Monday, December 8, 2014

Edmund Denney with the Pleasant Valley Gang The Melodious Voice Meadowlark Record Co. Unknown Year

Edmund Denney with the Pleasant Valley Gang The Melodious Voice Meadowlark Record Co. Unknown Year No CAT#

Edmund Denney appears to be from Nebraska originally.  He was born blind and attended the Nebraska School for a Blind.  His first spot on the radio was also in Nebraska as part of a talent contest in 1934. This all according to the back cover of this LP. At some point, he made it to Topeka, Kansas, and performed daily on Topeka's WIBW with his Pleasant Valley Gang.

The trio would just fill airtime playing songs from the early morning and later slots throughout the day.  Per the back cover regular shows included, "The Kansas Round Up", "The Dinner Hour", and the "Pleasant Valley Gang". Years ago, this was a common practice in radio, an act would be hired on to fill the out the programming schedule with music. Apparently, Edmund was so beloved in Topeka, the station dubbed him "The Voice of Kansas". Further, the act would frequently play at State Fairs and whoever else may want to see the gang live. They were so successful regionally that they performed on the radio all the way up until the mid-1980's, a time when almost all radio stations moved on from such programs.

The music is pleasant, airy, kind of something you can kind of just hum along to and never get offended by. I wouldn't call Mr. Denney's voice "melodious", but he's got a nice tone, it's again, pleasant. The "Gang" is Denney on vocals and rhythm guitar, Bill Kirk on aaccordion and a Miss Elsa on organ. The sparse accompaniment sometimes gives the music a creepy, carnival feel.  But, mostly, it's easy listening fair with some polka's thrown in. Think Kansas' own version of the variety show done by Lawrence Welk and you're in the ballpark.

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