2011


The little 45rpm disk pictured here is another total mystery. I purchased it about five years ago in a thrift shop in Wallaceburg, Ontario. It contains two great country tunes by one Jimmy Williams, with both of the compositions credited to Hank Martin. I'm assuming the "JW" tag for both the label and publishing company is a reference to Mr. Williams. The only other info shown is "W. Cutcher/R. Jacoby Productions", with no indication of a date or locale on the label. I have no idea who either Williams or Martin are; I'm pretty certain this is not the Jimmy Williams that recorded with Red Ellis on Starday. I have been unable to find any reference to this record online, as you can imagine, there are many people who go by these names!
The "a" side, "Two's A-Plenty - Three's A-Crowd" is fairly uptempo, while the flip, "Revenge" is a good deal slower, and a pretty convincing honky-tonk "weeper". The recording quality is somewhat raw and lo-fi (the brief tape drop-out on the second side is on the actual disk), but I find this record very enjoyable. Williams is a good, if not especially technical, honky-tonk singer, and the harmony on the choruses adds a lot to these performances. To my ears the sparse rhythm section consists of acoustic rhythm, electric bass, and snare, with the vocal driven along by an incessant but tasteful steel player.
All in all, this is nice little country obscurity. It's hard to say if this is a local act from Southwestern Ontario, or was left behind by someone "passing through". We may never know, but, as always, if anyone has any info about this record, please drop me an email to lonesomelefty@yahoo.ca
Happy listening!

Tracks:

1. Two's A-Plenty-Three's A Crowd
2. Revenge

*download here*

JIMMIE OSBORNE Singing Songs He Wrote

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I recently went looking around the blog-sphere to see if I could find any Jimmie Osborne albums, and alas, no luck. I therefore decided to remedy the situation by presenting this LP on King's Audio Lab label. This dinner plate of a disc was issued in 1959, and features twelve tunes composed and performed by the late Kentucky singer. This is great postwar southeastern country music, Osborne's style is reminiscent of of Acuff, the Bailes Brothers, Hank Williams, etc. Unfortunately, Jimmie commited suicide in 1957 and is not as well remembered he should be.
The links below contain more biographical information:

Biography @ Hillbilly-Music.com

Biography @ rocky-52.net


Tracks:

1. The Death Of Little Kathy Fiscus
2. It's Just A Habit With You
3. Give Back My Ring And Picture
4. We Can't Take It With Us To Our Grave
5. How Many Hearts Can You Break
6. You Get The Roses, I Get The Thorns
7. God Has Taken My Flower
8. This Evil Life Don't Pay
9. I Hate To Be Jealous
10. Nag, Nag, Nag
11. Mama Don't Agree
12. The Moon Is Weeping Over You

