Spadella! The Essential Spade Cooley
Columbia CK 57392
Spade Cooley & Tex Williams
A Western Swing Dance Date With Spade & Tex
Jasmine JASMCD 3510
Spade Cooley & the Western Swing Dance
Shame On You
Bloodshot Revival SCD 4102/BS802
is limited Spade Cooley available on compact disc, but what we have
is invaluable. We've been told that Columbia compilation, Spadella!
The Essential Spade Cooley is the place to start. While it's very
good, our hunch is that it's programmed to appeal more to modern post-Rock
sensibilities than a true representation of Spade Cooley in all his
glorious dorkiness. Only six of the 20 tracks are instrumental and
we know from his surviving radio shows and transcription recordings,
this ratio is probably off. The Tex Williams vocals are actually better
here than on the transcriptions. The instrumentals have the great
harp intros, accordion percussion, steel guitar riffs and square dance
orchestrations we love, we just wish there were more.
Jasmine's A Western Swing Date With Spade &
Tex is a collection of radio transcriptions of what we have
to assume is Cooley's band after Tex Williams left (as the vocals
are handled by Del Porter and Red Egner) and by Williams' newly
formed band. The CD's liner notes give no indication of the source
or actual dates. The tracks alternate between the two bands, but
you have to wonder why. Other than the general sloppiness in preparing
the CD, the actual music is pure country corn, as in hokum and liquor.
You can pick which you prefer.
Bloodshot Revival's Shame On You is
the real gem. It's a collection of radio transcriptions from what
must be early 1946, shortly before Williams left the band, when
they were at the height of their popularity. The instrumentals outnumber
the vocals and the sound is nothing short of amazing. The packaging
is true to the sounds within and unlike this writer, the liner notes
focus on the music, eschewing the more sordid facts surrounding
the Spade Cooley legend.