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Jimmy Murphy
mar 26th, 2009 by xavier

 

 

Biography            by Bruce Ederjimmy-murphy

Jimmy Murphy is one of the more enigmatic figures to come out of the country/rockabilly scene of the early to mid-’50s. A virtuoso guitar player and a gifted and inspired songwriter, he had a knack for composing and performing quirky, clever songs that hooked into unusual thematic angles — his first song, « Electricity, » equated rural electrification with religious salvation, while the closest he ever got to a real hit, « Sixteen Tons Rock n’ Roll, » was a satire of the 1956 Tennessee Ernie Ford hit of the Merle Travis song. His music was also strangely archaic in both its form and content, elements that may have doomed his chance for a successful recording career. ??Murphy’s music drew from a multitude of influences, most notably the blues. His father was an admirer of numerous bluesmen, including Blind Boy Fuller and Leadbelly. He joined his father in the bricklaying trade and always split his time between construction and music. Read the rest of this entry »

Aubrey Cagle, that « Rock A Billy Boy »!
mar 24th, 2009 by xavier

 

Aubrey Cagle (reprint from Derek Glenister’s article in « New Kommotion » # 19, 1978)cagle_aubrey

He was born on September 17, 1934, in the town of Lexington, Tennessee, the early years of his life being spent on his parents’ farm. He purchased his first guitar at the age of eleven years, doing odd job around the town, to get the money together to buy the instrument.

He got a regular band six years later, one of his first engagements being a radio show spot in Jackson, Tennessee. Later on, he secured his own radio show on WDXL, in his home town.

During 1955, due to lack of work, Aubrey moved to Indiana, where he still resides today. Four years later he cut his first record for the House of Sound label, owned by Mr. Chesney Sherod, and based in Memphis. The titles made up Aubrey’s best-known recordings, Real Cool b/w Want To Be Wanted Blues. He was accompaned by local Memphis session musicians, who included Chips Moman on lead guitar.real-coolwant-to-be-wanted

In 1960, Aubrey decided to form his own record label, Glee – which he co-owned with his brother-in-law, Johnnie James. Johnnie died early in 1968, so Aubrey became sole owner. His initial release on the label was Be-Bop Blues b/w Just For You, he followed it up the same year with Come Along little Girl b/w Blue Lonely World, and leased to Esquire Records in the U.K. who issued it on their Starlite subsidiary label.glee-100

The following year Aubrey decided to use the stage-name of ‘Billy Love’, as he thought it would be more readily remembered by D.J.’s. Two records were issued on Glee under this name, Oh What A Memory b/w Sweet Talkin’and I’ll Find My Way b/w My Empty Arms.The Glee material was recorded at RCA-Victor’s studio in Nashville, all the back-up musicians being members of Aubrey’s regular band.

Towards the end of 1977, Aubrey found the masters on two previously unissued titles, Rock-a-Billy Boy and Bop And Stroll. Both were cut in a garage in Indianapolis, owned by a friend of Aubrey’s, named Jan Eden. The recordings were made in 1959, sometime after the House of Sound disc. These two tracks have now been coupled, and issued on Glee and distributed worldwide by Record Mart. Both are above average rockers, each containing powerful guitar and piano breaks.

Now for some personal facts on Aubrey ; he has been married nearly twenty-five years, his wife’s name is Sue and they have one son Ricky, who is a talented drummer. When he is not playing, Aubrey enjoys fishing and ten-pin bowling. He still does club work in his home town, and hopes to record some new country songs in the near future.

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Discography

Aubrey Cagle                                                                        340 Beale St., Memphis, 1959

 (vo/g) with Chips Moman (ld g), unk. p, b, d.

45-1005-A            Want to be Wanted Blues                                    House of Sound 504

45-1006-B            Real Cool                                                                                         -

Aubrey Cagle                                                             Jan Eden studio, Indianapolis, 1959

(vo/g) with Don Rivers (ld g), Mike Freeman (d), prob. Bill Williams (b), James Smith (p)

LO 9593            Bop & Stroll                                                            Glee (issued 1978) 10013

LO 9594            Rock-a-Billy Boy                                                                                10012

Aubrey Cagle                                                            RCA-Victor studio, Nashville, 1960

(vo/g) with same personnel. Add st-g *

1582-1                        Just For You *                                                Glee 100

1582-2                        Be-Bop Blues                                                                        -

Aubrey Cagle                                                            RCA-Victor studio, Nashville, 1960

(vo/g) with Freddy Vest (ld g), Bill Williams (b), George Abel (p), Buddy Crawford (s), Morgan Shuamker (d), unk. chorus

L7OW-0182            Blue Lonely World                                                Glee 1001

L7OW-0183            Come Along Little Girl                                                -

Aubrey Cagle (as Billy Love)                                    RCA-Victor studio, Nashville, 1961

(vo/g) with same personnel. Omit sax and chorus.

