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Ole Rasmussen Sleepy Eyed John

Sleepy Eyed John
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  • BCD16255
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1-CD with 16-page booklet, 28 tracks, Playing time 69:17 minutes. Ole Rasmussen & his... more

Ole Rasmussen: Sleepy Eyed John

1-CD with 16-page booklet, 28 tracks, Playing time 69:17 minutes.

Ole Rasmussen & his Nebraska Cornhuskers were one of the most popular western swing bands of the late '40s and early '50s, thriving in a period when other such bands had begun to fade. A California-based group that eschewed the usual ultra-smooth ensembles associated with West Coast bands for an earthier, but still sophisticated sound that owed more to Bob Wills than it did to Spade Cooley or Tex Williams. The Cornhuskers were, at their leader’s insistence, an accessible and infectious band that played for the people, not for other musicians.

Ole Rasmussen (1914-1978) was no musician himself, but he was an astute businessman and bandleader who built one of the finest bands around; it featured the mellow vocals of the Tommy Duncan-inspired Teddy Wilds (and later the Ernest Tubb-influenced Virgil Lee), and such excellent musicians as fiddlers Tex Atchison and Rocky Stone, steel guitarist Billy Tonnesen and electric guitarist Earl Finley. Collected here are all 28 sides from the band's remarkably consistent two year stint at Capitol from 1950-52, including classics like Sleepy-Eyed John, Rockaway, C Jam Blues, and others.

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Rasmussen, Ole - Sleepy Eyed John CD 1
01 Somewhere In San Antone
02 Sleepy Eyed John
03 Rockaway
04 I'm Still Bettin' On Love
05 Spanish Polka
06 We're Gonna Go Fishin' (Next Saturday Night)
07 It Must Be Love
08 My Conscience Is Clear
09 Gonna See My Sunday Baby Saturday Night
10 Which-A-Way Will You Go
11 Straighten Out Your Troubles (With The Lord)
12 The Sandhills Of Nebraska
13 You Were My Dream Last Night
14 Country Weddin' Day
15 Ramblin' Blues
16 Half A Love Affair
17 In The Mood
18 Old Love Of Yesterday
19 Everybody Thinks You're An Angel
20 Something From Heaven
21 Did The Man In The Moon Come From Texas
22 C-Jam Blues
23 New Star Rag
24 Tuxedo Junction
25 Charleston Alley
26 Careful Now
27 Jersey Bounce
28 My Mary
'Ole' was born Floyd Rasmussen in Nebraska in 1914, a farm boy, according to steel guitarist... more
"Ole Rasmussen"

'Ole' was born Floyd Rasmussen in Nebraska in 1914, a farm boy, according to steel guitarist Billy Tonnesen, who joined Rasmussen as a teenager near the end of World War II and, except for a stint in the service in 1952-54, stayed until the end. "They called him 'Ole' because of his eyes," Tonnesen says. "He had eyes that sort of bugged out." It's unclear when Rasmussen first relocated to the West Coast but he seems to have arrived during the 1930s if not before and been leading a band by the early 1940s. That first group, billed as the Nebraska Cornhuskers just as later versions would be, was an 'old time' band, a corny dance band that only gradually evolved into a western swing group, a process that began at war's end as a western swing craze gripped the area musical scene. Actually the original group was Ole's NebraskanCornhuskers, and they boasted that they supplied both 'Old Time and Modern,' though it's clear from photographs and other evidence that this band's idea of 'modern' was a far cry from, say, the 'modern' music of Stan Kenton or Boyd Raeburn, let alone Spade Cooley.

Teenaged steel man Tonnesen, born and bred in the L.A. area, was one of the first additions in the evolution to western swing. "I got into it during World War II. All the musicians were in the service, so I got to start very young because there were no steel players around. I started playing with Ole when I was fifteen or just turned sixteen. 1944 or '45. When I joined, he still had sort of the old time band. And we started weeding out those and bringing in western swing, 'cause Bob Wills was real popular and all of the sudden everybody wanted to imitate Bob Wills." The band before Tonnesen's arrival had includedseveral reedmen, two of whom doubled on fiddle, pianist Johnny Morley, bassist Howdy Dawes and his vocalist wife, Vickie, drummer Joe Muto (who would stay to the end), fiddler Jim Turner, and a square dance caller named Virgil. As it would for the first year or two after Tonnesen joined, the group played Friday and Saturday nights only at the American Legion Hall in Maywood.

