For many listeners during the 1940s, Texas Jim Robertson (1909-1966) defined cowboy and western music, his resonant bass-baritone voice booming out of juke boxes and radio receivers coast-to-coast. A native of tiny Batesville, Texas, Robertson made his radio debut around 1925 when an aunt brought him to a Charlotte, NC, station. By the late thirties, he was singing western songs over New York’s WJZ, flagship station of NBC’s Blue Network.
In June 1941 Robertson recorded an album of western standards backed by such New York musicians as accordionist Charles Magnante, guitarist Ken Binford, guitar/banjo virtuoso John Cali, pianist Jack Shilkret, and jazz bassist Gene Traxler. The supporting vocal quartet included tenor Walter Van Brunt, whose recording career dated back to 1909. ‘Round the Campfire: Famous American Favorite Cowboy Songs was released in September 1941.
After serving in the Navy during World War II, Robertson returned to WJZ and RCA Victor. Despite chart action covering hits by other country artists, his career was in decline by the end of the forties. Robertson continued to record sporadically into the 1960s.
Camden, Indiana August 2019
Article properties: Texas Jim Robertson: Round The Campfire (CD)