Thursday, September 21, 2006

R.I.P. Don Walser

I don't remember when I first heard Don Walser, probably when I was at DJing at KVRX while getting my first degree. I do remember the shiver I felt when I heard his incredibly beautiful yodel. At KVRX there are requirements that DJs exhibit some genre diversity and a Texas component. I played Don Walser's "Cowpoke" regularly partly because he met two requirements at once, but mostly because the power and clarity of the yodeling gave me goosebumps.

I saw him a half-dozen times in the mid-'90s. He was great live with a tight backing band. My favorite time was when he played with Kronos Quartet at Bass Concert Hall. The Quartet was a fan of his and put togther some string arrangements for two of his songs. That arrangement of "Rose Marie" was then recorded for his next album. When they finished playing at Bass, there was a long standing ovation. Knowing they had to give an encore but having prepared nothing else, Walser et al. just played the two songs again. It was wonderful.

Walser stopped performing some time ago due to his declining health. I'm sad to say that I forgot about him until I heard the news of his death yesterday. I pulled out Rolling Stone from Texas and "Cowpoke" thrilled me all over again.

Cowpoke (from the album Rolling Stone from Texas)
Rose Marie (from the album Down at the Sky-Vue Drive-In)

1 comment:

  1. I'd forgotten about that show,. Man that was cool. Thanks for the tracks.