The Legend-News

Monday, 2003 January 20 : Volume 6, Number 2 Latest⇒

What We Got Here in this edition of The Legend-News.

Meanwhile, Back At The Critter Ranch

New Critters: Rick Brash of Calgary, Canada, and Tracy Royse of Lexington, Kentucky.

In our last exciting issue, we presented a county fair poster which promoted an appearance by C.W. McCall. Also appearing at the fair was Leroy Van Dyke, and The Legend-News wondered "whatever happened to Leroy Van Dyke?"

Thanks to Mike Austing and Lynne Zink for updating me on Leroy's accomplishments. Mike said, "Leroy Van Dyke is best known for his song 'Just Walk On By (Wait on the Corner)'. I used to play that old 45 'til I wore a groove clean through it!"

Lynne pointed out that Leroy has a web site (doesn't everyone?), promoting "Auctioneering, Motivation, Success" and his recordings. Leroy's been an auctioneer since 1951, and he's the writer of the song "The Auctioneer", a fact that I didn't realize until Lynne mentioned it. I'm familiar with Gordon Lightfoot's cover of the song, on the Lightfoot album Dream Street Rose, but I never noticed who the writer was (despite accusations by some acquaintances, I don't really "know everything"). My copy of Dream Street Rose is a very worn cassette; I really need to get the CD, which was finally released last year. (Really trivial note: I've been told that the auction calls which Lightfoot performs on the Dream Street Rose version are done more slowly than what he did in his live shows.)

The Ultimate C.W. McCall Playlist

As you probably know, most of the songs that were recorded by C.W. McCall are not available on audio CD. On the "Original Six" albums, there are 62 songs: each album contains 10 cuts, except for Wilderness, which has 12.

Bill Fries and Chip Davis wrote all of the songs on the first four albums, Wolf Creek Pass, Black Bear Road, Wilderness, and Rubber Duck. Of the 42 songs on those albums, 15 appear on either the compilations C.W. McCall's Greatest Hits or The Best Of C.W. McCall. Two other songs, "The Gallopin' Goose" and "Roses For Mama", come from C.W.'s fifth album, Roses For Mama.

Which means that, unless you've listened to the MP3 files, you probably haven't heard 35 of the songs from the Original Six albums. And none of the songs from the sixth album, C.W. McCall & Co., were ever reissued.

The question then, is how to best showcase the works of C.W. McCall, if you had the entire oeuvre (that's French for "bunch") of compositions from which to choose? That's the subject of this article.

Bill and Chip didn't create any "concept" albums, wherein a single theme joins all of the album's works into a storyline. But as a whole, the Bill/Chip songs can be arranged into a sequence which mirrors the life of the real C.W. McCall, Bill Fries.

The list begins with the beginnings of Bill Fries.

Iowa and Omaha: the days of Old Home Bread and sudden fame.

Transitioning to Colorado, with a few side trips.

The end of touring.

Retiring to Ouray.

This list doesn't include the non-album songs, such as "Kidnap America" or "Pine Tar Wars", but you can insert those where you wish. And if you like the version of a song that appeared on 1990's The Real McCall: An American Storyteller, swap 'em. Original or digital, they're all good.

This really is the playlist that I've established in iTunes (my MP3 player): three hours of non-stop C.W. I might tweak it again, but the basic progression won't be changing.

If you've got an opinion on my choices, post a message to the Other Wild Places discussion list. If you're not a member of Other Wild Places, see the mailing list page for instructions for joining.

Old Home Café: The Next Generation

Episode IX: Jon And The Cake Factory, Part Two

Oh, boy. 5:04, and already he had eight customers. This was not what he had expected. He turned towards the new arrivals, said "Any available seat, folks," and turned back to the booth.

Ben and Ruth McConnell were both of them were dressed for outdoor work, wearing waxed cotton field coats and five-buckle boots. Just an hour earlier, they'd been out in the field, feeding the cattle.

"What can I get you?" asked Jon.

"Coffee. Eggs. Bacon. Toast," said Ben, grumbling. "What's your name, son?" he asked.

"Jon, sir. Short for 'Jonathan'. And what will you have, ma'am?" Jon asked, turning to Ruth.

Ruth was more cheery than her husband. "I'll have the same; make 'em scrambled. And just ignore Grumpy here; he didn't get enough sleep last night. I'm Ruth McConnell, and this is my husband Ben."

Jon shook hands with Ruth. "Pleased to meet you. You too, Ben." Jon held out his hand to Ben, who shook it with the grip of a man who's done naught but manual labor all his life. "White toast," said Ben.

"Yes, sir," said Jon, as he poured a cup of coffee for each. The carafe was almost empty; he walked back to the coffee maker and placed the pot on an unused burner, then went into the kitchen. He cracked four eggs onto the grill and added a dozen strips of bacon beside them, then popped four slices of Old Home Bread into the stainless steel toaster.

Eight customers in less than ten minutes; this was more than Jon had expected to see in the first two hours.

To be continued…

Song A’ Th’ Week

Silver Iodide Blues
(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album Wilderness

Yeah, the government's still messin' with Mother Nature. I've read reports that the area around Denver was seeded late last fall, for the usual reason: making snow for the ski areas. Yeah, while they schuss, you slide.

Well, now, pay attention people
Just in case you hadn't heard
There's some folks messin' 'round
With Mother Nature's little world, baby
And what they do is really freaky
They gets themselves a plane
And they fly it around with chemicals, baby
Tryin' ta make it rain
So when you're out there in that blizzard,
Shiverin' in the cold
Just look up to the sky
And thank the Government for the snow
And sing the low-down, experimental, cloud-seedin',
Who-needs-'em-baby? silver i-i-o-dide blues

Oh, yeah.


Next Issue

Coming to an inbox near you, on February 3rd: I Have Absolutely No Idea What I'll Write About; plus Old Home Café: The Next Generation; and a Song A’ Th’ Week.

The Legend-News is published fortnightly — unless the fortnight is the fifth Monday, in which case it's published fortnightly-and-a-half — by TechRen Enterprises, reelin' with the feelin'. Contents Copyright 2003 TechRen Enterprises, except for anything that we borrowed from someone else. Thanks to Bill Fries and Chip Davis for the words and music. Will I ever know how the Super-Heroes defeated the Brain-Globes?"