New West Records is excited to announce the release of On The Air Volumes I & II, two compilations of never before released recordings from the Grammy ® Award winner, Tennessee Ernie Ford. Recorded in 1953 at the renowned Western Recorders on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CA, these songs helped transform Ford into a worldwide star when they were syndicated to over one hundred radio stations around the country and overseas. The compilations were produced by Peter Jesperson (The Replacements, Warren Zevon, Vic Chesnutt), and the tracks were restored by Ford’s son, Buck Ford and mastered by Dave Schultz (Frank Sinatra, Everly Brothers, Ray Charles). The release will be available digitally on November 8, 2011.
Ford’s unparalleled talents transcend time as they have been recognized by famed composer/pianist Stan Kenton, who declared him as “Maybe the best singer in American popular music” while more recent contemporaries such as acclaimed songwriter/producer Nick Lowe paid homage to Ford by exclaiming in Billboard Magazine “He sounded like he was from another planet.” On The Air Volumes I & IIare comprised of 28 memorable songs chosen from over 500 recordings. Along with Ford’s ever appealing rich baritone voice, the compilations feature The Billy Liebert Band, whose members include Billy Liebert on accordion, George Bruns on bass and trombone, guitarist Billy Strange, pedal steel virtuoso Speedy West, and violinist/clarinetist Harold Hensley.
Starting as a DJ in San Bernardino, Ford crafted his charismatic radio personality “Tennessee Ernie” eventually drawing interest from Capitol talent scout Cliffie Stone, who helped Ford sign with the label in 1948. Delivering a number of singles in the early 1950s, Ford’s popularity skyrocketed to new heights with the release of “Sixteen Tons” which spent ten weeks at number one on the country chart and eight weeks at number one on the pop chart. Branching out into even more successful pursuits, Ford starred as a host in his own variety television program “The Ford Show” in 1956, released his first gospel album “Hymns” in 1956, and won a Grammy for his album “Great Gospel Songs” in 1964.
Rounding out his prolific career, Ford garnered three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for radio, recording, and television, and was inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame (1990) and Gospel Music Hall of Fame (1994). In addition to his long line of achievements, Ford was also the recipient of the highest civilian award when President Reagan bestowed upon him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984.
In celebration of an electrifying 50-year career, the 28 carefully chosen tracks from On The Air Volumes I & II commemorate the legacy of one of America’s greatest entertainers, and remind us why Tennessee Ernie Ford remains a beloved figure in all of American music and beyond.
On The Air Volumes I & II Track Listing:
1. Kiss Me Big
2. Catfish Boogie
3. Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey
4. Ain’t Misbehavin’
5. Gone Fishin’
6. I Never Knew I Could Love Anybody
8. My Mother’s Eyes
9. On The Sunny Side of The Street
10. Dude Cowboy
11. You’re Nobody’s Sweetheart Now
12. Born To Lose
13. Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
14. Young At Heart
1. Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone
2. Hey Mr. Cotton Picker
3. Sweet Sue
4. Mama Don’t Like No Music
5. Cool Water
6. Sleepy Time Gal
7. You Don’t Have To Be A Baby To Cry
8. Ain’t She Sweet
9. The Tennessee Local
10. Bright Lights And Blonde Haired Women
11. Sunday Down In Tennessee
12. River Of No Return
13. Oh Happy Day
14. My Blue Heaven