A native of San Antonio, Texas, Red River Dave McEnery (1914-2002) had a career that stretched across eight decades. His classmates tagged him 'Red River Dave' because he often sang 'Red River Valley' around the schoolyard. His family hit hard by the Depression, the youth hopped freight trains searching for work. By 1935 he was in Petersburg, Virginia, singing cowboy songs over a small radio station. That December a Greyhound bus accident in a nearby town inspired him to pen a song about the tragedy. During the next 67 years he wrote countless thousands of western and topical songs, including the enduring 'Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight.'
Moving to New York City in 1938, McEnery launched a show over WOR that was carried to radio stations nationwide via the Mutual network. First recording for Decca in 1940, he free-lanced for various independent labels during World War II. When the Chicago-based Sonora Records asked the singer to record eight western ballads for an album, McEnery augmented old standbys like 'Home on the Range' and 'Red River Valley' with then-current cowboy songs and two originals. Released in August 1944, Songs of the West became one of the label’s better-selling albums. When Sonora went bankrupt four years later, many of its tracks resurfaced on budget LPs.
Returning to San Antonio in 1952, McEnery appeared on local television until 1957, when he established his own real estate agency. Remaining active in music, he began recording and pressing limited-run 45s about topical events, selling them via mail order and at personal appearances. After his wife’s death in 1974, McEnery moved to Nashville. Sporting cowboy garb with gold-painted boots, he became one of Music City’s more colorful characters. As skilled with a lariat as he was with his guitar and pen, McEnery spent his later years entertaining at Knott’s Berry Farm in Anaheim, California.
01 Is The Range Still The Same Back Home Red River Dave
02 Home On The Range Red River Dave
03 The Last Round-Up Red River Dave
04 Wagon Trail Red River Dave
05 Ole Faithful Red River Dave
06 Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle Red River Dave
07 Empty Saddles Red River Dave
08 Red River Valley Red River Dave