Spade Cooley Fidoodlin'
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sku: ZCCM 431
- Released: February 9, 2004
- Originally Released: 2004
- Label: Collector's Choice
- 1.Willow Springs
- 2.Pony Tail Polka
- 3.Happy Hayride
- 4.Those Bonny Blue Bells
- 5.Santa Fe Express
- 6.Rockin' The Square Dance
- 7.Saturday Night Social
- 8.The Mockin' Bird Is Listenin'
- 9.Latin Leprechaun
- 10.Swingin' the Blue Danube
- 11.Skatin' On Thin Ice
- 12.Blue Jeans And Gingham
- 13.Gypsy Jive
Personnel includes: Spade Cooley (fiddle); Joaquin Murphy (steel guitar); Roy Lanham (guitar).
Liner Note Author: Joseph F. Laredo.
This is one of a precious few studio long players to have been documented by the legendary and infamous Spade Cooley, the self-proclaimed "King of Western Swing." His long and illustrious career included stints as an actor during the 1930s for Republic Studios in a handful of serials and full-length flicks. By the late '50s, Cooley's star had significantly faded; however, he was hosting a local variety TV show in Los Angeles at the end of the decade when Fidoodlin' (1959) was released. The sessions, which were his first in half a decade, also turned out to be his last. According to Joseph F. Laredo's liner notes, found in the 2004 CD reissue, the sides spotlight Cooley backed by the same combo that accompanied him on his short-lived weekly telecast. The results were delivered in a style fusing the buoyant and somewhat soulless effervescence inherent in adult-oriented contemporary pop with the equally amiable attitude and instrumentation of Western swing. The support cast consists primarily of younger staff musicians, including Jimmy Luttrell, who is credited as performing on "take-off guitar" -- a 1959 euphemism for his lead electric pickin'. Thanks to Suzi Chandler's front and center accordion, the frenzied "Gypsy Jive" takes on a Mediterranean feel, which seems slightly out of place on "Pony Tail Polka," for example. Cooley's sweet tone and nimble fretwork remain central to the adaptations of well-established tunes. A primary entry is "Mockin' Bird Is Listenin'," with a melody that should be familiar to all Three Stooges fans as the theme to the cinematic shorts. Another recognizable tangent is "Swingin' the Blue Danube," which of course takes off Johann Strauss' "On the Beautiful, Blue Danube" waltz. Perhaps the most entertaining -- especially from a kitschy perspective -- is "Skatin' on Thin Ice," a woozy derivative of the "Skater's Waltz," which had been covered to similar effect by the likes of Mantovani, Andr‚ Kostelanetz, and the ubiquitous Living Strings. Modern ears may find Fidoodlin' decidedly dated. However, within the grooves resides a rare, carefree spirit guilded in hopeless innocence, making platters like this equally timeless. ~ Lindsay Planer
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