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Andy Parker and the Plainsmen



(From Old Corral image collection)

Singin' cowboy Eddie Dean strums the guitar, saddle pal Roscoe Ates toots a jug, and the singing group is Andy Parker and the Plainsmen in this lobby card from BLACK HILLS (PRC, 1947).

Around 1946 or '47, the Plainsmen signed with Capitol Records. They also became regulars on the Hollywood Barn Dance radio show which was broadcast over CBS (they replaced Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage, the earlier singing group on the show).



Kevin Coffey helped identify the band members. From L-to-R on the top row are George Bamby (accordion), Paul 'Clem' Smith and Earl 'Joaquin' Murphey. Bottom row far left is Charlie Morgan, and on the far right is Andy Parker (with white hat and guitar). Sidekick Roscoe Ates (tootin' the jug) and singing cowboy Eddie Dean (with guitar) are centered in the bottom row. Singer Jaye P. Morgan is Charlie Morgan's sister.


There's a profile of Andy Parker (1913-1977) and the group at the Western Music Association Hall of Fame: http://www.westernmusic.org/andy-parker-plainsmen

Herb Steiner has a tribute to Earl 'Joaquin' Murphey, and that page has a photo of Murphey with the Plainsmen: http://www.herbsteinermusic.com/joaquin.html

Brad's Page of Steel website has a profile on steel guitarist Earl 'Joaquin' Murphey: http://www.well.com/~wellvis/joaquin.html

Want to hear the group harmonizing? The Internet Archive has some tunes which you download:
https://archive.org/details/AndyParkerAndThePlainsmen36Songs
https://archive.org/details/AndyParkerAndTheTexasPlainsmen40SongPlaylist

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Andy Parker and the Plainsmen: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1050382/



The Sunshine Boys



(Courtesy of Larry Blanks and Ed Wallace)

The first singing group in the Eddie Dean films at PRC were The Sunshine Boys.  Later the group did tunes in some of the Durango Kid adventures at Columbia.  In the photo above, the group is in their western movie duds, circa 1952, and the members are, from L-to-R: Ed Wallace, Fred Daniel, Ace Richman and J. D. Sumner.



(Courtesy of Larry Blanks and Ed Wallace)

Above, the mid-1950s version of the Sunshine Boys working with a young Elvis Presley.  From L-to-R are: Ed Wallace (top of his head in lower left corner), Fred Daniel, Ace Richman and Burl Strevel (bass singer after J. D. Sumner).



(Courtesy of Larry Blanks and Ed Wallace)

Above, Larry Blanks (on the left) is friends with Ed Wallace (right), one of the original Sunshine Boys and spokesman for the current group which still performs occasionally.  Larry and the Sunshine Boys currently reside in the Atlanta area.

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on the Sunshine Boys: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0102402/

The Sunshine Boys were inducted in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2005: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Music_Hall_of_Fame

Larry asked Ed Wallace about the history of the Sunshine Boys:

The Sunshine Boys started in 1938 as 'The Red River Rangers' in Charleston, WV by Ace Richman and the Smith brothers (A. L. 'Smitty' Smith and J. O. 'Tennessee' Smith).  They were offered $15 per week to come to Macon, GA and sing on a radio station there.  They moved on up to WSB Barndance in Atlanta in the early 1940's where they met Ed Wallace who was attending Georgia Tech University.  WSB wanted the 'Rangers' to also do some gospel music (which they didn't know anything about), so Ace asked Ed to help them do the gospel quartet style which he did between classes at Tech.  When they were doing country-western, they were the 'Red River Rangers' and when the station went to the gospel time, they sat down their instruments and were 'The Sunshine Boys'.  They also did a stint as 'The Light Crust Doughboys' at WSB, so they were filling three different roles.  During the same time, 1943-1944, they would appear at War Bond rallies around Atlanta with whichever celebrity was in town at the time, such as Bob Hope, etc.  When Ed graduated from Tech with an engineering degree, he went down for his physical to go into the army.  One officer recognized him in line and asked if he was still doing shows at WSB and doing the War Bond rallies.  He told Ed that he was doing more good in that roll than if he were drafted, so he went back to the group.

When The Sunshine Boys first started with Eddie Dean the group consisted of:

Ed Wallace - Accordion and Piano
Ace Richman - Bass
A. L. 'Smitty' Smith - Guitar
J. O. 'Tennessee' Smith - Fiddle

Ed Wallace remembers Eddie Dean and their PRC films together:

"Eddie Dean was a nice guy. In September of 1945, he did a Cliffie Stone radio show with Tennessee Ernie, and I just happened to have the radio on.   He mentioned that in a week-and-a-half he was going to do his first picture, and that he needed a group to sing in it.  Merle Travis was on the show at the time and he said his group could do it.  But Eddie said, 'No', he needed a group like the Sons of the Pioneers.  I called him up and he mentioned that he once sang with the Stamps Quartet in Dallas.  He invited us to his house.  While we were there, Tennessee Smith picked up a fiddle and started playing.  'Do y'all play instruments?' he asked.  When we said we did, he said, 'Let's hear some western stuff'.  When we finished, he said, 'that's exactly what I'm looking for'.  He introduced us to the producer, and we worked that whole year (1946) with Eddie.  I believe we did about 8 or 9 pictures that year.  Eddie was a great singer, but he was just too smooth to really hit it big.  Ken Curtis was like that too. He just didn't look the part of a hard-riding cowboy.  It's just one of those things."

Larry also chatted with Ed about the Sunshine Boys work in the Charles Starrett/Durango Kid films.  PRAIRIE ROUNDUP (Columbia, 1951), one of the last Durango Kid films, has a song in it called something like We're Gonna Ride.  Ed told Larry that they were driving out to LA together and had to come up with one more song for the movie.  They wrote this in the car on the way.


Ed Wallace, the last surviving member of the original Sunshine Boys, passed away on August 5, 2014.



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