Each month guitar picker and Webmaster BOB HOWE covers a different topic, as well as bringing you the latest Country Music happenings on the Internet. You can surf your way from month to month, or why not bookmark the main index for the complete contents!

CYBER COWBOY Cowboys In Cybersp@ce - May 1998 CYBER COWBOY

By Bob Howe © 1998

"The Times They Are A-Changin'"

Frank Ifield & Smoky Dawson Frank Ifield was making a speech at the launch of his new album "The Fire Still Burns". A self confessed veteran of showbiz, (and a pioneer Australian Country Music success overseas), Frank had been introduced to the gathering by one of the few personalities to outnumber him in years, Smoky Dawson. Gathered on the "Dot Strong Terrace" at the ABC Radio Centre were media luminaries and several of his ABC label-mates including Jim Haynes, Don Spencer, and Mitchell Shadlow. First Smoky and Frank reminisced together, then Frank continued to talk about the technological advances he has lived through. At his first recording sessions for the Regal Zonophone label in the early 50's, he recalled that singers were lucky to get more than two attempts at committing a song to disc. The song had to be recorded in one complete take and that's how it would remain for posterity! By way of contrast, Frank explained how his latest release had been recorded in various stages in England and the U.S., and finally polished into a complete album here in Australia. You can now read all about it and even order your own copy on the Internet! What an amazing era we live in!

Ian Betteridge is another Australian artist taking advantage of the latest technology. Visit www.recorddeal.com and you will find a small selection of CD's being promoted using the "streaming" sound technology. When you peruse the "Country" category and select Ian's "The Writing Side Of Me" album, the featured track "The Wedding Song" automatically begins to play over your computer! While you listen you can read how "The Wedding Song" has been recorded in several countries and has been to the top of the Hit Parade in Ireland twice, is a big hit in the U.K., and featured in the Hollywood movie "Blown Away". Select the "Lone Star" CD and "My Special Place" strikes up. This site has an unexpected element: when the songs finish, the next artist's song begins automatically unless you choose something else. Another new site belongs to "The greatest live act in Australia" (according to Mort Fist, Northern Daily Leader, 1997 ) T.J. Dennis. Anyone who has a room named after them at the Tamworth Festival is bound to have a Web site, and here it is. Meet the members of The Wham Bam Thank You Band, view T.J.'s photo gallery (love the shot with Fat Cat), and download sound-bites from her latest album "TJ's Diner".

Kitty Wells Visiting our shores In April, Kitty Wells, the "Queen of Country Music". "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" recorded in 1952, was her first number one song and she was the first female to sell a million records and reach number one in the country field. You can now visit Miss Kitty on-line. Read how in 1937 Kitty married Johnny Wright , who is also a legend in Country Music. Together they began a career in country entertainment that has spanned 60 years. Check out the new Kitty Wells Cookbook Volume III, 168 pages of recipes that include country family recipes that have been handed down over the years, as well as some Italian, Tex-Mex, Cajun and Hawaiian dishes. Explore what "The Junction Recording Studio" has to offer, and even check out some Nashville Real Estate opportunities, all from the same site! Speaking of visitors, we received E-mail from Texas to tell us that Dale Watson is so happy with the Australian-made Tomkins guitar that he took home, that he has "retired" his "Tele" and is playing the Tomkins "Diamondtina II" full-time.

In the very first Cowboys In Cybersp@ce article we mention how Web site addresses were everywhere, even on the side of the local bus. Full marks then, to the The Shania Twain International On-Line Fan Club who recently sat in the audience of "The Midday Show" holding a giant banner with their Internet location displayed for the National television audience to see. Visit www.shania.com and your eyes will be bombarded by the feast of information available. Bob Howe and David Allan Coe, Nashville If you want something a bit more rebellious, try The Official David Allan Coe site. His biography states that "after nearly three decades in the music industry, singer-songwriter David Allan Coe (pictured right with Bob at the Nashville "Hall Of Fame" 1984) still pushes himself to the limits, both as an artist and entertainer". After reading the schedule on his "Up to Date Tour Information" page, we believe it. This man is busy! Coe's career began to rise after supplying a controversial hit in the form of the eloquent "WOULD YOU LAY WITH ME" (In A Field Of Stone), for a then teenager Tanya Tucker in the early '70s, and the ultimate anti-labour tune, "TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT", which made Johnny Paycheck's career and spawned a million tacky bumper stickers. Which leads us neatly to the Johnny Paycheck site. This one record put Johnny Paycheck's name all over the world, and gave him a taste of what life can be as a celebrity of such magnitude. There were some "detours and potholes" in his career path however. Johnny's advice now, is "be prepared for a lot of hard work. Keep on the straight and narrow and don't be blinded by the excitement. Most important of all, stay away from the drugs and alcohol."

More local snippets:- The Wheel home-page has grown into a fully fledged Web site. You can now find lots of pictures, sounds and an interview with Kim Cheshire and Rod McCormack talking about the tracks off their latest album, "Good Noise". Canadian born singer, songwriter Braden Fox has thrilled audiences around the globe . Now resident in Australia, and a finalist in the last "Starmaker", Braden has just launched a site that includes a lot of useful information and links for songwriters in particular. You can also read how his collaboration with Allan Caswell, "The Self-Righteous Brothers ", is receiving rave reviews. If you've been checking out the previous Cowboys In Cybersp@ce links to Pedal Steel Guitar pages, don't miss Adam Bodkin's tribute to his father, Norm Bodkin. Norm is probably best known for his work on the 400 odd albums that he has been a part of since 1968. Adam has created a delightful MIDI file of a tune Norm wrote entitled 'Wait a Minute'. Last but not least, we stumbled across the ABC Radio presenters profile of "Saturday Night Country" host John Nutting. Find out what his nickname is, and also his thoughts on body piercing!

If you are interested in a broader range of Internet topics or technical issues, have a look at the Sydney Morning Herald's ICON site. There you will find fun stuff, technical help, and "Charlotte's Web", the Internet guide that thinks Cowboys In Cybersp@ce is "cool".

If you want to share the location of an interesting site you’ve seen or request a topic for discussion in future columns, why not E-mail me. Don't forget to listen out for Cowboys in Cybersp@ce each month on the radio waves with Belinda Miller of Murri Country , 4AAA –FM (98.9 in Brisbane). Until next month, happy surfing.

 

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