If you look at the top TV hits of the late 50s the lists seem to be dominated by cowboy shows. I could try on some spiel about the stark contrast between good and evil in these shows reflecting the political situation of the time, but probably the plenitude of westerns was down to cheap costumes and reusable sets. Russ Conway meanwhile was an ex-Navy man and pub pianist who became a favourite of the Queen Mum, but the mood and title of ‘Side Saddle’ makes me think of cowboys. It’s two jaunty, inconsequential minutes of piano pop, partway between Wild West saloon and East End joanna, as 2-D and appealing as a TV western set. After the startling pop advances of the previous year it sounds particularly time-lost, but also rather innocent.

Score: 4

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