From the Vault...


Bonnie Guitar
"Dark Moon"

© Bear Family Records
Year of Release: 1991

track listing
  • Mister Fire Eyes (1)
  • Dark Moon
  • Open The Door
  • Half Your Heart
  • If You See
    My Love Dancing
  • Johnny Vagabond
  • Making Believe
  • Down Where The
    Tradewinds Blow
  • Letter From Jenny
  • There's A New Moon
    Over My Shoulder
  • Moonlight And Shadows
  • Carolina Moon
  • By The Light Of
    The Silvery Moon
  • Shine On Harvest Moon
  • The Moon Is Low
  • Get Out And
    Under The Moon
  • Moonlight On
    The Colorado
  • Moonlight And Roses
  • It's Only A Paper Moon
  • Prairie Moon
  • Roll Along
    Kentucky Moon
  • Mister Fire Eyes (2)
  • Love Is Over
    Love Is Done
  • Stand There Mountain
  • I Found You Out
  • Love By The
    Jukebox Light
  • Big Mike
  • A Very Precious Love
  • If You'll Be The Teacher

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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    Bonnie Guitar Website
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    Bonnie Guitar
    "Dark Moon"

    When I was younger, I would enjoy going to many garage sales. At some of these sales, I would buy a "treasure chest": A box of vinyl 45 records. Some would be a few, while others would be a huge box. All for a dollar or two, maybe a little more. The joy of going through the boxes and recognizing the well-known artists and for some, well-known songs. Of course, the treat was to find well-known artists, and not-so-well-known songs. The other treat was discovering those not-so-well-known artists and their song(s). Bonnie Guitar was one of those artists. Her biggest hit was in one of those many treasure chests, "Dark Moon." If you've never heard this song, I highly recommend you do so. It is one of the best underrated songs you would probably never hear regularly on the radio oldies station.

    So, when it came time to see if there was an actual CD of Bonnie Guitar's music, Germany's Bear Family released a 29-track set of her music, simply titled Dark Moon. In learning more about her, it was learned that she was not only a singer, but a very accomplished guitar session player. Her music would be considered Country, where you probably wouldn't classify her song "Dark Moon" as Country, but instead, 1950s/early 1960s Adult Contemporary/Easy Listening. Her 29-track set definitely has a Country sound, where any of them could easily fit the Adult Contemporary/Easy Listening formats.

    On a dare, Bonnie was going to give up royalties when she discovered "Dark Moon," and wanted to record it. Dorsey Burnette was originally going to record this song, when Bonnie stepped up to record it herself. Burnette did record it, but was dissatisfied with the results. Bonnie's version would be much better than Burnette's, and would be her biggest hit.

    With "Dark Moon" becoming a huge hit, she would record other songs with the word "Moon" in it's title. This being an album with the word "moon" in it: Moonlight And Roses. The "moon" songs on this compilation: "There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder," "Moonlight And Shadows," "Carolina Moon," "By The Light Of The Silvery Moon," "Shine On Harvest Moon," "The Moon Is Low," "Get Out And Under The Moon," "Moonlight On The Colorado, "Moonlight And Roses," "It's Only A Paper Moon," "Prairie Moon," "Roll Along Kentucky Moon." (Other singers would have accomplished this "moon title album": Jim Reeves and Vaughn Monroe.) Dot would be the main label for many of Bonnie Guitar's songs. (Also to note, that Bonnie Guitar did play guitar for Jim Reeves' sessions.)

    In researching the "Dark Moon" hit, the B-side was listed as "Big Mike." In looking at the liner notes, this single was released on the Fabor and Dot labels. From my memory, somehow I remembered "Mister Fire Eyes" (version 1). Since I enjoyed "Dark Moon" so much, I didn't remember the B-side as "Big Mike," yet I did remember "Mister Fire Eyes." (As I was looking up her hit singles list, "Mister Fire Eyes" was an A-side hit, so I must have had two 45s by Bonnie Guitar: The A-sides being "Dark Moon" and "Mister Fire Eyes.") As I listened to "Big Mike" from the compilation, the memory bells just did not ring. Most or all of the 45s I had, I seem to remember the B-sides.

    There isn't one bad song on this set. It's amazing how Bonnie Guitar did not become a popular artist, especially for her song "Dark Moon." Lots of comparisons here, where in the Country genre, Patsy Cline gets the nod. On the Easy Listening side, her music could be compared to Connie Francis, and some other amazing female singers from that era, that I just can't name. An amazing voice, and not only that, she did play guitar on many of her songs. A true guitar session player in her own right, she proved that not only being a singer (which there were many of, back in the later 1950s to 1960s, she played guitar, as where most during this time, guitarists were known most likely to be men.

    This set covers the years 1956 to 1958. By the end of the 1950s, she we co-founder of Dolton Records, a label that would include The Fleetwoods and The Ventures. When the 1960s decade started, she left Dolton and becme part owner of Jerden Records. She would return to the Dot label during the 1960s, and recorded Country albums. In 1963, she was working on a concept album for Charter Records, but the popularity of such artists as Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole put the album on hold. The album was never released, however one track from it, "Outside Looking In" was, but never became popular on either the pop or country charts. Although copies of the concept album did exist, many of the songs from it were released on other future albums, including a country remake of "Dark Moon." In the years 1966 to 1969, her career in Country became popular, having two Top 10 hits, and won the Academy of Country Music's Top Female Vocalist (1968). During the 1970s decade, she recorded for the Columbia and MCA record labels, with minor hits. After taking a break for some years, she returned in 1980 with one single. In 1986 she was recording with the Tumbleweed label. She retired in 1996, and occasionally performs. As of this writing, she is currently 92 years of age. Her real name is Bonnie Buckingham. She took the stage name "Guitar," being a guitar session player. She recorded 13 studio albums, from 1957 to 1988, and one Christmas album, in 1966. Seven compilations (best of/greatest hits); Bear Family's set is one of them.

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