Robert Autry Inman was born in Florence, Alabama, on January 6, 1929. He passed away at 59, on September 6, 1988. Read the rest of this entry »
Douglas Clifton Bragg was born on April 13, 1928, in the small East Texas town of Gilmer. He was among four children born to Bonnie and James Claudie Bragg. He attended Gilmer public schools and developed an interest in music during his teen years. He started performing in and around Tyler during the late 1940′s. His first marriage produced five children, all of whom were boys. By the early 1950′s Doug was appearing on the Big « D » Jamboree and working days as a meat cutter. Read the rest of this entry »
A man by the name of James T. Price was responsible for creating the Sun-Ray record company ; in fact, the vast majority of the songs put out on the label was published through Jimmy Price Music Pub. In 1961, Price issued a modern Hawaiian steel guitar course with tablatures: he had at least one release on the label. Bud Chowning, who would later record for Sun-Ray, says that Price had converted his garage into a recording studio and printing space with printing equipment : ‘He had a piano in there and a lot of mikes. The recording room was sound proof’. Read the rest of this entry »
Howdy, folks. My selection for this fortnight will be made, as usual, of lesser known artists up, and various times, ranging from approx. 1953 to early ’60s.
SHORTY LONG in 1961 was certainly no newcomer to music, as he had been cutting records on King in 1951, sharing a session with BOB NEWMAN. The latter in 1955 was reported as having joined Long’s Santa Fe Ranchers. Here Long offers the fast « Forget Her« , an hybrid song containing a slap-bass as well as banjo, mandolin and steel on the Smiling 2675 label. Long is billed here « Kentucky », no doubt his original state. Both Shorty Long and Bob Newman paired in 1955 as Dalton Boys for a solitary « Roll, Rattler, Roll » on the X label: next fortnight.
On a Evansville, IN Eunice 1007 label, DARRELL LEE offers an average Country-rocker/Rockabilly « Really Do You Care?« .
1958, TIM JOHNSON on the West Monroe label Leo (# 784) – which is actually a Starday custom issue – do come with the fine shuffler. A bit George Jones vocally, good fiddle and steel.
On Kasko 1643 (Santa Claus, IN) from 1965 RED LEWIS has a country-rocker « Yes, Indeed« (nice guitar, discreet steel) « I’ll Move along« .
The earliest track do come from Nashville in 1953. JOHNNY ROWLAND is a kind of mystery, although his voice seem very professionnal. He founds himself on Republic 7023 with the fine « Ohio Baby« .
Finally SONNY MILLER on the Boyd label, no doubt early ’60s. Good steel in « Lonesome Old Clock«
Howdy, folks. Here is the usual batch of bi-monthly hillbilly boppers. This time completely unknown artists, even (but one case) location of recording.
Jay T. Starr must have been a West coaster, since I know of a 1951 record by him on Coast (# 9017, « Rattle Snake Boogie« ). Here is his 4 Star 1708 from 1957. « Dark Clouds Ahead » has a muddy sound (transfered from YouTube), nevertheless a fine uptempo bopper, while its flipside, « Wa-Na-Chee » has a strong guitar in it. Indian bopper.
Howard Perkins hails certainly from the early ’60s, and has a possible answer to Lattie Moore‘s « Out Of Control ». Here is his « Under Control » on the Juke label, # 2012.
One Little Carolyn Sue declares « I Hate Men » on the Lar label (# 738) with a sour voice. Rasping late ’50s hillbilly, near rockabilly.
Finally Leon Collard with two tracks. « Silver Queen » on the Basic 816 label. Apparently a train song. Good anyway. Then on the Louisville, KY Spiral label (# 800) « Hello USA« . Enjoy them all.
Ernie Chaffin’s two Hickory records come from a single session on May 5, 1954 and all the songs were written by Chaffin’s longtime buddy Pee Wee Maddux. Chaffin’s defining moment came with « Feelin’ Low » on Sun in 1956, and the Hickory singles are rather mundane in comparison, although there’s no disguising the quality in his voice. Read the rest of this entry »
By now, most collectors of 1950s country and hillbilly are familiar with the name Mel price and the sterling quality of his numerous recordings on labels like Regal, Blue Hen, Starday and Dixie.
