Country Western artists Jack Patton and Dusty Miller – The Daily Gazette
A reader asked me if I knew anything about Jack Patton, the Polish cowboy. I interviewed Patton once or twice on my WGY radio show in the 1980s.
Patton was a musician, songwriter, health food advocate, actor, and a native of Amsterdam.
The HillbillyMusic.com website reported that Patton’s first name was Frank Aloysius Piecuch. His father worked at Mohawk Carpet Mills and reportedly changed the last name to Patton because there were too many other employees at the mill named Piecuch.
Jack Patton played traditional Polish music at local weddings and dance halls on fiddle and accordion.
Patton had a cowboy band in the late 1930s called Pals of the Saddle according to HillbillyMusic.com However, the band was referred to as Pals of the Range in newspaper advertisements.
He moved to Hollywood in 1939 because Columbia Pictures was going to use one of his songs. Patton was drafted during World War II. HillbillyMusic reported that he had impaired vision and performed limited duties, repairing damaged planes in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Columbia Pictures apparently used Cowboy Polka, one of its songs, in the movie “Swing in the Saddle” which featured music by Nat King Cole’s trio.
Patton met a songwriter named Eden Ahbez and helped convince Nat King Cole to record Ahbez’s song “Nature Boy” which became a hit.
Patton may also have helped songwriter Stan Jones introduce Jones’ song “Ghost Riders in the Sky” to Vaughn Monroe who had a hit with the song in 1949. However, Jones’ biography did not not mentioned Patton.
Patton returned to the Capital District, opened a health food store, did radio shows, and performed with his band. At one point, HillbillyMusic.com reported that Patton had six health food stores.
From 1949 to 1965 he operated a ranch called Sunset Ranch in Broadalbin.
A 1952 Recorder ad reported that Patton was broadcasting from Lansing Beach Ranch in Broadalbin on Albany’s WROW radio station. A 1955 Schenectady Gazette advertisement stated that Patton then operated the Lansing Beach Ranch, renamed Sunset Ranch, which had a giant horse drawn and was broadcast by Gloversville station WENT.
Roamin’ Around, a 1976 column in the Leader Herald, reported that Patton appeared in a film shot primarily in Brazil called “Inspiration: The Polish Cowboy Rides Again”.
The column expressed the hope that the film would be popular in Brazil, the United States and Europe, especially Poland.
Patton was living in Nashville when he died in the 1990s or later. He bought a recording studio there.
My conversations with Patton were hosted by country music performer and radio host Dusty Miller. Miller, whose real name was Elmer Rossi, had a band called the Colorado Wranglers.
Miller’s brother-in-law Barry Frank performed with Miller’s band. Frank was a well-known radio engineer in the Capital District.
Miller had a day job stocking cigarette machines in the area. Later, he delivered medicine from a pharmacy on Guy Park Avenue to local customers.
Dusty Miller was promoted as entertainment at Patton’s Sunset Ranch on July 4, 1957.
The Colorado Wranglers had a long run at Bob’s Tavern in Amsterdam. Miller managed to fit an Amsterdam radio show into his schedule until he was in his eighties.
Miller’s last radio show on WCSS featured interviews with a myriad of Amsterdam characters, from bartenders to former talk show hosts to country singers.
“I love country music because it shows life as it is,” Miller said.
When he died in 1998, Dusty Miller was buried dressed in his fine cowboy clothes.
More from The Daily Gazette: