Album: Oklahoma- 1955
The smooth voiced Les Gilliam has just released another CD and again this new album of 14 Cuts is truly a gem. In addition to Les' very enjoyable voice the project is loaded with Western Swing played by a grouping of some wonderful musicians.
Again, one of the most prominent players is the album steel guitarist, Curt Shoemaker. Gary Howe plays some very enjoyable fiddle and as in Les' previous CD, Terry Scarberry plays electric and acoustic guitars. The album features other fine musicians from Les' previous CD, Dave Copenhaver, the bassist, the pianist Dennis Borycki and Steve Short, the drummer. Morris McCraven plays tenor saxophone and again Stephanie Short is heard on background vocals.
The album opens with an awesome Western Swing tribute tune written by Les called Oklahoma-1955. Les then goes to Bob Wills for My Window Faces the South, Keeper of My Heart, Ida Red, Lee Ross' Heart to Heart Talk, Across the Alley from the Alamo from the Tiffany sessions and Billy Jack Wills and Tiny Moore's Lily Dale, recorded both by Bob and brother Billy Jack. Les goes to Duke Ellington for Don't Get Around Much Anymore and to a 1930's Bing Crosby movie for Johnny Mercer's I'm an Old Cowhand. Les now gives his treatment to Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster's Secret Love, done over the years by Doris Day, Slim Whitman, Tony Booth and Red Steagall just to mention a few. Les also remembers Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart's You Belong to Me, a hit for both Jo Stafford and Patti Page. The remaining tune is My Happiness, a hit for Jon and Sondra Steele in the 40s and Connie Francis in the 50s. Now we can enjoy Les' version.
The CD can be purchased by mail for $17 each, post paid from Eagle Enterprises, P.O. Box 350, Ponca City, OK 74602.
Mike Gross, WVOF-FM, Fairfield, CT