Now available exclusively on
The Ken Curtis Appreciation Site!
here CD's are sorta unlawsome, but I just want to share,
don't you see? However, I can't actual afford to give 'em
away. So, I'm askin' $12 a piece fer 'em. If that sounds
like a pearl-button-bangle-billy to you, here's the order
Click on the CD covers above to find out more.
who grew up with Festus' distinctive high pitched twang
ringing in their ears (and I can just hear it now), have
no idea that Ken Curtis had one of the finest voices ever
to grace vinyl and the silver screen.
Ken began his career in Hollywood as a NBC radio staff singer,
then went on to become a big band vocalist. His next step
up was to singing cowboy in a series of films for Columbia.
I don't have any samples from his pre-film career yet, but
I do have a few from a couple of the early films, Lone
Star Moonlight (1946) and Singing on the Trail
The films themselves are amazingly silly, largely because
of the contemporary post-war western "laugh-happy action
musical" scripts and the "novelty" band the
Hot Shots, who add their "special" brand of
music and comedy to all Ken's singing cowboy films. Nonetheless,
Ken's singing contributions to the films are sublime and
he also wrote the title song for Lone Star Moonlight.
Bend an ear to these tunes (and forgive the sound quality,
the films weren't in great condition):
if I ever get mad at you just sing to me Jean White
[Joan Barton, Lone Star Moonlight]
Memories of the Lucky U Ranch
joined the Sons
of the Pioneers as a lead singer from 1949 to 1952.
Now, for the seemingly ever increasing number of people
who are saying, "who were they?", the Sons of
the Pioneers were and are the foremost western vocal group
in history. Ken's big hits with the group included "Room
Full of Roses" and "Riders in the Sky".
The Sons also worked in radio and on film soundtracks, including
Rio Grande (1950), for director John Ford, who was
a big fan.
Haggen, bless his heart, did not put an end to Ken Curtis'
singing career. In fact, he loved to sing his ownself (made
up songs, in particular) and did so on some rare but welcome
occasions in his early Gunsmoke days. In the episode
"Once a Haggen" (1964) Festus sings quite a bit
Shiney Black Horses, composed by Ken Curtis.
made two albums during his Gunsmoke run: Festus Sings
'n Talks 'Bout Dodge City 'n Stuff and Gunsmoke's
Festus Haggen Calls Out Ken Curtis. He performed a few
of the songs in his earlier Gunsmoke episodes, including
The Ballad of Hawg Haggen and Cornbread and
Buttermilk. Ken wrote most of the monologues and songs
on the first album.
album cover for Festus Sings 'n Talks 'Bout Dodge City
(Some material was contributed by Pat Buttram and Shug Fisher.)
The second album included classics from his
Sons of the Pioneers era, such as Tumblin' Tumbleweeds
and Cool Water.
The first album cover for Festus Sings
'Bout Dodge City and Stuff
tells the story of Pete and Repeat.
From the LP Festus
Sings 'n Talks 'Bout Dodge City 'n Stuff
was a woman in our town had a set of twin boys named Pete
and Repeat. I'll never forget them. They was so much apart
you couldn't tell 'em alike. Even their own Ma couldn't
tell one from the other. One time old Pete done something
bad and she give Repeat a lickin' and Pete never did know
the difference. Repeat did though. 'Nother time old Pete
was sick and she give repeat the castor oil and old Pete
never did know the difference. Repeat did though. Then
old Repeat he was a fixin' to get married. You know what
old Pete done? He got up early one morning went over to
her house. They eloped and he got married to that girl.
And the girl never did know the difference. Repeat did
Other selections from
Festus Sings 'n Talks 'Bout Dodge City 'n Stuff
Ballad of Hawg Haggen
Corn Bread and Buttermilk
Phooey on You Little Darlin'
Youre Nothin but an "It"
Las Vegas, Nevada
first sang The Ballad
of Hawg Haggen on the 1964 Gunsmoke
episode Comanches is Soft. The lyrics seem
to vary depending on Festus' mood and circumstances.
Hometown is really more Ken Curtis than
it is Festus. And he does some mighty fine singin'.
This is another album from the Gunsmoke years.
A Town Called I Love You
Maybe It's Because
One Good Horse, One Good Dog and one Good Woman
Ode to a Mule
The Hawk He's in the Pine Tree
Was It Rain
LP ON DOT (COLUMBIA) DLP 25859
be sure to come back soon, because I'll be adding new
stuff. And maybe this ain't a good time to mull on this
here, but just remember sharing music and Festus file
swapping is sorta unlawsome.