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Date News Posted: October 3, 2000

Walkin' Talkin' Charlie Aldridge is still alive and pickin' up around Las Vegas town. Charlie has a nice little studio built there on his land, a great collection of guitars and still a writing them songs during those great days of the 50's, Charlie Aldridge was a big part of country music around these parts of the country and his songs were well known, old friend Doye O'Dell recorded some of Charlie's songs as did many others over the years, Charlie was like a brother to his good friend Hi Busse, Hi of course had the world famous western group, "The Frontiersmen", the later days featuring Hi-Wayne & Hal. The Hal part was Hal Southern of course and the man that had the dream for "Hillbilly Heaven".

Charlie had a very nice lady that you may remember from those fifty's years give us a call then later drop us a note and send us a picture, her name ? Coby Flynn. Coby worked quite a bit with Texas Jim Lewis another name you may remember. In the picture Coby sent, one of the young ladies in the group is Betsy Gaye, now that's a name we had not heard in years. You look at these group pictures like this one or some we have of Town Hall Party or some of Cliffie Stone's groups and you wonder, where the heck are they now, we know some have cashed in but others are still out there some place, it's sure nice to hear from some of them now and then or even their families.

Coby asked and maybe some of you know where we might find what they called back then a "Soundies" most times these were just one song per:reel and I guess most of them that survived were later transferred to video tape.  Cindy Walker had Phyllis Hill from down in Nashville send us a copy of the ones Cindy did, there was six or eight on this tape I think and they were just outstanding, anyway the one that Coby is looking for is called "You Can't Break The Chains Of Love" and needless to say it would be a prize gift to give to her grandchildren if you could help us find one.
 

We mentioned a while back that Les "Carrot Top" Anderson was living in Canada, we need to drop him another line and make sure he is still doing o.k. Ol' Les probably moved to Canada thinking, I'll get me a place by a lake, a little boat and catch some fish and hang up that old guitar. Well, like Hi Busse moving to New Mexico, that's what he did, well, for about a week, then he was haunting every place he knew of looking for pickers that picked his kind of music and the next thing you know he was back at it as much as ever. After he got going again back there in N.M. he sent us a video that the local TV station did on him and his group cut in a barn and I have to say, we have played it many, many times and it is great. Old Hi went out doing what he loved best. Singing His Song, and the tapes that Les sent us from Canada were just as good as ever.
 

Good friend Ancel Cook just returned from Gene Autry, Oklahoma and had nothing but good things to say about the festivities this year, most of the shows were standing room only, Ol' Cherokee brought down some of his art work, Elvin, according to Ancel has really done a number on the place with western art, cowboy art, photos of all our Saturday morning heroes, memorabilia, from guns to badges and you name it from most all those great old Saturday morning memories at the picture show.
 

When Eddie Dean went on to "Hillbilly Heaven" or in his case "Cowboy Heaven" he had only seen his name on one CD, there was one other but not one you would want to mention more than once but now that he has gone they are popping up every where, just today a letter came from Howard Vokes, a good friend and promoter out of Pennsylvania, Howard had cut out the ad from a magazine from England with yet another Eddie Dean C.D listed as "The Golden Age Of Eddie Dean" this one has 24 songs on it. Most of the songs we had never heard Eddie sing, most of the songs we have never even heard the names of before and where it was cut the first time around God only knows.

If you ever cut a record or a tape, in your barn, your bathroom, a studio, in the alley any place, you can almost bet when you croak, some one will dig them old suckers up, run um through a new mixin' machine, make up a label and sell um, never once every contacting family , letting BMI or ASCAP know, getting permission from who really owns the masters and most certainly never paying anyone any royalties. Most of these songs are good for one thing only, Collectors, because they were not that great the first time around, most were one take and on a one or two at the most, track machine. Most of the time when these things pop up they are right off the old 78's or 45's and with today's new machines most of the white noise can be removed but that still does not make it O.K. to release these recordings with out at least contacting the family. What's right is right and this just ain't right period.

The very last recordings that Eddie Dean ever done I did, the very last time he was ever in a studio it was with me, the very last song he ever sang in a studio was one that I wrote. I have every right to release them any time I want, but all the money in the world could not make me do that with out the family knowing about it, in fact I would love for them to write the liner notes when we do release it. that's called respect, Eddie Dean meant as much to me as any member of my family he had more love and respect in his little finger for his fellow man then most people have in two bodies and I know for a fact that people we both knew had shafted him and yet he never once put them down, he would just say "Oh well, they probably needed it more then me" and let it go. I didn't say that and I didn't let it go. If it sounds like I am upset with what these people are doing with Eddie's recordings then you are dead right and if I had the money to sue them all I would do that also and although Eddie won't be needin' any money any more his name would sure look good on a children's hospital some where and a big sign reads "EDDIE DEAN CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL" and right under it "ONE HAS MY HEART".
 

