About Blog

This blog will document vinyl records (singles & EPs) of country, bluegrass, and rockabilly on San Francisco Bay Area labels. It will range from the earliest 78rpm records to current 45rpm records. The most updated list can be found at: http://www.westernswing.com/sfba.pdf

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ode To Spade

Tommy Graham, real name Graham Steffen, was a fellow prison inmate of Spade Cooley at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, California. With a shared interest in country music, they sang together when not working.

From Spade Cooley wikipedia entry: On August 5, 1968, the California State Adult Authority voted unanimously to parole him on February 22, 1970. Cooley had served nearly nine years of a life sentence, and was in poor health from heart trouble. On November 23, 1969, he received a 72-hour furlough from the prison hospital unit at Vacaville to play a benefit concert for the Deputy Sheriffs Association of Alameda County at the Oakland Auditorium (now known as the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center) in Oakland. During the intermission, after a standing ovation, Cooley suffered a fatal heart attack backstage. He is interred at Chapel of the Chimes cemetery in Hayward.

Graham upon hearing the news of Cooley’s death wrote a tribute to Spade. The Prolif label of Fairfield, California released it in September, 1970.

Clipping from Oakland Tribune November 3, 1969

Clipping from Oakland Tribune November 20, 1969

Spade Cooley with Red Murrell at his last performance

Ad for Ode To Spade in Billboard September 12, 1970

Spade Cooley’s final resting place, an above ground crypt in an outdoor mausoleum in Hayward, California