M7OW-9495            Oh What A Memory                                                Glee 1005

M7OW-9496            I’ll Find My Way                                                         10010

M7OW-9497            My Empty Arms                                                              -

M7OW-9498            Cindy Lou                                                            Glee unissued, Solid Gold CD 102

M7OW-9499            Sweet Talkin’                                                            Glee 1005

Late addition : Aubrey Cagle died in 2004.

 

Skeets McDonald
mar 18th, 2009 by xavier

Biography by Jason Ankeny
Best known for his self-penned chart-topper « Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes, » Skeets McDonald was a honky tonk singer and songwriter whose work helped serve to bridge the gap between country and rock & roll. The youngest of seven children, Enos William McDonald was born on October 1, 1915, in Greenway, AR, and earned his nickname after an incident involving a swarm of mosquitoes. He became interested in music at a young age and, according to McDonald family legend, even traded his hound dog for a guitar and six dollars. When his older brother moved to Michigan several years later, McDonald followed and joined his first band, the Lonesome Cowboys, in Detroit in 1935. He continued to perform on local radio stations until he was drafted to serve in World War II in 1943.skeets-detroitAfter returning from battle, McDonald began performing on a Detroit-area television program and in 1950 cut his first records with fiddler Johnnie White & His Rough Riders. In 1951, McDonald and his family moved to Los Angeles, where he was signed to perform on Cliffie Stone‘s TV program Hometown Jamboree. Soon after, he joined Capitol Records and in 1952 released « Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes, » by far his biggest hit. McDonald remained with the label until 1959, the year he released the LP Goin’ Steady With The Blues, and while he scored few chart successes, his music’s evolution from honky tonk to straightforward rockabilly proved to be influential with other musicians. Meanwhile in 1956, he teamed wth the aspiring Honky tonk singer Wynn Stewart. The pair recorded « Slowly But Surely » (with a young Eddie Cochran on rhythm guitar), backed by « Keeper of the key » (later cut at Sun by Carl Perkins).

In 1959, McDonald signed with Columbia, which mandated that he return to country music. In the early ’60s, he notched a handful of hits, including « Call Me Mr. Brown » which reached the Top Ten in 1963. A year later, he issued the album Call Me Skeets!. As the decade wore on, he began branching out from the West Coast music scene, recording in Nashville and appearing on the Grand Ole Opry. Despite the country industry’s shift towards slicker, more pop-oriented productions, McDonald remained a purist throughout his career; he died on March 31, 1968, after suffering a massive heart attack.

Recommended listening: Heartbreakin’ mama (Bear Family)  skeets-bf-gonna-shakeDon’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes (6CD boxset Bear Family)

article revised December 5th, 2011. It still doesn’t please to me! It was one of my very first articles, and I didn’t know Photoshop and page mage make-up…Someday I will have to write it again entirely.skeets-coffretskeetswithhrosegro
capitol 2774-78 skeets Remember you'remine
capitol 3215-78 skeets strollin'

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babycheekslowly

late March 2009 favorites
mar 18th, 2009 by xavier

Several tunes I enjoy now…

First a tribute to two bopping artists recently deceased. HANK LOCKLIN, famous Hillbilly crooner, had also done Hillbilly Bop, as here « Down Texas Way ». BUCK GRIFFIN, a Rockabilly great (LIN/MGM sides) – it was hard to choose, but I decided finally to include his « Stutterin’ Papa » complete with hiccups a la Charlie Feathers.

Then we got to unknowns. JOE ‘Cannonball’ LEWIS, whose « I’m gonna tear your playhouse down » (Kentucky label) is already a hillbilly bop classic. Then KED KILLEN. His « Worried blues » (Western Ranch) is dramatic.

Don’t quit! Now Bluegrass with The CHURCH BROTHERS (Ralph, Bill & Edwin) from North Carolina with their powerful « I Don’t Know What To Do » (Blue Ridge). And we go to the end with Cajun live: PAUL DAIGLE’s « I Told A ie ».

Hope you enjoy these selections

Hillbilly Boogie!
mar 18th, 2009 by xavier

HILLBILLY BOOGIE !

Essential component of Rock’n’Roll, this Country stream goes as far as the 30’s. Following the Boogie Woogie wave (1928, Pinetop Smith), everyone includes a boogie in his repertoire : swing big bands (Count Basie : « Basie boogie »), western swing orchestras (Spade Cooley : »Three way boogie », or smaller combos – Country (Tennessee Ernie Ford : « Shot gun boogie », 1951) or Blues (Amos Milburn : « Amo’s Boogie », 1946 – one of thousand artists). And the phenomenon will last a good twenty years. Fast tempo is good for dancers, as in « Hillbilly Boogie » (Jerry Irby, 1949 –Pete Burke at the piano).

Piano style was transposed to

- guitar (Arthur Smith, « Guitar Boogie », 1945),

- harmonica (The Milo Twins, « Truck Driver’s boogie », 1949),

- mandolin (The Armstrong Twins, « Mandolin Boogie », 1949),

- violin (Curley Williams, « Fiddlin’ Boogie », 1949),

- steel-guitar (Speedy West, « Stratosphere Booie », 1954),

- accordion (Nathan Abshire, « Lu Lu Boogie », 1947),

- banjo (The McCormick Brothers, « Red Hen Boogie », 1954),

- vocal too of course (Wesley Tuttle, «Yodelin’ Boogie », 1949).

pee-wee-king

You can recognize a Hillbilly boogie by the presence of a powerful stand-up bass, often slapped : you can hear here the monumental « Bull Fiddle Boogie » by PeeWee King (Redd Stewart on vocal)(1949).

Numerous other instruments can be found in hillbilly boogie such as saxophone, muted trumpet or clarinet.

donnie-bowshier-tight-shoe-boogiebobby-soots-boogie-woogie-blues
hardrockmy-honky-tonk-baby
milo-twins-truck-drivers-boogie

And until now I’d only speak of titles including « boogie » ! There were thousands others on this tempo, not always fast, but « uptempo ». Finally it became the standard in hillbilly music, what we call now Hillbilly Bop. One example between hundred is  Downie Bowshier’s « Tight Shoe Boogie » (King, 1953). The song complains about shoes too tight to dance to the bop. It is doubly ironic, since Bowshier was confined to a wheel chair.

Recommended listening :

We are well treated these times, because there is a plethora of compilations.

- « Country boogie 1939-1947 » (Frémeaux et associés 161) – 36 classic recordings just before and after WWII, from « Oakie Boogie » (Jack Guthrie) to « Square Dance boogie » (Johnny Lee Wills), to « Saturday night boogie » (Al Dexter). A good choice from Gérard Herzaft, the famous compiler.

- « Hillbilly Bop, Boogie & The Honky Tonk », a serie of 3 double-CDs from Jasmine (UK) at bargain price. Buy in confidence, you won’t be sorry !hillbilly-bop-jasmine

- « Hillbilly Boogie » Proper (UK) boxset (4 CD). 100 tunes for £ 10.99. All the greats are here.

- « King Hillbilly Bop’n’Boogie » (UK Ace 854) does concentrate on one of the genre’s best postwar labels. Many uncommon tracks.

king-hillbilly-bop-Hillbilly Boogie » (Columbia Legacy 53940) – 20 essential tracks (1990)  hillbilly-boogie-cd

- If you are looking for something else, try to find (remoted from current catalog) « A Shot In The Dark – Tennessee Jive », a 7-CD Bear Family boxset devoted to Nashville’s small labels from 1945 to 1955.

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JOHNNY BOND
mar 16th, 2009 by xavier

Johnny Bond had several successful facets to a career that lasted over 30 years. As a member of the Jimmy Wakely Trio and as a session musician, he was an important support musician in dozens of B Westerns, working alongside Wakely, Tex Ritter, and Johnny Mack Brown. As a songwriter, he was responsible for several compositions that became country standards, including « Cimarron, » « I Wonder Where You Are Tonight, » « Conversation With a Gun, » « Tomorrow Never Comes, » and « I’ll Step Aside, » which became hits for everyone from Billy Vaughn & His Orchestra to Johnny Rodriguez. He also contributed mightily to the recorded music of Wakely, Ritter, and other country stars of the 1940s and 1950s. And his own recordings — which included work with such luminaries as Merle Travis — were popular from the 1940s onward, and included several hits, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that he had the biggest record of his career, « Ten Little Bottles. » Read the rest of this entry »

Bill Carlisle
mar 16th, 2009 by xavier

carlisles she a leg 70351


BILL CARLISLE (By Kevin Carey)bill-carlisle-photo1

Born 19 December 1908, Wakefield, Kentucky
Died 17 March 2003, Nashville, Tennessee

One of country music’s founding fathers, Bill Carlisle’s 70 (yes, seventy!) years in the music business began in 1931 when he made his first impromptu performance on the local radio station in Lexicon, Kentucky.

