late December 2009 fortnight

Howdy folks! Here we go again with 6 other goodies. 5 are Hillbilly boppers. Gene O’Quin was from Texas, and had numerous sides between 1951 and 1954 on Capitol (he recorded for the most part on West Coast). I’ve chosen his great « You Name It (She’s Got It) » from 1954. Speedy West on agressive steel, Harold Hensley on fiddle. The title says it all! Why not Hank Williams? After all, he was the greatest of all Hillbilly singers. Here is one of my ever favorites, « Honky Tonk Blues », from 1951. Great lyrics, fine backing from the Drifting Cowboys . A singer who was underrated, then adulated in Rockabilly circles: Charlie Feathers. He came from Mississipi, hanged around Sun Studio in 1955, and recorded marvelous sides, among them « Defrost Your Heart ». Backed by the ideal Memphis Hillbilly team of Quinton Claunch (steel) and Bill Cantrell (fiddle), he delivers a fabulous vocal full of emotion. Next year he was going to sing « Get with it » on Meteor! While in Memphis, a fine Hank Williams-style vocal (even with semi-yodel) is done by Bud Deckleman from Arkansas on the top-charted « Day-Dreamin' » – same backing as Charlie Feathers’. What a strong bass! (see elsewhere in the site for the story on Bud Deckleman). Later on we have Little Jimmy Dickens, a long time Hillbilly artist on Columbia. In 1957, on the West Coast, with a wild steel-guitar player behind him (I think he was Curley Shalker), he offers the next-to-Rock’n’Roll « I Got A Hole in My Pocket ». Enjoy the steering sound! Finally Rocking Blues with Chicago Smokey Smothers’ « I Got My Eyes On You » (mid-60s). Have a good time! Bye.

early December 2009 fortnight

Hello folks! Here is another slab of boppers to enjoy your ears. We debut with BOB BLUM raucous « Romping Stomping Good time » – the title says it all! Fine steel-guitar. Blum also had « Say it fast » in a more Counry vein. Early in 1936, Dallas, Texas, with the fine original « Texas Sand » by the TUNE WRANGLERS. Charlie Kellogg on vocal and double-bass. This is a used (not abused!) RCA 78 rpm. Down in Mississipi, 1954 (Feature label) with MACK HAMILTON and his great Bopper « I’m A Honky Tonk Daddy ». Black label. Same period, this time on MGM, and up North (Cincinnati) for the prolific JOE ‘CANNONBALL’ LEWIS, a tune later sung by the Maddoxes: « I Wonder If I Can Lose The Blues This Way ».. .A story is en course on JIMMY SIMPSON, a great Country Bopper in his own right, for 2010. Here is his « Blues As I Can be ». Then on to piano blues/boogie with CECIL GANT and « Hogan’s Alley »(King, 1947). Bye!

Jimmy Swan, « Honky Tonkin’ in Mississipi »

Jimmy Swan was born November 18, 1912 in Alabama. After his father left the family, his mother moved to Birmingham, where young Jimmy helped support his mother by shining shoes and selling newspapers. His most famous shoeshine customer was Jimmie Rodgers, known as the Singing Brakeman, and the Father of Country Music. He won a talent contest sponsored by a local radio station at the age of 15, and decided he might have a career in music. At 17 he married Alabama beauty queen Grace Armour, and they had three children, Charles, Wanda, and Randy. Jimmy ended up riding the rails to Mississippi and working for awhile to support his family during the Great Depression. The 1940’s found Jimmy in Mobile, Alabama, where he formed the only live Country nightclub band playing in the area. Jimmy’s first lead guitar player was Hank Locklin, who would become famous in his own right with such hits as Send Me the Pillow that You Dream On, Please Help Me I’m Falling, and Country Hall of Fame.swan
(suite…)

LATTIE MOORE

Lattie Mooremoore

Though highly revered within hillbilly and rockabilly circles, the name of Lattie Moore is practically unknown outside auction lists. Even there’s a tad mysterious, Eddie Bond’s « Juke Joint Johnnie », Jerry Reed’s « If The Good Lord’s Willing » and George Jones’ « Out Of Control » have been reissued on CD but they were probably more familiar than Lattie’s versions even before they were readily available. Yet, arguably, Lattie’s records are more rewarding. His experience-laced vocals have far more expression than Jerry Reed’s or the affectless Eddie Bond and the countrypolitan elements which often diluted George Jone’s 60’s music are almost entirely absent.

