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Cowboy Music Photograph Archive FERRY, NELLIE & CONNIE CHAPMAN [COMPILERS]

Cowboy Music Photograph Archive


Publication: Compiled by Colleen Chapman Cody, Nellie Ferry, & Earnest Ferry, 1935-1998, Portland, Oregon

An outstanding archive of material compiled by two Portland, Oregon women, who were presidents of their respective fan clubs after World War II, and whose enthusiasm drove them to witness and chronicle the tremendous influence of the Southern California "singing cowboy" music genre then dominating the West Coast music scene. Included here are over a 1000 photos and film negatives, over 200 of them signed by various performing artists, together with three original photo-illustrated self-published fan magazines, original letters, clippings, brochures, souvenirs, and more. Centering around the Sons of the Pioneers, and their Lucky U Ranch Radio & Television shows based in Los Angeles, these images include such music celebrities as Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, June Carter, Ken Curtis, Hugh & Karl Farr, Tim Spencer, Bob Nolan, Shug Fisher, Chet Atkins, Lefty Frizzell, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Ann Jones, Judy Lynn, Lloyd Perryman, Wade Ray, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, T. Texas Tyler, and many others. In addition, these images document many different Sons of the Pioneers performances in Portland, OR, Bostonia Ballroom, San Diego, CA, Chicago Stadium, IL, Ohio State Fair, Sleepy Hollow Ranch, PA, Birmingham, AL, playing in the studio at the Lucky U Ranch radio show taping, recording sessions, hijinks, birthday party for Karl Farr with birthday cake from the Fan Club, rodeos, parades, signing autographs in mobs of fans, and Sons of the Pioneers Reunion Shows. Together with: Fisher's fan review: Shug Fisher Fan Club; Fisher's Fan Review: Official Shug Fisher Fan Club, Aug.-Nov.1951, Vol. 3, No. 1; Fisher's Fan Review; Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers, Fifteenth Anniversary Souvenir Program; A story of the Grand Ole Opry; Album of Hillbilly and Western Favorites; Faron Young souvenir program; Hank Thompson: a folio of favorite recorded hits, and more. This extraordinary musical archive of privately printed fanzines, photographs, photograph albums, letters, clippings, records, and memorabilia offer invaluable historical visual & audio artifacts, documenting the passion of two young women for the Cowboy Western music scene surging from its' Southern California roots following World War II. This quintessential American art form emerged with the advent of sound movies and the consumer's hunger for Western films in all their formats in the depths of the Great Depression, especially for the singing cowboy B-Westerns initially starring Gene Autry, and quickly followed by Roy Rogers. Both Colleen Chapman and Nellie Ferry were fans of the Sons of the Pioneers cowboy singers, and the many groundbreaking spin-off artists, films, radio shows, and television shows that the group would create from 1934 through the 20th Century. The Sons of the Pioneers group was originally named the Pioneer Trio when founded in 1933, and began recording radio shows for Standard Radio in Los Angeles. Bruce Eder in All Music Guide considered them to be the foremost vocal and instrumental group in western music, and the definitive group specializing in cowboy songs influencing generations of musical stars which followed. Their early members included founder Leonard Slye (Roy Rogers), Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer, Hugh and Karl Farr, and are remembered for such classics as "One More Ride," "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," "Ghost Riders," and "Cool Water." These singing cowboys appeared in nearly 100 films, often appearing with other singing cowboys such as Gene Autry, and added their distinct vocal sound to many B-westerns including Hollywood Canteen (1944), The Gay Ranchero (1944), and Melody Time (1948). They even provided the musical background for John Wayne in John Ford's "The Searchers" in 1956, as well as other movies of the period, and are members in the Cowboy Hall of Fame, Western Music Hall of Fame, and the Country Music Hall of Fame. During World War II, American country folk music became mixed with cowboy western, and in the post-World War II era cowboy