*download here*

CHARLIE CHAMBERLAIN Singing Lumberjack

Saturday, July 16, 2011



Today marks the 39th anniversary of the passing of Don Messer's legendary "Singing Lumberjack", Charlie Chamberlain. He passed away July 16, 1972, just two days after his 61st birthday, the 14th also marked the hundredth anniversary of his birth. At the time of his death, he had broadcast with Messer on radio and later television for over 40 years, and to Canadians was a larger-than-life legend. As such, Charlie has become an almost mythical figure, about whom many anecdotes circulate, some more borne of reality than others.
Chamberlain was born in Bathurst, New Brunswick in 1911. His mother was widowed early and to assist, Charlie went to work in the lumber woods at the age of eight. In this setting he became an strong and extroverted youngster who was eager to entertain. During WWI, he allegedly sang to the soldiers on passing troop trains, who would throw coins in appreciation. While riding a train himself, a friend of Don Messer's heard Charlie warbling, and put him in touch with the radio fiddler who was looking for a vocalist. Thus began the mutually beneficial association that made Canadian musical and broadcasting history. Charlie Chamberlain performed pretty much exclusively with Messer for the rest of his career.
Chamberlain is most often recalled as an incredible character, a true "Good Time Charlie". A huge man with huge appetites, he seems to have lived his life "in the moment". Charlie preferred to receive his pay from Messer in cash, even asking for small bills which were easier to spend. He was notoriously generous, and quite freely shared his money with friends and neighbours, and although he was one of Canada's most loved and recognized entertainers, he always kept a day job. During the sixties, when Don Messer's Jubilee was pretty much the highest rated TV show in Canada, many a motorist was shocked to have Charlie pump their gas at a service station in Lakeside, NS.
Modern accounts of Charlie often imply his talent was more as an entertainer than a singer, and by the TV years, which are most remembered, the years of hard living had definitely taken a toll on his voice. The early recordings here, however, show that in his prime, Chamberlain was a formidable radio crooner. I have always felt that the Don Messer band in the thirties and forties was sort of like a northeastern equivalent to what Bob Wills was in the southwest; a popular dance band rooted in the local fiddling tradition that nonetheless could play whatever dancers might request, modern or otherwise. This makes Charlie a hard singer to peg genre-wise, here he sings pop of the day, western songs, and a great deal of Irish novelty material. Unfortunately, there seems to be no recordings in circulation of the many lumberjack ballads for which Charlie was noted in his early radio years.
Tracks 1-12 in this collection are drawn from 1940s Apex label 78s and radio transcriptions, and track 13 is a 1958 radio performance. Chamberlain is backed on these by Don Messer and his Islanders. Tracks 14-23 are the contents of Charlie's only solo LP, a collection of Irish songs first issued in 1967 on the Point label (reissued in the 70s on MCA Coral, shown below). The final track is a solo performance from a 1967 LP of hymns with Marg Osburne. On the LP tracks, Charlie is accompanied by Rae Calder at the organ.
On a personal note, I really enjoy the 78 era stuff the most, in particular "Swinging To The Rhythm Of An Irish Jig", about swing music taking over at the local ceilidh(!), and "I Had A Hat", which cleverly interpolates Miss McLeod's Reel and the Irish air Port Láirge (sometimes called "Rose Tree") in a 1940s pop context. I would like to thank Andyrama for the use of a rare Messer promo LP from which "The Broken Down Piano" and "Goin' Back" were sourced.
Incidentally, there are many great clips of Charlie on YouTube. A couple of favourites are a series of National Film Board vignettes, one of which is here, and a take from Don Messer's Jubilee of Charlie performing Acadian mouth music while Don fiddles "The Old Man and The Old Woman", seen here.
Tracks:

1. The Broken Down Piano
2. Goin' Back
3. Somebody's Thinking Of You Tonight
4. Goin' To The Barndance Tonight
5. Swinging To The Rhythm Of An Irish Jig
6. Valley In The Sky
7. I Had A Hat
8. Jack The Sailor
9. MacNamara's Band
10. It's The Same Old Shillelagh
11. Clancy Lowered The Boom
12. The Tread On The Tail Of Me Coat
13. I'm Alone Because I Love You
14. The Ballymaquilty Band
15. How Can You Buy Killarney
16. The Sweetest Music Comes From Ireland
17. That Old Irish Mother Of Mine
18. With My Shillelagh Under My Arm
19. There's Nothing Like The Smile Of The Irish
20. Isle Of Innisfree
21. The Mountains Of Mourne
22. The Stone Outside Dan Murphy's Door
23. Galway Bay
24. He

