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.
Billy Tidwell, « I was standing too close to a heartache«
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.
Leonard Sipes « Campus boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/campus-boogie.mp3download
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.
Jimmie Davis « You’ve been tom cattin’ around »
Carl Story « You’ve been tom cattin’ around »
« 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! » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/JIMMIE-WIDENER-What-A-Line-KING.mp3download
Clyde Moody « Whatta line« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Clyde-Moody-Whatta-line.mp3download
Carl Story « What a line« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Columbia-21444-Carl-Story-What-A-Line.mp3download
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 »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/tornado-T-101-Glenn-Thompson-What-A-Line-.mp3download
Main source for this issue: Internet.
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.
Redd Stewart « Brother, drop dead (boogie) »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/king-843-redd-stewart-drop-dead-boogie.mp3
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.
Denver Darling « Juke joint mama »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Denver-Darling-Juke-joint-mama.mp3download
Jimmy Swan « Juke joint mama »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/trumpet-176-jimmy-swan-juke-joint-mama.mp3download
Jimmy Swan « Lonesome daddy blues »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Jimmy-Swan-Lonesome-Daddy-Blues.mp3download
Sonny Starns, « Baton Rouge, L.A. »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/silon-201-Sonny-starns-baton-rouge-l.a.1.mp3download
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 »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/jimmy-NewmanLache-pas-la-patateLL.mp3download
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]
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Roy 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.
« Yodelin’ way up there » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/01-Ramblin.mp3download
« Rambling » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/01-Ramblin.mp3download
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.
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« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/freight-train-blues.mp3download
« Mule skinner blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mule-skinner-blues.mp3download
«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).
Picaninny Jug Band « Bottle it up and go » (1932) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/picaninny-bottle-it-up-and-go.mp3download
Sonny Boy Williamson, « Got the bottle up and gone » (1937) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/SONNY-BOY-WILLIAMSON-Got-the-bottle-and-go.mp3download
Tommy McClennan, « Bottle it up and go » (1939)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Bottle-It-Up-And-Go-TOMMY-McCLENNAN-1939-Delta-Blues-Guitar-Legend.mp3download
Blind Boy Fuller, « Step it up and go » (1940)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Columbia-37230-Blind-Boy-Fuller-Step-It-Up-And-Go-1940.mp3download
Maddox Bros. & Rose « New step it up and go » (Four Star, 1950)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/4-1549-DJ-Maddox-Bros.-Rose-New-step-it-up-and-go.mp3download
Big Jeff and the Radio Playboys (Dot, 1951)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/dot-1058-Big-Jeff-step-it-up-and-go.mp3download
Harmonica Frank Floyd (Chess, 1951)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Chess-1475-HARMONICA-FRANK-STEP-IT-UP-AND-GO.mp3download
Carl Story (Columbia, 1953)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/columbia-21250-carl-story-Step-It-Up-And-Go.mp3download
Big John Greer, « Bottle it up and go » (Groove, 1955)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/groove-Big-John-Greer-Bottle-It-Up-And-Go.mp3download
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)
Mac Wiseman « Step it up and go » (Dot, 1957)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Mac-Wiseman-Step-It-Up-And-Go-1956.mp3download
Mac Wiseman-Step It Up And Go-1956
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). 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 1936. 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 »
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.
James Mask « Beer drinkin’ daddy » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/tom-big-bee-James-Mask-Beer-Drinking-Blues.mp3download
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.
