DEAR JERRY: For most of my music-loving life I have been a fan of the western swing, as first popularized by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys.
Though you wouldn't know it from listening to C&W radio, there have always been bands recording western swing tunes.
Recently, however, I have heard the term cowboy swing talked about. I am trusting that you will enlighten me as to how cowboy swing differs from western swing if it does.
Robert Gonzalez, Arlington, Ky.
DEAR ROBERT: Cowboy Swing a hybrid of traditional cowboy songs and western swing is a term coined by the Texas Trailhands to describe their unique brand of music.
According to Chuckwagon Chuck, co-founder of this Fort Worth-based quartet: Musically, our approach is similar to the Bob Wills style of western swing. Unlike us, however, Bob Wills recorded many songs in a western style that were not about cowboys or the west ones like Faded Love for example.
A requirement of Cowboy Swing, which is also the title of our new album, is that the lyrics be about cowboys, the west, or of that era.
In conclusion, friends and neighbors, if you don't agree that Swingtime Cowgirl, one of the hottest tracks on this album, isn't the best Cowboy Swing tune you've heard in decades, I'll eat your Stetson. For information on how to order the Texas Trailhands' great new CD Cowboy Swing, just click here: Ah-haaaaa!
DEAR JERRY: Not long ago you wrote about how finding phonograph record players, and you recommended some sources. I also suggest checking school supply catalogs for Classroom Record Players. One brand I am familiar with is Califone. They have all four speeds, 10 or more watts of power and other options. They're not fancy but they have a good sound and are very sturdy.
Anita Shomchak, Gig Harbor, Wash.
DEAR ANITA: I appreciate the letter and information about the Califone player. For more on the subject from a audio equipment dealer, read on:
DEAR JERRY: The Califone/Telex players are very reliable ones; however, I prefer the MPC Systems line. The main advantages the MPC has over the Califone are it has a belt drive; a full size platter; a semi-automatic shut-off and return; and a cueing lever. The MPC also comes either self-contained or with detachable external speakers. All have a handle and can be carried like a suitcase.
We currently have six different models of the MPC, ranging from $199 for the basic player to $659 for the top-of-the-line unit.
Your readers are invited to contact us for more information on phonographs and turntables. K-A-B Electro Acoustics, PO Box 2922, Plainfield NJ 07062. (908) 754-1479.
Kevin A. Barrett, Plainfield, N.J.
DEAR KEVIN: Thanks for the phonograph industry update. Hopefully, all those who have written wanting to know where to buy a player for their records now know where to turn for a turntable.
DEAR JERRY: You have been a big help to me several times in the past and I do thank you. Now, I need you again. Please don't fail me now.
I recall a song from late 1976, which I know is by Dr. Hook. For what it's worth, I never heard it on a pop station, only country ones. The line frequently repeated is I've got a couple more years on you baby, that's all.
George Cundari, Chicago, Ill.
DEAR GEORGE: This is an easy one. Your mystery song is A Couple More Years (Capitol 4280) a moderately successful country hit in the summer of '76. The flip side, A Little Bit More, became a huge hit in the pop field.
Songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim is Brazilian and the di sound in Brazilian Portuguese is pronounced gi, thus Dindi sounds like Gin Gee.
--J. Poster, Madison, Wisc.
DEAR J: Thank you or should I say obrigado!
IZ ZAT SO? Perhaps one reason rock and roll albums from the '50s are so scarce is that, overall, they didn't sell well at the time. Of the Top 20 LP artists of the '50s, only one Elvis Presley of course could be regarded as a rock artist. The rest of the pack are mostly pop vocalists (F. Sinatra, J. Mathis, N. Cole, P. Como, D. Day, etc.) and instrumentalists (Mantovani, J. Gleason, L. Welk, etc.).