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Late September 2014 fortnight’s favourites
sept 15th, 2014 by xavier

Howdy folks, back from holydays. All the selections will be out by obscure artists. Once more uninspired, only music!
ED JUNOT on the Robstown, Texas O-T-O (One-Thousand-One) label comes first with « Give you’re love back to me » [sic]. Uptempo hillbilly fiddle led.

Ed Junot « Give you’re love back to me » download

o-t-o junot
pride guyton

Bill Guyton« I’ve got a little time for loving » download

 

Then BILL GUYTON on the Pride 3000 label, « I’ve got a little time for loving ». Guyton had been vocalist on Curley Rash « Humble road boogie » (Macy’s). This is medium hillbilly bop with a touch of Starday feel.

 

Lefty Pritchett « Just an ole has been » download
bama lefty
 

 

 

 

An haunting « Just an ole has been » on Bama (not the Alabama label) # 0001 by LEFTY PRITCHETT. Hillbilly bop Memphis style.

Then the most recent track of the selection on Toppa 1098 from 1961 : «All those lies» by ELTON TRAVIS. Uptempo Country rocker.

JOHNNY GITTAR offers on High Time 173 « San Antonio boogie », obviously a Texas recording. Medium boogie guitar led and heavy drums.

Finally a train song, « I’m going to roll » by CURLY COLE on Gilt-edge 5029. Nice guitar and piano solo.
Elton Travis « All those lies« download

Johnny Gittar « San Antonio boogie » download

Curley Cole, « Im going to roll« download

 

toppa travishigh time gittargilt-edge cole

Late August 2014 fortnight favorites: What a line! (another minor classic)
août 15th, 2014 by xavier

Howdy, folks !

First selection is a fine bopper (sincere vocal, strong rhythm and good fiddle, even pizzicato played) : « I was standing too close to a heartache » (sounds familiar?) by BILLY TIDWELL, who cut a very good version of « Folsom prison blues » on the White Deer, TX Ko Co Bo label in 1964.

kocobo 1009
Billy Tidwell, « I was standing too close to a heartache« download

 

 

 

 

 

Second odd issue is first ever Tommy Collins‘s song, « Campus boogie », when Collins was still known as LEONARD SIPES in his native Oklahoma. The song can be found on Morgan 106, and is very Hank Williams styled.

 

campus boogie

 

Leonard Sipes « Campus boogie« download

 

 

 

 

Then we enter in back-to-back series. JIMMIE DAVIS, also politician for Louisiana Governoship, cut a whole string of early boppers in the ’30s. Here I selected « You’ve been tom cattin’ around », issued on Bluebird in 1933.

A good 22 years later, CARL STORY had his own version, although the mandolin player is himself, on Columbia 21444 (1955). The flipside is the equally good, Rockabilly style, « What a line ». Strong boogie guitar, a fiddle solo. Really a masterpiece.

bluebird 5425

 

columbia 21444 tom
Jimmie Davis « You’ve been tom cattin’ around »

download

Carl Story « You’ve been tom cattin’ around »
download

 

 

 

« What a line » derives from the original by JIMMIE WIDENER, who had this on his first King session in 1946 (# 536B) on the West coast, backed by such luminaries as Joaquin Murphy on steel or Jimmy Wyble on electric guitar. Harold Hensley is also present on fiddle, and co-wrote the song with Merle Travis. Widener had had been vocalist for Tex Williams, Spade Cooley and Bob Wills.

Jimmie Widener « What a line! » download

king 536-B widener

 

 Clyde Moody « Whatta line« download

 

Carl Story « What a line« download

 

 

The song was revived first in 1953 by CLYDE MOODY on Decca. Usual style. Moody does it fast, with fiddle and guitar solo. Then in the mid-60s by GLENN THOMPSON, the most obscure artist of them all, who came from North Carolina. Guitar player is modern, but has a fine bluesy solo.

 

Glenn Thompson, « What a line »download

 

 

Main source for this issue: Internet.

tornado 101

decca 28785

columbia 21444 line

early August 2014 fortnight’s favorites: usual hillbillies and sad news
août 1st, 2014 by xavier

Hello, this is early August 2014 fortnight. Some new tunes, some already published a few years ago for newcomers, and finally sad news.

 

REDD STEWART was during long years the lead vocalist for PEE WEE KING. The latter (with the Golden West Cowboys) was allegedly under exclusive contract with RCA-Victor, but not Stewart: he was signed by King records and recorded several tunes in Cincinnati (February 1950), among them the very fine « Brother, drop dead (boogie) » King 843-AA). He is indeed backed by the Golden West Cowboys, disguised under the name of « His Kentucky Colonels » ! Great Hillbilly boogie, good steel and piano.

 

king 843AA Redd stewart brother drop dead boogie

Redd Stewart « Brother, drop dead (boogie) »

redd stewart (bebopcapitol)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another well-known artist (he has his own entry in bopping.org) from Mississipi is JIMMY SWAN, or « Colonel Jim » as he presented himself on a Baton Rouge, La. TV-station in 1952. He was signed on the Lilian McMurray Trumpet label in 1952, and recorded for her at WFOR Radio station in Hattiesburg, MS. I retain particularly, among many fine sides, « Juke joint mama » (Trumpet 176), with nice steel (a la Don Helms, Hank Williams’ steel player) and fiddle, and «Lonesome daddy blues «  (Trumpet 198). « Juke joint mama » was first cut by the veteran Denver Darling for Decca in 1946 ; Darling, active in Denver, IN, is the co-writer of, among others, « Choo choo ch’boogie », a hit for Louis Jordan as well as Bill Haley, and more recently for Clifton Chenier. « Lonesome daddy blues » is not the same track as Bill Johnson‘s on a Starday custom – which I will discuss about in another article.

