Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 119

Pete Drake

Pete Drake

The Fabulous Steel Guitar
Sound

STARDAY STEEL STARS

T

hroughout its lifespan
of 1952-1976, Starday
Records mainly issued
traditional country vocals and
instrumentals on singles, EPs,
and LPs, recorded in-house
and purchased from other
labels. These vinyl reissues
from the Starday catalog offer
a trifecta of steel masters:
Nashville session great Pete
Drake and non-pedal legends Roy Wiggins and Leon
McAuliffe.
Immortal beyond country
for his session work with
Bob Dylan, George Harrison,
Ringo Starr, and other rock
greats, Drake was a key
member of Nashville's famed
studio A-Team, a solid country
player heard on countless hits
from the '60s to the '80s.
This 1961 album (the
cover shows him playing
his Sho-Bud pedal steel)
mixes originals, one being his
cheerful early theme song
"For Pete's Sake." A fearless experimenter, he uses

distortion on "Oriental Twist."
His playing and ensemble
work on "The Spook" is
years ahead of its time, with
distorted lead guitar. "After
Hours" has an easygoing
groove, a guitarist playing
in harmony. They contrast
with bouncier fare like "Kick
Off" and the ethereal ballad
"Till Tomorrow." Drake's
hit instrumental "Forever,"
where he used a pioneering home-brewed talk box,
was still three years away.
Forever associated with
Eddy Arnold, Little Roy
Wiggins was a key member
of Arnold's band, the Tennessee Plowboys, from
1943 until the mid '50s. His
warm, plaintive Hawaiianstyle playing wrapped
around Arnold's mellow
voice onstage and on many
hits before Arnold moved
to a less "country" sound.
This is Wiggins's third
Starday album, recorded in
1963, and features accompa-

June 2018

Little Roy Wiggins
niment from the Opry's Willis
Brothers and Harold Bradley,
dean of Nashville's session
guitarists, adding lead guitar
and in spots, driving ukulele.
The album focuses totally on
Hawaiian favorites including
"Steel Guitar Hula," "Song
Of The Islands," "Wakiki
Wiggle," "My Tane," an "The
Hilo Hattie" (with a fine Bradley guitar break). All reveal
Wiggins's deep, solid roots in
the same Hawaiian traditions.
A western swing innovator,
Leon McAuliffe (his last name
misspelled on the cover),
became famous as one of
Bob Wills' Texas Playboys
from 1935-1942 and made
"Steel Guitar Rag" a steel
standard. From 1945 on he
led his own Tulsa-based band,
later dubbed the Cimarron Boys. After recording
for several major labels,
McAuliffe formed Cimarron Records around 1961.
Swingin' Western Strings,
released on Cimarron before

119

VINTAGE GUITAR

The Fabulous Steel Guitar
Artistry

Leon McAuliffe

Swingin' Western Strings
Starday bought the master,
features McAuliffe and band
playing instrumental versions
of honky-tonk and western
swing favorites including
Wills' "Faded Love," Ernest
Tubb's "Walkin' The Floor
Over You," the Eddy Arnold hit
"Texarkana Baby," and "Columbus Stockade Blues." Billy
Dossier's stinging, jazzy guitar
lines prove a fine contrast to
the single string and chordal
work from McAuliffe's Fender
Stringmaster. - Rich Kienzle


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 3
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 4
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Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - Contents
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