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Early February 2016 fortnight’s favorites
fév 1st, 2016 by xavier

This fortnight’s favorites selection begins with an old-time singer, JESSE ROGERS (1911-1973). He had a long stint of issues on Bluebird, Montgomery Ward and Sonora, among RCA-Victor, which label he cut records during the late ’40s for. I chose his energetic rendition of Bill Nettles‘ 1949 hit « Hadacol boogie »(# RCA 32-00001). See elsewhere in this website the story of Nettles. Rogers also recorded at the same time Hank Williams’ « Mind your own business » (RCA 33-00001). Later on he went to M-G-M for the good « Folding money« , « I got to live just what I like » and « Howlin’ and prowlin’« . Finally we find him on Arcade (Philly) for several issues, among them « Jump cats jump » (# 169) from 1961.

jesse rogers

rca 32-00001 jesse rogers - hadacol boogie

« Hadacol boogie«  download

« Mind your own business« download

« Jump cats jump« download

arcade 169 jesse rogers - cats

 

 

Then STEVE LA RUE on the Hollywood Harmad label in 1955 for a back-to-back issue of Hillbilly boppers, one fast : « New Style of lovin’ » – good hillbilly vocal over fiddle and steel, and its slower, although equally good flipside «Your heartless heart » (# 103).

« New style of lovin’« download

« Your heartless heart« download

 

harmad 103b steve la rue - heartharmad 103a steve la rue - lovin'

 

JIMMIE MINOR out of Flint, MI, did the fast bopper « So mebody rustled my sugar » on the Western Chuck Wagon label # 103 in 1955. He later had records on Mercury (# 71623 « So doggone lonesome » with Chet Atkins in 1960)

« Somebody rustled my sugar » download

west chuck wagon 103 jimmy minor - sugar

 

 

 

 

Then on the Chicago Cha Cha label from late ’59 (the very same had Ron Haydock & the Boppers), HAROLD STORIE, billed as « The Tennessee Kid » offers the solid although medium-paced « Have pity on me ». A thrilling vibrating guitar over a baritone vocal, as on the flip « Loved and lost », faster but same style, a bit Johnny Cash soundalike. (# 708)

cha cha 708 harold storie - pity

cha cha 708B harold storie - loved & lost

 

 

« Have pity on me« download

« Loved and lost« download

From 1964 and in Newbury, OH, CHUCK STACY on the Bryte label (# 9009) gave the fine modern country-rocker « Dog-gone these heartaches », with fine piano and steel.

« Dog-gone these heartaches« download

 

bryte 11991 chuck stacy - heartaches

Finally the veteran REX ALLEN for his version of the 1946 Buchanan Brothers’ hit « Atomic Power » (Mercury # 6008). Incidentally, one of the Buchanans said later in the ’60s how they hated this song. Here are the lyrics.

« Atomic power« download

atomic power (buchanan)

rex allenmercury 6008a rex allen - atomic power

Sources:Internet, 78rpm-world, my own archives.

Late January 2016 fortnight’s favorites
jan 15th, 2016 by xavier

This fortnight begins with a heck of wildness: MICHAEL RAYE & Judy Shaye (“two voices and four hands” on the label) do offer the storming “Rockin’ Jamboree” on Arcade (Philly) # 112. Boogie woogie pano, trombone and guitar combine for this from 1953.

« Rockin’ jamboree« download arcade 112A michael ray - rockin' jamboree

sandy 1028 johnny foster - locked away from your heartJOHNNY FOSTER (announced a month ago) from Alabama offers the perfect rock-a-ballad “Locked away from your heart” on the Sandy label (# 1028). Good steel and sincere vocal. 1958. He had an earlier issue (# 1014) on the same label, which sounds promising (alas untraced): « It’s a hard life/You gotta be good« . I don’t know if he’s the same artist who appeared later on Capa and Carma during the early ’60s. Anyone can confirm, or deny?

« Locked away from your heart« download

Cope McDaniel and the Cimarron Valley Boys are backing EDDE LEE for a fine melodic ballad, “I can’t believe you mean it” on Indianapolis Sunset label # F70W-2603 (1955).

« I can’t believe you mean it« download
Sunset F70 - edde lee - I can't believe you mean it (1955)

jfkl 701

« Ain’t got a nickel« download

« Little Tom« download
waterfall 502 max lowe - ain't got a nickel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAX LOWE enters for two issues, both came out from Morristown, TN. First “Ain’t got a nickel, ain’t got a dime”, a banjo led bluesy ballad, is to be found on Waterfall 502. More of the same on J-F-K-L 701 and “Little Lou”, from 1961 (thanx to Youtube Cheesebrew Wax Archive chain).

Ozark 1236a  billy glenn - I left the danceOzark 1236b billy glenn -  I'll never cry again

 

« I left the dance« download

« I’ll never cry again« download

That’s 1960 when BILLY GLENN issued on (California) Ozark label L30W-1236 a lovely mid-paced bopper with “I left the dance” (nice steel). The flipside is an uptempo ballad, “I’ll never cry again”. Curiously for a West coast label, the publishing house is “Mississipi Valley”. Glenn also appeared on Yucca 208 (“Bakersfield town”).

 

 

The “REAVES WHITE COUNTY RAMBLERS” go back to the late ‘20s on Vocalion 5218 for the romping “Ten cent piece”. It’s a fast raw hillbilly, showing prominent fiddle and a strong vocal. Courtesy 53jaybop on Youtube.

