Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Musical Souvenir of Walt Disney World - Frontierland

By Keith Mahne

Welcome back to our Musical Souvenir of Walt Disney World adventure! Today we'll continue our tour of Disney World's past with a walk through 1970s Frontierland. I particularly enjoy this track and think you will as well. We have a lot more music to cover so let's not waste any more time. Enjoy your journey through Frontierland of yesteryear...

Part 8: Frontierland

(If you haven't had a chance to listen to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7 of our musical journey of vintage Walt Disney World, please check them out before continuing. Also, be sure to pause the Disney Avenue Music Player in the top left-hand corner of this page if you are on a desktop computer.)

Here are Foxx's notes on the creation of Track 8 - Frontierland:

8) Frontierland
Of all the tracks in the first version of the Musical Souvenir, to me the Frontierland track was by far the greatest incentive to rework the project. Based largely on a 1973 Frontierland BGM loop I didn't like and featuring live acts I couldn't stand, the first version of Frontierland was mercifully brief and totally lacking in "Frontierland" atmosphere. I was determined to fix this.
The basic problem with the '73 Wagner loop is that it was a mash-up of folk and honky-tonk piano tunes which were neither especially atmospheric nor especially Westerny. What probably sounded good in his studio simply tanked when it came to playing in the park. What was needed wasn't authentic West, but Hollywood West. Wagner fixed this problem when he licensed a stack of tracks from the Capitol Media Music production library in the mid-70s.
A new music loop, comprising these tracks plus older material from the '73 version, debuted in 1976. Fortunately by the time it came for me to attempt another version of the Musical Souvenir, Michael Sweeney had tentatively identified a number of these Media Music tracks in home videos from the 1980s. No live recording of the full '76 loop has yet been found, so the entire contents of this loop remain mysterious. A WDI-created loop, shared with Westernland in Tokyo Disneyland, debuted in 1991 and plays there to this day.
The opening track is "Country & Western #2", composed by Henrik Nielsen. I think most will agree that this track sets a much more appropriate Western stage than the bluegrass which previously opened this track.
"Strawberry Hill" - performed by Nelson Young and the Sandy Bottom Boys, a Florida-based bluegrass act which performed in Frontierland six days a week throughout the 1970s. The quality of this bluegrass is much higher than that offered by the "Bluegrass Boys" of the previous version. A fixture of Florida Folk Festivals, this recording was uploaded to YouTube by user "Stephen Estes". The background ambience, of the original Frontierland Shootin' Arcade, was recorded by Jerry Klatt in the early 80s and sourced from Mike Lee's Widen Your World.
Up next is a medley of Frontierland songs, starting with Henrik Nielsen's "Country & Western #5". The next track, "Buffalo Gals", was recorded by fiddler Tommy Jackson for his LP "Square Dance Festival". This track was located by Michael Sweeney, who noticed another Jackson song in the 1982 EPCOT Center loop for The Land's Framer's Market. Farmer's Market also shared some early Frontierland tracks, and subsequently Michael was able to identify "Buffalo Gals" playing live in a 1980's home video. Cuts from Jackson's record also underscore Frontierland in the 1990 souvenir video in "A Day at the Magic Kingdom".
Dan Kirsten's "Evening Campfire" is next, and this song is more commonly known as the "Mighty Dog" song. In the 1970s, dogfood producer Mighty Dog licensed this track from Capitol Media Music for a memorable series of national campaigns, and so of course most children would have recognized the same song playing in Frontierland and remembered the abnormality. "Evening Campfire" was released through Capitol Media Music's "Hi-8" series and appears here courtesy of Michael Sweeney.
"Pianjo", performed by Don Robertson, appears here in it's full version, sourced from my 45 copy of the song. Henry's comments at the start and end of the song, as well as the fuller version of "Come Again", are taken from "A Musical History of Disneyland", which crucially includes the entire exit track; the 1972 LP fades out in the middle of the track.
Representing both the Mile Long Bar and Frontierland generally is "Bearless Love", recorded by the Stoneman Family under the supervision of George Bruns. The track appears on the reverse side of the 1972 "Country Bear Jamboree" LP release. The Jack Wagner Frontierland station announcement is a live recording, made by Dave McCormick in 1983.
Near the end of the track a bit of dialogue from the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes can be heard; this is sourced from a 2011 live recording of the attraction available on YouTube as “Disneyland Canoe Ride” uploaded by user classichristine69, one of the few live recordings of the attraction without music dubbed over it.
The final bit of the track, the “Beacon Joe Music”, is one of the most hauntingly simple pieces of music to play in the entire park. Replacing the previous live recording by Mike Lee, this is an induction recording made by me in 2014. For many years the "Beacon Joe" track also played on the raft landing in Frontierland, but by the 1990s was gone. It appeared unexpectedly in early October 2014, allowed me to capture a source-quality copy. It ends Frontierland on an unexpectedly spare, poignant note.
I just love that track, especially the part after you hear, "Give me a little intro there Gomer...". Tomorrow we move onward with a REALLY magical track of vintage Fantasyland...
...I can hardly wait! This wonderful Frontierland track has been added to the Disney Avenue Music Player for you to listen to it whenever you'd like. See you right back here tomorrow where we'll continue our tour of vintage Walt Disney World for a walk through the original Fantasyland...

Keith Michael Mahne is the owner and editor of Disney Avenue and the host of the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four.

Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true every day.

No comments:

Post a Comment