Tag Archives: Western Music Association

Issue 372 – Wesley Tuttle & Les Anderson

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

The Paregien Journal     –     Issue 372     –     Jan.  18, 2018   –     A Periodic Publication

Wesley Tuttle & Les Anderson: 

Legends of Country-Western Music

by Stan Paregien

The following photos bring back some of my fondest memories of wonderful friends and sweet, sweet music.

2008-0929- Albuquerque, NM - WMA Festival - MarilynTuttle - Stan Paregien - Betty Anderson - Nov, 208 - by P Paregien

One photo  is of me with Mrs. Wesley Tuttle (Marilyn, on my right) and Mrs. Les “Carrot Top” Anderson (Betty) on my left. Their late husbands were well-known country-western singers and musicians who performed in concerts, on radio shows, and on TV shows such as the popular “Town Hall Party” show which airred in the Los Angeles area. The photo was taken in Albuquerque, NM at the Festival of the Western Music Association in late November of 2008 by Peggy Paregien.

Wesley Tuttle (b. Dec., 1917 in Lamar, Colorado; d. Sept. 29, 2003) had a bunch of hit songs during the 1940s and 1950s. Some of his best-known include his hits in 1945, “With Tears in My Eyes (# 1)” and  “Detour (There’s a Muddy Road Ahead; #4),” “I Wish I’d Never Met Sunshine (a #5 hit in 1946),”  “Tho’ I Tried (I Can’t Forget You; # 4 in 1946)” and “Never,” a duet with his wife which was a # 15 hit in 1947.  He also appeared as a singer and/or musician in a lot of the “B-Western” movies.

1955--005-- B Town Hall Party TV show - 60dpi

1955--005-- C Town Hall PartyTVshow - 600 dpi

Marilyn Tuttle often performed with her husband, Wes, and was in a trio which sang backup for Jimmy Wakely for a long time. 


When Wesley was converted to Christ, he gave up his career in country music because of the travel, the environment and the types of music he was expected to perform. So he and Marilyn started a career in gospel music. They not only produced most of their own LP-albums but those of many other individuals and groups in gospel music. Later, because his vision was rapidly declining, he was forced to give up performing at all.

1999-054-A Tucson, AZ - Stan Paregien -Wes Tuttles - Suzy Hamblen at WMA Festival

Peggy and I got to know and to love Wesley and Marilyn Tuttle just a few years before his death in 2003. We are still in touch with lovely Marilyn. She continues living in their long-time house in San Fernando, Calif., and reigns as the virtual Queen of many cowboy-western music events across the country.

Here is just a few of the music videos you’ll find at YouTube.com featuring Wesley Tuttle:

Detour (1945)

Wesley Tuttle And His Texas Stars


I Want To Be Wanted (1945)


With Tears in My Eyes (1945)


Until Dawn (1946)


I’d Trade All Of My Tomorrows (1946)


When Payday Rolls Around

With Marilyn Tuttle, & Speedy West on the steel guitar


Strawberry Roan


Hey Good Lookin’ (1957)

(Wes and Marilyn Tuttle on Town Hall Party)


A Broken Promise Means a Broken Heart


The Yodeling Boogie

(with admiring Marilyn in it, too)


If You Don’t, Somebody Else Will  – with Johnny Bond


What A Day That Will Be

Wesley & Marilyn Tuttle singing gospel

Until Then (1988)

Wesley & Marlyn Tuttle singing gospel

Oh, hey, I just ran across a recent music video in which Marilyn Tuttle joins with several other singers at the last show of the 1917 Festival of the Western Music Association in Albuquerque, NM. She has long, blond hair and is wearing a black vest and a bright blue sweater. It is wonderful to see her still involved in the music scene. They are performing a lovely song I had never heard before, “If I hadn’t Seen the West.”

Then there is the photo of me with Mrs. Les “Carrot Top” Anderson, also taken in Albuquerque in 2008.

2008-0930 Albuquerque, NM Western Music Assn - -S Paregien & Betty Anderson - by P Paregien


Betty’s late husband Les, was born in Arkansas on Feb. 20, 1921 and died in Ollala, British Columbia in Canada on Oct. 4, 2001. Early on he frequently sang and played his guitar or the steel guitar with the famous western swing bandleader Bob Wills.