Rasmussen made his first recordings in about 1945 for the obscure LaMarr's Star label, apparently owned by an aspiring songwriter named Baline LaMarr. Three sides are known to have been issued (the flip of one was by western swing singer and steel guitarist Les Anderson) and they were a far cry in quality and style from the sound the band would attain by the end of the decade. The songs, written by LaMarr, were weak and were matched by Rasmussen's vocals; in addition to Morley's stiff piano and some rudimentary fiddle and steel (not yet Tonnesen) there was what sounded like a musical saw among the featured instruments. The sides were issued as by 'Ole Rasmussin and the Cornhuskers.'

Things began to improve in the coming months, however. All but one of the reedmen soon dropped out and the 60-ish Paul Robbins replaced Turner on fiddle, Tonnesen came in on steel and his friend Orville Nicholson joined on accordion. L.A. scene veteran 'Herman The Hermit' Snyder, father of the up-and-coming local bassist, producer and radio personality Cliffie Stone became the bassist.

In addition to Wills, Rasmussen and youngsters like Tonnesen and Nicholson were listening to fast-rising area star Spade Cooley and others -- Southern California was teeming with great bands filled with great musicians. Tonnesen, who was still playing a six string lap steel, was like every steel player on the coast (and beyond) knocked out by Cooley's steel man Joaquin Murphey. "When he came on the scene, everybody was just ...  -- they couldn't believe what they were hearing. Me and this accordion player [Nicholson] ... we used to, on weeknights, sneak out to the Riverside Rancho [where Cooley was playing] and go out back and listen. We couldn't get in there because we weren't old enough at the time." The Cornhuskers, Tonnesen adds, "ended up with a combination of Wills and Cooley. We developed our own style after a while, but that's where it came from."

In time, Orville Nicholson would leave to work with Happy Perryman and Jerry Carter, from El Paso, Texas, became the band's accordionist. Pianist Austin Strode, who replaced Morley, was cut from the same mold: a stiff, 'churchhouse' pianist who hewed pretty closely to the melody. During 1946, an excellent guitarist originally from Arkansas named Earl Finley came on board. Finley, who studied music at the L.A. Conservatory, had joined the local musicians' union only a short time before. "I got a call to play two weeks with T. Texas Tyler, then ... two weeks down at the beach with a little trio. And that was it -- then I went with Ole." Like Tonnesen and Jerry Carter, Finley would remain with the band until Rasmussen pulled out of L.A. years later.

from BCD16255 - Ole Rasmussen Sleepy Eyed John
Read more at: https://www.bear-family.de/rasmussen-ole-sleepy-eyed-john.html
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Tracklist
Rasmussen, Ole - Sleepy Eyed John CD 1
01 Somewhere In San Antone
02 Sleepy Eyed John
03 Rockaway
04 I'm Still Bettin' On Love
05 Spanish Polka
06 We're Gonna Go Fishin' (Next Saturday Night)
07 It Must Be Love
08 My Conscience Is Clear
09 Gonna See My Sunday Baby Saturday Night
10 Which-A-Way Will You Go
11 Straighten Out Your Troubles (With The Lord)
12 The Sandhills Of Nebraska
13 You Were My Dream Last Night
14 Country Weddin' Day
15 Ramblin' Blues
16 Half A Love Affair
17 In The Mood
18 Old Love Of Yesterday
19 Everybody Thinks You're An Angel
20 Something From Heaven
21 Did The Man In The Moon Come From Texas
22 C-Jam Blues
23 New Star Rag
24 Tuxedo Junction
25 Charleston Alley
26 Careful Now
27 Jersey Bounce
28 My Mary