« Ten cent piece« download

vocalion 5218 reaves white cty ramblers - ten cent piece

From Wichita, KS, emanate the Kanwic label on which OWEN McCARTY & His Troubadours cut “Key to my heart” (# 145), an uptempo ballad with nice steel, in 1968. McCarty was to have two other known records: on Show Land (produced by Benny Hess) and Air Cap.

kanwick 145 owen McCarty - key to my heart

« Key to my heart« download

AL URBAN doesn’t need introduction. He cut the great Hillbilly bopper (1957) “Looking for money” (Sarg 148), and the fabulous twin-sider Rockabilly “Gonna be better times/Won’t tell you her name” (Sarg 158), without forgetting his two issues on Fang 1001 and 1003 (untraced). Here he appears on a “manufactured by Tanner ‘n’ Texas [T.N.T.]” A.P.U. 201, which shows two addresses: Gonzales (hometown to Urban) and San Antonio, TX. His “Run away” is similar to his Sarg sides, with a heavy Starday sound: a piano player sounding like Doc Lewis, a fiddle sounding like Red Hayes. Could it be that this record has actually been recorded in Houston?

al urbanapu 201 alurban - run away  »Run away« download

EARL PETERSON, the Michigan’s Singing Cowboy (1950-1955)
jan 5th, 2016 by xavier

earl pic1Despite a long career that spanned almost 45 years, comparatively little is known about Earl Peterson. He was born in Paxton, Illinois, on February 24, 1927 and moved to Michigan when he was 18 months old. He apparently became proficient on both guitar and drums and formed his own band, the Sons of the Golden West, when he was still in high school. The group secured a regular spot on WOAP, Owosso, then moved to WMYC in Alma, Michigan, before settling at WCEN, Mount Pleasant. WCEN gave Earl and his group a regular show, Earl’s Melody Trails, and made him the talent director, staff announcer and farming news editor. Earl was to study Law after high school but he switched to a musical career instead.

Earl made his debut in the record business when he formed a record label, Nugget Records, with his mother, in January 1950.

nugget 1B earl peterson - take me back to michigan

« Take me back to Michigan« download

Peterson also undertook road trips to publicise his record and, at the same time, worked guest dee-jay spots at various stations. It seems as though his mother, Pearle Lewis, was the driving force behind Peterson. Sam Phillips recalled that the pair arrived on his doorstep early in 1954 pitching « The Boogie blues ». Phillips located some country session musicians to work with Peterson and the result of the session was released in the Spring of 1954.
« Boogie blues« (Sun 197)download
« In the dark« (Sun 197)
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/In-the-dark.mp3
download
sun 197 earl peterson - boogie bluessun 197 earl peterson - in the dark

The story becomes more convoluted from that point. In October of that year Peterson, with a healthy disregard for contracts and AFM regulations, re-recorded the same song for Columbia. The song was re-copyrighted and probably sold more than the 2500 copies that Phillips had shipped.

columbia 21364 earl peterson - boogie blues

columbia 21364 earl peterson - believe me

 

 

 

« Boogie blues« (Columbia 21364)download
« Believe me » (Columbia 21364)
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/21364-Believe-Me-Earl-Peterson.mp3
download

Peterson’s half-brother, Bob Lewis, recalls that Peterson was desperately unhappy with the quality of the Sun recording and that may account for his lack of reserve when Don Law approached him to re-record the tune. In any event, Peterson had a few singles released on Columbia but they were shipped into changing market conditions (released between February 1955 and July 1956) and Peterson may have tired of the constant touring necessary to support his releases. His mother ran a resort club, the Bass Lake Pavillion, and Earl formed a band that included twin steel guitars, two lead guitars, two fiddles and his half-brother on drums and he played here on a regular basis supporting all the acts that worked the area as singles. In this way, Earl and the boys backed Marty Robbins, Moon Mullican and many more. The ’53 Buick which Earl had driven all those miles was increasingly confined to short trips.

 

« I’m not buying, baby« (Columbia 21406)download>

« Be careful of the heart you’re going to break » (Columbia 21406)download

columbia 21406 earl peterson - I'm not buying, baby

columbia 21467 earl peterson 78 I ain't gonna fall in love

columbia 21467 earl peterson - I'll live my life alone

In 1960 Peterson and his family established radio station WPLB in Greenville, Michigan. In columbia 21406 earl peterson - be careful of the heart1962, they switched to the FM frequency and the following year saw Earl’s retirement from the performing side of the music business. By that point there was an undeniable quotient of rock and roll in country music and, in Bob Lewis’ words, « Earl wasn’t crazy about that stuff ». In 1965 Earl learned that he had cancer but he continued to work at the station until his death in May 1971.earl peterson2

« I ain’t gonna fall in love » (Columbia 21467) download

« I’ll live my life alone » (Columbia 21467) download
Earl Peterson’s music, a survey by bopping’s editor

  • any Columbia issue coupled an uptempo and a slowie. The vocal is firm and assured, and the backing is on a par with the best what Nashville did offer at the time. Although unknown musicians, there was a steel, a fiddle and on « Boogie blues » (remake of the Sun version) a welcome rinky-dink piano. I posted the tracks side-by-side to let yourself judge.
  • « Boogie blues » on Sun 197 has sewing fiddle, steel and drums. Peterson’s voice is very reminiscent to that of Jimmie Rodgers, and the song itself derives from pre-war country songs, like Gene Autry’s ‘blues’ songs. Its flipside « In the dark » is a strong shuffler.
  • « Alimony blues », although in the past (N.L. Redita LP) credited to Peterson, is in fact done by Gene Steele.
  • « You just can’t be trusted », found on Youtube (Mr. Honky tonk chain), is evidently a ’60s recording, nice done, although I don’t know the original label neither the flipside.

« You gotta be my baby« (Columbia 21540)download

« World of make believe« (Columbia 21540)download

Sources : « The country years » (1987) by Colin Escott ; page on Earl Peterson – also music from « Columbia 20000 » (Willem Agenant) ; scans from 78rpm-world ; « The Hillbilly researcher » for scan and music to Nugget 78rpm.

« You just can’t be trusted » (’60′s)download

columbia 21540 earl peterson - you gotta be my baby

Early January 2016 fortnight’s favorites: more seasonal gifts (15 selections)!
jan 1st, 2016 by xavier

Howdy folks, a happy and bopping New Year to everyone. As a seasonal gift, I will post no less than 15 selections, as on the Xmas fortnight.

First a mystery with GEORGE BOWE & the Travelers. It has proved impossible to find any detail on him neither even the location of the label, Eagle – a common label name during the ’50s/60s. A very small clue is to be detected in the deadwax, « Rimrock » – which leads one to Arkansas Wayne Raney‘s label of the ’60s. Anyway Bowe delivers a Rockabilly styled opus with « Big man » (Eagle 110A) – the whole thing is quiet and lazy. B-side (« Do you remember ») is a melodic ballad, a bit sentimental, over sympathetic backing.