Les was nicknamed “Red” back then, because of his bright red hair. But for some reason Bob didn’t like that nickname. So eventually someone tagged Les with  “Carrot Top.” He decided to go with the flow and designed his fancy western outfits with large carrots on the front. He played steel guitar with Bob and the Texas Playboys for about four years, from 1942 until the legendary steel guitarist Leon McAuliff returned from World War II in 1946.

Then from 1946 through 1949, Les Anderson was both a soloist and a musician with Spade Cooley & His Orchestra. Cooley’s band (which was first Jimmy Wakely’s band, until he gave it up for the movies) was more mainstream than that of Bob Wills and he was sort of a Glen Miller in a customized cowboy outfit. Les recorded several songs with him.

Over the years Les recorded such ditties as, “My Baby Buckaroo,” “Teardrops on the Roses,” “The Girl Who Invented Kissin’,” “Hoein’ Cotton,” “I’m Hog-tied Over You,” and one novelty song which  my ol’ country cousin Jerry Paregien memorized when we were kids, “Hey, Okie, If You See Arkie.” 

Anderson, Les singer - 03 group - Cliffie Stone's 'Home Town Jamboree' 1200 X 600 dpi

Cliffie Stone was not only a musician and performer himself, but he was a smart businessman and promoter. He began managing the careers of other entertainers, and then started his own highly popular TV show, “Cliffie Stone’s Home Town Jamboree.” It was so popular it pushed Spade Cooley’s TV off the air and replaced it.

Anderson, Les singer - 05 cover of radio transcriptions - 500 X 600 dpi'

Then Les started a six-year run, from 1950 to 1956, being a featured singer and musician doing live concerts and live radio and TV shows with the “Town Hall Party” clan of performers. They performed several times a week at a dance hall in Compton, California and those shows were widely seen throughout southern California.

Anderson, Les singer - 04 color photo on record cover' -- 500 X 600 dpi

After that gig, he took a job with the Showboat Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. He finished that stint in 1961 and pretty much retired from performing. Soon he had moved up north to Ollala, British Columbia. There he became a gentleman rancher and worked some in real estate before retiring completely. 

 I found eight music videos of Les “Carrot Top” Anderson  on “YouTube” recently. Three you might especially enjoy are:

Beautiful Arkansas

(audio, only, of his excellent voice; very nice waltz)


Little Red Wagon 

(at Town Hall Party with Marilyn Tuttle directly behind him)


New Panhandle Rag

(with Marilyn Tuttle directly behind him)


As valuable and enjoyable as these videos are, . . . there is still nothing like going out to an old-time music venue and experiencing the vibes of live performances.

Hey, as the cowboys say, we’re just burnin’ daylight sittin’ here. Which, being translated means, get online right now and “Google” something like “Old Time Music Concerts” and go join the fun.

AA Fair Use Disclaimer - 2018 - 02 for entire newsletter or blog


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Issue 282 – Herb Jeffries, Cowboy Movie Star

Issue 282   —    The Paregien Journal  —  May 29, 2014

Herb Jeffries, Cowboy Movie Star

and Singer

by Stan Paregien

Copyrighted May 29, 2014

Official U.S. Census records from 1920 show actor and singer Herb Jeffries was born Umberto Alejandro Balentino on Sept. 24, 1914 in Detroit, Mich. His father was one Mr. Howard Jeffrey. Jeffries died at the age of 100 (or nearly so) on May 25, 2014 in a hospital in Los Angeles. The cause of death was listed as heart failure.

Jeffries often described his mother as “100% white and Irish.” However, the father he never knew he described as part Sicilian, part Irish, part French, part Italian and part Ethiopian (African), accounting for his being able to pass as a black man and, sometimes, as a white man. He was black enough (sometimes aided by dark makeup) to be hired by some of the best black bands and orchestras. He sometimes privately joked he was only “3/8’s black.”

He said that he chose to be identified as a black man, largely because a white man would not have been hired to play with the big-name black bands and orchestras of the day. Reverse discrimination, don’t you know? Ironically, on each of his four or five marriage certificates he listed his race as “Caucasian.” All of his wives were white women.

The charismatic Jeffries started out his career using the name “Herb Jeffrey,” the last name being that of his father. He moved to Chicago as a teenager and began by singing for Earl “Fatha” Hines and his orchestra. That was from 1931 to 1934. From there it was on to Los Angeles .

