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Ray Whitley

Singer/songwriter Ray Whitley was one of Hollywood's first cowboy crooners. Unlike Gene Autry, he remained a supporting actor and never starred in his own series of feature films, although he did make many musical film shorts during the mid-'30s. In tandem with Fred Rose, he also co-penned some of Autry's best-loved songs, including "Back in the Saddle Again" and "Ages and Ages Ago." Whitley, born in Atlanta, initially played music only occasionally at community gatherings until discovering Jimmie Rodgers in the late '20s. He finally turned to professional performance when the Depression forced him into prolonged unemployment; his first gigs were with the Range Ramblers, later renamed the Six Bar Cowboys, who played the World Championship Rodeo up through the 1960s.

Ray Whitley made his recording debut in 1933, and finally came to Hollywood in 1936, where he made his feature film debut co-starring with William Boyd in Hopalong Cassidy Returns. Between 1938 and 1942, he made a series of short films for RKO, and also played the sidekick in a few Tim Holt films. His final film appearance came in 1956, playing the ranch manager in the James Dean classic Giant. During the 1950s, he briefly managed the Sons of the Pioneers and Jimmy Wakely. Whitley recorded through the late '70s and was a popular performer at cowboy film festivals, where he sang and demonstrated his considerable prowess with a bullwhip. He died in 1979 on a fishing trip to Mexico. ~ Sandra Brennan
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Cattle Call: Early Cowboy Music And Its Roots

1. When The Work's All Done This Fall

2. I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen

3. When The Cactus Is In Bloom

4. Rye Whiskey

5. Cattle Call

6. My Love Is A Rider (Bucking Bronco)

7. Blue Yodel Blues

8. Carry Me Back To The Lone Prairie

10. I Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart

11. Little Joe The Wrangler

12. Lone Star Trail

13. Tying A Knot In The Devil's Tail

14. Way Out There

x

Track List: The Singing Cowboys Collection

1. Sioux City Sue

2. Cool Water

4. No One To Cry To

5. High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)

10. Cimarron (Roll On)

12. Let Me Ride Down In Rocky Canyon

13. I'm A Young Cowboy (Streets Of Laredo)

15. Which Way'd They Go

Comments

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