TV WESTERN THEMES – PLAYED BY AL CAIOLA (SUNSET RECORDS SLS 50360) 1976

When Western adventures were the staple diet of television programming

I’ve noticed several ‘Western’ themed albums in the junk and unwanted bins in charity shops since I started my excursions last summer. It seems that many an old Cowboy lovin’ North Eastern hick enjoyed listening to his favourite theme tunes from the many TV Westerns.

For whatever reason, probably because of death by natural causes or a public shoot-out at the local saloon, Cowboy lovin’ North Eastern hick LPs have made their final journey to the bargain bins in second-hand establishments.

I’m not complaining, I dig these slabs of gun-slingin’ inspired numbers. Better still they’re usually no more than a couple of quid.

Back cover liners:

Not so very long ago, Western adventures were the staple diet of television programming. The late fifties through to the mid-sixties were perhaps the golden days and this album takes us back via the musical themes of many favourites and also introduces us to a few that were unknown in Britain at that time.

Maverick was the series that really launched James Garner; he played Bret whilst Jack Kelly co-starred as Bart with Roger Moore as Beau. The Cartwright family of Bonanza fame seem to have been with us for ages; in fact they first hit the trail in 1959 with the original team led by Lorne Green as Ben, Pernell Roberts as Adam, Michael Landon as Little Joe plus the late Dan Blocker as Hoss.

A later addition to television’s western family sagas was The High Chaparral starring Leif Erickson and Cameron Mitchell.

Do you remember the Sherman ranch in Laramie? John Smith was on hand as Slim Sherman with Robert Fuller as his friend Jess Harper. Wagon Train ran for quite a few seasons and overcame the loss of one of its original stars Ward Bond in 1960; Ward portrayed Wagonmaster Seth Adams and was replaced by John McIntire as Chris Hale.

Leading the action during the long run of the series was of course Robert Horton as Flint McCullough. And it was Robert Horton who later starred as A Man Called Shenandoah.

Clint Eastwood brought the character Rowdy Yates to the fore in Rawhide, Nick Adams was tagged The Rebel. Henry Fonda became The Deputy whilst Barry Sullivan starred as The Tall Man.

Paladin was played by Richard Boone in the memorable Have Gun Will Travel programme. Tony Young was Gunslinger, John Russell was Law Man and his pre-detective days, Gene Barry starred as Bat Masterson.

This is a brief run-down of the stars involved in the western shows represented on this record. This background and the illustrations below are provided as an additional souvenir of those Wild West days of yesteryear and now to complete the picture, listen to the evocative signature tunes.

charity shop purchase @ £1.50

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