Then, blessed with a handsome face, a tall (6′ 2″) and muscular physique, and a robust baritone voice, Jeffries became the star of four Westerns movies between 1937 and 1939. He was a lover of the Old West stories and the popular white cowboy stars such as Tom Mix, Buck Jones and William S. Hart. It was his dream to create cowboy movies for black people, so he sought out someone to produce them.

He found a white man named Jed Buell, an independent producer of B-movies (the ones which received second billing at theaters). Jeffries saw Buell’s unusual movie, “The Terror of Tiny Town,” a Western spoof with a cast made up entirely of “height challenged” actors (little people). So he found Buell and made a deal.

For those low-budget films, Buell had Jeffries apply dark makeup to cover up his light complexion. That was to insure he would be accepted by black audiences, as the black cowboy films were only distributed to black movie theaters.

Jeffries, Herb - as black singing cowboy in 1930s

In those Westerns, Herb Jeffries (listed as Jeffrey) played a cowboy named “Bob Blake” and rode a horse named “Stardusk.” He was flanked by a singing group called “The Four Tones” and his comical pard was a black actor named Mantan Moreland. Jeffries was billed as “The Bronze Buckeroo” in the films named “Harlem Rides the Range (1939),” “The Bronze Buckaroo,” “Two-Gun Man from Harlem” and “Harlem on the Prairie.” That last film was actually a musical. Those films are now available on a DVD titled, “Treasures of Black Cinema.”

Or you may view some not-such-good-quality copies on YouTube such as:

Jeffries, Herb - movie poster 'Harlem Rides the Range'

(1) Harlem Rides the Range – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lQFxvcr31Y’

Jeffries, Herb - movie poster, 'Two-Gun Man from Harlem'

(2) Two-Gun Man from Harlem – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D96gvWk6lE

Jeffries, Herb - movie poster, 'The Bronze Buckaroo'

(3) The Bronze Buckeroo” (1939) – pretty good vocal quality with fair visuals.


Later in his life, Herb Jeffries is quoted was having said: “The word ‘black’ means ‘a void,’ so I have never seen a black man. The word ‘white’ means ‘lack of pigment,’ so I have never seen a white man either. There’s only one race: the human race.”

Jeffries quickly moved on to establish a solid career as a jazz and pop singer, mainly with black bands both in the United States and in France. He worked for famed black band leader Duke Ellington for ten years. In 1941 he had a big hit with the song, “Flamingo.” It became Herb Jeffries’ signature song, and eventually it sold over 14 million copies and gave him a steady stream of income.

He sometimes told interviewers, “Most people come to this world by stork. I came by Flamingo, and Duke Ellington delivered me.”

Other Jeffries hits included “You, You Darlin’,” “In My Solitude,” “When I Write My Song,” “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good,” and “There Shall Be No Night.”

It should be noted that this man’s stage name until 1941 was Herb Jeffrey, after his father Howard Jeffrey. Then a clerical error listed the singer on the smash hit “Flamingo” as “Herb Jeffries.” Rather than fight to get it corrected, Umberto Balentino (aka Herb Jeffrey) just went with the flow and adopted “Jeffries” as his new last name.

The actor and singer took a career detour when he served in the military during World War II. After that, he had hit songs with “Basin Street Blues” and with “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano.”

You may watch a nice film on YouTube of Jeffries singing several songs, including “Basin Street Blues,” “Baby, Come on Home,” “Night,” and “Solitude” at this location: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHaCKPTIl90.

Try this little experiment: show the above clip to a few folks and ask them what they think his nationality is. I think most would be hard pressed to identify him as black.

Jeffries moved to France in the late 1940s and remained there several years, appearing in many different clubs and actually owning at least two of them. He returned to the United States in the 1950s.

Album cover for 'Jamaica' - Herb Jeffries - 1957

Jeffries liked diversity as a singer and performing. So he wrote a series of calypso songs which was produced by RKO as a record album titled, “Jamaica.”

Jeffries, Herb - movie poster, 'Calypso Joe'

And he was in a romantic musical film, “Calypso Joe,” with Angie Dickinson in 1957. He and his band were given credits as “Herb Jeffries and his Calypsomaniacs.”