 

swan

Jimmy Swan

denver darling

Denver Darling

Denver Darling « Juke joint mama »download

trumpet 176-78

Jimmy Swan « Juke joint mama »download
trumpet 198 450p

silon 201

 

 
Jimmy Swan « Lonesome daddy blues »download
 

 
Sonny Starns, « Baton Rouge, L.A. »download
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Let’s stay down south. The unknown SONNY STARNS delivers a romping, piano-led « Baton Rouge, L.A. » on the small Hammond, La. Silon label (# 202). 

 

 
Jimmy C. Newman « Lache pas la patate »download
 

 

Sad news now. The death (on June 21rst) of a giant of Country and Cajun music, Mr. JIMMY C. NEWMAN. Born 1927, he began his career vocally fronting the band of Papa Cairo on Modern sides – I think he sings « Kooche kooche », to be found on an old U.K. Ace compilation (« Swingbillies »), in 1949-50. Then he was cutting for Jay D. Miller in Crowley, La. and his first label Feature : songs like « Wondering » – later covered by Webb Pierce on Decca. He had records on Khoury’s too, before entering in Randy Wood’s stable on Gallatin, TN Dot label. A huge hit in 1956, « A fallen star » : then he was an established star. However he never denied his Cajun ancestry and roots and, in 1973, recorded on La Louisiane label the much acclaimed « Lâche pas la patate » in French, also known as « The potato song » (written by Clifford Joseph Trahan, better known as Pee Wee Trahan, or Johnny Rebel…). The song went n°1 in Quebec on the Deram label, and had not since then disappeared from his repertoire, always in demand by Cajun speaking folks until recent times. Newman died of cancer. I will have a survey later of his entire career. Let’s get his music ! 

 Lâche pas la patate (lyrics in French)(« Don’t drop the potato »)

 

Hey! Lâche pas la patate mon neg. Hey! Lâche pas la patate? Une chose qu’est claire, j’fais mon affaire mais j’lâche pas la patate??-?J’vas au bal tous les samedis, pour escouer mes vieilles pattes? J’danse avec toutes les belles filles… Mais j’lâche pas la patate – ?J’fais tous les clubs que je peux faire ent’Lafayette et la Ville Plate? Oublie-moi pas des fois ça chauffe… Mais j’lâche pas la patate?? Refrain :? Hey! Lâche pas la patate mon neg  Hey! Lâche pas la patate? Une chose qu’est claire, j’fais mon affaire mais j’lâche pas la patate??-?Chu pas marié, j’ai pas personne pour m’tenir le fond d’culotte? Quand j’veux partir chu « gone vieux j’ton » Mais j’lâche pas la patate ?J’vas là tout seul la moitié du temps mais quand l’idée me frappe? J’appelle Marie la chère p’tite fille mais j’lâche pas la patate?? Refrain :? Hey! Lâche pas la patate mon neg Hey! Lâche pas la patate? Une chose qu’est claire, j’fais mon affaire Mais j’lâche pas la patate??-Un soir au bal un tout p’tit boguet et un gros a pris à s’battre ?J’voulais que le petit gagne et j’criais « Lâche pas la patate »? Le gros bougre m’a r’gardé et dit: Espère que j’te rattrape ?J’mé viré de bord… J’ai couru fort… J’ai lâché la patate??  Refrain :? Hey! J’ai lâché la patate mon neg Hey! J’ai lâché la patate? Une chose qu’est claire, j’fais mon affaire J’ai lâché la patate??Hey! Lâche pas la patate mon neg Hey! Lâche pas la patate? Une chose qu’est claire, j’ faist mon affaire Mais j’lâche pas la patate…?  [translation in English on personal request]

jimmy C.Newman pic

Roy King, yodeler in Detroit and Chicago (1949-51)
juil 28th, 2014 by xavier

photoRoy King is a completely unknown artist from the very early ’50s, who acted in Illinois (Peoria, WWXL), and whom about anything is unknown today about. London16031 roy king freight train blues 

London 16031B roy king everybody knewLondon 16049B roy king new tennessee babyLondon16049 roy king mule skinner blues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

« Yodelin’ way up there » download

 

« Rambling » download

He had a string of releases, probably cut in Detroit, MI, or Chicago, on the London and Mercury labels between 1949 and 1951, and disappeared after this year. He was billed as a yodeler, and eventually yodeled a lot throughout his records, « Yodelin’ way up there » or « Yodelin’ polka ». He was backed by a regional outfit, Hal Fuller’s Tennessee Ho-Downers, usual guitar, bass, fiddle, and steel. Billboard cited him as a promising artist between April and October 1951, although there were no hits. He used to sing old favorites, as Jimmie Rodgers ’s « Mule skinner blues », Roy Acuff’s « Freight train blues », a fine hillbilly shuffler, « Rambling » or old-timey songs like « St. James infirmary ». His voice is always smooth, a lead guitar is well to the fore, but the whole thing is certainly not hillbilly boogie, although nice yodeling songs. Indeed his style is similar to that of Kenny Roberts.

mercury 6338B yodelin'Mercury6401 roy king st. james infirmary

Any help to document this artist would be welcome!

