Lewie Wickham (1937-2013) was a country-folk stalwart in New Mexico, where he played as a solo artist and in several bands, notably with his younger brother, Hank Wickham (as the Wickham Brothers) or with Hank and their cousin Johnny Dagucon (as the Wickham Brothers Trio). He started out in the 1960s busking at the an Albuquerque folk club called the Purple Turk, and went on to have several regional hits and near-hits on the national stage. Here's a quick look at his work...
The Lewie Wickham Trio "Live At The Territorial House" (Delta, 1968) (LP)
(Produced by John Wagner)
Hank & Lewie Wickham "Little Bit Late" (Starday, 1970) (LP)
(Produced by John Wagner)
This is kind of an odd offering for the normally twangy, mainstream Starday label, a stripped-down live acoustic recording of the folk-comedy of brothers Hank and Lewie Wickham, a New Mexico duo who had previously recorded some of this same material for the even-more-indie Delta label. They were sort of a Kingston Trio/Chad Mitchell folk act, mixing original tunes with cover songs from the Beatles, Bee Gees and Kris Kristofferson. Although they seem fairly straight-laced, I'm including them here because of a couple of topically-oriented songs that document the budding Southwest desert counterculture -- "Hippy Love Song" and "Corrales," which paints a fairly tolerant picture of their home base of Corrales, NM, including references to hippies and dropouts. I guess the title track, "Little Bit Late," was a minor hit, cracking the Country Top 40 when it was released as a single in '69. Lewie Wickham resurfaced a few years later with a single called "$60 Duck," on the MCA label, and cut a few tracks for CMH and Capitol, but mostly these guys remained a local phenomenon.
Hank & Lewie Wickham "...With Johnny Dagucon" (King, 1971) (LP)
Lewie Wickham "Back To Back" (Mother Lode, 1970) (LP)
Lewie Wickham "God Help The Working Man" (Mother Lode, 1978) (LP)
This later album includes the regional hit novelty song, "$60 Duck."
Rio Grande Gold "# 1" (Turquoise Trail Records, 1979) (LP)
(Produced by Rio Grande Gold)
This band from Cerritos, New Mexico included local legend Lewie Wickham who'd led a trio, a duo and a solo career before going all-out country with these guys. This was a pretty ambitous album, spanning honky-tonk, country-pop, folk/countrypolitan ballads and a little bit of outlaw twang... Wickham was just one of several lead singers, notably latina singer Kay Kay Baca, whose chirpy voice had hints of Dolly Parton as well Dolly's sister, Crystal Gayle, who she seems to have been channeling on the perky pop of "Before My Heart Falls Prey." She sings several solo numbers, as well as a few duets with Wickham and the other male lead singer. With a wide stylistic scope and a very professional attitude, these guys had a strong almost-but-not-quite feel -- you can taste the hit potential, but the magic's not quite there in the recordings. Still, this is a good record from a very focussed, ambitious regional band, a better-than-average record from a group that clearly hoped to break through into the big time. A little softer than I usually like my twang, but definitely worth a spin.
Hick Music Index