Hayden Thompson, « Act like you love me« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Act-Like-You-Love-Me.mp3download
Hayden Thompson, « I feel the blues coming on« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/I-Feel-The-Blues-Coming-On.mp3download
Hayden Thompson, « Blues, blues, blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/605B-Hayden-Thompson-Blues-Blues-Blues1.mp3download
Elton Britt « I feel the blues coming on » (RCA, 1951)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Elton-Britt-I-feel-the-blues-coming-on.mp3download
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« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/wolf-tex-103-Harold-Montgomery-How-Much-Do-You-Miss-Me.mp3download
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 » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/poor-boy-107-Danny-Brockman-And-The-Golden-Hill-Boys-Stick-Around-.mp3download
Danny Brockman & Carl Jones, « Don’t you know it’s true« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Poor-boy-107B-Danny-Brockman-Carl-Jones-Dont-You-Know-Its-True.mp3download
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 » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Tene-1023B-Carl-Cherry-The-Itch.mp3download
Carl Cherry & Wild Cherries, « Baby doll » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/tene-1023A-CARL-CHERRY.-BABY-DOLL..mp3download
Carl Cherry & Wild Cherries
Shorty Long, upper left
Reading, Berks Cty
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
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.
Riley Shepard & Shorty Long « After all these years » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/signature-1014-after-all-these-years.mp3download
Riley Shepard & Shorty Long « Boil them cabbage down » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/signature-1032-boil-them-cabbage-down.mp3download
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 » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/cowboy-202-I-round-up-the-stars.mp3download
Shorty Long and Santa Fe’ Rangers [Pee Wee Miller, vocal) "You've got my heart in trouble" http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/cowboy-202-youve-got-my-heart-in-trouble.mp3download
Jack Day, « Rattle bone boogie » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/arcade-155-Jack-Day-Rattle-Bone-Boogie.mp3download
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.
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) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/arcade-115-SCOTTY-EVANS-ACCOMPANIED-BY-SHORTY-LONG-AND-HIS-SANTA-FÉ-RANGERS-Three-times-seven-Arcade-115A.mp3download
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 » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/king-953-goodnight-cincinnati.mp3download
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.
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.
Shorty Long « I got nine little kisses » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/valley-108-I-got-nine-little-kisses.mp3download
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).
Shorty Long, « Standing in the station » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/X-0024-Standing-in-the-station.mp3download
Shorty Long, « Make with me de love » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/X-0024-Make-with-me-de-love.mp3download
The Dalton Boys « Roll, Rattler, roll » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/X-0045-The-Dalton-Boys-Roll-Rattler-Roll.mp3download
Shorty Long, « I got it » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/RCA-SHORTY-LONG-I-Got-It-unissued.mp3download
Shorty Long, « Luscious » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/arcade-115-SCOTTY-EVANS-ACCOMPANIED-BY-SHORTY-LONG-AND-HIS-SANTA-FÉ-RANGERS-Three-times-seven-Arcade-115A.mp3download
Shorty Long, « Redstone John » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/A5-Shorty-Long-Redstone-John-K-Son-J8OW-7285_6-58.mp3download
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.
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 !
Gordon Sizemore « Waddlin baby »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/alvic-Gordon-Sizemore-Waddlin-Mama.mp3download
Tom Wilson « Why’d you pick on me »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/cool-135B-Tommy-Wilson-Whyd-You-Pick-On-Me.mp3download
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?
Buddy Allen « Driftwood on the river »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DRIFTWOOD-1001A-Buddy-allen-driftwood-on-the-river.mp3download
Buddy Allen « God loves His children »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DRIFTWOOD1001B-buddy-allen-God-loves-his-children.mp3download
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 http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/hammond-106-HOLLIS-ALBIN-Vee-eight-Ford-Boogie.mp3download
Hollis Albin, « Uncle Earl don’t stand alone »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/hammond-106B-HOLLIS-ALBIN-Uncle-Earl-Dont-Stand-Alone-.mp3download
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!
Prairie Ramblers, « Gonna have a feast here tonight »
Prairie Ramblers, « Deep Elem blues »
Enjoy the selections, you can always post comments, corrections or additions. If you prefer a direct link, go to my email address : firstname.lastname@example.org. Bye, till next fortnight.
Howdy 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 »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Ricky-Mc-Kinney-Washday-Blues-1958.mp3download
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 »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Your-Wild-Lifes-Gonna-Get-You-Down-Bob-Gallion.mp3download
Freddie Frank, « This old rig »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Freddie-Frank-This-Old-Rig-19611.mp3download
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 »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Chuck-Smith-Love-Sick-Daddy.mp3download
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.
