Found a hot Texas swing instrumental called “Western Limited Boogie” on a Starday cassette about which little to no information exists. The front cover indicates this is part of a series called Best of the Instrumentals, and the volume that I own is called “Texas Style Instruments.” The featured artist on this blazing instrumental cannot be the twin vocalists, Pee Wee King & Redd Stewart (as it says on the label) but rather Pee Wee’s ace ensemble, The Golden West Cowboys:
[Pssst: Click on the triangle above to hear “Western Limited Boogie” by Pee Wee King & The Golden West Cowboys.]
I am reading a fascinating history of the storied Starday label – The Starday Story: The House That Country Built – by Nathan Gibson in collaboration with Starday’s long-time president, Don Pierce. The book includes a selected discography of Starday recordings, although this Gusto cassette of more recent vintage, not surprisingly, is outside the scope.
To find a live western swing recording, especially of this high fidelity, on a 1960s Starday compilation is a bit unusual. I would love to know if other instrumentals by The Golden West Cowboys are in the Starday vaults somewhere or have enjoyed release on other vinyl/tape offerings. Intense speculation remains as to the date and location of this hot instrumental performance captured live.
A Leader In Live Country
As Starday historian, Nathan Gibson, points out, not only was it not unusual for Starday to release live recordings, Starday was, in fact —
“one of the pioneering country labels releasing live recordings (from the Big D Jamboree, from K.C. benefit shows, from the Nashville Disc Jockey convention Starday shows, as well as many in-studio live albums).
“They are fun to find and hear, though due to their success, Starday in later years began issuing a lot of ‘live’ albums with studio tracks and added applause. Be wary of some of those. The only way to know, though, is to buy it and find out.”
It would appear I have a gaping hole in my Starday record collection.
Also important to point out that this cassette was released sometime in the 1970s/80s after the Starday-King catalog had been sold to Moe Lytle’s Gusto Records. Lytle and his team would be the ones who could help identify the source of this live recording by Pee Wee King’s Golden West Cowboys.
Starday-King’s Shared History
King Records [upon Syd Nathan’s death] was sold in October, 1968, to Starday Records. The Starday-King catalog was almost immediately sold to Lin Broadcasting in Nashville, who ran the company without changing much. In July, 1971, Lin sold James Brown‘s contract to Polydor, then sold the label to a company that [famed songwriting duo] Leiber and Stoller had set up called Tennessee Recording and Publishing. From 1971 to 1974, not much happened at King except the designs of the labels changed. Very few albums were being released and even fewer hits emerged. In one move, the sale of James Brown’s contract, the label went from a chart force to a shell of its former self. In 1975, Tennessee Recording and Publishing, still running under the Starday-King name, sold the masters to another Nashville concern, GML, Inc., [owned by Moe Lytle] who operated the Gusto label.”
Above excerpt from –
The King/Federal/DeLuxe Story by David Edwards & Mike Callahan
When Poor Editing Leads to Comi–Tragedy
Thanks for checking out the Starday book. I’m sorry the book didn’t have what you were looking for, but I wanted to point out what little I know of this recording. It did not appear on any of the ’60s Starday releases that I am aware of. Stewart and King did one LP (of which a few singles were issued from) for Starday around ’64. This track was not one of the ones cut for Starday. In the ’80s, Moe Lytle, the owner of the Starday catalog (as well as Musicor, King, and many, many others), began reissuing the music on cassettes and LPs. These were budget issues, primarily sold in truck stops, and therefore had no liner notes or information. Why some tracks were included (or, more importantly, excluded) remains a mystery. I suspect it was largely due to Lytle’s taste (or the staff member who made the compilation). Regarding this particular cassette, I am not certain of where the additional track came from, but it gives me a reason to look for the old Starday cassettes (something I’ve never been that interested in doing). Hopefully one day I’ll be able to sit down with Moe himself and figure some of these later ’70s and ’80s mysteries out, but until then, we at least have the music… Thanks for the blog and the book shout out! – Nate Gibson
Hey everyone, it’s Nate Gibson, author of the The Starday Story – The House That Country Music Built! I am fascinated – though not surprised – that this track was not one of the ones cut for Starday, simply because it sounds unlike most of Starday’s output. Did Starday, in fact, even release any live albums and if so, which ones?
Speaking of truck stops, I found this cassette, along with many Starday-King releases, at the Cherokee near Wheeling, WV, a former truck stop I’m told – now just a gas station and dry goods store. As music writer, Larry Nager, points out the Cherokee is visible evidence of Syd Nathan’s original distribution infrastructure – selling music to folks in rural places where traditional music shops simply do not exist.
For the record, I love your book. I hope you understand that I was merely doing a comic bit so that I could use the punch line “See kids, it still pays to read books.” History thanks you for taking the time and considerable effort to tell the story of one of the all-time great American indie labels.