Saturday, February 23, 2013

Road Trip!

Today, we're going on a trip to Arkansas. I've been in 42 of the 50 states, by my count, and although I was only in Arkansas for part of a day, the land I saw there may be the most beautiful I've ever seen. Those behind this record, it appears, would heartily agree.

Here's a record on the previously undocumented Patmar records label out of Springdale, Arkansas. Springdale is in the Northwest corner of the state, about 30 miles from Decatur, Arkansas. While Springdale is a good sized city of roughly 70,000, Decatur, on the other hand, has well under 2000 residents.

I think we can reasonably guess that in one of these towns - I'm guessing Decatur, lived a couple named Pat and Marge, who threw their money into song-poem recordings as well as their own nearly eponymous record label, not even bothering to provide their last name on the songwriting credit! And for at least one side of their record, they turned to the Globe company, and stalwart Sammy Marshall, offering up a wish for those who hear him to "Give Me Decatur". Sammy gives it his typical upbeat, enthusiastic performance. By the way, the momentary fades you'll no doubt hear on this track are part of the original record, and not a flaw in the transfer to MP3:

On the flip side is a recording which might be a song-poem offering, or may be a commissioned performance by a local performer, or perhaps even a friend of Pat and Marge, someone named Les Anderson, nicknamed "Carrot Top" (and God help me, I hope this is the only circumstance under which I have to be entertained by someone with that nickname), along with a string band under the direction of Tex Atchison. I honestly don't know that this is a song-poem or some other animal, but I do know this: as mentioned above, I can fully understand the songwriters' point of view and love of their local land in their song "Beautiful Arkansas":


Anonymous said...

Catchy! Decatur should be proud! Like the intro too, one of those where you think it's going to be in one key and then lands on another (though maybe that's not actually the case, I have to listen to it again, just how I'm perceiving it!).

Give me Decatur!!!

Mellow said...

It's interesting that Les Anderson and Tex Atchison appear on the obscure Patmare label. Both were famous country musicians on the West Coast in the late 1940s/1950s. Anderson was born in 1921 in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, played steel guitar for Bob Wills in the 1940s. He later joined Spade Cooley's western swing orchestra and became a household name in the Californian music scene. He eventually moved to Canada and died in 2001.

Tex Atchison, on the other hand, was born 1912 in Rosine, Kentucky, and performed with Patsy Montana before moving to Hollywood in 1942. He was a talented fiddler and became a much used session musician.

I bet "Beautiful Arkansas" was recorded in the late 1950s in California and somehow Pat & Marge got hold of the tape and released it. Anderson recorded this song also for Vicca Records in 1958.

See for an (uncomplete) discography of the label.

Kaymac said...

Although I never met Les in person, I was fortunate to be able to buy his Sho-bud Pro steel guitar shortly after he lost a small fortune promoting a Bluegrass festival that got rained out. You can see this great sounding instrument on my website at . I bought it with the agreement that if I ever decided to sell it, I should contact him to see if he might wish to buy it back. After his death in 2001, I talked to Bobby Seymour in Nashville about it as he has all the Sho-Bud records and confirmed it is authentic.