« Big man« downloadEagle 110bgeorge bowe -big manEagle 110a george bowe - do you remember

« Do you remember« download

Note: Alexander Petrauskas did advise me that the Eagle label was definitely associated with Rimrock, the latter pressing the Eagle products.

 

 

DON WHITNEY (incomplete bio statistics – he died in 1985) was a D.J. associated with Arkansas radio stations KLCN in Blytheville, then KOSE in Osceola (1957) ; he’s been too on WELO in Tupelo (MS), and cut a whole string of boppers for 4*. Where he cut them ? Probably Nashville. I chose from 1950 « Red hot boogie » (# 1471), call-and-response format (girl chorus). Steel and piano are barely audible, while the guitar player does a too short but wild solo. « Move on blues » (# 1588) from 1951 is a fine bluesy tune over a boogie guitar. Discreet steel and piano.

don whitney pic

4* 1471 don whitney  red hot boogie4* 1568 whitney - move on blues

 

« Red hot boogie« download

« Move on blues« download

 

 

On Adco records (# 781), cut in Cincinnati, OH, next comes GLEN CANYON and a rocker from 1965, « I won’t be able to make it » : a shrilling guitar thoughout, and the disk is valued $ 50 to 100. I couldn’t locate the flipside « Still in love with you », reputedly a bopper. Canyon appeared also on Acorn and Boone (Kentucky).

« I won’t be able to make it« download

adco 781 glen canyon - I won't be able

 

 

 

The Sandy label out of Mobile,AL. is interesting for many records issued between 1957 and 1962 and highly revered by Rockabilly/Rock’n'roll buffs : do Ronny Keenan, Happy Wainwright, Jackie Morningstar (« Rockin’ in the graveyard »), Ray Sawyer (« Rockin’ satellite ») or Darryl Vincent (« Wild wild party ») ring each a bell to you ? Well, the label also had its hillbilly boppers, like Johnny Foster (more on him next fortnight, late January 2016) or WADE JERNIGAN. Both his sides (# 1010) are high quality boppers penned by label bossman Johnny Bozeman in 1958. « Road of love », medium paced, has a very « hillbilly » type vocal (high pitched at moments), over a prominent fiddle and good steel, while its flip « So tired » uses the same format, just a little bit slower. A good record for Hillbilly lovers.

« Road of love« download

« So tired« downloadsandy 1019 wade jernigan - road of lovesandy 1010 wade jernigan - so tired

Now on to Louisiana. The Khoury’s label began activities in 1951 to cease them in 1955 (last known is # 647, « Lu Lu boogie » by Nathan Abshire, which I owned moons ago before selling it – I am biting my fingers now..). We find here on # 700B (not in numerical order, this one is from 1954) a fabulous Cajun wildie « Louisiana stomp » by LEBLANC’S FRENCH BAND (an unidentified singer yells and encourages by his yells the whole fiddle led orchestra). Reverse is by Eddie Shuler, the founder of Goldband. Second La. selection : by GENE RODRIGUE, who had other releases on Folk-Star, Houma and Rod (the Cajun Rockabilly « Little cajun girl » from 1959). Here is his « Jole fille » (Meladee 101, cut in New Orleans), full of energy and « joie de vivre », Cajun style. Nice fiddle, steel and piano. This comes from the late ’50s apparently.

khoury's 700B le blanc's french band - louisiana stompmeladee 101 gene rodrigue - jole fille

 

« Louisiana stomp« download

« Jole fille« download

More from Louisiana with PAL THIBODEAUX (also known as Little Pal Hardy on Imperial) and « Port Arthur boogie » (Sky Line OP-154). Call-and-response, sung in French and English. Fiddle solo, sympathetic backing, two good guitar solos encouraged by the singer a la Bob Wills.
« Port Arthur boogie« download

sky line OP-154 pal thibodeaux - port Arthur boogie

 

You ask for yodeling ? Here it’s ROBERT LUNN (billed as « The Talking Blues Boy ») in late 1947. He cut I don’t know where (I suspect North of the States) the marvelous « Yodeling blues », slow’n'easy – fiddle, ‘blues’ lyrics, guitars, and spoken vocals, a dream…On Mercury 6104.

robert Lunn pic2

Robert Lunn

mercury 6104 robert lunn - yodeling blues« Yodeling blues« download

GEORGE GREEN & The Missouri Ranch Boys comes next with a good 2-sider on Zeylon . The medium paced « I don’t love you anymore » is backed by a welcome accordion, and sounds its late ’40s recording, although its prefix (J80W, an RCA pressing, dates from..1958). The flip « Be a little angel » is a jumping little thing, which grows on you at each playing. Good fiddle.

« I don’t love you anymore« download

« Be a little angel« download

Zeylon a J80 george green-I don't love you anymoreZeylon bJ80  george green - be a little angel
« Just because «  is a classic Sun side, only issued on RCA, by ELVIS PRESLEY. We conclude this fortnight with his version (RCA 47-6640, early 1956) and the original by the SHELTON BROTHERS (in the ’30s). Great lyrics. Elvis does a very fine job on it.

 

decca 46008 shelton brothers - just because

 

 

 

 

rca 6640 elvis - just because

 

Shelton Brothers « Just because« download

Elvis Presley « Just because« download

 

 

Sources : Somelocaluser blogspot (George Bowe, Wade Jernigan, George Green), Youtube for several tunes (Don Whitney – scans from 78rpmworld) ; Robert Lunn on a 3-CD compilation of country music on Mercury, picture from « hillbilly-music.com ». Hope you enjoy this selection. Comments welcome. ‘Till then, bye.

