Didn't know I knew the lyrics until now. Strange.
Bear with me on this:I first heard this song as a kid - but not this version.My first "Riders In the Sky" was the cover by Spike Jones and the City Slickers.The vocal was shared by "I. W. Harper" (guitarist Dick "Ickey" Morgan, doing a major drunk voice) and Sir Frederick Gas (Earl Bennett, in a piping "nerd" voice).My brother and I had a bunch of Spike's records (early 45s) and drove our parents crazy playing them over and over (the B-side of "Riders" was "Chinese Mule Train", with heavy dialect vocal by Freddy Morgan).Years after fact, I learned that the Slicker version was slightly expurgated at the behest of a major RCA stockholder.In its original version, the record ended with a chorus singing the following:When Johnny comes marching home againHooray, hooray,We'll make the guy who wrote this songPay and pay,'Cause all we hear are "Ghost Riders" Sung by Vaughn Monroe!Morgan: I can do without his singing ...Gas: ... but I wish I had his dough ...I didn't hear those last two lines until a few years ago, when RCA's European line reissued many Jones sides on an LP; on the regular release, they were replaced by a prolonged belch by Dick Morgan.Ah History ...I've also heard a Yiddish dialect version of "Ghost Riders", which Theodore Bikel performed on a show called Swingin' Country sometime, in the '70s.Honestly, your imbed is probably the first straightforward version I've ever heard all the way through.Blame my citified upbringing, I guess ...
Without his teeth in this one, western veteran Tom London could easily be mistaken for Gabby Hayes.
Great song.Ol' Gene has real chops when he gets the chance to put 'em to use on a good song(which wasn't always the case in his movies)don't he?I found it interesting that the line "if you want to save your soul from Hell" was sung by the chorus but not by Gene. Do you reckon that was purposely done to protect his squeaky clean image (can't have Gene cussing)and his code --- or am I reaching too far with my speculation?
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