Crossroads in Cowtown explores a period in country music history when genres were being bent and boundaries smashed. Focusing on “western” music, either produced in or influenced by Californian studios and artists of the fifties, this compilation delves into the classic hillbilly sounds of the period and revels in the oddities created when disparate styles collide in the search for commercial success. By the 1950s, the classic period for western swing had come to an end, the big bands were rapidly declining and rock & roll was in the ascendancy. Many might-have-been country singers were choosing to record rockabilly or rockabilly-influenced hillbilly styles, while western swing stars were starting to make more pop and rhythm & blues influenced (and influencing) material. Western swing had always been a composite music, built from elements of jazz and blues, old-time cowboy and fiddle tunes, and the polkas and waltzes of the old countries. Now, in the fifties, this heady musical cocktail was being produced in state-of-the-art recording studios and was taking on the lustre of the more pop-oriented productions of the time.
This is still a form of “country music”, but one where Spade Cooley can orchestrate western strings with big band horn arrangements and Hank Penny can pen a tune that will go on to be a jump blues classic, where the sweet harmonies and pop crooning can replace the nasal twang and still be country.
Compiled by Brighton-based DJ Shamblin Sexton, Crossroads in Cowtown collects together a swinging selection of western pop tunes that brings on the hillbilly fever!
- Leon McAuliffe: Take It Away, Leon
- Wade Ray: Idaho Red
- Billy Strange: The Devil In Me
- Rosalie Allen: It'd Surprise You
- Hawkshaw Hawkins: Car Hoppin' Mama
- Pee Wee King & The Golden West Cowboys: I Don't Mind
- Eddy Arnold & Jaye P Morgan: Do You Love Me?
- Nita, Rita & Ruby: Rock Love
- Arlie Duff: Lie Detector
- Tom Tall & Ginny Right: Boom Boom Boomerang
- Tennessee Ernie Ford: Kiss Me Big
- Spade Cooley: Rhumba Boogie
- Hank Penny & Jaye P Morgan: You Played On My Piano
- Cliffie Stone & His Orchestra: Barracuda
- Pee Wee King & His Band: Catty Town
- Maddox Brothers & Rose: Stop Whistlin' Wolf
- The Nettles Sisters: Real Gone Jive
- Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys: Cadillac In Model "A"
- Merle Travis: Deep South
- Red Foley & Roberta Lee: Night Train To Memphis
- Spade Cooley: Hillbilly Fever
- Hank Penny: Bloodshot Eyes
- Bob Newman: Hangover Boogie
- Lee Bonds: Done Gone Crazy