*download here*



RAMBLIN' ROSS ALLEN Memories of Hank

Friday, July 15, 2011


Featured today is a piece of Canadian country music history, the first LP ever issued on the Arc label's early 500 series, "Memories of Hank Williams as sung by Ramblin' Ross Allen" (spelled "Allan" on the cover, but "Allen" on the label and back slick). Arc Sound Ltd. was a producer of amps and P.A. equipment originally located in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. In the late fifties they began to dabble in record production, turning out several cheap "top hits" type LPs. The release of the this album in 1959, however, marked the beginning the Arc label in earnest; it was the first in a decade long series of productions which were for the most part recorded in Toronto utilizing local talent. A majority of these, especially the earlier ones, were country. The albums recorded during this time have preserved the music of several Canadian country artists that would otherwise would be lost to the ages; the type of performers who while not national stars, would have had followings on regional radio or TV and in clubs. Arc also released many country albums by Americans who were popular and toured in Canada, including many artists featured on WWVA's Wheeling Jamboree (from Wheeling, West Virginia), heard extensively in Eastern Canada.
Unfortunately, I have very little information regarding Ramblin' Ross Allen. Unlike many Arc LPs which at least provide a locale of origin for the artist, the notes to this LP only state that "Ross Allen is one of the most promising young Country singers today." An online source provides a birth date of February 27, 1937, and he also had a self titled LP as well as some singles released on the London label. Otherwise, he is somewhat enigmatic. If anyone can provide more information on Ramblin' Ross, please contact me and I'll post it.
The present download contains the twelve LP tracks, as well as jacket and label scans including the 2nd edition of the jacket (most of the earliest Arc albums were later released with more "colourful" covers) shown below.

Tracks:

1. I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You
2. Your Cheating Heart
3. Moanin' The Blues
4. Jambolaya
5. Mansion On The Hill
6. Mind Your Own Business
7. Nobody's Lonesome For Me
8. Baby We're Really In Love
9. Two Different Worlds
10. Why Don't You Love Me
11. I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive
12. Wedding Bells

*download here*

JIMMY NEWMAN & BILLY CARSON on Crown

Friday, May 20, 2011


Courtesy of the Attic's pal Andyrama comes this interesting 1963 budget LP on Crown, "Guest Star of the Grand Ole Opry" (CST 329). As is typical of such cheapie albums of its era, it brings together a noted artist and a mysterious one with no apparent rhyme or reason.
The first side it comprised five of excellent late 40's/early 50's tracks by Louisianian Jimmy Newman. These were recorded originally for Feature, a Lake Charles, Louisiana label owned by the legendary J.D. Miller. The sixth track in the folder was not on the LP, but is transferred from another bargain bin album, the 1967 Design compilation "The World of Country Music" (SDLP-640). I believe this is the original version of "Cry, Cry Darling", recorded in 1953 for the Khourys label, also in based out of Lake Charles. The tune was a regional hit, and became a National one when re-recorded for Dot the following year. Jimmy C. Newman went on to a career as a legendary country and Cajun singer, and was, indeed, a member of the Grand Ole Opry. It is his later success that this album seems to be intended to capitalize on.
The remaining five tracks are credited to Billy Carson, and I find them rather enjoyable. They're obviously from a later period than the Newman songs, as they're in true stereo. I am unsure if Billy Carson is the Bill Carson who was a legendary employee of Fender guitars. It seems logical, however I can find practically no reference to these recordings or song titles anywhere other than in regards to this LP; very often budget records would utilize recordings that otherwise never made it to release. It's also possible that Billy Carson was a completely fictitious identity used for this release and was not the actual artist's name! An article/obituary with details about the above mentioned Bill Carson can be read here.

On May 25, our friend "Country Boy Lance" commented that the Billy Carson on this and other Crown LPs is in fact Glen Cass. See comments for details. Thanks, Lance!

Tracks:

1. Jimmy Newman - What Will I Do
2. Jimmy Newman - Let's Stay Together
3. Jimmy Newman - Don't Say Goodbye
4. Jimmy Newman - If You Lose You'll Understand
5. Jimmy Newman - I'll Have To Burn All The Letters
6. Jimmy Newman - Cry,Cry Darling
7. Billy Carson - The Big Wall
8. Billy Carson - I'll Always Love You
9. Billy Carson - Just In Her Way
10. Billy Carson - Window That I Look From
11. Billy Carson - Lost Vein Of Love