As usual, Ronald Keppner’s help was indispensable. Thanks Ronald. Also Peter Mohr of Switzerland for the disco and support.
« Freight train blues« download

« Mule skinner blues« download

 

 

 

 

 

Roy King-Billboard-Aug-51

Bottle it up or step it up and go: from a Blues classic to a Hillbilly bop minor classic
juil 27th, 2014 by xavier

bluebird 8373 Tommy«Step it up and go » does ring a bell for you ? The song goes back (first recording) to 1932 by a jug band, but was cut well into the Fifties as a Hillbilly classic.

First Picaninny Jug Band of Dallas cut « Bottle it up and go » in 1932 on the Varsity label. I don’t know if the song was a success then, but it was revised several years later by the Memphis Jug Band (on Okeh, 1934) with Will Shade on vocal and guitar. Tommy Mc Clennan on Columbia (November 1939) as « Bottle it up and go », then in March 1940 by Blind Boy Fuller as « Step it up and go » (Vocalion or Columbia). In the meantime Sonny Boy Williamson (John Lee Williamson) had recorded it in May 1937 as »Got the bottle up and gone » (with vocal by Robert Lee McCoy, aka. Robert Nighthawk) on Bluebird. So after the Picaninny Jug Band, this must be the source where all the followers came. Leadbelly also came with his own version in September 1948 (Folkways).

Memphis_jugband

columbia 37230

Varsity Pincanniny Jug Band

 

bluebird 7012-B sonny boy williamson - got the bottle and gone
Picaninny Jug Band « Bottle it up and go » (1932) download

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sonny Boy Williamson, « Got the bottle up and gone » (1937) download
Tommy McClennan, « Bottle it up and go » (1939)download

Blind Boy Fuller, « Step it up and go » (1940)download

Maddox Bros. & Rose « New step it up and go » (Four Star, 1950)download

Big Jeff and the Radio Playboys (Dot, 1951)download

Harmonica Frank Floyd (Chess, 1951)download

Carl Story (Columbia, 1953)download

Big John Greer, « Bottle it up and go » (Groove, 1955)download

In September1950, the Maddox Bros. And Rose adopted the song on 4 Star as « New step it up and go » (with Don Maddox on vocal and fiddle, and interjections by Rose and the other members), obviously based on Blind Boy Fuller’s version. In July 1951 Harmonica Frank Floyd cut his own version for Sun (Chess 1475) while in 1953 Carl Story had « Step it up and go » as a-nearly-rockabilly version (strong lead guitar, but nice mandolin solo by Red Rector) on Columbia. Finally both Big John Greer (on Groove, 1955, with Mickey Baker on guitar) and John Lee Hooker (on Impulse) had « Bottle it up and go » or « Bottle up and go ». Even Mac Wiseman had his version in 1956 on Dot.

The original words were added by anybody’s verses, and as in many a blues song, the tune became this way a classic, still done these days.

Tommy McClennan’s lyrics :

Yes, yas?? Got to bottle it up an go?Got to bottle it up an go?Now, ‘em high-power women?(guitar) Yeah??Now, she may be old?Ninety year?She ain’t too old?For the shift them gears??She gots (guitar)?’Got to do what, tell me ‘gain?’?'Got to bottle it up and go’?Now, them high power women -Yeah!??Now, I told my girl?Week ‘fore last?The gate she jus’ came in?Just a little too fast??She had to bottle it up an go?She had to bottle it up an go’d?An them high-power women?(guitar) Yes, yeah??Now, the nigger and the white man?Playin’, set ‘em up?Nigger beat the white man?Was scared to pick it up??’He had the bottle up and do what?’?Had to bottle it up and go?And them high-power women?(guitar) Yeah??Now, look-a-here, baby?You stay last night??Ain’t none a yo’ business?You don’t do me right? – ‘You got t’?(guitar)?’Gotta do what??Tell me again, I don’t understand?’?I’ve got the bottle up and go’d?I ain’t gon’ bother with ‘em?Now, them high-power women?Yeah??Now, nickel is a nickel?A dime is a dime?I don’ need no girl?If she want wine? She has to?(guitar)?Had do what??Had to bottle up and go?And them high-power women Yeah??Now, my mama killed a chicken?She thought it was a duck?She put him on the table?With the legs stickin’ up??He had-a (guitar)?Had to do what??He had the bottle it up and go’d?An them high-powered women?Sho’ got the bottle up and gone??’Yeah, play it man-a??Be-da, bee, bop, bop, bop?Bo, de-dum, be-dum, bop, bop?Bo, bom, bom, bom, bom?Bee-da, bee-um, bop-um, bop-um, bop?Bo, bop-um, bop-um, bop-bop, be-ba?T-dee-da, t-dee-da?T-da-da-da (guitar)Yeah! Uh-huh!??Got the bottle up and go?Got the bottle up and go?Now, you high-power women?Sho’ got to bottle ‘em up and go.?

Research done mainly from Internet: google, collector’s frenzy, Youtube. Bibiographical research: Leslie Fancourt, « Blues discography 1943-1973″, Godrich/Dixon « Blues & gospel records 1902-1943″. « Sun records, the discography ». Notes to Big Jeff Bess BF CD. Notes to Carl Story from « Columbia 20000″ (Willem Agenant site)

 

columbia 21250chess 1475

dot 1058groove 0002 big john reer

Mac Wiseman « Step it up and go » (Dot, 1957)download

dot 15544

Mac Wiseman-Step It Up And Go-1956

HAPPY FATS (Leroy LeBlanc) & his Rayne-Bo Ramblers: (1935-1952) and Oran « Doc » Guidry, Louisiana extraordinaires
juil 11th, 2014 by xavier

It has proved difficult to find something on Happy Fats Leroy LeBlanc, although he has been a very popular figure in Louisiana during an half-century. Below is a biography published on the net by All Music (Jason Ankeny).happy fats pic Little did Gilbert and Carrie LeBlanc know, when their baby boy was born on January 30, 1915, that their cheerfully named child would become one of Louisiana’s most recognized Cajun musicians. The music of Happy Fats remains instrumental in both of the preservation and celebration of his native Cajun culture, despite the damage inflicted by a series of race-baiting protest records cut at the peak of the civil rights movement. Born Leroy LeBlanc in Rayne, Acadia Parish, LA, on January 30, 1915, Fats was a self-taught musician who began his professional career at 17 when he began playing accordion in Cajun hillbilly bands led by Amédé Breaux and Joe Falcon. In 1935, he formed his own group, the Rayne-Bo Ramblers, which starred the talents of Eric Arceneaux among others. And regularly headlined the local OST Club. Fats signed to RCA Victor in doc guidry & happy fats1936. In 1937, he played alongside Doc Guidry, and Uncle Ambrose Thibodeaux. Other associates were Luderin Darbonne, Pee Wee Broussard, Doc Guidry, « Papa Cairo » Lamperez, Rex Champagne, and Crawford J. Vincent. He was invited and spoke on many radio stations including: KANE, KEUN, KUOH, KROF, and others. In 1940 he scored his first significant hit, « La Veuve de la Coulee » which featured then-unknown fiddler Harry Choates. The Rayne-Bo Ramblers also served as a springboard for Cajun accordion legend Nathan Abshire in 1935 (« La valse de Riceville« ). Other popular Fats recordings include the traditional « Allons dance Colinda, » « La Vieux de Accordion, » and « Mon Bon Vieux Mari. » Few of his efforts earned national attention, but within south Louisiana he was a superstar, and in the early ’50s even hosted a weekday morning radio show on Lafayette station KVOL. In 1966, however, Fats was the subject of national controversy when he signed to producer Jay D. Miller’s segregationist Reb Rebel label to record the underground smash « Dear Mr. President, » a spoken word condemnation of Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights policies that sold over 200,000 copies despite its appalling racism. « We didn’t have any problems with that, not at all, » Fats maintained in an interview. « There wasn’t anything violent about it — it was just a joke. I had a car of black people run me down on the highway one time coming in Lafayette, and they said, ‘Are you the fellow that made  » Dear Mr. President »?’ I said I was, and they said, ‘We’d like to buy some records.’ They bought about 15 records. There was a big van full of black people and they loved it . . . Either side at that time, they didn’t want integration very much. They wanted to go each their own way. » The commercial success of « Dear Mr. President » launched a series of similarly poisonous Fats efforts including « Birthday Thank You (Tommy from Viet Nam), » « A Victim of the Big Mess (Called the Great Society), » « The Story of the Po’ Folks and the New Dealers, » and « Vote Wallace » in ’72. » After a long battle with diabetes, Fats died on February 23, 1988.   Read the rest of this entry »

early July 2014 fortnight favorites: traveling way up north from Mississipi to Nebraska, via Kentucky and Indiana!
juil 1st, 2014 by xavier

Howdy folks,
Hope you’re all well and ready to visit some more boppers and rockabillies. The name JAMES MASK isn’t that familiar (he had not big hits), although he appeared on Bandera (Illinois), Arbet (Tennessee, « I miss my teen angel », a teen rocker), and later (1972) on MGM-Sound of Memphis (the country rocker « Humpin’ to please »).
Here we find him on the Pontotoc, MS (where he was born in 1932 – Tupelo area) Tom Big Bee label (# ) with a fine early ’60s version of the Rocky Bill Ford‘s classic, « Beer drinkin’ blues ». Honest country rocker. He had some tunes (unissued in the ’50s) on an old White label LP  2305 « Mississipi R’n'R ». The Dutchman wrote there that Mask was backed by his two brothers Charles and Willie.

tom big bee
James Mask « Beer drinkin’ daddy » download

Let’s stay in Mississipi with an otherwise very well known artist, at least in Europe (he drives, latest news, a taxi at Chicago Int’l Airport), Mr. HAYDEN THOMPSON. I offer his first record, on the Booneville, MS, label, Von [which issued Lloyd McCollough and Johnny Burnette's first records,] « Act like you love me«  b/w « I feel the blues coming on« . (original in 1951 by Elton Britt, although not credited on the label) Great slow Hillbillies, whispering vocal over confident backing. Same last tune was done (but it’s a different song) by Loy Clingman on the Arizona Elko label in 1956. Penned byLee Hazlewood, it’s a soft Country-rock effort. The third Thompson track is taken from his sessions at Sun in Memphis, and he retains the same feeling with « Blues, blues, blues » (U.K. Charly 605B) – although more echo, as usual from Sam Phillips’ manner.