When discussing or writing about Bill Carlisle, it is impossible to ignore the influence of his older brother, Cliff, who at four years Bill’s senior, both encouraged Bill and joined him on many early recordings. Cliff’s own career, while cut short by his premature retirement in the late 40′s, had seen him record some of the finest early hillbilly sides and proving an inspiring figure in his slide guitar style.

Following his brother’s lead, Bill started recording in July 1933 on the Vocalion label (an offshoot of the ARC group of labels, to which Cliff had been signed). Bill’s first release, Rattlin’ Daddy, would prove to be one of his strongest and, in its 1947 guise (re-named Rattlesnakin’ Daddy) showed more than a hint of the rockabilly style that would follow.

Recording details from this period are sketchy, although a number of recordings were released on Vocalion, some with support from Cliff, and others that appeared on Bluebird, while the labels would also list Bill variously as « Smiling Billy Carlisle », « Bill Carlisle’s Kentucky Boys », or « The Carlisle Brothers ». Mainly these recording would fall into the Jimmie Rodgers genre, although Bill was as happy, if not happier to be recording both humourous and slightly risqué lyrics.

Moving to Decca in 1938, the brothers output slowed, but continued in a similar vein with much interplay between Billy and Cliff, with some tracks credited to Billy which were mainly Cliff, and vice versa! Just to make matters even more confusing, several tracks would also feature Cliff’s son, Tommy.

With the outbreak of WW2, it wasn’t until 1944 that both Cliff and Billy were signed to the fledgling King label, and hits followed in 1946 with Rainbow At Midnight, which peaked at number 5 (as The Carlisle Brothers), and in 1948 when ‘Tramp On The Street’ peaked at number 14.

A lean period then followed, which may have been coincidental with Cliff’s retirement, and it was only when Bill tempted Cliff to return to the business in 1951, with the formation of The Carlisles, that the hits returned, this time on the Mercury label, where they now performed in a more energetic style and had hits with Too Old To Cut The Mustard in 1951, and had their most successful year in 1953 with the brilliant No Help Wanted (featuring Chet Atkins on guitar) which peaked at number 1, Knothole, T’aint Nice, and Is Zat You, Myrtle?

Cliff retired in 1953, before recording the quartet of hits, and would pass away in 1983.

Bill last success on Mercury came in 1954 with two hits which followed in the same humourous vein, but the lack of further chart success prompted the bands departure from Mercury in 1956.

Continuing to record on various labels, The Carlisles saw only one more chart entry, when the innuendo filled ‘What Kind Of deal Is This’ reached number 4 in 1965.

As far as stage performances were concerned, Bill kept The Carlisles format running, despite numerous personnel changes, which would eventually see his children included in the act.

Always famed for his energetic stage act, which would see Billy doing the splits while singing, the nickname ‘Bounding’ or ‘Jumping’ Billy Carlisle were well earned. The act would continue thus through to the 90′s when Billy slowed down on personal appearances, although he would occasionally appear on stage, complete with zimmer frame, where he would perform a couple of songs holding on to the frame, before throwing it over his shoulder and marching off stage to rapturous applause.

Bill was inducted into the Country Hall Of Fame in November, 2002 and was the oldest regular performer at The Grand Ol’ Opry – his final appearance there (in a wheelchair) coming in February 2002.

Billy died, aged 94 on March 17th, 2003 following a stroke.

Recommended listening -

Rough & Rowdy Hillbilly of the 1930′s (Collector) – Bluebird/Vocalion recordings
Tramp On The Streets (Cattle) King/Decca sides
Duvall County Blues (BACM) – Bluebird/Vocalion recordings

bill-carlisle-lp

Hickory LP of Bill Carlisle (I DID own, but sold!)

Busy Body Boogie (Bear Family) – Mercury/RCA/Columbia sides
carlisles-bear-family

Nathan Abshire
mar 6th, 2009 by xavier

 

NATHAN ABSHIREabshire_n

 

         He was, after Iry LeJeune, too soon deceased (in 1955), the pope of traditional Cajun accordion, and, today, he remains a reference for numerous artists such as Jo-El Sonnier or, even more recently, Wilson Savoy, lead accordionist for the Pine Leaf Boys. He held a dominating position in the 70’s during the big revival of Cajun music, due to his very long association with the Balfa Brothers (Dewey, Rodney and Will). His most-widely known track, « Pine grove blues », first put on wax in 1949, and re-recorded several times later on, was a big regional hit, and even made a mark on people such as Steve Cropper and on the debuts of Memphis soul music : « Last night » by the Markeys is directly inspired from it. Read the rest of this entry »

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