Claude King:
The Cajun Cowboy Rides Again


Posted April 29, 2008
From Dominique Anglares


Can you believe than a 85 years old Country singer could be back on studio and rides again for a new CD? That's exactly what had done Claude King, with the support of guitar wizard James Burton, for Sonny records. Claude even plans to take a trip to Nashville, in early spring of this year, to appear on the Bill Anderson Show on XM Radio Channel2. Claude who brings Wolverton Mountain in the top of the charts in 1962 is also a giant part of the Louisiana Hayride history. Here he composed a song for the Louisiana Hayride's 60th Birthday who will catch with all the 50's country music nostalgics. Come on along, everybody, come along -We're gonna have a wonderful time at the Louisiana Hayride. I sure had with that recitation about Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Buddy Attaway, Felton Pruett, Sonny Trammell, Norman Bailes, Kitty Wells, Tillman Franks - Even Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" find his way here with the superb picking of James Burton and nice chorus. "Hey Good Lookin'" and "Wolverton Mountain" complete that nostalgic trip in the early day of Country music when KWKH "Louisiana Hayride" was challenging with Nashville's WSM "Grand Ole Opry" and Dallas' KRLD "Big D Jamboree".

But that new record not only deals with nostalgic recitation as prove "The Cajun Cowboy", a two-step twist with nice fiddle part, who will bring you to the "Slap your Mama" state. Spicy and happy music for Honky-Tonk night birds. Next is a new version of his all-time hit "Wolverton Mountain" with a bit of Bluegrass style and less chorus. The third song is probably the most surprising cut 'cause here Claude get back with his 1957 only Rockabilly waxing "Run Baby Run" issued on "Dee-Jay" records (1248). On the original version, Claude was backed by Tillman Franks, Tommy Tomlinson and Johnny Horton. That original single is now impossible to find and tryin' to get back to that style at 84 years old seems to be impossible. Here the gang won the challenge and that 1.33 minute cut with heavy slap bass and incisive guitar licks is a winner. That version with James on guitar is even powerful that the original cut. I still could not believe it was cut last year at Red River Studios in Bossier City (LA) by that Louisiana cat. Hat off, Claude, here you beat flat many current Rockabilly bands who don't reach 84 years packing band member years all together.

Next two tracks deal with Texas, a very important state in the raise of country music and Rockabilly. "The Texas Blue Bonnet Waltz" and "West Texas Memories" offer a nice travel in the Lone Star State. Follow "Don't That Moon Look Lonesome", a pop cross-over already cut for "Columbia", and "Twenty-One", a great story song about how foolish we can be on our young days. You will find pure 50's expressions like "I got Judy in trouble in the early days of summer". A nice story song in the grooves of Johnny Cash's "Ballad of Teenage Queen" or "Give My Love To Rose". On track n11, Claude is back in 1952 with a new version of "Got The World By The Tail" first issued on Specialty 711. Then that R'n'B label was setting a short living Hillbilly serie and Claude got four 78 rpm's on the eighteen issued. Claude made another cut of that song for "Columbia" in the 60's and, in 2004, the song was revived by Charlie Thompson for "Trial" records in Sweden. Charlie Thompson, a young country cat, is the true musical son of Webb Pierce, George Jones, Faron Young, Dave Rich or Jimmy and Johnny. His recording of "Got The Words by The Tail" is even more Hillbilly than Claude's new one. Don't miss him if he ever plays a gig in your area. His last performance with Miss Mary Ann at "Viva Las Vegas" Rockabilly festival was a highlight of the week-end.

Claude chose to close the CD borrowing Elvis's "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You". He was not the first cause Slim Whitman or Eddy Arnold had already do that. That's song is a classic one and a nice tribute to Elvis who staged the Louisiana Hayride as soon as October 1954. Then he was just a young lad tryin' to make it after his first record on "Sun" was issued three months earlier. Tillman Franks was the first to bring him in Shreveport and the rest is history -Elvis loved dearly his Mama Gladys and, maybe that's why, Claude's last song on that CD is "Happy Birthday Mama".

That CD showcase more than 73 years of musical work and passion for music and Louisiana. That's a nice tribute to all his long gone friends like Johnny Horton, Merle Kilgore, Tommy Tomlinson or Tillman Franks. That's also a testimony of love for those still around -James Burton, Sonny Trammell, Sonny Harville or Virginia Franks.

That record can be ordered by email to claudekingpress@yahoo.com or by snail mail at: Sonny Records/CK Productions - P.O Box 1081 - Manvel, Tx 77578 - USA.

Dominique "Imperial" ANGLARES
www.bartemon.net
houstonring@orange.fr


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