dress became the preferred style as depicted by cowboy artists in their performances, radio shows, movies, and TV shows. Colleen and Nellie attended radio show performances in Los Angeles, concerts in Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, and other parts of the country including those in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and even Alabama, documenting their trips with photographs, tidbits about their musical heroes, and preparing their fan club fanzine for "Shug Fisher, Sons of the Pioneers Fan Club." Shug Fisher (1907-1984) was born George Clinton Fisher of a Scots-Irish father and Choctaw Native American mother in Oklahoma, who played mandolin, fiddle, and guitar, and moved to Los Angeles where he first appeared with the Hollywood Hillbillies -- later the Beverly Hillbillies, and alongside Roy Rogers on several films. He first joined The Sons of the Pioneers in 1943 as a bass player and comedian appearing on their Lucky U Ranch radio program while working for Lockheed Aircraft during World War II. He also played several character actor roles including Shorty Kellums on the Beverly Hillbillies, and numerous appearances on Gunsmoke. The two women's other Sons of the Pioneers favorite stars included: Hugh (1903-1980) & Karl Farr (1909-1961), considered to be the most important fiddle-and-guitar duo in the history of country & western music, a team of brother virtuosos who brought the vocabulary and dexterity of Jazz into the confines of cowboy songs for more than 25 years, and in fact Karl Farr received one of Fender's very first Telecasters in 1949; Bob Nolan (1908-1980), a Los Angeles based poet, singer, songwriter, and actor whose songs were entirely original cowboy compositions, and is generally regarded as one of the finest western songwriters of all time; Lloyd Perryman (1917-1977) who first performed on KERN radio in Bakersfield, CA, before moving to Los Angeles where he starred with the 4-S Ranch Boys, before taking over for Tim Spencer in The Sons of the Pioneers, and Roy Rogers when he left the group for his film career. At the same time they also attended many different concerts of other artists, whom they socialized with and knew personally -- many of them groundbreaking stars, and a number of them women artists. They even included a photograph album in this collection devoted to Ann Jones and her Western Sweethearts -- the first all girl band in Country & Western music, and considered one of the best country voices of the early 1950s, even including a photograph of Nellie Ferry interviewing Ann Jones at Vancouver, WA radio station KVAN; photosgraph of June Carter and the Carter sisters, Anita, and Helen, and their mother Maybelle Carter; as well as photographs of Rose Maddox & the Maddox Bros. which was a Modesto, CA based band performing from 1937 to 1956, playing honky tonks from the Pacific Northwest through California rocking their audiences with a slap-bass boogie, and an iconoclastic attitude towards the more traditional cowboy music; Jean Shepard (1933-2016) a Visalia, CA singer who first played with the Melody Ranch Girls near Bakersfield, CA in 1948, discovered by Hank Thompson, and toured the country with Ferlin Huskey, and whose husband Hawkshaw Hawkins tragically died with Patsy Cline in a 1963 plane crash; and even Judy Lynn (1936-2010), a former Miss Idaho and talented singer who filled in for Jean Shepard while on tours. Of additional interest are the photographs, signed photographs, and notes from such artists as Eddy Arnold (1918-2008) who dominated Country Western music radio in the post-War era, and hosted his own radio show; Tommy Collins (1930-2000) who helped create the Bakersfield sound of country music, and enjoyed a string of hits during the mid-1950s; Ken Curtis (1916-1999), Western movie star, singing cowboy, sang with Tommy Dorsey, and was then lead singer of the Sons of the Pioneers, recording Ghost Riders in the Sky, Lefty Frizzell (1928-1975) who was the definitive honky tonk singer whose vocal styles set the style for generations of singers that followed, and whose music influenced George Jones, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, George Strait, and others; T. Texas Tyler (1916-1972) charismatic western singer through the 1940s and 1950s who began his rise on daily appearances at radio stations in Long Beach and Los Angeles, CA, appeared at Carnegie