Much to my pleasant surprise (Andrew Brown), I found Mel alive and well in his hometown of Easton, MA. Mel, who was born on October 13, 1920 on a farm outside of Easton, is a cordial, classy guy. Read the rest of this entry »
Howdy folks, welcome to newcomers. The aim of this feature is to spread my favorites around…
Let’s begin with a recently covered CLIFF DAVIS, without doubt a Southerner (« & his Kentucky Play Boys » as shown on the label), on the Chicago Jay Jay label (# 161) for this fabulous rendition of a classic, modernized (for 1956…) « Rocky Road Blues« . Fast, call-and-response format, even slap-bass sounding like drums and a superlative guitar. Second, thanks to Youtube chain-owner HillillyBoogie1, who frequently adds gems to his chain, PERRY WASHBURN on the Los Lunas, N. M. Mustang (# 300) label is no exception: on a obliged Indian beat, a very effective medium-paced vocal on perfect backing of steel-fiddle-guitar (nice solos) for « Pocahontas Baby« .
On the Joplin, MO. Joplin label, owned and composed by one Robert T. Nelson, a superior shuffler, « Oklahoma Blond Headed Gal » by deep-voiced SAMMIE LEE. Nice fiddle, steel all along. Year 1958 (issue J80W-3138, RCA pressing). Thanks to Tom Sims for this rare one.
PORKY FREEMAN is maybe the best known of this serie, for a string of guitar-led instrumentals from 1944-1947 on Ara and Four Star labels. Here I offer his « Porky’s Boogie Woogie » (Ara 4009) from September 1945. Red Murrell on rhythm and Al Barker on bass, Porky indeed on lead guitar.
From Chicago or Eastern states come BOB PERRY. On the small Bandera label (# 1301/1303) the fantastic « Weary Blues Goodbye » from 1958. Very strong rhythm, firm vocal, and a FABULOUS steel-guitar solo, which sounds as a slide guitar. I added the flipside, very different, and more countryfied « Can’t Hardly Wait ». Perry had at least another disc on Cool, outside the scope of this site: it’s a late ’50s rocker.
Finally someone I recently put everything I could gather on, the Kentuckian born RAY ANDERSON. In the case you missed him, here is his great « Done Gone Dirty Shame » from 1952-53 on the Illinois Blue Ribbon (B2) label. Nice guitar picking a la Merle Travis.
Finally there is an hidden gem in the podcasts: « Haunted House Boogie » by Jack Rivers, for halloween.
Let’s visit the « contact me » page: I am selling albums and CDs – some 45s too – at very reasonable prices!
This time I will focus on an unknown Hillbilly/Rockabilly singer, who cut only 4 sides between 1953 and 1957. His story was covered in depth on the Rockabilly all of Fame site. So all I have to do is to let Shane Hughes speak. The singer is BILL BLEVINS. So here we go:
Biographical facts on Bill Blevins are pretty well scant. The meager details that have surfaced indicate that Bill was born in 1932, but exactly where is not known. His influences and inspirations are open to conjecture. Aurally, he draws an uncanny similarity to Jimmy Swan and, from a broader perspective, Hank Williams. This is borne out in Bill’s first recordings made for Lillian McMurray’s Jackson, Mississippi based Trumpet label in 1953. McMurray had arranged a series of sessions at Bill Holford’s ACA studio in Houston during the first week of February 1953. She had recorded a handful of masters by Werly Fairburn (sub-credited as The Delta Balladeer on what would be his debut recordings), Jimmy Swan, R. B. Mitchell (Jimmy Swan’s guitarist) and ‘Lucky’ Joe Almond on February 3. The following day, Bill Blevins was brought into the studio to record four sides, followed by brief sessions by Tex Dean and Glen West. Exactly how Bill came to the attention of McMurray is not known, but he was teamed with an aggregation of studio musicians, most of whom were well known Houston players. Indiana born steel guitarist Herb Remington, who had arrived in Houston three years earlier, led this group of top flight musicians, that included guitarist Bill Buckner, fiddle player Douglas Myers and seasoned bass player ‘Buck’ Henson, who had earlier worked with Dickie McBride, Deacon ‘Rag Mop’ Anderson, Richard Prine and Cliff Bruner. Of the four sides cut, McMurray chose to release only two numbers on Trumpet 200. ‘An Hour Late And A Dollar Short’ is reminiscent of Jimmy Swan’s lightly swinging ‘Juke Joint Mama’ (recorded for Trumpet the previous year) and is an interesting precursor to Billy Barton’s ‘Day Late And A Dollar Short’ (Billy Barton 1007).
After one release on Trumpet in 1953, Bill was not heard of again until ’57 when he surfaced on the one off Houston based National label. According to Andrew Brown, two titles were cut during the early months of ’57 in a garage somewhere in Houston. The backing on both tunes is fairly sparse, indicating only lead guitar and bass accompaniment. Brown continued, « Bill was drunk at this session, hence the excessively abused phrase ‘drunken southern rockabilly’ actually is applicable for once ». After listening to the National disc, particularly « Baby I Won’t Keep Waitin’ », it’s easy to hear in Bill’s slurred pronunciation that he had more than just a tipple before kicking off the session. Both tunes, however, are premium examples of lazy Lone Star rockabilly. ‘Baby I Won’t Keep Waitin » is as salacious as the title suggests and the second cut from the session, the self-penned ‘Crazy Blues’, is a slow burning moody piece that draws from the rich musical melting pot of Texas. In ‘Crazy Blues’, a well cultured listener will detect hints of early country blues, like those hollered by Texas Alexander, Blind Lemon Jefferson or Ramblin’ Thomas during the nineteen twenties. Indeed, ’30′s steel guitar wizard and one time Jimmie Davis sideman, Oscar Woods, could have laid down a version of ‘Crazy Blues’ that would not have been unlike Bill’s. Both titles were mastered at Bill Holford’s ACA studio on April 8 and released shortly after on the short lived National label. National may have been a vanity label that Bill established solely for the release of this disc, as no other releases on this label have been traced. Subsequent discs by Bill are unconfirmed, although rumor suggests one further release appeared sometime during the nineteen sixties or seventies. If this disc does exist, discographical data is unknown. Bill is now believed to be deceased, but his National sides are still very much cherished by collectors of the Big Beat, who have been treated to the occasional reissue of ‘Crazy Blues’ and ‘Baby I Won’t Keep Waitin ».
I’ve included in the podcasts all that is available by BILL BLEVINS.
Not more known is RICHARD MORRIS on the Country Jubilee label (# 541) with « Rosetta« . Insistent fiddle and guitar, heavy Indian style drumming make this a gem.
Finally Texan J.B. BRINKLEY, whose career goes back to the ’30s, when he was guitar player for the Crystal Spring Ramblers, or the ’40s for the Light Trust Doughboys. Here he delivers the fine, powerful »Buttermilk Blues » , piano-led, scintillating guitar on the Majestic label (# 7581). Indeed he had also « Guitar Smoke », instrumental on Lin. It is believed however that this J.B. Brinkley was Jr. to the ’30′s artist.
The Steeldrivers « Reckless » Rounder 0624-2 (2010)
Steeldrivers’ singer (Chris Stapleton) left the group and his replacement, Gary Nichols, will be in Craponne. Stapleton, beside being a good vocalist, is first a Nashville songwriter. One can surely see this new group on YouTube. I prefer personnally the fiddle player Tammy Rogers (already seen in Nashville, and 2 times in Paris) and Mike Henderson, mandolin and, most of all,dobro.
Better sides of this hybrid bluegrass band : the powerful fast « The Reckless Side Of Me », the bluesy (great dobro) « Peacemaker », the lively classic bluegrass sound of « Guitars, Whiskey, Guns and Knives » and the haunting (fine vocal by Stapleton) « Ghosts Of Mississipi ». Buy it in confidence !
Tim Hus « Hockeytown » Stony plain (2010)
Tim is a Canadian honky-tonk singer, whose compositions are very promising and interesting. The instrumentation is of classic origin, even comprising accordion (« North Atlantic Trawler ») and the inspiration includes references to trucker’s culture (« Canadian Pacific »). Also noticed were « Picture Butte Charlie », classic honky-tonk sound, and the « Talkin’ Saskatoon Blues ». An artist to look for in the future !