Diplomat — the boutique label that gave us albums by The Beatle Buddies, The Ska-Men, The Monterey Brass, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Lonesome Valley Singers, Dick Dale, and those Santo & Johnny knock-offs, Dan & Dale — also bequeathed us a 12-inch long-playing release by The Green Valley Guitars, who recorded an eye-popping 33 (!) Country & Western Favorites on a single disc that was most likely released in 1968.
Lead-off instrumental, “Shenandoah,” features a refreshingly human moment around the 33-second mark when the guitarist seems to lose his way momentarily, followed by a brief bit of musical silence and then a rush of melody to make up for lost time:
[Pssst: Click on the triangle above to play ”Shenandoah” by The Green Valley Guitars.]
Album includes “Boy in Buckskin”; “Blood on the Saddle”; “Boogie on the Guitar”; “Cheyenne”; “San Antonio”; “Wyatt Earp”; “Jesse James”; “Wild Bill Hickok”; “Buffalo Bill”; “Old Cowhand”; “Kentucky Fiddler”; “Nashville, Tennessee”; “Big Rock Candy Mountain”; “Chisholm Trail”; “Pride of the Prairie Mary”; “Boll Weevil” & “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
Very little is known about The Green Valley Guitars, otherwise.
A list of the top 10 truck driving LPs would most certainly have to include this scrappy little album on quirky label, Diplomat, home of just about everything and everyone, including Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Beatle Buddies, The Ska-Men, The Monterey Brass, Dick Dale, those Santo & Johnny knock-offs, Dan & Dale – and The Lonesome Valley Singers.
1966 LP Truck Driving Songs features memorable songs – all originals – such as this wistful album closer about the never-ending highway, “Up and Down the Road Again“:
[Pssst: Click the triangle above to play “Up and Down the Road Again” by The Lonesome Valley Singers.]
Of all the records released in the wake of Beatlemania (click here for a comprehensive illustrated list of Beatles covers & cash-in albums) the one-and-only album by The Beatle Buddies easily wins the award for best cover, with its menacing take on Meet the Beatles:
Fortunately, mixed in with the Beatle covers, there are a few originals – such as,”I Waited“:
[Pssst: Click on the triangle above to hear ”I Waited” by The Beatle Buddies.]
Did the four young ladies enjoy a close personal relationship with the lads from Liverpool? That’s a puzzle that might not ever get solved, as little to no information exists on the web about these four (unnamed) artists – which only makes the back cover liner notes that much more hilarious in retrospect:
“The Beatles created one of the most phenomenal musical events since Elvis, and the whole world is infected with Beatle sounds. Our contribution is unique in that we are offering the Beatle Buddies, a group of young gals that have their own sound, in the true Beatle tradition. They have a distinct and definite originality in their presentation. The girls are cute and very talented. We think that their names and sound will last long after the Beatles are gone. Listen to their harmony and style and we think you will agree that these girls are a real find in the recording business of today. A single record is being prepared from this album which should be heard nationwide very soon. So here we go — Beatle Buddies.
Perhaps the record label’s emphasis on quantity and affordability [“Diplomat Records – your best buy in entertainment”; “fine records need not be expensive”; “Diplomat recordings offer many additional hours of listening pleasure”] explains why Diplomat, with its limited finances, might resort to legally artistic marketing strategies.
And no doubt these strategies worked, as I can affirm firsthand as a tot when a close (and unsuspecting) family friend visited one day and brought with her a new “Beetles” album as an offering of joy for the youngest Beatlemaniac in the household – only to receive this: