Monday, October 15, 2012

Roy Cary and The Rocky Mountain Ramblers

Listen to a sample of "You're the Only World I Know"

Another puzzler.  Here's what I have on this country/hillbilly-vibe gem:

"You're The Only World I Know" / "Roll On Buddy" (RDC 6691).

Was able to date the band as late as 1970, with two references to this group in the Greeley newspaper, (headliners for a local dance).

Discovered that a musician named Roy Cary was born in 1928, and passed away in 1979, in Denver. Found a reference to another Roy Cary, also from Denver (born in 1919), who was paralyzed due to polio.  That Roy Cary played the accordion.

Found this random picture of the Rocky Mountain Ramblers, but nothing else associated with it. Quite possible that it's an Ohio/Pennsylvania/Indiana-based group of the same name.  No date.

I did see a reference of another single by Roy Cary and the Rocky Mountain Ramblers, "Standing at the End of My World" / "Lazy Day," (JSP 6672).

Listen to a sample of "Roll On Buddy."

In spite of the mysteries, Roy and the Rocky Mountain Ramblers live on in the 1994 rockabilly CD comp Honkin' Billy, where you will find "Roll on Buddy" included.


  1. I know that little record well. I might have been playing rhythm guitar on that cut of Roll On Buddy. I certainly was present for the recording of a lot of Roy’s records – usually on an old Emerson two-channel reel-to-reel recorder. The tapes would be taken to RDC on west Evans and pressed into 45s.
    Roy Cary was a wheelchair bound quadriplegic after being struck down with polio as a young man in Kansas in the early 50s. After an extended rehabilitation at the old Craig hospital in Lakewood, CO,(behind JCRS) Roy was able to settle into a small house with a caregiver in southwest Denver. During his rehab Roy became an accomplished watercolor artist using a brush held between his teeth. The sale of his paintings provided a subsistence income.
    Roy was a well-known figure in our neighborhood and, over the years, was the subject of many human interest stories in the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post. He was seen frequently on one of the four local TV stations. He also got some play on Denver radio. To us kids though, he was the guy in the wheelchair that most of us were afraid of.
    I met Roy when walking home from elementary school with my brand new Montgomery Ward’s Airline guitar in hand. He was sitting in his front yard and yelled out as I passed, “hey kid, do you know how to play that git-fiddle?” I sheepishly told him that I didn’t really know anything about it. He had me sit in the grass at the foot of his wheelchair and taught me three chords. That started a friendship that lasted nearly a decade.
    Roy had been a struggling musician in his younger years. As his ability to frog-breathe improved, he began to sing again. (You’ll note that the phrasing of his singing is limited by his minimal ventilatory capacity. He literally had to gulp air into his mouth and force it into his lungs; a technique called frog breathing.) He also developed the ability to play an electric piano with two pencils held in his mouth. He brought a group of talented musicians from around the neighborhood together and formed the Rocky Mountain Ramblers. They were a C&W garage band – literally transforming a detached garage into a concert and recording hall. Every Wednesday night, the Ramblers could be heard rehearsing and jamming with artists from all over the region in that little garage on Yates Street. I still remember the DSO’s 1st Chair violinist sitting in and explaining to me the difference between a violin and a fiddle. He played a mean fiddle on that expensive violin.
    Summer weekends were spent playing in VFW halls and clubs for dances. Those 45 RPM records we recorded on a reel-to-reel were sold for 25 cents and we went through boxes of them. A lot of free gigs were played at the VA hospital, rehab centers and nursing homes. While I was never a very good guitarist, Roy would always introduce me as “J. Johnson the Band Aid.”
    Roy passed away in 1979 from pneumonia. He had touched a lot of people with his music and art. He had taught many neighborhood kids how to just be good people by helping care for him. It’s probably because of him that I’ve been in health care and nursing for nearly forty years.
    As for the other Ramblers, I don’t know. But I have to figure that most have either passed or are in their declining years. A very talented contemporary of mine who sometimes played with the band, is still playing a lot of hoots and open mike gigs in and around Denver. Another is a luthier in the mountains southwest of town.
    I’ve looked at the photograph of the Rocky Mountain Ramblers – A Hillbilly Band that is included in the blog. I’m sorry to say that it’s not the Denver based band associated with the record.

  2. The photo you have is from the 30's correct in it is the Rocky Montain Rambles The fiddler player in your photo is my Grandfather