Lattie’s voice is absolutely perfect in a coarse, grainy, ragged sort of way and there’s the odd device like a half yodel when he sings about doleful effects of drink. Country traditionalists go for the light, twangy vocals on hillbilly songs like « Don’t Trade The Old For The New ». Rockabilly enthusiasts bid big bucks for Lattie’s very scarce records on Arc and Starday. Lattie, however, admits to singing about drink more than anything else. (suite…)

Jack Dumery’s October chronicle

Jack Dumery has perhaps the finest knowledge in France of multiple forms of Country music today. He’s well and lives near Orléans, France. Here are three of his best discoveries over the last months. Thanks, Jack, for this post!

WILLIE NELSON/Willie and the Wheels (Bismeaux Records)

WILLIE NELSON goes back to his roots with this new Texas Western Swing CD. RAY BENSON, ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL were pioneers of the style revival in the early 70’s and they bring strong support to Willie on this one. Nobody could have dreamed of such a musical team.

The singer and musicians have selected 12 classics, here brilliantly revisited, from « SWEET JENNY LEE », « OH YOU PRETTY WOMAN » to « CORINNE, CORRINA ». Every player (RAY BENSON, guitar – JASON ROBERTS, fiddle, mandolin – FLOYD DOMINO, piano – EDDIE RIVERS, steel-guitar), a strong rhythm section, WILLIE’s relaxed and jazzy vocals (with shades of FLOYD TILLMAN, one of Willie’s early influences) make this CD one of the best Country releases from the last decade.

« FAN IT » came from Jazz before entering the Western Swing repertoires. Young Rock’n’Roll pioneers like Bill Haley probably found their inspiration in such numbers .

ELISABETH McQUEEN is the regular singer/guitarist with A.A.T.W. and here brings her assistance to Willie for a superb and bluesy « SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD », while an instrumental number, « SOUTH », shows the talents of two great musicians, PAUL SHAFFER on piano and Nashville star VINCE GILL on guitar.

There is also a deluxe edition of « WILLIE AND THE WHEEL » featuring an additional song, « I’LL HAVE SOMEBODY ELSE » with the phenomenal young fiddle player from Austin, RUBY JANE.

Liner notes were written by RAY BENSON himself and pay tribute to the late legendary producer JERRY WEXLER who was the originator of this product in 1979.

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THE SIDE-WINDERS/ROMPIN’N’STOMPIN’ WITH (Bop’n’Stomp Records)

Over the last few months, a new type of Rock’n’Roll, performed by Young CaMex musicians, meet the favors of audiences. Wild vocals and high speed temps are opposed to traditional Rockabilly. That is why this new release on the Bop’n’Stomp label from San Diego will be a pleasant surprise to the fans of the latter with deep Hillbilly-Bop/Country-Boogie roots.

RENE EDSON CERVANTES (vocals, guitar), RAMON IBAN ESPINOZA (lead-guitar, vocals), EDWARD GIOVANNI GRANADENO (string-bass) and CARLOS ANDRES VELASQUEZ (drums) are the writers of 11 songs on this CD, the only cover being « FEEL LIKE A MILLION »  (EMERY BLADES on ARVIS). JEFFREY MORGAN (steel-guitar) guests on 4 titles, his sound being much welcome.

Twelve gems in Rockabilly style, from « ONE OF THESE DAYS » to « SWEET DREAMS ».

This is undoutedly a group to pay great attention to. Let’s hope this first release will not be their last one.

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TIM HUS/BUSH PILOT BUCKAROO (Stony Plain Records, Canada)

Here’s one of my best discoveries over the last few months and this canadian artist has already 4 CDs to his credit, « BUSH PILOT BUCKAROO » being the last one.

With shades of JOHNNY CASH, RAMBLIN’ JACK ELLIOTT and TOM CONNORS in his own style, TIM takes us all on the road of real life with a strong and craggy voice, original songs and a first-class backing band usic Telecaster, steel-guitar, dobro, fiddle and string-bass. Nobody should be well unaware of such a talent.

From his first song, « DEMPSEY HIGHWAY », we travel through the vast canadian spaces to meet fascinating characters and admire grand sceneries. California will not be overlooked with « BAKERSFIELD MUSIC », a tribute to MERLE HAGGARD and BUCK OWENS. Every track is a real tale.

« MAN WITH THE BIG HAT » is a cowboy song from present times with GARY FJELLGAARD appearing on a duet with TIM on this one, while « COAL MINE »  sounds more like real bluegrass, as opposed to the other songs on the CD.  « ROADHOUSE BAND » would have fit WAYLON JENNINGS or HANK WILLIAMS, Jr. in their best days.

Twelve great numbers by an artist who deserves more recognition and larger broadcast on so-called « Country » stations.

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