Von B 1001

von A1001605B

Hayden Thompson, « Act like you love me« download

Hayden Thompson, « I feel the blues coming on« download

Hayden Thompson, « Blues, blues, blues« download
Elton Britt « I feel the blues coming on » (RCA, 1951)download

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s get up north in Lancaster, KY, and with HAROLD MONTGOMERY. His fine sides on Sun-Ray were documented in the site (see « Sun-Ray » label). Here he comes once more with a good side, similar style, on Wolf-Tex 103, « How much do you miss me », from the ’60s. Great mumbling vocal, similar to early Elvis!

Way north a little further. Muncie, Indiana on the Poor Boy label. A small one, but important artists, the best known being its owner Wayne Raney (« We need a whole lot more of Jesus (and a lot less of Rock’n'Roll »!) ; others are the Van Brothers (« Servant of love », to name only one) and Les & Helen Tussey (already recently posted in fortnight’s favorites).
Harold Montgomery, « How much do you miss me« download

The artist was named DANNY BROCKMAN & the Golden Hill Boys, on Poor Boy 107. First side is Hillbilly bop, « Stick around » from 1959, when Brockman was D.J. at WTMT in Louisville, KY. Great Starday sound, a powerful rhythm guitar, great interplay between lead guitar and steel during the solo, fabulous (altho’ too short) fiddle solo. A ‘must ’ record for Starday sound lovers. The flipside is sung in unisson duet with a certain Carl Jones. Nothing exceptional with « Don’t you know it’s true », a real Everly Bros. -alike. With fine steel and fiddle solos. Brockman also appeared on Dixie 859 (« Big big man »), more on him in a future fortnight.
Danny Brockman, « Stick around » download

Danny Brockman & Carl Jones, « Don’t you know it’s true« downloaddanny brockman

Finally in Omaha, Nebraska (frontier to Canada). 1958, with the wild double-sider « The itch/Baby doll » by CARL CHERRY on the Tene label. « Baby doll » is a typical White doo-wop rocker, good although average. THE side is the garage Rockabilly « The itch » (Tene 1023), prettily sensual. Cherry has got the feel and itch, and the drummer and lead guitar player (RaB HOF says the guy was legally blind!)  too ! Fantastic garage sound…They don’t play this way anymore, even with the wilder neo-rockabilly European bands.

Carl Cherry & Wild Cherries, « The itch » download
Carl Cherry & Wild Cherries, « Baby doll »
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/tene-1023A-CARL-CHERRY.-BABY-DOLL..mp3download

tene CarlCherryphoto1

Carl Cherry & Wild Cherries

SHORTY LONG & the Santa Fe’ Rangers: Pennsylvania hillbilly by a former Italian immigrant and classical violinist!
juin 26th, 2014 by xavier

 

shorty long & SF  Ranchers

Shorty Long, upper left

200px-Map_of_Pennsylvania_highlighting_Berks_County

Reading, Berks Cty

 

200px-Map_of_USA_PA

Pennsylvania

 

shorty long 

A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, Shorty Long was the leader and organizer of the Santa Fe’ Rangers. When he was just 14, his parents, who were musically inclined, sent him to study music at the College of Rome where he got an education in classical music. They said he graduated cum laude as a violinist. During that time it seems he had formed a hillbilly music band that shocked his ‘serious- minded’ parents and the professors. That classical musical training just added to the bands musical sounds.

Shorty Long could also play the accordion, and sang both solo and tenor lead in his combo. He was with radio station WEEU in Reading from about 1946 and by 1951, seemed to be still there. His fan mail was said to be phenomenal.

Prior to returning to his hometown of Reading, he had also appeared on the WSIL Hayloft Hoedown and also the WLS National Barn Dance during the Alka-Seltzer sponsored portions. He also played to rave reviews at New York City’s Paramount Theatre when he was featured with the Foy Willing Trio on the Andrew Sisters’ « Eight-To-The-Bar Ranch Show ».

Shorty spent his summers at his Santa Fe Ranch which was on Rt. 422 just outside of Reading. It may have been some place where entertainment was held as they mention he played host to the big names in the entertainment field. He also appeared in the movie, « Powder River Gunfire ».

He had also just signed a recording contract with RCA Victor then, too. And in his song folio of 1951, was a recent addition to the King record label.   (BIOGRAPHY TAKEN FROM: hillbilly-music.com)

Shorty Long, Country Musician, Composer

 (an obituary)

By Nathan Gorenstein, Inquirer Staff Writer

POSTED: October 27, 1991

Shorty Long, 67, a country-and-western musician whose songs were played by Roy Acuff and who backed up Elvis Presley on recordings of « You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog » and « Don’t Be Cruel, » died Friday October 25th, of complications from cancer at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Reading, where he was born.

Mr. Long, whose real name was Emidio Vagnoni, lived in Exeter Township and for many years ran the Santa Fe Ranch, a 20-acre family entertainment park. He played country and gospel, and staged family comedies with his wife, the former Gladys Ulrich, whose stage name was Dolly Dimples.

Although Mr. Long never officially changed his name, most of his fans only knew him as Shorty Long, a stage name he adopted 50 years ago.

Mr. Long’s original music training was in the classical tradition, and included a stint at the Conservatory of Rome, where his parents enrolled him for violin studies when he was 16.

Despite that – and playing violin with the Reading Symphony Orchestra for a period – he decided to pursue « hillbilly and western music, » as country music was called in the 1940s.

