Album: 'Round the Campfire
It isn't everyday that an album of Western Music standards is released by a wonderful new group that includes one of the top steel guitarists in the business to give the group and the music a really exciting touch of Western Swing. That is the case in this beautiful album of 11 classics in this musical genre.
The group personnel are Jim Hyatt, Bruce Nunemaker and Randy Ketelsen doing vocals. Jim plays guitar and harmonica, while Bruce plays guitar and Randy, bass. Pete Luthman is the percussionist. The album steel guitarist is the very talented Chuck Lettes, a performer and instructor at steel events as well as a columnist in the PSGA Newsletter. Chuck also spent the 1970s and 1980s with the Western Swing band Sour Mash.
The album opens from the Sons of the Pioneers with long time leader, Bob Nolan's When Payday Rolls Around. Also from the Sons of the Pioneers and Bob Nolan's pen is Cool Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds. Also included is The Wayward Wind, a 1956 pop hit for Goggi Grant and Western hit for the late and legendary Tex Ritter. Other Western standards included are the traditional Red River Valley and Whoopie Ti Yi Yo. The group reprise Ray Whitley's Back in the Saddle Again, the long time Gene Autry theme and then salute their home state with Dave Kirby's Colorado. This one originally scored for Merle Haggard and then became a tool for Western groups to showcase their vocal talent. Now listen to this awesome version with the beautiful voices and Chuck's smooth steel guitar. Long Tall Texan was originally a Rock and Roll hit from about 50 years ago that is now brought back with the infectious styling of Western Swing. Another gem is Tex Owens' Cattle Call which is a big Eddy Arnold favorite. The album closes with the Stan Jones composition Ghost Riders in the Sky which was a hit for Vaughn Monroe, Peggy Lee and the Sons of the Pioneers.
This CD can be obtained from Jim Hyatt, 571 S. Sheridan Blvd., Lakewood, CO 80226. The cost is $12 which includes shipping.
Mike Gross, WVOF-FM, Fairfield, CT