While you may never have heard of Craig Toungate, chances are good that you have heard his voice singing in national commercials for Nissan, Southwest Airlines, Applebee's and others. Or maybe from children's recordings, as Craig has been a featured singer on over 50 recordings released by Disney since 1997, singing everything from character voices to Rock n' Roll, and even a rap song as the Big Bad Wolf. Craig has even recorded a duet with Mickey Mouse. Producer Gary Powell, who has over 100 Disney projects to his credit says, 'Craig is hands down the most versatile singer I've ever worked with.' Craig, a Round Rock, Texas native has been playing solo and in various bands since he was 13. He started out with his school buddies playing for school dances and talent shows, but was soon working in the fertile club scene in nearby Austin, working at legendary clubs such as the Skyline, Split Rail, the Shorthorn, the Cricket Club, Soap Creek Saloon, the Broken Spoke, and Liberty Lunch. Craig developed his singing and guitar talents playing Rock n' Roll, Country, Jazz, and Western Swing, with bands like Cactus Jack, The Almost Brothers, The All Star Swing Revue, and Ro-Tel & The Hot Tomatoes, a group he served for 8 years as band leader, and musical director. A member of the Grammy Recording Academy, Craig has performed all over the United States, and has toured Europe. He has shared album credits with Randy Newman, Ray Benson, Smash Mouth, Cliff Edwards, and John Goodman. He has a song on the new Jungle Book II soundtrack, and was also featured on the Grammy nominated Bugs Life Sing-a-Long, with a new arrangement of 'Ugly Bug Ball' that was first recorded in the 1960's by his cousin, Burl Ives. During his 30 plus year professional music career Craig has shared the stage with many top names in the business including Chuck Berry, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Natalie Cole, The Temptations, The Drifters, The Coasters, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Dixie Cups, Nancy Griffith, Gary Morris, Rich Little, Judy Tenuta, Olivia Newton-John, Kate Wolf, The Association, Joe Ely, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Marcia Ball, Roy Head, The Texas Playboys, Floyd Tillman and many other notables. He has also followed in the footsteps of his uncles, who performed Western Swing in Texas in the 1930's with their group the Hillbilly Ramblers. It was Craig's love of old music that lead him to the New Orleans Jazz Fest, where he and wife, Susan Lincoln, first attended in 1990 for their honeymoon, and now make it an annual pilgrimage. While attending a tribute to Jelly Roll Morton at the Fest Craig was privileged to meet the now late veteran New Orleans jazz guitarist and historian Danny Barker, who inspired Craig to begin performing the wonderful old tunes he loved so much. This in turn has lead to the release of his new CD, 'Vintage Delight'. Together Craig and Susan also have a New Age CD, 'Openings', released in December 2001, available here on CDBABY. Background on the Songs : Whose Honey are You - I first heard this happy snappy tune on a Fats Waller recording from 1935. Just try and sit still during this one. From songwriters Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots, who also wrote 'Santa Claus is Coming To Town'. Basin Street Blues - I learned this one from the Mills Brothers, who were also my original inspiration, along with Cliff Edwards, for the throat trumpet and trombone sounds I do throughout this recording. This song debuted in 1928. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down & Write Myself a Letter - I've always loved this tune, and once after performing it for a group of elderly, a lady remarked, 'Young man that was a treat and a treatment.' This tune has been featured at the top of the charts in the 30's and again in the 50's. My Prayer - This French import is another song that hit the charts in the 30's and the 50's with The Ink Spots and The Platters both having wonderful renditions. It is timeless. This one's for my Sus. My Blue Heaven - Always a favorite at my shows, no matter the age of the crowd, this song was written in 1927. I decided to give this one a sort of Cliff Edwards meets Chet Atkins feel. Your Feets Too Big - Once again learned from a 30's recording of the inimitable Fats Waller. Never fails to bring a smile. Thanks to Larry for letting me use his old metal National guitar on this one. Pretend - Nat King Cole is one of my idols. I like to pretend this song is about your guardian angel always being beside you no matter what. Dream - Another idol is the multi-talented Johnny Mercer. This was his radio show theme song, and one of the few that he wrote both the music and lyrics for. It's one of my all time favorites. What can I say, I'm an eternal optimist. An Olden Melody - I didn't realize when I recorded this wonderful tune that it had never been recorded before until this album. Susan discovered this rare gem in a stack of old sheet music while we were visiting our late friend, collector Olin Carver. It was written by brother and sister Zeke and Maxine Manners in 1942, and was Zeke's theme song. Zeke, a member of the Western Music Hall of Fame, started out in L.A. in 1930 with a band called The Beverly Hill Billies, believe it or not. Then went on to become a popular radio and T.V. host in L.A. and New York. Zeke passed away in 2000, but Maxine still lives out in California, and is delightful, and one of my new friends. This one's for Zeke and Maxine. Tying Knots in the Devil's Tail - This song started out as a cowboy poem written in 1917 by Gail Gardner. It's been recorded many times, my favorite by Powder River Jack Lee in 1930. The Sierry Petes in the song refer to the Sierra Prieta Mountains of Northern Arizona, and Whiskey Row was in Prescott. Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie (The Dying Cowboy) - This traditional cowboy song is based on an old sea song The Ocean Burial. As with all traditional songs it exists in many different forms. This is my own arrangement based on a 1929 Victor recording by Jules Verne Allen. I love the plaintive sound it evokes. It was one of my Dad's favorites. Cattle Call - Originally written and recorded in 1935 by Tex Owens, a popular radio performer, and then again in 1955 in a different version by Eddy Arnold, whose form I used here. This is one of the first songs I ever fell in love with while listening to the radio as a child. Milk Cow Blues - I learned this Kokomo Arnold tune from Leon Rausch, former vocalist with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. We had the pleasure of having Leon sing at our wedding reception the day after he was inducted into the Western Swing Hall of Fame. The Strawberry Roan - I remember my Dad singing this to me when I was small child bouncing on his knee. Curley Fletcher wrote this originally as a poem around 1917, and this version is based on a 1929 recording by The Arizona Wranglers. Texas Plains/Deep in the Heart of Texas - Stuart Hamblen, the composer of Texas Plains, was also a member of the Beverly Hill Billies with Zeke Manners. Another coincidence I didn't know of until after recording it. Every Texas schoolchild learns Deep in the Heart along with the required handclaps. These two songs seemed like a natural fit to me, and an upbeat way to end the album. I also wanted to pay tribute to my ancestors who moved to Central Texas in the 1830's and became part of the colorful and interesting history of this area.