Lorne Greene, Welcome To The Ponderosa, RCA LSP-2843, 1964
Welcome to the Ponderosa, and one of the strangest #1 records of all time. I had seen lists of the top records of 1964 long before I ever heard Ringo, and with it being the year of The Beatles and all, I just assumed that the song the knocked The Shangri Las Leader Of The Pack from the top spot was an ode to the famous drummer. It’s not as if the song got any airplay at all. Finding this album though, I learned that Ringo tells the tale of Johnny Ringo, one of many tedious western tales talk-sung by TV’s own Ben Cartwright.
Bonanza was the biggest shows on TV in 1964, not necessarily because it stood out from any other western show, but because it was one of the few that was shot and aired in color. Anyone catching a rerun today would be mystified about it having any success at all. But with the show NBC’s biggest hit and NBC owning RCA Records, several Bonanza albums were released. Ringo’s success proves that even as late as December 1964, Rock & Roll was just one genre of popular music.
This isn’t really a soundtrack album. Even the famous Bonanza theme is re-recorded with pretty awful original lyrics. Greene had an amazing voice, but he wasn’t much of a singer. The songs are all mini western dramas, and most come with a spoken introduction that sets the stage for the tale that follows. Unfortunately, what follows is as dated as the show. It’s an interesting find, but not really one with spending 29 minutes with, let alone an evening.
Cost: $2, $308 Remaining