 

Note: important addition on Khoury records by Louisiana tireless researcher and faithful friend Wade Falcon (Feb. 5th, 2016):

I read your latest article on Leblanc on Khoury.  The musician is Floyd Leblanc.  Fiddle player that originated with Bennie Hess and Virgil Bozman and the Oklahoma Tornadoes.   Floyd had recorded the song Louisiana Stomp first with Virgil’s label O.T. Recording Company (#104-B)
After Virgil folded the label, Khoury who helped finance it, picked it up along with his artists and started Khoury and Lyric.   Khoury re-released the song on his label.  (700-B)
I actually know Floyd’s daugher.  Very nice person.
Also, Khoury’s 600 series label ended with #652 in 1955.  He started his 700 series again (which we’ll refer to as the « second 700 series »).  There, you have the 700-B side you mention in your blog with Shuler on one side and Leblanc on the other.  That lasted till about 1962.   His last Cajun in the series was #720 Pee Wee Broussard.
Thanks, Wade!
OT 104 floyd leblanc - louisiana stomp
Late December 2015 fortnight’s favorites: a merry bopping Xmas (thirteen selections, 1950-1963), y’all!
déc 15th, 2015 by xavier

For this Xmas 2015, as a gift, you faithful visitors of bopping.org will get 13 (yes, thirteen) selections, instead of the usual only 6 ; although for several months I gradually posted more and more tunes. Merry bopping Xmas to y’all !

 

 

« Deep Elem blues » was first recorded by the SHELTON BROTHERS (Bob & Joe on vocals and mandolin/guitar) in February 1935 in Chicago (Decca 5422), before the Prairie Ramblers gave their own version in August of the same year. The song refers to the black quarter in Dallas, where you need 50 $ because of the red headed women there. It was an immediate success, revived by others over the years, namely by JERRY LEE LEWIS, whose 1957 version remained unissued in the Sun archives for 40 years ! Same year saw the WILBURN BROTHERS‘ version (Decca 29887) : Doyle & Ted do a fine job on this song. Later on Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead) and Levon Helm had their versions too, outside the scope of this blog, as they say.

decca 5422 shelton brothers - deep elem blues

sun 78 logo

Shelton Brothers « Deep Elem blues« download

Jerry Lee Lewis « Deep Elem blues« download

Wilburn Brothers (Teddy & Doyle) »Deep Elem blues« download Read the rest of this entry »

Early December 2015 fortnight’s favorites
déc 1st, 2015 by xavier

Let’s begin this new fortnight serie with BUDDY GRIFFIN. He stayed a good part of his life in the shadow of his elder brother REX, who never encouraged his younger brother performing first in Birmingham, Chattanooga and Atlanta. He later teamed up with fiddler Bobby Atchison and guitarists Pete Cassell and Doug Spivey and he played for many sessions early ’50s in Dallas. His recording debuts occurred on the Dude label, as « Otis West & his All Star Cowboys ». When the career of Rex Griffin began to decline in the mid-50s, Buddy Griffin recorded for the tiny Ekko label. Was it in Nashville or Los Angeles ? The writers E.. Hazlewood and J. Willard rather show on the West coast. « Bartenders girl » (Ekko 1017) swings, a mid-pace tempo with heavy guitar and piano (2 soli). (biog. details from the notes of Bruce Elder on « All music » site)

ekko 1017 buddy griffin - bartenders girl

« Bartenders girl »download

The three following records on the Cross Country label, out of New Jersey have HANK TROTTER either as solist (# 503) (with the Happy Rangers) who offers 2 average boppers « Because – because (I love you) » and « I threw away a diamond » ; either as backing band, for LEE MORE : A fine uptempo (# 506) with « The cat came back » – has a folkish aroma with steel effects. For LEE MOORE & JUANITA (# 528), with a pleasant version of « When my blue moon turns to gold ».

« Because – because (Because I love you) »download

« I threw away a diamond« download

Lee Moore « The cat came back »download

Lee Moore & Juanita « When my blue moon turns to gold »download

Cross Country 503-23b

Cross Country 503-23across ctry 528 lee moore & juanota - wjen my blue moon turns to goldcross country 506 lee moore (harry trotter) - the cat came back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RUSTY NEWBY comes next on the Academy label (# E4KB-1022, a RCA pressing from 1954). « Musician’s blues » bears some western swing overtones. Medium paced hillbilly bop and a lazy vocal. The whole thing is swinging.

Academy E4KB-1022 rusty newby - musician's blues

 

« Musician’s blues« download

 

From the mountains on the Folk Star label (# 630-A, a parent label to Rich-R’Tone) I’ve chosen KEITH BUCK and the good « Only fooling around » from ca. 1955.folk star 630 keith buck - only fooling around

 

« Only fooling around« download

 

1966 saw the issue of HILLBILLY HERMAN and the medium « Today I watched my dream come true » (Breeze 366), a fine bopper (with mandolin) for the era. Despite deep and large researches, I’ve found nothing on the artist neither the label.

Get back to Virginia, in Staunton. The Buttermilk 1001 label has HARRY SNYDER well bopping for « Worry, worry, worry ».

« Today I watched my dream come true« download

« Worry, worry, worry« download

breeze 366 hillbilly herman - todaybuttermilk 1001harry snyder - worry, worry, worry

From Gadsden, AL, we now have « Railroad bum », a great « Hillbilly-goes-Rockabilly » type song for its insistant slapping string bass played by Jimmie Harris; Calvin Flemons is on lead, Ronald Underwood on rhythm and the steel is played by the leader RIP UNDERWOOD. No date is given, except the personnel. A fabulous bass throughout.

We finish this fortnight with CARL LOTTS and « Wandering lonesome blues », a fast Hillbilly bopper on Delmarti F80W-1478 (another RCA pressing) from 1955. Indianapolis origin. The label says « & his Kentucky Kernels » Both sides were reissued (or was it the first issue?) on Lot [sic] label, same numbers.

bruce 101 railroad bumlot F7476 carl lotts - wandering lonesome blues

 

 

 

« Railroad bum« download

« Wandering lonesome blues« download

 

 

 

 

All selections taken from the Net. Research on the Net, and my archives too.

 

« Texas » Bill Strength (1949-1973)
nov 30th, 2015 by xavier

avec Presley pic pic seul buste tex ritter+T. Bill Strength (dvdman49) Texas Bill Strength (Aug. 28, 1928 ~ Oct. 1, 1973): Although much better known for his career as a radio personality, Texas Bill Strength also cut a series of country and rockabilly efforts, including a session for the legendary Sun Records backed by former Elvis Presley guitarist Scotty Moore. Perhaps his biggest success came as a songwriter, having penned the blockbuster hit, « He’ll Have to Go » for Jim Reeves [actually written by J. Allison & A. Allison].

Born August 28, 1928 in Bessemer, Alabama, Strength was sixteen when he won an amateur contest at Houston’s Joy Theater. Local station KTHT was in the market for a cowboy act and soon he was working part-time on the air. In 1945 Strength began working as a DJ full-time for St. Joseph, Missouri station KFEQ, followed by a stint singing for Sioux Falls, South Dakota radio KSOO. After tenure with Denver’s KMYR, he returned to Houston, in quick succession appearing on KLEE, KATL and KNUZ. During that time, Strength also cut a serie of minor singles for the 4-Star label. Among them were « Who’s the lucky one » and « I’m doing a peach of a job ». By September of 1949 Bill was in Birmingham, Alabama doing daily radio programs at WRBC, which was a network of thirty-seven stations throughout the Southeast. In late 1949, Bill’s career had taken him back to Houston, Texas. Bill was one of the mainstays at a new venue in Houston along with others such as Floyd Tillman and Leon Payne. In early 1950 he was hired by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) to promote the organization via radio and convention.

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Late November 2015 fortnight’s favorites
nov 15th, 2015 by xavier

Not much info this time on artists or music I am afraid.

HAROLD MONTGOMERY has already been posted for his great 1969 bopper on Sun-Ray 139 « All them wives/Pardon me Jim« . This time I’m putting an equally good side with «How much do you miss me ». Wolf-Tex # 103 label, which emanates from Lancaster, KY. Solid backing by the Ray Johnson band over a hiccupy vocal. This record is sold between $ 300 and 400, maybe a lot more ! Montgomery had also « Thank you little girl » on Wolf-Tex 105, and « Gabriel doesn’t play a steel guitar » on Lemco (no #), both untraced.

wolf-tex 103harold montgomery - how much do you miss me« How much do you miss me« download

johnny daume picThe next artist was an itinerant D.J., who also carried from town to town his own record for sale. JOHNNY DAUME (Johnny Daume label # 1001) is an early ’50s double-sider with strong Western swing overtones : lazy vocal, a prominent fiddle and a discreet steel , all this reminds me of Texas bands of the mid to late ’40s. »Boogie woogie blond » and « Lookin’ fer a gal in Tennessee » are mouled in the same matrix, one slow, the other side more medium uptempo. A nice record.

johnny daume 1001B lookin' fer a gal fromTjohnny daume 1001A BW blond
« Lookin’ fer a gal from Tennessee« download

« Boogie woogie blond« download

 

 

 

 

From Johnson City, TN hails BILLY SIZEMORE. A fine country-rocker (heavy drums) over fiddle and steel for « My baby’s gone » (Edmac # 104). No other data available.

« My baby’s gone« download

edmac 104 billy sizemore - my baby's gone
Marty Robbins had done « Mean mama blues » on Columbia in early 1956 – urgent vocal and fast rockabilly backing. Same song is revived 4 years later on Circle Dot # 1002 (Minneapolis, MN) by RONNIE RAY. This version is on a par with the original. Ray also had another issue on Demand 101 (« My heart has to make it (on it’s own) » (untraced).

columbia 21477 marty robbins - mean mama bluescircle dot 1002 ronnie ray - mean mama blues

Marty Robbins « Mean mama blues« download

Ronnie Ray « Mean mama blues« download

 

 

« I don’t care anymore« download

« It’s rough« download

LES & His Western Playboys comes next in 1961 on the B-W label (# Q-609). A prominent steel over a light country rocker. Maybe Les was named « Haven » : that’s the writer of « I don’t care anymore ». This outfit had another on the Wel Burn label (parent to B-W) # 103 with the good uptempo from  1962, « It’s rough« , cut in Wooster, OH and reviewed on May 5th, 1962 by Billboard. Nice steel throughout.

w-b 103 les - it's rough B-W 605 les - I don't care anymore

armoneer 1003A ronnie newton - workingman's blues
« Workingman’s blues« download

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armoneer 1003 : RONNIE NEWTON and « Workingman’s blues ». A good 1959 record ; solid vocal and backing, fine boogie guitar and piano backing. Cut in Wynona Lake, Indiana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes : all selections from the net or (Johnny Daume) from « Hillbilly Researcher » blogspot.

A R&B label goes Hillbilly: the SPECIALTY 700 serie (1949-1954)
nov 13th, 2015 by xavier

280px-LAMap-doton-Shreveport

red point: Shreveport

art-rupe

Art Rupe

Around 1948-49, several big R&B concerns, like Apollo, Modern, Imperial began to squint from the East and West coasts at the lucrative Country music market of the South. Major labels (RCA, Decca, M-G-M) were already running it, but without being locally positioned, they were losing sales, and could not exploit completely this rich soil. So people like Modern’s Bihari Brothers, Imperial’s Lew Chudd, or Specialty’s Art Rupe did seek for D.J.s and A&R men to help them to recruit good talent. And studio for recording locally. The Biharis concluded contracts with Sam Phillips, who leased them a good amount of Blues, which not prevented him to sell other sides to the Chess Brothers in Chicago. Finally Les, one of the Biharis, launched on place in Memphis Meteor records in 1952. The label found immediate success with Elmore James, and later in 1954 in the Country charts with Bud Deckleman. The Chesses came to an agreement to furnish them with masters with local promoter in Shreveport, La. Stan Lewis, who used the facilities of recording at night in the KWKH radio studio. Lew Chudd liked Jim Beck’s studio better in Dallas, Texas and found a certain commercial success with Texan artists : Billy Briggs or Jimmie Heap to name only two. Art Rupe (Specialty)specialty cover 45 prefeJerry Green cut - BB January 3, 1953rred KWKH for its East Texas/Louisiana border position. It has been suggested that his first Southern sides had been engineered by Johnny Vincent in Jackson, MS. But the aural evidence show the very distinctive Stan Lewis feel. Billboard (January 12, 1949) gave notice that Rupe had just inked his first 4 artists on the new Specialty 700 label. All of them were barely known, no doubt they had been approached by Stan Lewis’ relations or talent scouts. Actually only Earl Nunn may be localized with his band, the Alabama Ramblers, for the first issue. Previously he had co-written in 1944 with Zeke Clements the controversial (for its racist words) « Smoke on the water » for Red Foley (Decca 6102). He was probably vocally fronted by Billy Lee, who would have his own record (# 704) a little later.