*download here*

COON-SANDERS NIGHTHAWKS Radio's Aces


A bit of a departure from my recent posts, today I feature the legendary Joe Sanders (1896-1965) and Carleton Coon (1894-1932), who led one of the first widely successful radio bands, the Nighthawks. Legend attributes their collaboration to a chance meeting while trying out sheet music in a Kansas City music shop, a meeting which led to the formation of the "Coon-Sanders Novelty Orchestra". The group struck pay-dirt in 1922 when they began a series of late night broadcasts on WDAF originating from Kansas City's Muehlebach Hotel. Re-christened "The Nighthawks", the band began a decade long run that carried them to Chicago, and eventually New York. A very "publicity oriented" organization, the Nighthawks astutely exploited the new medium of radio, with stunts like setting up a ticker-tape machine on the bandstand to register requests during broadcasts. At one point the band traveled to engagements with each member piloting his own expensive Cord automobile.
Despite such flamboyance, Coon and Sanders' exiting, highly detailed music was the real basis of their popularity. The orchestra set a very high standard for the era; the Nighthawks were a disciplined collection of solid musicians, both men were exceptional vocalists, and Sanders' skills as a truly gifted and inventive composer/arranger gave the band a quality that is still evident on their recordings today. The Nighthawks' fame, influence, and legacy may have continued beyond the "roaring twenties" if the hard-living Carleton Coon had not succumbed to complications from blood poisoning in May of 1932.
While never again achieving the success of the Nighthawks, Joe Sanders continued to work, leading respectable Orchestras until retiring in 1959. The pictured "Radio's Aces" LP was in preparation when Sander's passed away in 1965, and released later that year. It features sixteen of the band's Victor recordings, some of which used alternate masters to the original 78rpm versions. Also included in this post is a small run 1974 LP featuring a 1945 broadcast by Joe Sanders' Orchestra on Coca-Cola's "Victory Parade of Spotlight Bands". This performance provides an interesting contrast to the Nighthawk's 1920's work, while the latter is of course more subdued, we do hear a flash of the old energy on Sander's vocal performance of "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?". The seconds side of this LP features an appearance on the same series by the Orchestra of Henry King, more about whom can be found here.

Coon-Sanders Nighthawks
"Radio's Aces"

Tracks:

1. Here Comes My Ball And Chain
2. I Ain't Got Nobody
3. Little Orphan Annie
4. Darktown Stutter's Ball
5. High Fever
6. Alone At Last
7. Tennessee Lazy
8. Deep Henderson
9. Alone In The Rain
10. Wabash Blues
11. What A Girl!What A Night!
12. Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now
13. Roodles
14. After You've Gone
15. Sluefoot
16. Rhythm King

includes jacket and label scans

*download here*

Joe Sanders & His Orchestra/Henry King & His Orchestra
"Victory Parade Of Spotlight Bands Volume 4"

1. Joe Sanders - Part 1 - Honeysuckle Rose, Wish You Were Waiting For Me (Joe Sanders - vocal), Saturday Night (Mary Malloy - vocal), In The Middle Of Nowhere (Joe Sanders - vocal)
2. Joe Sanders - Part 2 - Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby? (Joe Sanders - vocal), Don't You Know I Care? (Mary Malloy - vocal), Blue Skies3. Henry King - Alexander's Ragtime Band, (medley) The Day After Forever, There Goes That Song Again (Virginia Jackson - vocal), Tico Tico, (medley) Waiting, Don't You Know I Care? (Tommy Smith - vocal), You've Got Me Where You Want Me (Virginia Jackson - vocal), Why Don't You Kiss Me? (Tommy Smith - vocal), Accentuate The Positive (Virginia Jackson - vocal), Tea For Two

includes jacket scans

*download here*

SMILIN' JACK SILVERS OK Jamboree

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Back in November of 2008 I posted an LP by Smilin' Jack Silvers and his Sons of the Plains (click here). I knew nothing about the album or the artist, other than that it was superb. I mentioned in the post that if anyone knew anything about Smilin' Jack to drop me a line. I'm glad I did, as I not only learned a good deal about him, I was able to obtain the audio recording of one of his TV broadcasts that I now (finally!) present here.
All in all, I exchanged emails with four people, three of whom played with Jack, and two of whom played on the LP. It started when I received an email from Gerry Forget, who's former brother-in-law was Bob Vall ée, the group's fiddler. He in turn put me in touch with Terry Sutton, who played steel with Jack. I also received an email from Bill Gokey, who played bass and banjo.
Rather than rewrite Jack's story, I'll reprint some excerpts from the emails, so you can learn the story as I did:

Gerry Forget

"My former brother in law (Robert "Bob" Vallée) was a member of the group "Smiling Jack Silvers' Sons of the Plains" for a time. I remember this from when I was 6 or 7 years old. They used to have a TV show from Cornwall, Ontario way back then that was called OK Jamboree...

I remember meeting Jack and hearing the band play. I also remember meeting Dusty King Sr. who was very popular. This was very, very good to listen to.
Another very good local musician from a slightly later time was Johnny Mooring, that I heard playing many times along with my wife of many years. He met an untimely death in, I believe, 1974 during an attack after a gig...

I made a few calls to my sister today regarding the band to check my recall as a young boy. Smilin' Jack's birth name apparently was Leo Boisclair. Some of the other members of the band besides Bob Vallee (fiddle) were Terry Sutton (steel guitar- can be heard on the Stone-Canyon web site), Don Mitchell, Dollard "Vic" Huneault (bass).
In the early '70's when I was about 18, my steady girlfriend (now my wife) used to go out every Saturday night to the hotels in the Valleyfield or Rivière Beaudette Qc. area and listen to Johnny Mooring playing (he would occasionally come over to our table because another one of my former brother in-laws used to play from time to time with Johnny). Another good (French) country singer from the area was Marcel Laframboise. We always had a good time on Saturday night, and the booze was cheap."
Bill Gokey

"Back in the early 60's I played for a brief time in Jack's band - he was from Lancaster, Ontario, and his last name wasn't Silvers. He had a weekly TV show on CJSS in Cornwall, Ontario, called "The O.K. Jamboree". Band members were: Terry Sutton (McElroy), steel; Don Mitchell, electric guitar; Dusty King (Bruce Dustin), flat-top rhythm & vocals; Bob Vallee, fiddle; and Bill Gokey on electric bass & 5-string banjo.

The show was cancelled in 1962 when CTV Network took over Channel 8 and turned it in to a satellite station.
I believe the album was cut about 1963."

Terry Sutton

"Hi, my name is Terry Sutton and I was the steel player with Smilin' Jack from 1957 to 1960-61. We started on a Cornwall radio station CKSF in 1957 as "The Sons Of The Plains" then when channel 8 went on the air we moved over to it for about two years and played Northern New York State, Eastern Quebec and many Eastern Ontario gigs...

Smilin' Jack (Leo Boisclair) was born in Cornwall Ont. but moved to the Valleyfield QC. area at a young age and lived for many years in St Stanislaus QC. I came to work for Jack from the Smiley Willette Show on Channel 5, Plattsburg N.Y. He always had good players with him and was very popular around the east. The Smilin' Jack record was recorded in the RCA Victor studios in Montreal, and around the same time Dusty King recorded an album with the same musicians, i.e. Don Mitchell on Lead Guitar, Yours Truly on Steel, Bob Vallee on Fiddle, Sandy Parr on Bass and Jack on acoustic, and as there were no drums then we had a person named "Wave" on acoustic guitar with paper through the strings to make a snare sound. I produced the album with every ones help.
I'm still playing quite often here in Connecticut where I moved in 1965, spent some years in Nashville with various artists."
Robert Vallée

"Hi Mike. Congradulations for your research on an old country album. According to the info from Terry & Bill they gave you all the info that I know. By the way, I was the fiddler on that first album."



