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.
1. I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You
2. Your Cheating Heart
3. Moanin' The Blues
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