EARL NUNN offers an enjoyable lazy mid-paced « Double-talkin’ woman », with a steel well to the fore (# 701). Actually the very same steel appears on these early sessions, and one can wonder if this is a studio man, possibly Shot Jackson ; the latter was indeed hanging around at KWKH, and even had his own issues (# 704 and 710, discussed below), not to talk about his work on Pacemaker with Webb Pierce. JOHNNY CROCKETT (# 702) has «Just a minute », a very fast talking blues in the manner of Tex Williams with piano and steel effects, that could easily fall into the novelty category. BRUCE TRENT third (# 703) delivers a jumping sad « Alimony » and the medium paced bluesy « River blues ». It can be noted that he had backed with his Western Tunesters some Hal Carey on a Ca. Jewel label (# 7002).

BILLY LEE does the ordinary hillbilly « I don’t know why I love you » (# 704), while LEO STANCIL had to wait July 52 for the release of his excellent effort « Why don’t you quit hangin’ around »(# 707)(two sides penned by Earl Nunn). Long steel solo for an awesome bopper, with sweet Southern accent !

Earl Nunn « Double-talkin’ woman« (701)downloadBB 5-3-49 earl nunn

Johnny Crockett « Just a minute« (702)download

Bruce Trent « Alimony« (703)download

Bruce Trent « River blues« (703)download

701 earl nunn702 johnny crockett703A bruce trent703BB bruce trent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leo Stancil « Why don’t you quit hanging’ around« download

707 stancil - hangin'It seems that the first 4 issues were released in a relatively short time after the label was launched, for example Specialty 703 (Bruce Trent) was reviewed by Billboard in March 1949, 704 in June 1949 although both the full years 1950-51 were blank in releases. Maybe Art Rupe was expecting more sales before cutting more records.

Things began to change a bit in 1952 with the advent of three new artists in the roster : namely CLAUDE KING, BIFF COLLIE and SHOT JACKSON. Collie has been discussed in full earlier in this site, so I omit him here. Claude King (born in Louisiana in 1923,deceased 2013) was not a newcomer. As soon as 1947, he had teamed with guitarist Buddy Attaway and bassist/entrepreneur Tillman Franks as « Buddy and Claude » for an issue on the small President label (HB-10), and a frequent theme for the era, « Flying saucers »
« Buddy & Claude«  »Flying saucers« download

an agreeable and fresh jumping little tune, similar in style to that of the Bailes Brothers. president flying saucers

In December 1950, he recorded 4 tunes for the local Pacemaker label, which were also leased to the big Gotham East coast concern. On Specialty he cut three sessions, 10 tunes in all (2 remained unissued) – he wrote them all – between Spring and December 1952. « She knows why » (# 705) is an uptempo sad ballad (the same old story of the broken-hearted guy), which became seemingly the first hit of the Specialty Country & Folk label. At last, it had good sales and spinning reports in the South. So much so that it even had its answer song « He knows why » by Jeanette Hicks (Okeh 18021). « Take it like a man » (# 708) : the second release of Claude King has more rhythm and an insistant bass, a prominent piano and nice steel solo. Vocally King is in fine form, as in the next song « Got the world by the tail » (711), a little faster although in the same format as 708. Indeed King and his Hillbilly Ramblers had already found their way to the Louisiana Hayride saturday night show that had strong connection with KWKH radio. Actually Claude and Buddy Attaway were cast members of the Hayride since 1948, and wrote songs at the turn of the decade for Kitty Wells and Webb Pierce, who got them through Tillman Franks. Last Specialty 716 by him, « Now that I have you », remains untraced.

708 take it like a man

Note the ‘old’ Specialty design

711 claude king got the world by the tail

a rare 45

705 she knows why

Claude King « She knows why« (705)download

bb 14-2-53 claude king

Claude King « Take it like a man« (708)download

Claude King « Got the world by the tail« (711)download

Claude King « Run baby run« (Dee-Jay 1248)downloaddee jay 1248 claude king

 

claude king buste

Claude King

claude king--tillman franks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Claude also worked one of Hank Willams’ last tours, as his driver and opening act. He also toured in the Shreveport area with Johnny Horton, but they spent more time fishing and hunting together than in the studio ! Record wise, he remained without a contract until 1957, when he cut the famous rockabilly/rocker « Run baby run » for Dee-Jay (# 1248), and turned in 1961 on Columbia in Nashville for « The comancheros » and « Wolverton mountain » ; but this is another story..It’s interesting to note that, if King wrote all his material, he’d publish his songs sometimes at a curious « Ark-La-Tex » publishing house other than the regular « Venice music » for Specialty recordings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third new artist to appear in 1952 on Specialty is SHOT JACKSON (1920-1991), a steel guitar player. He did hang around at KWKH in 1950 and was the player (even sometimes singer on « Beautiful Hawaiian shores », or solist on some instrumentals) for all the Pacemaker sessions of Webb Pierce between December 1949 and January 1951. So it’s him playing steel on « California blues » to name only 1 of the score (circa 23) tunes cut by Pierce at KWKH. Jackson even had his Pacemaker record (# 1004) although sung by Pierce uncredited ! Needless to say, since Pierce, except 2 or 3 occasions, never used a fiddle, that hot Jackson was the real force behind Pierce. He was indeed naturally intended to record for Specialty as soloist.

His 4 sides are uptempo honky-tonks, nothing spectacular, except in a negative way :  the machist « I’m trading you in on a later model » (# 706), and the deceiving « You can’t get the country out of the boy » (# 710) – such a title did merit a better treatment. Barely audible steel (short solos), an omnipresent fiddle; the voice of Jackson is forgettable. Note that current Hayride artists Johnnie & Jack gave him 3 of his 4 songs ; in return Jackson was to play dobro for them on numerous records onwards. Surely he was better on instrumentals, and after he built, with the help of Buddy Emmons (house steel-player at Starday), a double-neck steel baptized « Sho-Bud », he was to come again in light in 1962 on a compilation dedicated to steel guitarists (Starday EP 236).