Jamie Hilliard, « I’m going back to my Indian maiden »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Jamie-Hilliard-Im-Going-Back-To-My-Indian-Maiden.mp3download
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!
This time we focus on 3 artists only. First DARNELL MILLER, who has enjoyed a comfortable Country music career for 5 decades in W. Va (a long-time affiliate to the famous WVA Jamboree), is present here with three of his early records. On the Dale label (a Starday custom) # 630 from Bluefield, W.Va, in May 1957, he released a very honest medium-paced hillbilly (fiddle present) with « Gettin’ out of the woods« . Two years later, he was to have two nice Country-rockers on the main Starday serie (in the meantime, he had been presented to Don Pierce, boss of the label, in Nashville). He delivers the energetic « Royal flush » (Starday 422) as well, several months later, the equally nice (where he seems to double his voice over) « Back to you » (Starday 459). Later on, he cut many, many records until his retirement early in the 2000s.
Darnell Miller, ’90s
Darnell Miller « Gettin’ out of the woods » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/630-B-Dale-Darnell-Miller-Gettin-out-of-the-woods.mp3download
Darnell Miller « Royal flush » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/starday-422-Darnell-Miller-Royal-Flush-.mp3download
Darnell Miller « Back to you » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/07-Darnell-Miller-Back-To-You.mp3download
The second artist presented here has no biographical data. BILL DUDLEY had cut in Nashville a good amount of records from 1953 to 1972 (in Canada) then disappeared from Dick Grant’s antennas. I’ve chosen the nice hillbilly released in November 1953 by Capitol (# 2662) « If I cry« . All in all, he recorded between 1953 and 1954 thirteen tracks for this label, which issued 4 singles. The next track by him is the fine Country-rocker « Oh please Mr. Conductor » on the Todd label (# 1046) from 1959. This tiny label issued several good disks during this period by Lee Bonds, Jimmie Fletcher or Jericho Jones, to name the most well-known in the Hillbilly bop/Country-rock field.
Bill Dudley « If I cry » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/capitol-2662-bill-dudley-if-I-cry.mp3download
Bill Dudley « Oh please Mr. Conductor » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Bill-Dudley-Oh-Please-Mr-Conductor-TODD-Records.mp3download
Down in Louisiana, I will dwell on JOEY GILLS upon. A protégé of Jay D. Miller, and né Joseph Guillot, he hailed from Thibodeaux vicinity, La. where he was born on a farm in 1929 (died 2013).A relative to Cajun superstar Johnnie Allan, during the early ’50s, he often gigged with Rusty & Doug, and he sounded so much as Hank Williams that J. D. Miller often used him to test new songs. Here it is his first record from 1953-54 « Hey Meon » (Feature 2002), cut in Crowley, La (J. D. Miller studio): Gills is backed by Lonnie Jones (later known as « Lazy Lester« ) on washboard, Johnny on steel (Miller can’t remember his full name) and Wiley Barkdull on piano for a very good waltz-paced ditty, partly sung in French. In February or March 1956, he cut 4 tracks for Mercury, either in Crowley, or in Nashville, which included the great medium boppers « (I am) Like a dog without a bone », « My name is Joe » and « Consolation prize« . From then on, Gills had his own radio show in Thibodeaux on KTIB, but recorded only this song (found on Youtube).
Joey Gills: « Hey Meon » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/feature-2002-Joey-Gills-Hey-Meon.mp3download
Joey Gills « Like a dog without a bone » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Joey-Gills-Im-Like-A-Dog-Without-A-Bone-1956.mp3download
Joey Gills « My name is Joe » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/06-My-Name-Is-Joe-Joey-Gills.mp3ref= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/06-My-Name-Is-Joe-Joey-Gills.mp3″ target= »_blank »>download
Joey Gills « Consolation prize » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Consolation-Prize-Joey-Gills.mp3download
Joey Gills « Baby, leave your troubles at home » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Baby-Leave-Your-Troubles-At-Home-Joey-Gills.mp3download