The Collins Kids: The Collins Kids At Town Hall Party Vol.1 (DVD)
(DVD with 12-page booklet, DVD-pak, 26 tracks, playing time: 87:48)
'Town Hall Party' was among the first of the country music shows to be seen on U.S. television, making its debut in early 1952 and running until early 1961. Staged every Saturday in a theatre in Compton, a suburb of Los Angeles, the stage was made up to look like an old barn, thus continuing the traditions of the various live shows that were first heard on the radio airwaves three decades earlier. 'Town Hall Party' was created with its own cast of regular performers and musicians, boasting a house that was virtually a 'who's who' of the West Coast scene comprising such as Joe Maphis, Merle Travis, Skeets McDonald, Johnny Bond and Tommy Duncan. Jay Stewart (who later hosted the TV quiz show 'Let's Make A Deal'), and Tex Ritter were the MCs. The weekly show presented an equally impressive guest list.
Among the many guests to appear were Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Eddie Cochran, The Collins Kids, Freddie Hart, Wanda Jackson, George Jones, Merle Lindsay, Bob Luman, Carl Perkins, Jim Reeves, Marty Robbins, Hank Snow and Gene Vincent. -- Now 'Town Hall Party' is reborn on DVD. Launched in 2002, this continuing DVD series present both individual artists' performances, compiled from different appearances on 'Town Hall Party', and complete cast shows selected from specific dates. Completely remastered, and presented with full colour booklets, these releases fully captured the atmosphere, artistry and sounds of a bygone country music age.
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|Collins Kids - The Collins Kids At Town Hall Party Vol.1 (DVD) DVD 1|
|01||TOWN HALL PARTY, October 4, 1958:|
|02||Blue Blue Day|
|04||Make Him Behave|
|06||High School Confidential|
|07||TOWN HALL PARTY, October 11, 1958:|
|09||Great Balls Of Fire|
|10||TOWN HALL PARTY, November 1, 1958:|
|11||Blue Moon Of Kentucky|
|14||Rock Boppin' Baby|
|15||Shake A Hand|
|16||Great Balls Of Fire|
|18||TOWN HALL PARTY, NOVEMBER 8, 1958:|
|19||Make Him Behave|
|21||Shake, Rattle And Roll|
|22||TOWN HALL PARTY, NOVEMBER 15, 1958:|
|23||I Got Stung|
|24||Great Balls Of Fire|
|27||TOWN HALL PARTY, DECEMBER 13, 1958:|
|28||Blue Moon Of Kentucky|
The Collins Kids
From Shirley Temple to LeAnn Rimes, there has been a niche for prodigiously talented kids, yet there was always something a little curious about a tot singing adult songs and mimicking adult emotions. Thirteen year-old Brenda Lee singing All The Way, is a good example. The Collins Kids were very young when they started, but their act never quite had the same whiff of unwholesomeness because the whole point about rock ‘n’ roll was that it was for and by kids. No one made that point more explicit than the Collins Kids.
So few child prodigies manage to sustain a career into adulthood. It's true that Ricky Nelson and Michael Jackson made it, although not without scars, but in general, the public loses interest around puberty. So it’s good to report that the Collins Kids, Lawrence and Lawrencine (or Larry and Lorrie) made it into adulthood with a surprising absence of rancor. Larry even saw some of his biggest successes in the music business after he quit jumping round on-stage with his double-necked Mos-Rite. The irony they can’t unravel is that they were one of the best-known acts of the era, but didn’t have any hits.
The Collins family lived in and around Tulsa, Oklahoma. Lorrie was born in Tahlequah on May 7, 1942; Larry was born in Tulsa on October 4, 1944. They grew up in a little town called Pretty Water. Lawrence Collins Sr. was a dairy farmer for a while, then operated a crane in a steel mill. His wife, Hazel, was an amateur singer and mandolin player; she and her sister prefigured the Collins Kids' act on a small scale by performing in school and at church socials when they were in their early teens. Lawrence Sr. didn't have a musical background; when asked, his favourite line was that he played the radio real well. The Collins' oldest daughter, Sherry, briefly contemplated a career in entertainment, but opted for marriage at fifteen instead.
Lorrie’s talent was recognized from an early age. Kay Starr and Teresa Brewer were her favorites, not the hillbilly queens of the day. In 1950 she won a talent contest hosted by western swing bandleader Leon McAuliffe in a Tulsa ballroom. McAuliffe told Hazel Collins that Lorrie was good and that California was where they needed to be. In 1952, Hazel took Lorrie to Los Angeles. “We went to talent shows and agencies and they all thought they could do something with her if we lived in California,“ remembered Hazel. “At that time Jimmy Boyd was big, and a lot of kids were on television. In Oklahoma, there was nothing like that.“ After Hazel and Lorrie came back, they went to the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport where Lorrie did a guest spot alongside Hank Williams, Johnny Horton, and Billy Walker. There were a few television shows in Oklahoma City, but California was clearly the place. Hazel started putting serious pressure on Lawrence to move.
A career for Larry (then known as 'Bubba') as part of his sister's act wasn’t even considered. He had been given a guitar and a bebe gun for Christmas 1952. “My mother showed me a G and D chord,“ he remembered,“and by the end of Christmas Day I was really whackin’ that guitar. I played a song and jumped around like a fiend. They all laughed at me so I shot the guitar in the back with the bebe gun. I thought I’d done something wrong.“
The Collins moved to California in 1953. Lorrie started entering talent contests, like the Al Jarvis Show and the Hollywood Opportunity Show. Someone called Chef Lonnie hosted a show in Redondo Beach sponsored by Lucky Strike. Larry came to that one--and won; Lorrie placed second. Separately, Larry and Lorrie were regular contestants on Squeakin' Deacon's Sunday talent show at the Riverside Rancho, broadcast over local radio. The idea that they should form a joint act came from Lawrence, Sr. “One day,“ said Hazel,“he told them to go in the bedroom and practise together--and they came out an act. They said, ‘Hey mom, dad, listen to us.’ Larry carried the high tenor part and Lorrie took the lead. They played their guitars. Larry had already taught Lorrie some basic chords.“
By this point, Hazel and Lawrence, Sr. were thinking about returning to Oklahoma, but the kids wanted to stay in California and keep performing. It was Squeakin' Deacon (a transplanted Tennessean named Carl Moore) who told Hazel to take the kids to Bill Wagnon who booked Town Hall Party. Larry and Lorrie entered a Town Hall Party talent contest one Friday night in February 1954, and were hired to perform on television the following day.
Town Hall Party had started in Compton, California in 1951. By 1954, when the Collins Kids joined, the regulars were Wesley Tuttle (the musical director) and his wife Marilyn, Johnny Bond, Tex Ritter and Freddie Hart. The show was broadcast on clear channel station KFI every Saturday night from 9:00-9:30PM, and on television station KTTV from 10:00PM 'til 1:00AM. Starting January 1, 1955, NBC radio carried a portion. Town Hall Party later went into syndication in 26 half-hour episodes as Ranch Party. Together and individually the Collins Kids were on every episode.
Excerpt from the booklet BCD16250 - The Collins Kids - The Rockin'est Read more at: https://www.bear-family.com/collins-kids-the-rockin-est.html Copyright © Bear Family Records
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