Monday, August 10, 2009

(2) Country Western Influence: Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Roy Rogers, Hank Williams, Frankie Laine, Jim Reeves, Glen Campbell

During the earlier years in Singapore there were already many songs from the treasure chest of country oldies. Songs like, Dont Fence Me In (1945), by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, not forgetting Gene Autry, Have I Told You Lately That I Love You (1945) were in existence on 78rpm records. 

Then favourites like, Your Cheating Heart (1952) and Jambalaya (1952) by Hank Williams followed. His own personal choice was Cold, Cold Heart (1951).

Frankie Laine's High Noon (1952) Rawhide (1958) were also best sellers as the theme of the rough and tough in country music gripped Singapore, "And I must face a man who hates me/Or like a coward, a craven coward/Or like a coward in my grave..."

People who came to the US from Europe composed songs like the Texan Fraulein (Bobby Helms), and Little Dutch Girl (George Morgan). The influence was gradual though, so when Elvis Presley emerged with his first movie, Love Me Tender (1956) followed by Loving You (1957) with songs like, Lonesome Cowboy, A Lotta Livin' To Do and Hot Dog, most pop music enthusiasts went agog. Country and rock were combined. Johnny Cash joined the scene with, I Walk The Line (1956).

My Rifle, My Pony and Me by Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Walter Brennan (harmonica), John Wayne.

 Then Rio Bravo (1959) hit the big screens in Singapore. Tough John Wayne, sexy Dean Martin and teenage idol Ricky Nelson held everyone to ransom with My Rifle, My Pony And Me. Rick sings an extra Get Along Home Cindy with the rest. 

Marty Robbins with El Paso (1959), known as a gunfighter ballad, kept Singaporeans singing this elaborate tale of 13 verses for months on end. Then Jim Reeves, who had earlier hits provided his rendition of, *He'll Have To Go (1959) and Johnny Horton with, North To Alaska (1960).

When Glen Campbell, By The Time I Get To Phoenix (1967) hit the trail and John Denver came with Leaving On A Jet Plane (1967) and Take Me Home Country Roads (1971), the Country and Western craze woke the baby boomers up!

The Singapore 60s cowboy craze erupted when our local boys and girls came with twanging acoustic guitars and hawaiian guitars as back-up. Not many Fenders appeared on stage then. The CW craze had begun.

Then, shades of Ferlin Husky, a cowpoke from the hills of Pasir Panjang, Singapore, emerged! He was Rocky Wong and appeared on stage in full regalia, with his cowboy suit, guitar and hat. He could have been the first Singapore cowboy. (earlier posting: August 9th, 2009).

This journey, discovering country music from the 50s to the 70s, is a personal one and the songs are milestones along the way.

*Singapore Karaoke Favourite: Jim Reeves', He'll Have To Go (1959).
Original Article: Andy Lim


Anonymous said...

Hi there,
we were the ones who wanted to contact you via your comment board a few days ago. Thank you for your respond.
Please do contact us at

Thank you!

Andy Young* said...

Thank you for the interest. Will write to you all soon.

BC Teoh said...

Dear Andy,

Did you peep into my LP collection? LOL

I managed to collect LPs of Roy Rogers, Hank Williams, George Morgan, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Marty Robins, Johnny Horton, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, John Denver and Jim Reeves.

I have heard of Gene Autry and liked his voice too but have not been able to find his LP so far.

Best Regards,
BC Teoh

Andy Young* said...

Dear BC,
Thanks for writing again. When I read your blog I realised I had to document my own journey to Country & Western music. You have inspired me to do so.

Would be interesting and informative if you could provide more write-ups on these country singers. I will visit your blog again.

nomore said...

Probably this must be the Best of oldis music Blog in this world...Oh my sweet memories with the great- Johnny Horton, Johnny cash, Glen Campbell, John Denver,the gentleman ,Jim Reeves, Hank Williams ( your the reason i don sleep...)Dean Martin, Elvis....I wud like to re- name your blogs to ' oldis sweet memories '

Andy Young* said...

Thank you nomore. I am truly happy you like the selection of singers and songs. Perhaps I could do that, change the name to Oldies Sweet Memories.