Monday, November 19, 2012

Franke Fincher (revised)

Franke Fincher
Billie Dotson Fincher

Dear Derik....

I saw your blog with my grandmother's record!  I had no idea anyone else had copies of those.  Both of grandmother, and my grandfather Billie Dotson Fincher played on it--he's the pedal steel guy.

My grandmother's name was Gertrude Franke Katarine Nielsen Skanes Fincher.  She came over from Germany, escaping Hitler's rise to power in the late 1920's....she didn't speak a lick of English, and learned it through music.  She became accomplished enough to perform with the USO during WW2, and met B.D. by way of the US Navy.  He survived Pearl Harbor on the USS California and the Navy became his career.  During the late 1940's and early 50's they performed together around Southern California in various Western Swing bands at some the the great venues and ballrooms.  If I remember correctly, the B side actually charted in Los Angeles radio.  She also did Big Band vocals, and performed occasionally with jazz guitarist Buddy Fite.

There was always some great irritation that Tom Boyd took writing credit for the song "I'll Never Let You Take The Blame" because my grandmother actually wrote it.  But Mr. Boyd was the band leader (I believe) so his name went on it.  She wasn't concerned about royalties, she just wanted her contribution to be acknowledged (other than vocals).  It was semi-autobiographical about her first marriage.

I have always, ALWAYS wanted to get my scratchy old 45 turned into an MP3 and you just answered my prayers.  Do you have any of their other records??

I have attached photos of my grandmother and grandfather in case you'd like to post them along with the 45 photo.  The photo of him is a promotional photo taken around the same time as the recordings were made.  Hers is dated 1942 and it's a really nice one of her.  If you'd be kind enough to write "Photos provided by her granddaughter, Sherri Skanes." it will keep my family members happy.

Also, I believe the record is from 1954.  Not entirely sure.  I know it was early to mid 1950's.  Bill Foster was the guitar player, and my grandfather played pedal steel.  My grandmother played the stand-up bass.  I think Tom Boyd might have played fiddle, but I'm not sure.  There were a few more characters that came in and out of the "Valley Swingers" band over the years....but I don't have any names handy for you.  Both of my grandparents passed away in the last decade.  Three of their four sons are professional musicians and the fourth, my late father who was extremely talented, never went into the business.  But I had his wonderful baritone voice singing me to sleep as a child, so I was so very lucky!

Thanks so much!  I can't tell you how excited I am to have this on MP3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ojai, California

Tulsa 2788
Year: ???

I'll Never Let You Take The Blame

I Didn't Get A Dear John Letter (vocal - Bill Foster)

Click here to --->>>Download


Anonymous said...

My name is Daniel Fincher, Bill Fincher was my father. I would just like to correct one thing that I can see from what I read. Bill was not the steel player, he never played steel in his life, he played rhythm guitar on both cuts. A man by the name of Cal Clayson,(one of dad's navy buddies played steel guitar.

Calvin Lippitt said...

Music was not Franke Fincher's only talent. She went on to become a high school teacher in the Parkrose district in Oregon. I believe that I am far from the only one who owes success to that wonderful lady!

Sassy said...

Dan is right...he would know more than I! Thanks Uncle Danny!