'Sweet Sounds' live on 

Check out this book on the state's music.

PATSY MONTANA: She's in the book.
  • PATSY MONTANA: She's in the book.
Perhaps one of the first quality exhibits of Arkansas musicians — not to mention a rare official sanction of Arkansas pop culture — was the the Old State House Museum’s “Our Own Sweet Sounds” show in fall 1995. The University of Arkansas Press published Robert Cochran’s companion book the following spring, adding the subtitle “A Celebration of Popular Music in Arkansas.” Patsy Montana played at the Old State House Museum’s celebration of the exhibit opening. She died less than a year later. But her cowgirl boots were part of the museum exhibit and rate a full-page photograph in the book. Other exhibit items pictured in the book are Louis Jordan’s saxophone and a harmonica owned by Frank Frost. (In 1996, Frost played a show at the Old State House Museum.) In 2003, the “Our Own Sweet Sounds” exhibit returned to the since renovated Old State House Museum bigger and better than before and ran until April of this year. It featured such artifacts as a Scott Joplin-owned piano, Rosetta Tharpe’s resonator guitar, a bicentennial stage outfit worn by Johnny Cash and Jim Dandy’s washboard from his Black Oak Arkansas days. The variety of musicians featured “brought in one of the most diverse audiences we’ve had,” said museum spokesman Amy Peck. A second edition of the “Our Own Sweet Sounds” book, published in April, contains dozens of additional artists. “I’ve tried to do a thorough job, but I had no real models,” author Cochran, director of the Center for Arkansas and Regional Studies and an English professor on the Fayetteville campus, said. Cochran said he worked “for most of a year on the first exhibit, and maybe 18 months on the second. … I knew a good bit about Arkansas music, [but] ... not nearly as much then as I know now.” The author said a glaring omission from the first edition was R&B singer Little Willie John of Ouachita County. With Henry Glover of Hot Springs producing, John cut the classic “Fever,” one of the more enduring songs of the pop era. Glover, who wrote and produced “Peppermint Twist,” “Drown in My Own Tears,” and many other hits, still rates less than two paragraphs in the book, but one sentence states he may be the most important figure of Arkansans involved in early rock ’n’ roll. The best part of the “Our Own Sweet Sounds” book may be the “Featured Performers” section, which chronicles major Arkansas artists with brief biographies and photographs. According to the UA Press, the section has expanded by one-third from the first edition. The “Featured Performers” start with Black Oak Arkansas, Elton Britt, Big Bill Broonzy and Alfred E. Brumley, continues through Emma Dusenbury, Tracy Lawrence, Roberta Martin, K.T. Oslin and Point of Grace, and concludes with Lucinda Williams and Sonny Boy Williamson II. Acts who gained fame after 1996 were featured in the second exhibit and are mentioned in the second edition of the book, such as country music’s Joe Nichols of Rogers and rock’s Evanescence of Little Rock. listening • “Look What You Done to Me” — Little Willie John • “Peppermint Twist” — Joey Dee & The Starlighters • “Mutants of the Monster” — Black Oak Arkansas • “My Immortal” — Evanescence • “Pocket Full of Money” — Frank Frost



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Stephen Koch

  • Charlie Wilson at Verizon Arena

    Also, Stand Up for Access Comedy Show, Max & Iggor Cavalera, Billy Joe Shaver, Daddy Issues, Pat Donohue, Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, Beer, Brats & Bots, Third Friday Argenta Artwalk, 'Key Connections to Humanity,'
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase kicks off

    Also, Intimate Apparel, Ansel Adams, Rachmaninoff, High Plains Jamboree, Black Oak Arkansas and more.
    • Jan 26, 2017
  • Young Gods of America come to Revolution

    Also, American Princes at Lost Forty and White Water, Arkansas basketball at Verizon, "The Great Russian Nutcracker" at Robinson Center Music Hall, Kwanzaa, Festivus at the Firehouse, 'The Polar Express' in Hot Springs, Noon Year's Eve at the Mid-America Science Museum and Peckerwolf and co. at Dogtown Sound.
    • Dec 22, 2016
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Constituents go Cotton pickin' at Springdale town hall

    Sen. Tom Cotton, cordial to a fault, appeared before a capacity crowd at the 2,200 seat Pat Walker Performing Arts Center at Springdale High tonight to a mixed chorus of clapping and boos. Other than polite applause when he introduced his mom and dad and a still moment as he led the crowd in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance — his night didn't get much better from there.
  • Stand up for Little Rock

    If Little Rock deteriorates because of substandard schools, there will be blame aplenty to share. But some elected leaders deserve special mention.
  • Hating the media

    Presidents, with the exception of George Washington, never found much joy with the media, although Donald Trump is the first to use the scarily freighted words "enemies of the people."
  • What's new and coming soon to Argenta

    A riverfront hotel, new residential development, food, drink and more.
  • Downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock are back in business

    Main Street and beyond bustles.

Latest in Arkansongs

  • Floyd Cramer's country keys

    Floyd Cramer, who grew up in Huttig, became one of the most important piano players in the development of country music.
    • May 3, 2007
  • Dorough finds his voice

    From his beginnings in Cherry Hill, Bob Dorough knew music was his thing.
    • Mar 15, 2007
  • ‘Sunday Afternoon’

    Soundtrack album forges on without film.
    • Jan 25, 2007
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28  

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation