|David M. McKee|
27th Jun 2011
| ||A solitary London single from the Abbott label for Sandy and the band. It’s a repetitious guitar/piano instrumental that gets quite boring after a while. Flip is another instrumental, but at least it has something of a tune about it.|
Sandy was born Alvis Coker, Jr., in Bakersfield, California in 1940. He had a sister, 2 years older, Alvadean (see HLU8191). Al Coker, Sr., a multi - talented musician and fiddle player, started teaching Sandy how to play the fiddle (among other instruments) as soon as Sandy was big enough to hold one under his chin. By 8 years old, Sandy proved to be an excellent learner and was soon doing solo appearances at local hoedowns. At 10 years old, Sandy started playing professionally.
In 1952, when Sandy was 12, the Cokers had a live radio show five days a week on KTRB Radio in Modesto, California called 'The Coker Family Show'. Fabor Robison, upon hearing the Coker Family, signed them to Abbott Records. The family moved to Hollywood, California and Sandy signed his own recording contract with Abbott Records in 1953 at age 13, resulting in ‘Meadowlark Melody’.
Fellow artists on the Abbott label at that time were his sister Alvadean Coker, Jim Reeves, Johnny Horton, Floyd Cramer, and Jim and Maxine Brown. The Abbott label artists toured the U.S. with a show was called 'The String Music Show'. They would end their tours in Shreveport, Louisiana and play as regulars on The Louisiana Hayride. Sandy’s hot fiddle tune ‘Orange Blossom Special’ brought the house down every time.
In 1954, while recording and touring with Jim Reeves, Sandy, along with his sister Alvadean, guest-starred with Jim on The Town Hall Party Show in Compton. Town Hall Party was California’s largest and longest running live country music show, which was broadcast over the NBC network and KTTV every Saturday night.
Sandy and Alvadean became regulars on the show. They were billed as the ‘Coker Kids’.
Sandy and Alvadean also played at Knott’s Berry Farm on Sundays with Tex Williams, doing the Tex Williams Coast to Coast Radio Show, live on KFI Radio. Sandy started off the show with a hoedown. In 1955, Sandy, along with The Coker Family Band, signed recording contracts with Decca Records in Nashville, Tennessee.
Sandy later worked on the Lawrence Welk Show and toured in a band with Chill Wills, with whom he played music at George Wallace’s Presidential Candidate party.
He toured the world with the Air Force Blue Show doing USO Shows. In the early 1970's, Sandy worked with Jim Reeves Enterprises, also Chet Atkins. Sandy had two businesses in Nashville, which he sold to move back to California to be near his family. He was inducted into the Western Swing Hall of Fame in 1992.