Only 5-foot-6, Mr. Long told interviewers how he’d gotten his name.

In the 1940s, at the start of his career, a fan approached him for an autograph. Because friends had already given him Shorty as a nickname, he signed « Shorty » – only to have the fan complain that the autograph was inadequate without a second name.

« So I wrote Long, » he recalled in a 1956 interview. « That happened to be the name of a girl I was going with at the time. »

Mr. Long opened the Sante Fe Ranch in 1948, emphasizing country music. In 1967, he and his wife purchased a 67-acre tract in New Tripoli, Lehigh County, and opened Ontelaunee Park, where top-name country music entertainers performed.

He sold the second park in 1982.

Mr. Long played steel guitar, wrote songs and recorded for a number of major labels. He also played violin, piano, bass, organ and banjo in recording sessions for a number of artists, including Presley.

His songs were recorded by Roy Acuff, Marty Robbins, Hank Snow, Jimmy Dickens, Pee Wee King, Jim Reeves and Hawkshaw Hawkins.

In 1955 he was cast as the lead in a Frank Loessner musical, The Most Happy Fella, and was declared a « showstopper » by columnist Walter Winchell.

Long stayed with the Broadway production for about four months, but later said homesickness for his wife and his country-and-western group, « The Santa Fe Rangers, » brought him back to Berks County.

It was during his stay in New York that he played piano and other instruments on such Presley songs as « Hound Dog » and « Don’t Be Cruel. »

In 1984 Mr. Long was presented the Outstanding Italian American Citizenship Award of Berks County by the Spartaco Society.

In a 1982 interview, Mr. Long said, « I wanted to be remembered as someone who always wanted to be with my family, the thousands of people who let me entertain them. »
———————————————————————————————————————–

It has not been very easy to assemble a story of Shorty Long. Indeed the biography and the obit above did help a bit. But what more ? Virtually all I know about him came from his records, and luckily they are quite a lot, in very different styles. Let’s try at one go a classification and an appreciation of Long’s music.

His first Signatures/Hi-Tone sides from 1947 (with Riley Shepard) are exuberant: lot of accordion (Long?), lot of reels (« Sheppard’s Scottische ») or traditionals (« Boil them cabbage down »). I really would like to listen to their treatment of the blues standard « Sweet Corinna blues » (untraced – someone can help?). Anyway nice songs are also present, typical ’40s hillbilly : « Airmail special on the fly » or « After all these years », which remind me a lot of the music that another Pennsylvanian cut at the same time : Bill Haley & His Four Aces of Western swing, early in his career (1949-50) on Keystone, or Cowboy label.

Hi-Tone 199B riley sheperd &shorty longHi-Tone 200B  riley shepard & shorty long

 

Riley Shepard & Shorty Long « After all these years » download

 

Riley Shepard & Shorty Long « Boil them cabbage down » download

 

On the Cowboy label, precisely, Shorty Long and the Santa Fe’ Rangers (at this point, not to be confused with Virginian Melvin Price‘s band, who cut on the Regal label as well as Blue Hen, among others, although later in the ’50s) recruited an already 30 to 32 years old singer (born 1918), Jack Day, or the alreay unknown Pee Wee Miller (although Day was present in the writers’ credit) for several sides. Fine uptempo sides with main instrument being accordion well to the fore (a fact which may wonder if Shorty Long was not playing it himself), good and firm singing by Day on « I round up the stars » and « I’ll go on loving you », or Miller in « You’ve got my heart in trouble ». Later on, Jack Day woud pursue a long career, although not very prolific recording-wise, on Coral ( his « Mule boogie [is this the Roy Hall tune on Bullet?]/Coyote blues » sounds promising..), Mercury (a cover of Bob Newman‘s « Lonesome truck driver’s blues »), and finally in late 1959 on Arcade 155: the fine « Rattle bone boogie » (flipside I’d like to hear is an instrumental, « Rappin’ the bass », well before the rap craze, of course).

Shorty Long and Santa Fe’ Rangers [Jack Day, vocal] « I round up the stars » download

Shorty Long and Santa Fe’ Rangers [Pee Wee Miller, vocal) "You've got my heart in trouble" download
Jack Day, « Rattle bone boogie » download

Cowboy 202B you've got my heart in trouble arcade 155

Cowboy 202A I round up the stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get back to Shorty Long – as he aimed to be called then by fans. We find him next on Decca in 1948 for very slow sentimental songs. Long has a fine voice, mellow and easy, but…no uptempo : he’s crooning. Best song to emerge is the standard « I love you so much it hurts ». In 1949-50, he went to RCA-Victor, and all the songs I’ve heard are similar in style and I can think in confidence that Long pursued on slow ballads on the label.  Decca 46139A I love you so much

We find him next on King Records, out of Cincinnati. It’s still now unclear where he recorded, either in Cincinnati or Nashville, TN. But he must have used studio musicians : on the labels, « The Santa Fe’ Rangers » have disappeared. All in all, he had better moments then, and went straight on the hillbilly bop bandwagon. My favorites are « Calm, cool and collected » (# 889) and the two-sided # 953. « Just like two drops of water » is a good uptempo ballad, well in the style of the King label circa 1950-52. The best side is however the powerful train song « Good night Cincinnati, good morning Tennessee » (my first exposure to Shorty Long’s music in 1978). Nice steel, infectious rhythm, a little classic !

