Ked Killen was born on May 10, 1911 in Jenkins, Kentucky and raised there. From the time he was a teenager Ked sang and played the guitar locally with other musicians at neighborhood get-togethers and in Virginia.
Ked married a childhood sweetheart by the name of June, and they raised a family together.
Ked Killen had compiled a group of musicians in the late 1960's, which he named ~Western All Stars~. He had seen an add and write-up on Western Ranch Music record label. It was in early 1966 when he contacted Western Ranch Music Records with an audition tape. The company liked his down-to-earth country sounds and signed him to a recording contract on August 1, 1966. Ked had recorded at least 21 masters for Western Ranch Music Records by 1969.
After many hours of re-mastering and restoring the old masters the tracks sound almost as clean and crisp as back then.
Ked's records had some very good ratings in various areas. Mostly The USA, Europe and Canada. Not too much has ever been known about his personal life. Through the studio where Ked recorded in Virginia we could find out that he was working on another tape circa late 1970's - early 1980's, when illness and death struck his wife June, leaving him very distraught and depressed, until he became quite ill himself and passed away in 1986. He is buried in Clintwood, Virginia.
Ked was one of the many fantastic Country singers. His voice was suitable for the early 50's and of his many tracks most have that 1950's country, blues, cowboy and rockabilly sound and style.
Original Western Ranch Music tracks of Artist Ked Killen have been used in Country and Western and Rockabilly album releases produced in the European Union, Canada, and The USA, for the fans and collectors of C&W Retro, Blues, Cowboy and Rockabilly music. Here are a few labels that include songs by Artist Ked Killen: White Label, Netherlands 1988; Binge, West Germany 1989; Sun Label, England 1990;and Rich ~ R ~ Tone.
Esther Casteel started writing songs and composing music circa 1930. She designed her Western Ranch Music Record Label, around 1950, while living in New Mexico and then moved to California where she obtained her recording license in 1952.
Some Bands and Artists under her label and/or who performed her songs from the 1950’s to 1995, were Cecil Ziebart and The Polka Pals, Ked Killen and The Western All Stars,Lee Felts and The Feltons, John York, Virge Brown and The Saddle Mates, Gordon Harris and Western Four and Cowboy Dallas Turner. The Pell Brothers performed "Big Earl" which was also recorded under the Western Ranch Music Record Label. The Elliot Brothers Ork, recorded under the label at the same time as The Pell Brothers. Tex Ritter, performed Esther's "Hey Pretty Mama" song.
In a Billboard Article dated June 12, 1954 "Esther Casteel's Western Ranch Music bowed with the new label and a flock of C&W artists .... 'Grand Ole Opry' troup headlining Ernest Tubb, Ray Price, Marty Robins, Rusty Gabbard, Danny Dill, and The Drifting Cowboys and The Texas Troubadors and Bill Myrick of KECK, Odessa, TX., slated for the 'Permian Basin Jamboree' in Odessa." On September 18, 1954 "The firms prexy was recording such artists as Baby Darlene, Cowboy Dallas Turner, Cherokee Rocky Rose and His Trail Dusters, Jim Hall and his Texas Ramblers, and Bob Wesley".
Some of Esther's first releases listed in Billboards Sept 12, 1953 issue are "Deep In The Rockies, WRM-3-A; In My Garden of Dreams, WRM-3-B; Don't be Jealous Honey, WRM-8-A; My Heart's The Symbol of Loves Sorrow WRM-8-B; Lest You Forget, WRM-10-A; and Blue Sunshine, WRM-10-B". On December 5, 1953, Esther Casteel is listed as personal manager of Auto-harp and guitar player, Harvey Fink. And on January 30, 1954 Esther releases two more recordings "There’s a Tear on The Roses Tonight, WRM-12-A and Cowtown Ball, WRM-12-B".
Around 1952 and into the late 1950’s, Esther managed three additional recording bands; The Westernairs, Old Westerners and Rhythumaires. Esther recorded previously under White Label in New Mexico and Colorado, circa 1940-51. (Not to be mistaken for the European White Label). The Sun Valley Boys were one of her earlier recording bands when she lived in New Mexico. In the early 50’s she had her own band called Cimmeron Sun Valley Boys. At one point in time, there were thirteen bands and seven singers contracted to Esther Casteel, including Canadian groups.
By 2006 Esther Casteel was a 47-year member of The National Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1973 Esther Casteel, was voted to become one of 21 Grammy Governors to serve from 1973-1974 out of the San Francisco, Ca., Chapter. The only woman at that time. Something to be proud of in that day and time. She was a voting member of NARAS, Los Angeles, Ca., Chapter for 38 years. She also became an ASCAP NY member shortly after she obtained her Western Ranch Music Record Label License in 1952.
Releases of vinyl records and reissues of vinyl 45's, Collector Mono LP's and Cassettes were produced with Esther's works as late as 1995. Esther Casteel, was an Author/Composer and Recording Pioneer of circa 1940’s-50's Country, Western, Blues, Cowboy and Polka music; keeping that unique clean crisp sound which carried over into her 1960’s-70's Country and Western Blues, Folk, Americana & Rockabilly Retro.
These unique works continue to be available under her original label and more are returning to the market due to demand from Oldie and Country/Folk/Rockabilly/Americana radio listeners and music collectors and fans of Oldies and music history.
Esther wrote and recorded over 200 songs starting circa 1926 and by the year 1995. Most were recorded on vinyl records. After that, songs were available on Cassette and now on CD, MP3, Music Movie/Videos, and digitally remastered for Oldies and Country Radio Listeners. Ringtones and Wallpapers are available at http://www.myxer.com/partner/11150499/
and a novelty store page offering Western Ranch Music merchandise can be accessed on the facebook band profile page at
Some of Esther's best songs are now available on popular music download sites and radio sites worldwide, like Amazon, Reverbnation, itunes, emusic, Last.fm, Pandora, Jango, Spotify, AirPlay Direct, etc..
The Killen Collector Compilation "physical CD" is currently available for sale on Amazon:
Listen and request WRM Songs by Artist and/or song name, on most Oldies, Country, Folk, Americana, Western, Cowboy, Blues, Rockabilly and other radio channels/sites worldwide.
Information and historical events were gathered from physical news and articles collected over the many years by WRM and/or information is WRM history; and/or information was shared by and/or published previously for/with/by permission of WRM Record Label.
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