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Mr Lucky
Music Reviews

Shame on You! SPADE COOLEYSpade

Spade Cooley
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 Gang
Shame On You

Bloodshot Revival SCD 4102/BS802

There 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.

Spade Cooley discs

Spade Cooley discs

 

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