Don Walser The Texas Plainsmen With Yodeling Donnie Walser (Walser Archive Recordings)
Reviewed by Jerry Renshaw, Fri., Feb. 18, 2000
The Texas Plainsmen With Yodeling Donnie Walser
(Walser Archive Recordings) If you hung out at a VFW or Legion Hall in such West Texas hotspots as Monahans, Lamesa, Big Spring, or Midland in 1964, you may have run into the Texas Plainsmen, with thirtyish Donnie Walser strumming that jumbo Gibson acoustic and yodeling his heart out. A doff of the ten-gallon Resistol is in order for Mark Rubin, the man responsible for unearthing this radio transcription and releasing it. Originating from Midland's KJBC Radio, these broadcasts find Walser front and center of a journeyman Western swing band, with Billy "The Kid" Richter on that big Gretsch takeoff guitar. It's a snapshot of small-town West Texas in the early Sixties, complete with ads for Ken's Midnight Coiffures, Bozo's Burgers, and Allen's Shell between numbers. Walser's tenor is not as seasoned as the voice we're used to today, but it's still unmistakable. If the Plainsmen's theme song sounds familiar, it's because it's the same melody as Patsy Montana's "I Want To Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart." Latter-day Walser fans will recognize "Rolling Stone From Texas"; the enclosed booklet quotes Don as having written the song back in 1951! The band is competent if not spectacular; it's true working-class country music (Walser himself was a mechanic at the time) played by guys who had families to support and felt lucky to come away from a gig with $25 apiece in their pockets. It's also interesting in that very little recorded material from bands of this echelon has survived to this late date. If aliens landed from another planet and wanted to know about what Texas music was like in the early Sixties, this would be the disc to give 'em. Give it a listen and find out where Don Walser's roots truly lie.