Scotty Evans, « Three times seven » (Arcade 115) download
Shorty Long, « Just like two tear drops of water »
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/king-953-just-like-two-drops-of-water.mp3download

 

Shorty Long, « Good night Cincinnati, good morning Tennessee » download

King 953A just like two drops of waterKing 953 good night cincinnati

 

 

 

 

I’d like to hear also « Hillbilly wedding » (# 949), which escaped to my research until now ; it must have had some success, since this tune was reissued on # 1076 in 1952. Shorty Long’s band must have been in demand, as they are backing Scotty Evans on one of the first Arcade issues (# 115), « Three times seven/What’s become of me« , both reasonable boppers.Arcade 115A shorty evans 3 times 7

1953, down in Tennessee ; first for the Gallatin Dot label ; « Pretend » and « Crying steel guitar waltz » (# 1153) are highly forgettable, slow sentimental ballads. « Crying » was covered by Pee Wee King with a reasonable dose of success in May 1953.

Second session is a lot more interesting for the Knoxville small Valley label. From then on, I guess it’s a turn in Shorty Long’s career. « I got nine little kisses » is a jivey little rocker, a la Bill Haley (Essex period – actually the song reminds me « Crazy, man, crazy »). Chorus, string-bass, lead guitar and a happy vocal by Long. Its flipside « Who said I said that » is an equally good jiver.

santa fe rangers

shorty long affiche

9 kisseswho said
Shorty Long « I got nine little kisses » download

Shorty Long « Who said I said that » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/valley-108-who-said-I-said-that.mp3download

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Davis Sisters covered « Just like me » (RCA 47-5843) in 1955, and the pair offered Martha Carson « I just found God » (RCA EPA 674) in 1956.

 

 

Back to the big RCA-Victor label, this time I think in NYC in 1954, until 1957. Long went more and more pop, after 1956; anyway he had still fine sides, like the train song « Standing in the station » (with a male/female chorus doing train effects – Boudleaux Bryant had already given Long the song « Who said I said that » on Valley) or the mambo-beat « Make with me de love » or on the X label in 1955 ; Long teamed with Bob Newman as « The Dalton Boys » for the great two-sider « Roll, Rattler, roll » b/w « Just like me » (X 0045).

X-0024B standing in the stationX-0024A make with me de loveX0045dalton boys roll, rattler, roll
Shorty Long, « Standing in the station » download

Shorty Long, « Make with me de love » download

The Dalton Boys « Roll, Rattler, roll » download
Shorty Long, « I got it » download

Shorty Long, « Luscious » download

Shorty Long, « Redstone John » download

 

lusciousk-son 7285

 

 

 

 

The Davis Sisters covered « Just like me » in 1955 on RCA 47-5843, while the pair offered « I just found God » to Martha Carson (RCA EPA 674) in 1956.

 

 

Late January 1956 as pianist he backed Elvis Presley during the mammoth session with saw « Blue suede shoes », « Shake rattle and roll », etc. cut He maintained to have played on « Hound dog », although Gordon Stokes of the Jordanaires held the piano stool for this August 1956 session.

Apart from a fine, very Everly-ish « I got it » (unissued at the time – I don’t know where the Youtuber found it), and a big band-ish « Luscious » (I believe this is the Roy Hall song – B-side of « Blue suede shoes« : the writer is the same, Greg Callahan) , other tracks are « Vacation rock » (curiously issued as B-side to « I got nine little kisses » on the Valley bootleg issue in 1978) which is a belter, as « Burnt toasts and black coffee » (RCA 47-6572). Last good track Long could have cut was Cliff Crofford’s « Another love has ended », alas ruined (to my ears) by over-production and noisy brassy backing. Final track of interest came in 1958 on the Birmingham, AL. K-Son label (distributed by RCA): Shorty Long delivers an honest white-rocker with lot of saxes. Nothing of an earthquake however!

 

Shorty long issued several albums during the ’60s and ’70s along with his wife Dolly Dimples, and was active in music nearly until his death in 1991.

 

This article would have proved impossible to settle down without the invaluable help of collector Ronald Keppner, out of Frankfurt am Main in Germany. Thanks Ronald for the sounds and scans.

late June 2014 fortnight’s favorites + 1935 hillbilly!
juin 15th, 2014 by xavier

Howdy folks ! Hope you will enjoy those selections of the present fortnight. Now it’s very hot in southern France, so is the music I choose.

From Harrington, KY., do come GORDON SIZEMORE on the Alvic label (no #. Thanks Mr. Dean C. Morris for the scan of the label!).  « Waddlin baby » [sic] is a Country, near Rockabilly from 1962. The voice of the singer is nasal and sounds a little old. The guy must have been the perfect Country boy. He his backed by (apparently) two brothers, Johnny and Casey Jones. One of them does a fine fiddle solo. The record, if you find it, will cost you between $ 100 and 200 !

arvic no# cool 135 label

Gordon Sizemore « Waddlin baby »download

Tom Wilson « Why’d you pick on me »download

 

To learn more about the COOL label, go to Dean C. Morris blogsite: http://anorakrockabilly45rpm.blogspot.co.uk

On the Harrison, NJ. Cool label (# 135B) we go now to TOM WILSON and « Why’d you pick on me », a fast Rockabilly flavored Country rocker, with fine slapping bass. The name of the singer sounds familiar to me, I know at least another Tom Wilson on the Crest label out of California, surely a different person. The disc is from 1960.

