Since this is the most comprehensive book (464 pages) on Eddie Dean ever written, it will be a “must” for every fan. Other readers who are interested in Western films and music, even if not very familiar with Dean’s career, will also find it interesting because so much of the film world and music business came into play in Dean’s long career. A filmography and a discography are included, and the former reveals, among other things, that Eddie appeared in 36 films, mostly B-Westerns starring William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), Gene Autry, The Three Mesquiteers, Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, The Range Busters, Bob Steele, Ken Maynard and others, before he became a singing cowboy movie star. Between 1945 and 1948, he starred in 20 films, 6 of which featured one of the most talented of all Western groups, Andy Parker & the Plainsmen, as his musical sidekicks. His films also introduced “Lash” LaRue to the world of the B-West.
While he had wagon loads of movie fans, Eddie is probably best remembered as a singer-songwriter. In this thorough biography, the author tells behind-the-scenes stories of how some of his most famous songs were written and recorded. The way Tex Ritter came to record “I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven” is fascinating, as are the events leading to the song’s composition, with the involvement of Hi Busse, whose Frontiersmen had backed Eddie on his first big hit, “One Has My Name, the Other has My Heart.” The detailed account of the latter is even better, and the book is filled with other interesting stories!
The award-winning author’s extensive experience in the music business allows him to introduce anecdotes and details that might have escaped other writers, and they help to hold the reader’s attention all the way through. The 139 pages of movie stills, lobby cards and other photographs illustrate the text effectively, including facets of Dean’s life few fans were aware of. Some typos got past the proofreader, but if you can overlook that, you’ll really enjoy the book. Highly recommended! Contact BearManorMedia.com or call 1 (443) 903-9899 to order.