706 shot jackson - trading

Shot Jackson « I’m trading you in on a later model« (706)download

Shot Jackson « You can’t get the country out of the boy« (710)download

shot jackson ? pict

Shot Jackson with Ricky and David House

courtesy David House, one of the boys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third generation of artists on the Specialty 700 serie begins with the Texan JERRY GEEN. (born 1931) He was signed by Art Rupe early in 1953 and cut 4 sides.

« Naggin’ women and braggin’ men » (# 712) is a real good bopper, a tinkling piano well to the fore, followed by a nice steel and a rather embarrassed lead guitarist. « Are you going my way » (# 714) is a shuffler, well-sung and agreeable, with the same backing format. Leader is still shy ! Luckily piano and fiddle come to rescue the solo ..Green was also active indeed on the La. Hayride, before being drafted into the Army until 1955. He then relocated in Arkansas for a radio show « Country Capers » on a Fort Smith KFPW station. Then later he hit the big time with « Tripod the three leggged dog » which led him to Grand Ole Opry in 1967.

Jerry Green « Naggin’ women and braggin’ men« (712)download

Jerry Green « Are you going my way« (714)download

jerry green today

Jerry Green today

712 green - naggin' women

Jerry Green - 1951(Imperial)

Jerry Green 1951

Next artist was SMOKEY STOVER, D.J. in Baytown, Tx. He liked Claude King « She knows why », according to a Billboard snippet! Very few details came to light about him, except these : a native of Texas (Huntsville, 1928), he had his own band at 16 and began a long carreer Country D.-Jaying in Pasadena in 1948 only to retire from radio in 1995 in Gallatin, TN! In the meantime, he had been on numerous stations out of Texas, Mississipi, Louisiana (where he tried a career as singer), even New Mexico. He had records on Starday, Ol’podner, Stampede, Sage, Toppa. So now let’s value his Specialty product, cut at KWKH on November 15, 1952. « What a shame » (# 715) is a mid-paced opus ; nothing particular, a nice shuffler as too many in this era. Soli (guitar and fiddle) are interplayed and welcome. Vocal is firm but without any personal touch.

Smokey Stover « What a shame« (715)download

smokey stover

Smokey Stover

715 stober - shame

This is not the case with JOHNNY TYLER, a veteran (first sides in 1946 : « Oakie boogie » on Stanchel) whose story has been told in this blog before. He offers the bluesy partly double-voiced mid-paced « Take your blues and go » (# 713) ; good surprise : a spare harmonica a la Wayne Raney, without a sufficient volume. « Hillbilly preacher » (# 715) reminds me at times of someone sounding like, say, Luke McDaniel : fine guitar over an insistant rhythm backing. This type of material predates Tyler’s Ekko sides of March 1955.

Johnny Tyler « Take your blues and go« (713)download

Johnny Tyler « Hillbilly preacher« (715)download

Joyce Lowrance & Earney Vandagriff « Hush money » (718)download

717 tyler - preacher718 vandagriff - hush money

Last but not least, the elusive EARNEY VANDAGRIFF, whose story is hard to write. The details on him are near zero, except he came from Texas, and that he had records on Starday and Rural hythm between 1954 and 1957, among them the famous « Atomic kisses ». Here he delivers in a duet with Joyce Lowrance the happy and fast bopper « Hush money » (# 718), with a fine steel throughout and insistant fiddle.

And that was it, Art Rupe decided after 18 issues it was time to close a relatively not so lucrative affair, and concentrate his hopes (and money) on black music, be it Gospel (e.g. Soul Stirrers), R&B (a huge catalog) or, before long, Rock’n'Roll. A sign moreover of poor sales is given by the rarity of these Specialty 700 sides. Rupe’s rivals of Chess, Modern and Aladdin had come to the same conclusion for their part. Sole Meteor in Memphis remained open with the smash success of Bud Deckleman (« Daydreamin’ ») in 1954, before the advent of Rockabilly in 1956, and closed in 1957. But Sun was then at the right position to take advantage in the race for the hits.

 

Sources : Cactus CD « Specialty hillbilly » for music and CD tracks. Iconographic material : 78tpm.worlds for 78rm scans. Youtube for President Claude King 78 (scan & msic). Various entries on Internet for Art Rupe, Speciaty logo, Smokey Stover, Billboard records reports. Dominique Anglarès (warm thanks !) for Jerry Green and Shot Jackson pictures, also a full Bllboard page and interesting precisions. David House for Shot Jackson picture with Mr. House on Shot’s knee.

Houston, TX: the hillbilly novelties of BIFF COLLIE (1949-1972)
nov 6th, 2015 by xavier

 

Biff (Hiram Abiff) Collie, pioneer country (DJ), show promoter and trade paper reporter, was born on November 25, 1926 in Little Rock, biff collie2 picArkansas, but raised in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from Thomas Edison High School (San Antonio, Texas) in 1944. Biff’s professional career spanned forty years working such major markets as Houston and San Antonio, Texas and Los Angeles and Long Beach California.

 

Biff Collie began his radio career at KMAC radio in San Antonio as a teenager. After brief stints at Browning and Alice, Texas, he moved on to KNUZ radio in Houston and later to KPRC. Biff started with KNUZ (1948) working as sports reporter, before moving into a disc jockey role. During that time, Glad Music Company had a record store on 11th Street. KNUZ had regular remote broadcasts from their store. Popular recording artists were frequent visitors to the shop. Hank Williams was one of the many artists to stop by. Biff was conducting a remote broadcast from Glad Music in 1948 when Hank Williams visited the store.

biff collie pic

 

Biff was the first country disc jockey (see note below) in Houston, which remains one of the premiere markets for country music radio. While in Houston, he also promoted and booked shows, becoming one of the first to ever book Hank Williams, Sr. and Tennessee Ernie Ford. In 1957, he became manager and emcee for the Philip Morris Country Music Show, which was broadcast nationally on Mutual Broadcasting Radio and CBS Radio. Later he worked mornings on KPRC and hosted a certain up and coming singer from Memphis by the name of Presley at the Grand Prize Jamboree.

 

In 1960, Collie moved to Los Angeles where he remained for the decade, gaining huge popularity over KFOX Radio. He was consistently in the top ten radio personalities in Billboard and Music Reporter magazines and was also named « Best Radio Personality » by the Academy of Country Music, an organization which he served on the Board of Directors and produced the annual awards show in 1967. He moved to Nashville in 1969 and produced the first syndicated radio show, « Inside Nashville, » which ran on stations across the country for many years. He also was a morning man (Collie’s Coffee Club) on KLEE radio in Ottumwa, Iowa.

