Amoeblog

Billie Maxwell - The Cow Girl Singer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 5, 2009 09:00pm | Post a Comment

The 1920s and ‘30s were full of cowgirl singers like the Girls of the Golden West (Millie and Dolly Good), Patsy Montana and Texas Ruby, most of whom were just as inauthentic as their better known male counterparts like Gene Autry and the Sons of the Pioneers. However, one western performer was the real deal: Billie Maxwell.

                      Springerville Arizona
One of the two known photos of Billie Maxwell (left), Springerville, Arizona in the 1920s (right).

Billie Maxwell was born in 1906 and raised near Springerville, Arizona, same place where Ike Clanton, one of the Missourian players in the Gunfight at the OK Corral, was shot dead by a detective not 20 years earlier. Her father, E. Curtis Maxwell, was locally renowned as a fiddler who'd amassed a massive repertoire of songs learnt from his father, William Beatty Maxwell, an Illinoisan who’d moved first to Nevada and then Arizona in the 1800s. Curtis Maxwell formed a string band called the White Mountain Orchestra who toured (on horseback) the ranches in the area, playing dances. Not only did Maxwell know many traditional songs, but he composed his own work too, including “Escudilla Waltz” and “Frolic of the Mice.” In her teenage years, Billie joined her father’s band, where she played guitar alongside her brother, Marion, who played mandolin. Eventually she occasionally struck out on her own, performing solo shows in the backcountry.


In 1929, at the age of 23, she married a local schoolteacher, Alvin Chester Warner, and settled down to raise a family. A few months later, in June, her uncle Frank Maxwell (a lawman over in Silver City) noticed a classified in the local paper advertising an upcoming field recording session for Victor over in El Paso. At an audition, the White Mountain Orchestra were deemed worthy and two weeks later Chester Warner drove his wife, Marion, Curtis and Frank to a recording session where they met Ralph Peer.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE 2

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 27, 2007 01:20pm | Post a Comment
Another round of well executed, attention grabbing promotional sales stickers.  A very transitory artform as said stickers are almost always attached to the outer shrink wrap, most of them get thrown away as soon as an LP is opened for play .  In vinylandia we often come across NOS Long Players or records that have their shrink  wrap preserved and once in a while a brilliant little piece of advertising art will still be on that shrink.  Here's this weeks finds...

            "lasts a full hour and is designed to be repeated
             endlessly without fatigue or boredom."

            
             a bit from the mission statement from the
             Environments LP series website, a run of
             "psychoacoustical" field recordings that
             evidently made some big promises to their
             listeners. I'll have to give it a try next summer...
            



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