This is one of my all-time favorite Soundies.
Okay, I know that I’ve said that many times before, but Git Along Little Pony with the Wakely Trio is a very joyful three minutes of Western Swing. For our clip description we’ll rely partly on a discussion of Jimmy Wakely’s career from an earlier post.
If one wanted to create a triumvirate of great singing cowboys from the 1930s and ’40s, Gene Autrey would place first, followed closely by Roy Rogers. Who might hold the third spot is a question of personal taste. Many would argue in favor of Tex Ritter, but Jimmy Wakely would certainly be in the running.
In 1937, while still in his early twenties, Wakely formed a western band called the Blue Bells. In 1940 Wakely moved to California to appear on Gene Autry’s “Melody Ranch” radio series. He soon landed a Decca recording contract that helped launch a busy and prolific career as a recording artist, stage performer, and motion picture star. Wakely’s screen debut, uncredited, was in a Roy Rogers oater from 1939 titled Saga of Death Valley.
In the 1940s Wakely appeared with growing prominence in a succession of feature films, often with his trio. He was a regular screen presence throughout the decade, and beginning in 1944 he starred in more than thirty features produced by the beloved Monogram. His popularity was such that the character he played on screen was named “Jimmy Wakely.”
“Git Along Little Pony” is a tuneful piece by Brad Brown, a composer who usually wrote religious tunes. Additional lyrics were added by Minoco tunesmith and Jack-of-all-trades Charles Abbott.
The Wakely Trio, as it was credited in the original release, included Jimmy on lead vocal and guitar; Johnny Bond, guitar and vocal; and Dick Reinhardt, string bass and vocal. This is the trio that is usually seen in Wakely’s “B” Westerns. For this series of Soundies, Paul Sells (accordion) and Carl Cotner (violin) are added on both soundtrack and screen. Their names are strangely omitted on all contract materials, although their presence is verified by musicologist Kevin Coffey.
This series was produced in the third week of October 1941. Western Swing historian Wayne Daniels notes, “That was a busy couple of weeks for Wakely. While in New York, he appeared with Gene Autry at the Madison Square Garden Rodeo and recorded four sides for Decca.” A busy couple of weeks indeed, and lots of wonderful music!