rand’s esoteric otr

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Smile-A-While, Aug 3, 1951, WLS aircheck

May 25th, 2008

In this post, a local early morning country music radio show, "Smile-A-While", originally broadcast on WLS, Chicago, on August 3rd, 1951. This is an incomplete recording of the program, preserved on a Chicago-Webster recording wire by an amateur that captured it directly off the air. I'm basing the dating of the show on the program contents, which mentions an upcoming WLS Barn Dance show at the Illinois State Fair and the relationship of Frank Sinatra and Eva Gardner.

The show features as performers the Sage Riders, with Dolph Hewitt and Don White taking solo duties. Announcer Bill Dwayne is also heard in the program. You can read more about the Sage Riders at hillbilly-music.com.

Songs include "On Top of Old Smokey", "When the Chapel Bells Are Ringing", "Fisher's Hornpipe", "My Rocky Mountain Sweetheart", "I Only Want a Buddy, Not a Sweetheart", "Old Skyball Paint", "When Jesus Beckons Me Home" and part of an unidentified fiddle instrumental.

This wire is part of a set that was given to me with a vintage 1947 Lear wire recorder. The owner used it mainly to record family events and individual songs off of the radio; this is one of few times it was used to simply record a major part of a radio program. (You can read more about the wire recorder at my personal home page here.) Amateur wires and tapes from the 1950s may be one of the "last frontiers" in finding previously lost radio shows. I've found some recordings of television programs and radio shows scattered on amateur tapes and they're worth looking through - you never know what you might find.

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