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MP3 Ken Curtis and the Novelty Aces - Radio & Recording Rarities, Vol. 37

Ten complete 13-minute episodes of "Chuck-Wagon Jamboree," the old-timey western music radio program brought to the airwaves by Teleways Radio Productions in 1948-1949. If you love old-time music (with a side helping of corn), you''ll love these.

10 MP3 Songs in this album (127:37) !
Related styles: Country: Traditional Country, Country: Old-Timey, Mood: Fun

People who are interested in Gene Autry Jim Reeves Tom Mix should consider this download.

Best known for his 11-year comedic turn as Festus Haggen, the grizzled sidekick of Sheriff Dillon on the CBS television series "Gunsmoke," Ken Curtis started out as a singing cowboy on the radio

His early life was unremarkable, but once at college he found he enjoyed singing and songwriting and in the 1930s he left college for the west coast to try his luck in the music business.

After a while, one of Ken Curtis’ demos, featuring a song by Harold Arlen, reached Tommy Dorsey; Dorsey didn''t love the song, but needed a singer -- and so paid for Curtis to come to New York and rehearse with the band.

Ken successfully filled the shoes of earlier singers Frank Sinatra and Dick Haymes, but his tenure was brief. Leaving Dorsey, he sang with Shep Fields, but after Pearl Harbor, Curtis chose instead to enlist in the infantry in 1942.

After the war, Curtis resumed his singing career on radio. On one program, Curtis sang "Tumbling Tumbleweeds." On the strength of this appearance, Columbia Pictures auditioned him for a series of musical B-westerns and Curtis became Columbia''s newest singing cowboy. "I''d stop in the middle of a gun fight and sing a song," was how Curtis described his early film career.

With his clear, smooth tenor and a likeable, boyish nature, he perfectly fit the bill of the clean-cut and wholesome cowboy singer, Teleways wished to feature Curtis in a fifteen-minute five-a-week daily program patterned after similar shows. Joining Ken Curtis on "Chuck-Wagon Jamboree" was a batch of talented studio musicians called The Novelty Aces who would appear as laughing and joking hillbilly hicks between songs, and be featured in their own numbers. Art West, a musician and composer in his own right, was hired two announce and perform, and two of the singers would change into twangy voices as "The Goon Holler Twins" for duets.

Musically, selections ranged from Stephen Foster to barbershop ballads, from spirituals to fiddle break-downs, to a daily close-harmony hymn that closed the program. Curtis is generally featured in two songs per program, often emphasizing the ballads that had made him a singing cowboy in the first place.

Judging from the 131 shows they recorded in Los Angeles, "Chuck-Wagon Jamboree" was quite successful in various markets - especially the south and southwest - and was syndicated for about two years.

"Chuck-Wagon Jamboree" is reminiscent of "The Grand Old Opry" and is a throwback to a simpler time when cowboys rode with their guitar and everyone knew the old songs they learned on their grandmother''s knee.

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