 

Collie made an attempt at recording, first on Macy’s records in Houston and later for Specialty. His only charted hit was as Billy Bob Bowman in 1972 on United Artists. Collie married the former wife of country legend Floyd Tillman in 1953. Biff later married Shirley Simpson, who as Shirley Collie recorded several duets with Willie Nelson. It was Biff who introduced Shirley to the up-and-coming singer/songwriter and Shirley eventually divorced Collie to marry Nelson.biff Collie's Coffee Club

 

Before his death, Biff earned the Ernest Tubb Humanitarian Award for his contributions. Biff is a member of the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame (1978). Collie died on February 19, 1992 in Brentwood, Tennessee.

 

Radio stations where Biff worked: KMAC (San Antonio, Texas, 1944-45), KWD (Browning, Texas, 1945-46), KBWI (Alice, Texas, 1946-47), KNUZ (Houston, Texas, 1948-55), KPRC (Houston, Texas, circa 1955-57), KLAC (Los Angeles, 1959), KFOX (1960-69, Long Beach, CA), KLEE (Ottumwa, Iowa, circa?), KSIX (Corpus Christie, Texas, circa 1958)

 

Note: Some articles claim that Texas Bill Strength (8/28/1928 — 10/1/1973) was the first country DJ in Houston, but that may not be the case. Texas Bill Strength was a sixteen year old teen in 1944 when he won an amateur contest at the Joy Theatre in Houston. A representative from KTHT radio happened to be present and decided to give Bill his first radio job as a fledgling western singer. In remembering that episode, Bill was quoted, « My Mother thought for sure I was dying and I can’t say what the old man said. » Texas Bill Strength had a modestly successful singing and recording career. He recorded for 4Star, Capitol and Coral records.

 

About KFOX-AM 1280: KFOX was called The Country King. It was the original country music heavy weight in Southern California. It broadcast from the International Tower in Long Beach. During the 1960s, the country music hosts consisted of Dick Haynes, Biff Collie, Charlie Williams and Clifford « Cliffie » Stone. (RJB: Country Music Historian, 9/2010).

 

About the recordings of Biff Collie (bopping’s editor)

The earliest were made for Macy’s in Houston, first with Collie as vocalist fronting Smitty Smith orchestra for « Broken memories » (# 109, November 1949). As you could expect from such a title, it’s a slowie, well sung, but nothing else. Superior lazy backing.

macy's 109B Smitty smith - broken memories

« Broken memories« download

 

On Macy’s 126, the record is credited to Biff Collie, either a sign of greater popularity as a D.J, either of his exposure on stage. Both sides, the macho « I want a gal (that cook for me) » and the uptempo « I’ve said it before » are somewhat ruined by an organ, and partly saved by a nice steel guitar.

« I want a gal« download

« I’ve said it before« download

macy's 126A biff collie - I want a galmacy's 126B biff collie - I've said it before

 

 

 

 

Biff & Margie#2

Bill & Marge courtesy Imperial Anglares

columbia 20776 biff collie & little marge - I don't care who knows

« I don’t care who knows« download

 

Next record by Biff Collie was on the short-lived Specialty Country serie. He’s here nicknamed « Bellerin’ bowlegged boy ». I didn’t put until now my hand [see note below] on « Everybody wants me but you »(Specialty 709). «  Don’t talk about love (the way you do)» on the other side is a fast ditty, with a wild piano well to the fore, added by a typical (for the era) fiddle and a steel. Collie is in good vocal form.

 

« Don’t talk about love« download

specialty 709 biff collie - don't talk about lovespecialty 709 biff collie - everybody wants me

« Everybody wants me but you« download

 

(Note) « Everybody wants me but you » is a good shuffler. Thanks to Steve Hathaway.

 

Then he was signed to Starday and cut 4 singles for them between January 1955 and July 1956. Several tunes remained unissued. The first issue « What this old worlds needs » (# 178) has the typical Starday sound and combination of fiddle, guitar and steel over an assured vocal. Nobody can say if Collie, as a D.J., was not pushing a little more his own record ! I don’t ever heard the flipside « Lonely ». In any case, he returned to the Gold Star studio in Houston for « Goodbye, farewell, so long », a nice piano led uptempo (# 203); Its flip « Look on the good side » is fast, same vein.

« What this old world needs« download

« Goodbye, farewell, so long« download

« Look on the good side« download

starday 178 biff collie - what this old world needsstarday 203 biff collie - goodbye, farewell, so longstarday 203 biff collie - look on the good side

 

 

 

As a proof of his success, he was called again in January 1956 for 4 sides (2 remain unissued).. « Doodle-doo » ( 230) is a novelty, happy side, while « Empty kisses » is a forgettable weeper.

 

 

 

Last session for Starday in July 1956,and it’s a completely different style : »Joy joy joy » (# 251) is an out-and-out rocker, with sax (Link Davis?), in the manner of Glen Barber. The flipside is untraced (« All of a sudden ») nor of course the unissued « Baby let’s mix », which looks promising. There is a lot of music stilll to unearth from the Starday vaults.

« Doodle- doo« download

« Joy, joy, joy« download

starday 230 biff collie - doodle doostarday 251 biff collie - joy, joy, joy

 

 

 

One must wait 1972 for the next record of Biff Collie, cut in Nashville under the name of « Billy Bob Bowman ». « Miss Pauline » (U.A. 50597) is plain main Country music, with steel and chorus. Not disagreable music, but nothing exceptional. Another label in 1974 : Collie cut for Capitol 6 sides, 4 remain unissued, and the 45 is untraced.

UA 50957 billy bob bowman - miss Pauline

 

 

 

« Miss Pauline« download

 

 

Sources : biographical details from HillbillyBoogie1 Youtube chain (my sincere thanks to him, whoever he may be), with additions. Scans from 45rpmcat and 78rpmworlds. Music from Hillbilly Researcher serie (Macy’s) or Cactus (Specialty). « Starday » (scans and music) is easily found on the Net. Discography [partly inaccurate] from Praguefrank site.

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