I have no use to say the least for bootleggers, we have thousands of record albums (wax) in our collection, we have been ask many times to copy some of them and sell them to who ever was asking, not on your life. What we have done with some of the real old ones that we were never able to find a re-release on CD or cassette on is to copy a song on our tape and send it to the person if they really wanted the song and it meant a lot to them or to their Dad or Mom, we paid for the tape, we paid for the padded envelope to mail it in we paid for the postage and the gas to haul that bugger to the post office and mail it and the one check we did get from a person that sent us a few dollars, we sent it back.

There are tape clubs out there and we know this, an old guy sitting alone in a shack in New Mexico will tape some old records and send them to another person in Montana and the person in Montana will record some of his old records and send them back to his friend in New Mexico, nothing wrong with that, they are not selling them, libraries all over the country will rent you just about any book ever written that has been put on tape, the guy that wrote it gets his two cents and the publisher gets his two cents and the library gets money to buy more books and tapes for people who love to read but it is not bootleg and every one knows about it, what some of these record companies are doing is bootleg and not right.
 

The Frank Lowe albums we told you about last time we are happy to say have been doing real good at the radio stations, you have to be careful where you send CD's that are really country because if they have never heard of you, you just sent them a CD that will end up in some body's garage sale and even if they have heard of you and it's real country, that to will end up in a garage sale, not many stations out there these days that will even play George Jones they dang sure ain't a gonna play yours no matter how good you can sing.

Sad to say but if you would like to hear some really good George Jones or Merle Haggard or Johnny Cash or George Morgan or Claude Gray or you name the good ol' boys and girls that you would like to hear on the radio then move to Germany or Denmark or even Ireland or London, they play um every day, day in, day out. now and then they send us tapes of their shows, just outstanding, it is like turning back the years to the fifties or sixties, unless you speak the language you won't be able to understand a word the presenter is saying but you can sure understand Hank Thompson. (over there they call them, "Presenters" not D.J's) and most do it for free.
 

Remember if you are in Southern California on October the 22nd. and have nothing better to do we would love to have you when we pull the blanket off of Walter Brennan's statue in Camarillo, you know where that is, on highway 101 between LA and Santa Barbara just west of Thousand Oaks and/or Westlake Village and before you get to the city of Ventura, it is on a Sunday and should be a really nice day in the south land so come spend the day, the city is going to have some fixin's and Rick Tucker is going to play some music and Johnny Mitchum will be doing his famous "America Why I Love Her" that he wrote for John Wayne. Walter's son "Andy" or Walter Jr. will be there, Andy is just one fine artist and his paintings hang every where from California to the Cowboy Hall Of Fame in Oklahoma, and good Lord willin' and the creeks don't rise we will have a bunch more celebrities there for you to shake hands with and take some pictures with, you can sure get your picture took with "The Real McCoy" old Walter is bolted to the ground and ain't goin' no-where.
 

We mentioned Howard Vokes above, we should say if you have invested your money in a CD and it is "Country" Howard Vokes has been promoting singles and albums for many years also, he does it for a decent price and we never heard any one say anything bad about the man, he has a great list of over seas stations that have been playing what he sends them for many years and almost all of them if they play your music will put you on their mail list to receive their charts or play list. He has a good list of stations here in the U.S. that most will play your music if it is good. We have to say there is not a lot of them but every one of them help if you are just getting started, you never know who is going to hear it.  Anyway, let us give you a way to contact Howard if you have a reason to do so, it's Howard Vokes promotions-P.O.Box 12- New Kensington, Pa.-15068   or you can call Howard at 724-335-2775 and he can tell you what he can do for y-o-u.
 

Rick Tucker's new CD " Run Away Train" should be out of the pressing plant any day now and some of the first copies of that will go straight to England, because of the work he did with Buddy Holly and the time frame in which Rick first recorded, his Rock-A-Billy style still gives his fans what they like to hear.
 

If you would like to know more about the Camarillo statues of Walter Brennan and Joel McCrea you can email us at  donbradley@countryclassics.com   and we will get right back to you.

In the meantime we'll see ye later but just in case we don't, take care of yourself.

Don Bradley              


 

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