Hall in 1949, and later hosted his own television show, Range Round Up based in Los Angeles. Signed photographs in the archive which were presented to Colleen and Nellie include such artists as: The Sons of the Pioneers, Shug Fisher, Lefty Frizzell, Ann Jones, Ole Rasmussen, Doye O’Dell, Ernest Tubb, Randall Parker, Wade Ray, Jean Shepard, Ferlin Huskey, Hawkshaw Hawkins, T. Texas Tyler, Slim Whitman, Eddy Arnold, and many others. The bootleg records included with the archive encompass numerous performances by the Sons of the Pioneers in Portland, an interview with Hank Williams, Sr. in 1950, and many more. Nellie Ferry (1912-1972), who worked in radio at KVAN, and other radio stations in Portland, and hosted radio interviews and shows for Country Western stars, and was head of the T. Texas Tyler fan club. Her husband Earnest V. Ferry (1907-1960) worked as a machinist for the Union Pacific, and also operated Ferry's Foto service which supplied photographs for Country Western fan clubs. Chapman (1930-1999) attended Milwaukee and Franklin High Schools, was an avid amateur photographer, aspired to be a reporter, and entered Lewis & Clark College in 1947, before founding the Shug Fisher Fan Club in Portland, OR, and became its President, and primary contact with the Sons of the Pioneers, and other cowboy western musical groups. See: Lawrence Anderson, Music of the West and Famous Singing Cowboys (2014); Brunvand, American Folklore: An Encyclopedia, pp. 348-350. Archive. 1st - Three vols. (2 binders & 1 case): 4to. With 631 photographs (including 104 film negatives), sized from 2 x 3 in. up to 8 x 10 in., over 150 of them signed, at least 40 % with annotations on versos in pen, pencil, or printed within the negative or lower blanks of the images, manuscript text on remnants of scrapbook leaves with mounted photographs, some hand-colored, some color photographs (chipping & fraying to many of the scrapbook leaves, soiling to some of the photographs, minor dampstaining, minor damage and tears to about 60 of the photographs, some with old tape along fore-edges, or on backs), preserved in two 3-ring binders, and case, stamping on front covers; 2nd - 4to. [50 pp (unpaginated)]. With 62 photographs, on verso, several signed by the artists, all adhered to self-adhesive pages, mylar overlays. Recent green simulated leather photo album, gilt lettering stamped on front cover; 3rd - 4to. [40 pp (unpaginated).] With 47 photographs sized from 3 x 4 in. up to 8 x 10 in., many with annotations, several signed by the artists, all adhered to self-adhesive pages, mylar overlays, with ALS to Nellie Ferry from Tex Tyler, 5 miscellaneous pieces of VG exemplar. 7th-10th -- 4to. [1], 28 leaves, w/ 5 tipped-in photographs, numerous text illustrations; [18 leaves (unnumbered).] w/ 3 tipped-in photos; 23 leaves, with numerous text illustrations, printed on assorted color papers; 11th -- 4to. [16 pp (unpaginated).] With photograph illustrations, text illustrations, color-printed softcovers (chewing, predation to lower right corner), still G- reference copy, from library of Colleen Chapman; 12th -- 4to. 64 pp. Numerous photograph illustrations, double-page photograph centerfold, color-illustrated softcovers, minor shelfwear, NF copy; 13th -- 4to. [8 pp (unpaginated)], photograph illustrated throughout, numerous signatures of assorted Country Western artists autographed signed, color-illustrated softcovers (minor creasing, edgewear), still VG copy; 14th -- 4to. [12 pp (unpaginated).], numerous photograph illustrations, color illustrated softcovers (light uniform interior toning), VG copy; 15th -- 4to. [44 pp (unpaginated).], lyrics & music bars, photograph illustrations, color-illustrated softcovers, signed by Thompson on front cover, 3 band members on back cover (minor soiling, edgewear), still VG- copy; 16th -- Oblong 4to. Album containing 78 albums for T.Texas Tyler (some soiling to front pastedown, edgewear, minor wear to shellac surfaces), still VG-; 17th -- Box of recordable 45 rpm and 78 rpm 7, 9 & 10 in. bootleg records cut on personal disc-cutting players at radio stations and live performances, some in red and black shellac, most with steel cores between the platters, hand-written labels on the centers. Overall a very good, impressive archive of cowboy and Western memorabilia by two women who dedicated their lives to its attainment.

Inventory Number: 45461