Monday, July 11, 2011

The Ramrods

RamrodsSo how many female drummers can you name? OK, Karen Carpenter, easy. Maureen Tucker, also good. Ever hear of Claire Lane? Founder of (and drummer for) the Ramrods. Remember that for your next trivia evening.

They only had one hit.

The Ramrods:

(Ghost) Riders In The Sky – So take the greatest melody you could possibly write, add lyrics that start off with an aura of mystery and grace, but wind up being miserably trite, and you have (Ghost) Riders In The Sky aka Ghost Riders In The Sky aka Riders In The Sky aka (Ghost) Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend) etc. Vaughan Monroe put it on the chart in 1949, and Peggy Lee had a crack at it as did Frankie Laine, and The Sons Of The Pioneers, and Johnny Cash put it out relatively late in his career though while still on Columbia. It was the Ramrods, though, who came up with the only real way to salvage the song – get rid of the lyrics altogether, add sound effects that sound like the round up from hell, and play it as an instrumental, with guitar that sounds like Duane Eddy on steroids – more echo than the grand canyon, more tremolo than Jim Nabors. It was the only hit the group ever had, but it is recordings like this that make obsessions like mine worthwhile. From the winter of 1961.

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