Howdy! This page is part of my guide to "western" music, the legacy of the so-called "singing cowboys." You gotta love this stuff, with its sweet, old-fashioned sentimental themes, its love of nature and the great outdoors. Here's a look at the legacy of western music, old and new, with reviews and recommendations to make your next cattle drive the best one yet. This page covers artists under the letter "O" - please feel free to make recommendations or comments if I've missed someone.
(PS - Don't forget the cowgals, as well!)
Rich O'Brien "Seasons, Roads, And Faces" (Western Jubilee, 1997)
Norman Blake & Rich O'Brien "Be Ready Boys -- Appalachia To Abilene" (Western Jubilee, 1999)
Rich O'Brien "It's Christmas" (Western Jubilee, 1999)
Rich O'Brien "Southwestern Souvenirs" (Western Jubilee, 2005)
Glenn Ohrlin "Cowboy Songs" (Philo Records) (LP)
Glenn Ohrlin "Wild Buckaroo" (Rounder, 1983) (LP)
Glenn Ohrlin "A Cowboy's Life" (Rounder Select, 1998)
The Overstake Sisters "Volume One: I'm Riding On A Rainbow" (BACM, 2005)
One of the first major female country acts, the Overstake Sisters (who were also known as "The Little Country Girls") featured two future solo stars, cowgirl Judy Martin (nee Eva Overstake, whose marriage to Red Foley ended in Martin's tragic suicide) and Jenny Lou Carson (nee Virginia Lucille Overstake) who later became one of the most successful songwriters of the WWII era hillbilly scene. In the 1930s, along with their third sister, Evelyn, they sang cowgirl songs galore, in the fashion of the Girls Of The Golden West, though with a little less pep... Lots of great sentimental material, with simple, accordion-led arrangements. In general, their style seems pretty lethargic, although this could depend a lot on what kind of instrumental backup they got -- some of the tracks here are more uptempo, or feature a bigger, livelier band, and on these songs, the gals shine. Otherwise, with fairly morose backing, they can sound a bit monotonous. (It's interesting to compare these early recordings to the later solo work of Jenny Lou Carson and Judy Martin -- Martin's vocals are crisp, while Carson's are matronly, and Carson hews closely to the slow-tempoed style heard here. She was doubtless the band's guiding force; in addition to the tempo, you can also hear her trademark three-note decrescendo intros on a few of these tunes, a signature sound that quickly wears thin.) This disc is drawn from a long series of transcription recordings for the M.M. Cole company -- no recording dates are given, but it must be somewhere in the 1930s -- the performances are strong, if monochromatic. An important link in the history of women in country music, and the early origins of two significant solo artists.
The Overstake Sisters "Volume 2: End Of The Trail" (BACM, 2005)
More radio recordings made for the Cole transcription company, originally released under the stage name of "The Little Country Girls." Oh, by the way, I almost forgot that Judy Martin was also the grandmother of Debby Boone -- her daughter married Pat Boone in the 1950s. Talk about a small world!
Hick Music Index