 

Next two tracks are sung and played by BUDDY ALLEN and his Drifting Vagabonds on the Driftwood label (# 1001) from Waynesboro, PA. « Driftwood on the river » is the side for hillbilly bop fans : a medium paced ditty, with a nice mellow voice, backed by a fiddle and steel-guitar (a solo). A great record from, I’d say, 1955. Allen had another issue, « Allegheny moon » on Driftwood 1002 (untraced)

The flipside is totally different. « God loves His Children » is a fast sacred hillbilly with a good touch of bluegrass : a mandolin solo per example. Hear the most the great falsetto vocal ! Is the singer the same Buddy Allen who did « Shine, shave, shower » on Tennessee 748?

driftwood labelBuddy Allen « Driftwood on the river »download

Buddy Allen « God loves His children »download

 

 

From Louisiana next two tracks by a relatively famous HOLLIS ALBIN, for the minor classic « Vee-eight Ford boogie » on the Hammond label, out of Baton Rouge (1959). Loud drums, nasal vocal, topical lyrics, all these make of the track a gem, a classic. (# 106A). The flipside is, in my mind, equally good, altho’ in a different manner. « Uncle Earl don’t stand alone » is a medium hillbilly bop, with a backing of banjo and fiddle, over amusic lyrics.

 

Hollis Albin, « Vee-Eight Ford boogie download

 

Hollis Albin, « Uncle Earl don’t stand alone »download

hammond earlhammond Vee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally two tracks by the legendary PRAIRIE RAMBLERS. They were Texans, but recorded (during a tour?) in NYC for the ARC label. First « Gonna have a feast here tonight » (on the reissue label Melotone 13412-B) is an exuberant number sung by Salty Holmes, who holds also the harmonica. Tex Atchison plays the fiddle. The orchestra sings in unisson on this song cut on April 18, 1935. Second, their greatest classic, « Deep Elem Blues » (about the events in the ‘hot’ quarter of Dallas) cut on August 15, 1935, has clarinet (solo), banjo, fiddle. The whole thing is a mess! (Melotone 5-11-51). What a slap bass, by Jack Taylor, ahead by 20 years on Sonny Fisher‘s « Rocking Daddy »…Same session saw also the first cut of « Just because« , later sung by Elvis on Sun!

melotone feastmelotone blues

 

Prairie Ramblers, « Gonna have a feast here tonight »
download

 

Prairie Ramblers, « Deep Elem blues »

download

 

 

 

Enjoy the selections, you can always post comments, corrections or additions. If you prefer a direct link, go to my email address : xavier.maire@free.fr. Bye, till next fortnight.

early June 2014 fortnight favorites
mai 31st, 2014 by xavier

mystic 0528 ray mckinney washday bluesHowdy folks! En route for a new batch of bopping ‘billies. Main instrument will be fiddle (but not in all titles present), always to the fore. It even had in places good solos. Second instrument (normal in honky tonk) is steel-guitar. By accident, I’ve uploaded two yodeling vocalists too. Music rounds up from 1954 to 1961, from Texas and southern New Mexico to Ohio. Here we go…

RICKY McKINNEY offers on the Mystic label (# 0528) (an RCA custom pressing from 1958) the nice Western swing flavored « Washday blues« . Roswell, New Mexico.

Ricky McKinney, « Washday blues »download

Second offering is by a well-known guy (for his Rockabilly side « My square dancing’ mama (She’s done learned to Rock’n'roll)« . Here is the flip side (MGM 12195 from March 1956), « Your wild life’s gonna get you down« , very much in a traditional Honky tonk manner. The name: BOB GALLION!
Bob Gallion, « Your wild life’s gonna get you down »download

 

Abbott 12A freddie frank 12,000 texas lo,ghorns

Freddie Frank, « This old rig »download

 


permian 1001 freddie frank this old rig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From an unknown location I guess Ohio, on the microscopic Chuck’s label (although # 3434 seem to evoke other previous issues) by CHUCK SMITH. Without doubt his own label, where he delivers a great, dramatic bluesy (à la Hank Williams) « Lovesick daddy« . Smith even does yodel. I wish to hear more by a man of this talent. Chuck Smith, « Lovesick daddy »download

Finally back to Texas (Plainview) on the Flair label (# 1021-1023) by JAMIE HILLIARD, « I’m going back to my  Indian maiden« . Good piano (solo) and guitar, and the fiddle takes two solos, while Hillard vocalizes in yodel too. Indeed nothing to do with the Los Angeles Flair label (Richard Berry, Elmore James, etc.) of the Biharii Brothers.

chuck's 3434 chuck smith love sick daddy

 

flair 1021-23 jammie hilliard I'm  going back to my indian maiden

Jamie Hilliard, « I’m going back to my Indian maiden »download

 

 

Hope to hear from you! Any comments or additions welcome (even bad ones!). My thanks as usual go to Ronald Keppner: he’d help me a lot for the Shorty Long story.

June 2nd, 11h47PM. I don’t really know what happened. I had included Shorty Long’s « Goodnight Cincinnati, good morning Tennessee » (King 953), announcing the next feature on him in Bopping. Really cannot understand: everything about him disappeared from the project (pictures, text and music).Sorry for inconvenience! Blame on internet wizardry? Also all my article on Freddie Frank, whom you only have without any explanation two tunes. More on him later!

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