Ghost Riders in the Sky. Review By Oj Sikes

Ghost Riders ( Cover CD )
Ghost Riders ( Cover CD )

Ghost Riders in the Sky

Burl Ives, Stan Jones, Vaughn Monroe and others

“Riders in the Sky (A Cowboy Legend)” aka “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” composed by Stan Jones, is probably the most recorded song in the Western music genre. For this new CD, the Jasmine label has collected 30 recordings of this famous song, including the composer’s original recording for the Mercury label, and Columbia’s recording by Burl Ives, which was on its way to becoming a hit before it was eclipsed by Vaughn Monroe’s record for RCA Victor, which is also here.

Jones, a Park Ranger in Death Valley, liked to play his compositions for visitors. He introduced this song to a movie crew who were in the park for the filming of a Randolph Scott movie, The Walking Hills. Scott was especially impressed with “Riders in the Sky,” and encouraged Jones to look for a publisher. Jones played his songs on a little 4-string Martin guitar, and unless my ear deceives me, you can hear that little guitar on his recording of “Riders in the Sky.” When Burl Ives recorded the song in February, 1949, he used the same kind of arrangement he had heard on Stan’s demo record. But in March, when big bandleader Vaughn Monroe recorded “Riders in the Sky (A Cowboy Legend),” with a slightly different title and a much more elaborate arrangement, it was rushed into production/circulation and made the Billboard charts by mid-April. It stayed there for 22 weeks, reaching the No. 1 position!

Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin, Frankie Laine and others recorded it later, and many of them had hit versions of the song. Those are among the tracks you’ll hear on this CD, half of which are instrumentals, the other half vocals by these and other artists. Interestingly, neither Gene Autry’s nor The Sons of the Pioneers’ recordings are included, but they are easier to find than most of those on this CD. Widely available. [Michael K. Ward has written an excellent book on the life of Stan Jones, GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY, available from RioNuevo.Com in Tucson]

Jasmine Records

O.J Sikes

1. The Ramrods – Riders In The Sky
2. Peggy Lee – Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend)
3. The Spotnicks – Ghost Riders In The Sky
4. Scat Man Crothers – Ghost Riders In The Sky
5. Gene Jimae – Riders In The Sky
6. Mickey Katz – Borscht Riders In The Sky
7. The Scorpions – (Ghost) Riders In The Sky
8. The Four Flares – Riders In The Sky
9. Roger Williams – Riders In The Sky
10. Frankie Laine – Riders In The Sky
11. Les Sunlights – Les Cavaliers Du Ciel
12. Kay Starr – Riders In The Sky
13. The Ventures – (Ghost) Riders In The Sky
14. Jimmie Rodgers – Riders In The Sky
15. The Titans – Riders In The Sky
16. Eddy Arnold – Riders In The Sky
17. Los Pekenikes – Jinetes En El Cielo
18. The Brothers Four – Riders In The Sky
19. Lawrence Welk – Riders In The Sky
20. Vaughn Monroe – Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend)
21. Die Playboys – Geisterreiter
22. Dean Martin – Ghost Riders In The Sky
23. The Jumpin’ Jewels – (Ghost) Riders In The Sky
24. Bing Crosby – Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend)
25. The Original Surfaris – Ghost Riders In The Sky
26. Kenneth Spencer – Geisterreiter
27. The Cyclones – Ghost Riders In The Sky
28. Burl Ives – Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend)
29. Les Champions – Les Cavaliers Du Ciel
30. Stan Jones & His Death Valley Rangers – Riders In The Sky