Articles Comments

Rope Burns » OJ Sikes-Current Reviews

OJ Sikes-Current Reviews


CD Review 

Shame on You: Singles Collection 1945-1952 Spade Cooley                                                                                                Jasmine JASMCD 3704 

oj sikes-spade cooley      If you are familiar with Western Swing on the West coast, you know the name Spade Cooley well. He called himself the “King of Western Swing.” Not everyone agreed with his assessment, especially as the music of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys spread across the West. But Cooley did have a large, loyal following, and all of his single records for Okeh, Columbia, RCA Victor and Decca, including all of his hits, are represented on this CD of 28 tracks recorded between 1945 and ’52.

    Many different versions of Spade’s story have been told. I’m not sufficiently knowledgeable about his history to say what’s accurate in every instance, but you may find some discrepancies in the liner notes that accompany this CD. Still, the music is solid and some tracks are rare. For example, the two sides the Sons of the Pioneers recorded with Cooley in 1950, “Wagon Wheels” and “The Last Roundup,” are superbly done. The title track features vocalist Tex Williams and a number of outstanding musicians like legendary steel guitarist Joaquin Murphey, who would leave Spade in 1946 and follow Tex when he formed his own successful band.

   Cooley’s hits fizzled out after the last of the recordings on this disc were made, but in this collection, you’ll be hearing his most popular work. Widely available.


Bonanza-   David Rose & his Orch. Plus the Bonanza TV cast

                                                                                                JASMCD 3719


OJ-bonanza      BONANZA began its 14 season run on NBC-TV in 1959. It can still be seen on television around the world. In his liner notes for this CD, Roger Dopson points out that the show was so popular that even some of the actors’ horses received fan mail! While it was not a musical Western series, the show’s theme is instantly recognizable, even today. So it seemed logical to issue a composite album remembering the show, its theme and its cast.     

      This CD contains 2 LPs, both of which were big sellers when they came out, “Ponderosa Party Time,” a cast recording released in 1962, and “Bonanza, Original Television Soundtrack” by David Rose, the orchestra leader who composed incidental music for the show (the theme was written by Livingston & Evans), and whose orchestra played the theme on the soundtrack. The short, TV version of the famous theme is here, as is a full-length version by the same orchestra.

      The cast album includes vocals by all of your favorites, Dan Blocker (who sings Bob Nolan’s “Skyball Paint” and “The Hangin’ Blues”), Lorne Greene, Michael Landon and  Pernell Roberts, while the Rose album is all instrumental. The 6 bonus tracks include hit versions of the theme by Johnny Cash and Al Caiola. A “must” for any fan of the show. Widely available.


Away Out on the Mountain – Eddie Kirk, Vol. 2

          Eddie Kirk                                                              BACM CD D 602

oj-eddie kirk      The photo on the back of this new release may be more interesting to movie fans than the front cover! It’s a still from the 1946 Charles Starrett/Durango Kid film, Landrush. Eddie Kirk is pictured with Starrett, Smiley Burnette and others appearing in the movie.

       His name may not be familiar to many fans today, but he recorded for Capitol Records as a solo artist in the late 1940s and early 50s, the period reflected on this new CD. He also worked on the Town Hall Party in the 1950s.

     The bulk of the 28 recordings on this CD are of country songs, but there are two western songs on the disc and one of them, the title song from 1950, showcases Kirk’s yodeling ability. The other, from 1951, is the better-known “Driftin’ Sand,” a Buster Coward composition. This CD may be of particular interest if you remember the California country & western scene from the late 40s and early 50s. Contact or phone (678) 232- 0268.