Tuesday, 18 January 2011

CIMMARON RECORDS 601

CIMMARON RECORDS 601
Lamarr, CO
Dec 56
FRANK BOWEN and Dave Warren and the Ark. Valley Wranglers
45-601-A - A Broken Heart
(Bowen/Warren)   (Starrite BMI)
45-601-B - Rock And Roll Blues
(Bowen/Warren)   (Starrite BMI)

Originally, this post was the usual one liner about having no info. But then I stumbled across a Blog called Pueblo City Limits and lo and behold - a wealth of info (well, compared to many of the artists listed on this site). 


The story starts with Gene Clay, founder of the Ark. Valley Wranglers, which was the most popular country band in Lamar, CO. Between 1949 and 1955, they were playing over KLMR (Lamar, CO) and performing at many local watering holes,(Spot 50 Tavern in La Junta and the Eagles Club in Lamar to name just two),  high school dances, American Legion halls etc. But in 1955 two members of the band joined the US Army and one moved to Pueblo to attend college, so the band took a break.


Meanwhile, another local band, The Rhythm Ranch Boys were performing locally and gravitating towards the Rock & Roll end of the music market. Wanting to make a record but not knowing where to start, Frank and Dave approached Gene for advice. As he had some influence at KLMR, he arranged a recording session there, but on the condition he was allowed to use his own band's name on the record. So the Rhythm Ranch Boys became part of the Ark. Valley Wranglers. 


Recorded in the fall of 1956, they recorded two of Frank and Dave's compositions and despatched the tracks to Starday Records for pressing on their Cimmaron label (after nabbing the publishing on both sides). Boxes of records came back with postcards to be sent to radio stations that they sent to DJ's with the hope of some airplay. 


The A side is a pleasant enough country/hillbilly weeper with lovely harmony vocals on the chorus.  The B side is a nice relaxed rocker in the style of "Heartbreak Hotel", but with a more "countryish" musical leanings and again features some nice harmonies. The band, compared to other Starday Customs, sounds very tight and professional. 


After spending another year with the Wranglers, Frank moved to Denver and started another band, called the "String-A-Longs". Later, moving to North Carolina, he worked in the insurance industry before retiring. Dave worked for the Denver police before setting in retirement in Missouri.


Huge thanks to Lisa Wheeler who kindly allowed me to plunder her excellent Blogspot for the info above. For the full story of Gene Clay and the Ark. Valley Wranglers (plus two short sound clips of  the record above), visit the link below.
Pueblo City Limits

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Lisa Wheeler




Lisa Wheeler

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