Receiving the above information and reflections was wonderful. If that wasn't enough, Terry told me he had a reel-to-reel tape of one of the "OK Jamboree" television shows, and he was willing to send me a copy. This amazed me, as there is so little live broadcast material of vintage Canadian country kicking around. I have found this recording fascinating, to say the least.
The "OK Jamboree" was broadcast Saturday nights on CJSS-TV Cornwall, a station that had a short run, 1959 to 1963, as a private CBC affiliated broadcaster. It was sponsored by O'Keefe Ale (hence the "OK" - get it?) and fortunately the commercials are included on the recording. The guest on this episode is "Miss" Terry Parker, a fantastic singer and yodeler who's Banff recordings I will try to feature in the future. I hope you all enjoy this great treasure as much as I have.

I CANNOT THANK ENOUGH GERRY, BILL, ROBERT, AND ESPECIALLY TERRY FOR ALL THE TIME AND ATTENTION THEY GAVE ME TO SHARE SMILIN' JACK'S MUSIC AND STORY! I'M SURE MR. BOISCLAIR APPRECIATES IT SOMEWHERE!

NOTE: The half-hour show is included as a single mp3. Please be aware there is some noticeable tape drop out near the beginning of the show, a small concern considering the rarity of this type of recording.

Program:

Intro, Theme (host, Roger D.)
O'Keefe Tune
Crazy Creek (fiddle solo, Bob Vallée)
Excuse Me, I Think I've Got A Heartache (vocal, Smilin' Jack & Vic Huneault)
Please Help Me, I'm Falling (vocal, Terry Parker)
O'Keefe commercial
The Pickup Reel (fiddle solo, Bob Vallée)
Goofus (guitar solo, Don Mitchell)
Tumbling Tumbleweed (vocal, Terry Sutton & Smilin' Jack)
Personal appearance announcements
The Yodeling Bird (vocal, Terry Parker)
O'Keefe commercial
Fraulein (vocal, Terry Sutton)
Smoky Mountain Rag (instrumental, The Sons of the Plains)
O'Keefe Tune
Theme, Closing

*download here*

GRAHAM TOWNSEND on Arc & London

Friday, May 13, 2011


The response to the first Graham Townsend album I posted (World Champion Folk Fiddler) was so positive I have decided to present a few more. The majority of Graham's albums before the 1970s were on Rodeo Records' Banff label, but the present two albums, both from the early 1960s, are exceptions.
Like most LPs on the Arc label, "Fancy Fiddlin'" (Arc 576) has circulated widely and is not all that difficult to find. It contains Graham's first recordings of the novelty tunes "Listen to the Mockingbird" and "Dragging the Bow", as well as the Townsend compositions "Rocking Chair Jig" and "McDowell's Breakdown" (named for his frequent piano accompanist, Phyllis McDowell). By comparison, "Championship Fiddle Favorites" on the London label (GA. 1006, reissued in "stereo" as EBX 4128) is somewhat of a rarity, which is a shame as it's a wonderful album. Like the previously featured Banff LP, these albums were highly influential and inspirational to me, with tunes like "Caber Feigh", "Bows of Oak Hill" and "Lug O' The Spade" remaining an important part of my repertoire to this day. Perhaps in putting these transfers out there, another generation can absorb them as I and so many others did.

Fancy Fiddlin'
Arc 576

Tracks:

1. Blue Water Hornpipe
2. Teenagers' Waltz
3. Listen to the Mocking Bird
4. Rocking Chair Jig
5. Cuckoo's Nest
6. McDowell's Breakdown
7. Caber Feigh
8. Town & Country Schottische
9. Dragging the Bow
10. Peek A Boo Waltz
11. Carnival Hornpipe
12. Hurricane Hazel

Championship Fiddle Favorites
London GA. 1006, also issued as EBX 4128

Tracks:

1. Orange Blossom Special
2. Old Rose Waltz
3. Speed The Plough Reel
4. Bows Of Oak Hill
5. Sugar Tree Stomp
6. Lug O' The Spade
7. Billy In The Low Ground
8. Jack Pine Reel
9. High Level Hornpipe
10. Our Last Waltz
11. Pop Corn Reel
12. Faded Love

*download here*