In 1996 he played himself in “The Cherokee Kid,” a Western spoof. He also made brief appearances on such TV shows as “Hawaii Five-O,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” and “The Virginian.”

Herb Jeffries often told interviewers he didn’t believe age should be a factor in one’s career or personal life. He backed that up by marrying a series of five beautiful white women. His second wife was a well-known stripper with the stage name of Tempest Storm. And his last wife/significant other, Savannah Shippen, was a mere 45 years his junior. He was still touring and singing up to his early 90’s.

Jeffries, Herb - 1995 CD cover, 'The Bronze Buckeroo Rides Again'

He returned to his early cowboy roots in 1995 when he released his Western CD, “The Bronze Buckaroo (Rides Again)” on the Warner Western label. He also recorded a duet in which he and folksinger and cowboy singer Michael Martin Murphy sang a catchy little song called, “Payday Blues.”

Jeffries was honored in 1997 by his induction into the Hall of Fame of the Western Music Association. And in 2001 he was inducted into the “Walk of Western Stars” at Newhall, California.

In the spring of 2004, Herb Jeffries attended the annual “Wrangler Awards” ceremony at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. He himself was inducted into the “Western Performers Hall of Fame” that night. And Peggy and I were there to see him receive it and to meet him.


Stan & Peggy Paregien with singer/movie star Herb Jeffries in 2004


Herb Jeffries, left, in 2004 as he was inducted into the “Western Performers Hall of Fame” in Oklahoma City. At right is Buck Taylor who played “Newly” on the TV Western series, “Gunsmoke.” Taylor is the son of the later Western comic and actor Dub “Cannonball” Taylor. [Photo by Stan Paregien]

2004--Sept 24 - Herb Jeffries, 93, and wife Savannah, with star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

At the age of 93, Herb Jeffries attended the formal celebration of the installation of his own “star” on the famous Hollywood Walk of Stars on a stretch of several blocks of sidewalks in Hollywood, Calif.

For several years, he and mate Savannah lived in Wichita, Kansas. Carl Brewer, the mayor of Wichita, issued a proclamation making September 13, 2012 as “Herb Jeffries Day” in that city. The local city/county museum celebrated his long career by hosting several events. He died at the West Hills Hospital & Medical Center in San Fernando, California, near his last home which was in Woodland Hills, California. He was the last surviving member of The Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Herb Jeffries was the Alpha and the Omega of black singing cowboy movie stars. He was fiercely proud of the fact that he was “the very first black singing cowboy on the face of this earth.” He probably would have also expressed deep satisfaction that he was also the very last of the early-day black singing cowboy movie stars. It is unlikely we will see a man quite like him again.



“A Colored Life: The Herb Jeffries Story.” A promotional clip by AMS Pictures Original Programming on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkMSZJKmrek

Barnes, Mike. “Herb Jeffries, Pioneering Black Singing Cowboy of the Movies, Dies at 100.” The Hollywood Reporter (online version). May 25, 2014.

“Herb Jeffries’s Biography.” Internet Movie Data Base: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0420370/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm.

“Herb Jeffries, in Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia.

Herndon, Jessica. “African-American cowboy crooner Herb Jeffries dies.” Chron, the online version of the Houston Chronicle. May 26, 2014.

Jeffries, Herb. “Colored Life: The Herb Jeffries Story.” 52 min. DVD.


Released in 2007.

Jeffries, Herb. “Flamingo” with Duke Ellington in 1941. A film clip found at:

Jeffries, Herb. “Flamingo” performed on a tropical set. Undated. YouTube:

Jeffries, Herb. “I’m A Happy Cowboy.” Recording from 1938 posted on YouTube:

Jeffries, Herb and Michael Martin Murphey. “Payday Blues” recording posted on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV_9jqZw1_c

Stedman, Alex. “Herb Jeffries, Star of Black Cowboy Films, Dies at 100.” Variety (online version), May 26, 2014.

“Wichitans remember cowboy actor, singer Herb Jeffries.” Staff report at Kansas.com, the online version of The Wichita (Kansas) Eagle. May 27, 2014.

Yardley, William. Herb Jeffries, “‘Bronze Buckaroo’ of Song and Screen, Dies at 100 (or So).” The New York Times (online version), May 26, 2014.