While researching my Bobby Womack post last week I looked up who else had recorded Bouquet of Roses. I was unsurprised that Dean Martin, Slim Whitman and Ernest Tubb had all covered Eddy Arnold's country classic. I wasn't expecting Clint Eastwood to have had a stab too.
I'm a big Clint Eastwood fan. I wrote a GCSE English project about his westerns and even paid West End prices to see Space Cowboys (on my own). Carnival Saloon regulars will also know I'm not averse to country music. So how did Rawhide's Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites elude me all these years? Until now my knowledge of Clint's singing career began and ended with Paint Your Wagon.
A little investigation reveals that Eastwood recorded a couple of singles in the early 60s around the time he first tasted TV success on Rawhide. One of them was effectively a theme tune for his teenage cowpoke character Rowdy Yates.
MP3: Clint Eastwood - Rowdy
Buy Cameo Parkway 1957-67: 7digital | Amazon
Cowboy Favorites came out in 1963, the year before A Fistful of Dollars hit the big screen. The CD version I now have, retitled Country Favorites, is a fairly shoddy package and sadly lacks any original artwork or sleevenotes. You can see some of those on this Clint Eastwood fan site. Here's taster of the marketing efforts:
In the Cameo recording, Clint Eastwood presents an exciting song picture of the west - as it was. He vividly describes the life of the cowboy... he sings of their dreams, their sorrows and their joys. And, he sings this unique collection of "Cowboy Favorites" with an intimacy and style that marks him as a true show business "great."In reality Eastwood croons his way through mediocre versions of country standards like Don't Fence Me In and Tumbling Tumbleweeds. His take on Bob Wills' signature tune San Antonio Rose is the jauntiest track on the collection.
MP3: Clint Eastwood - San Antonio Rose
But Clint Eastwood Sing Country Favorites: Amazon
Apparently Eastwood went on tour to promote the record. To little avail - it was never a hit and Cameo records boss Kal Mann seems precient when he told Clint "he would never make it big as a singer".
Do you have any other recommendations of actors' musical side-projects? I must confess to enjoying the cod-Jamaican vocal stylings on Robert Mitchum's Calypso Is Like So.