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Still Riding High

Buck Page, 75, is maintaining his brisk pace with more local shows, a new CD.


Country-Western music recently lost Roy Rogers. But another musical treasure, Buck Page, founder of The Original Riders of the Purple Sage, is doing just fine and will entertain with his trio this weekend at Ventura Harbor Village.

The Ventura County resident began his career in 1936--and he's still going strong with a new compilation CD of 21 old and new tracks called "Drifting Clouds."

Taking its name from a novel by Zane Gray, Page's group helped to make cowboy music popular in the 1940s and '50s with such hits as "Tumbling Tumble Weed," "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and "Don't Fence Me In."

Since moving to Oxnard in 1973, Page has remained active on the local music scene while continuing to tour. At 75, he has outlived the other earliest Original Riders. He fronts the band, sings and plays several instruments. In addition, he is an accomplished raconteur from the cow chip school of stand-up comedy.

As he sees it, country music today has too much rock, too many hats and too many "she-done-me-wrong" songs.

According to Page, "Western music is singing to the cattle around the campfire, herding, riding your horse along the trail and being lonesome for your family."

Page's trio will perform from noon to 3 p.m. today at the Carousel and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the waterside fountain of Ventura Harbor Village, 1559 Spinnaker Drive in Ventura. For information, call 644-0169.


If you're near the Westlake Promenade from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, check out Teresa Russell's outdoor performance with the fusion, funk, jazz, blues band Cocobilli. The longtime Ventura County resident's new independent CD is getting great reviews. But this closet cowgirl can also yodel the heck out of country music. Just request Patsy Montana's classic, "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart," then hang on to your hat. Russell performs by the fountain, 140 Promenade Way, Westlake Village. For information, call 497-6485.


Who says you have to drive to L.A. to see Nashville recording artists? In just the last two months, Bryan White, Faith Hill, Martina McBride and Ty Herndon have appeared at major venues in the county. Ventura Theatre owner Rob Antonini said he plans to book "one quality national country artist a month." Tracy Byrd takes the stage Dec. 11.

The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza will present Willie Nelson, Wynonna Judd and Merle Haggard in concert March 4, 7 and 14 respectively.

And before his recent concert at the Ventura Theatre, country hunk Herndon delivered enough Thai food and Ty charm to the home of one female county resident to let her dine out on the stories for a month.

But you had to win a K-HAY country radio contest to qualify for that kind of country catering.

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