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and Bill Josey Jr., Sonobeat set the stage for the Capital City's musical legacy.

3) Music | Cultural Expressions in the 1960s

The Zack organization became the biggest country music promoters in New England, booking the stars, producing the shows, and appearing on every bill as a support act

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So great were the talents of the Zackarian brothers that it can be said they would have excelled in whatever musical style they chose to pursue. Edward was a fine upright bassist and guitarist with a strong and unique singing voice. Richard had been blessed with a high baritone voice, bordering on tenor, which was sweet, but nonetheless extremely powerful and emotive. There’s no question they would have succeeded in any style, but it was country and western they chose.

Like soul music, it was also popular with mods and their ofshoots: the skinheads , suedeheads , casuals and scooterboys

Other musicians who performed regularly with the Dude Ranchers in the late 1940s and early ’50s included guitarist Will Harris, steel guitarist/guitarist Jackie Herbert, fiddler Rocky Carroll, bassist Walter Campbell, percussionist Russ “Tarzan” Johnson, steel guitarist Eddie Cunningham, bassist Harold Allen, accordionist Jackie Menna, and guitarist/fiddler/comedian Frank Moon who starred as “Sad Sack” on the Hayloft Jamboree television broadcasts.

First hand accounts abound, the true stories of what it was like to make music in Texas in the 1960s.

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Eddie, always an astute businessman, recognized the rapid growth of the country market and moved quickly to take advantage of the situation and establish the family on the national scene. In 1949, he began hosting his own country music program on WHIM, incorporating the Western Serenaders into the band. He formed an independent record company, Dude Ranch Records, to release recordings by the group. They released five singles on 78 rpm records over the next three years which found great success on radio all over New England. This series of records established Eddie’s modus operandi for the act with different sides featuring Richie, Babs, and The Western Serenaders trio with Maril in order to provide the programmers with as many viable choices for airtime as possible. One of the records, “The Shenandoah Waltz” featuring Richie, sold 10,000 copies in the Northeast and the national press began to take notice. Their last release on Dude Ranch in 1949 shot out of the box so fast that Eddie knew that they’d never be able to meet the demand and would require a major label to handle distribution.

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One musician who signed on in 1947 became a lifetime member of the group: steel guitarist Tony Poccia contributed a style which became an important voice in developing the band’s unique and original sound.

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Toward the end of 1954, the band was signed to Columbia Records. A series of successful releases utilizing Richie, Babs and Maril as lead vocalists or in different combinations followed over the next couple of years. There were no smash hits, but the records performed well in crucial markets nationwide including “Lover-Lover (Why Must We Part)” released as Eddie Zack and Cousin Richie which reached #42 on the Music Vendor Country Chart on May 16, 1955 during an eight week chart run. The band’s popularity continued to grow. In fact, so popular were The Dude Ranchers that they once managed to perform forty-five one-nighters in a row! While with Columbia, the Zacks continued their successful association with WCOP in Boston and began billing themselves for package shows in southern New England with the other COP regulars as Eddie Zack & The Hayloft Jamboree although they continued to use The Dude Ranchers for their Columbia releases.

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Eddie returned home after one tour of duty and reformed the band, shortening the name to The Dude Ranchers. He spent the next few years gigging steadily, building a following, and introducing more and more southern New Englanders to country and western music. The band’s personnel changed from year to year.