Roy Rogers, Early Gram Parsons, and Classic Country Women
Written by Randy Black on November 9, 2016
Viking Twang Show 108, November 9, 2016
Good morning, welcome to Viking Twang Episode 108. Hope you’re having a great day as we head into the home stretch of Fall Term.
We’re going to celebrate a couple of birthdays this week: Gram Parsons, the father of country rock, and Roy Rogers, the first multimedia cowboy star were both born on November 5. Gram would have been 70 and Roy 105 last Saturday. We’ll play sets from both of them. But first, here’s some of our favorite women country singers to start us off.
1 – Turkey Red; W.C. Beck & the Portland Country Underground.
2 – Moon Girl; Nita, Rita, and Ruby. That’s Anita Carter from 1955, written by her sister Helen and Delores Dinning, with Rita Robbins and Kitty Wells’ daughter Ruby Wright.
3 – Love Is The Look You’re Looking For; Connie Smith. A top 10 hit from 1972.
4 – Just Someone I Used To Know; Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner. That’s a Jack Clement song from Dolly and Porter’s 1970 album “Porter Wayne and Dolly Rebecca.”
5 – Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight; Emmylou Harris. A Rodney Crowell/Donivan Cowart song from her 1978 album, Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town.
6 – Lonely Side of Town; Kitty Wells. Kitty wrote and recorded this in 1959.
7 – Summer Wine; Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood. Lee wrote this; it’s from their 1968 album, Nancy & Lee.
Gram Parsons was a Florida rich kid who managed to revolutionize the relationship between country and rock music, and even convince the Rolling Stones to embrace country influences. We’ll play some of his earliest recordings, starting with the Shilos in March 1965.
8 – I May Be Right; the Shilos. Gram joined this South Carolina band in 1965 and they recorded a set of demos at Bob Jones University in Greenville. This was written by Dick Weissman of the Journeymen, a top folk group led by John Phillips, later of the Mamas and the Papas.
9 – Surfinanny; This was a home recording Gram made to be the theme song for the Cypress Gardens theme park in Florida.
10 – Hickory Wind; From about 1965, an early recording of his signature song with actor Brandon DeWilde.
11 – Sum Up Broke; International Submarine Band. Gram’s band before joining the Byrds; this was recorded in New York for Columbia Records in April 1966
12 – One Day Week; also from the New York session.
13 – Luxury Liner; Gram wrote this in 1965 and is probably the earliest look at what would be his signature sound. This was recorded in Hollywood in 1967.
Leonard Slye became a star of cowboy music when he was one of the founders of the Sons of the Pioneers in 1934. In 1938, he left to become a cowboy movie and TV star under his new name, Roy Rogers, also continuing his recording career.
14 – Hi-Yo Silver! This became his opening theme song, Silver being his horse. He recorded that in 1938 in New York City.
15 – Way Out There; That’s with the Sons of the Pioneers, recorded in Dallas in February 1937.
16 – Stampede! From December 1949.
17 – I Sold My Saddle for an Old Guitar; From his first solo recording session in September 1938 in Los Angeles, with Karl and Hugh Farr and his future TV sidekick, Pat Brady.
18 – Make Believe Cowboy; Recorded in 1947 in Hollywood.
19 – Happy Trails; Written by his wife, Dale Evans, and the song most associated with him. Recorded in Hollywood in April 1952.
20 — Twang Theme; The Countrypolitans.