Howdy folks, here’s the new batch of Bopping goodies early this month.
From Arkansas, a state not already known for its music. Nevertheless one can find with Internet some very nice records. I knew HERSHEL PARKER for years (through a Tom Sims’ cassette) and his “Hey-Pa” on the Fort Smith, Arkansas, Pla-an-tak (# 510-25) label. Very solid Country bop from the early ’60s. He also had on the Fort Smith UBC label (# 1023) the fine double-sided (one side uptempo, the other a great ballad) “Can’t go home tonight” (very sensitive ballad with fiddle and steel solos) backed with the upt. “I can’t forget“. I couldn’t find a picture n the net but the music only. All sides from early ’60s. UBC also issued Bob Calloway‘s fine Rocker “Wake up, little boy blue” in 1960. See arkansas45s.blogspot.com for information on Arkansas labels.
Seemingly a Tennessean, HOMER MONROE cut in Chattanooga, TN, the nice “Headin’ on down the line” on the Spann label (#1764). We find him once more – same piano to the fore, so he’s presumably playing it – on an Alabama Silvia label from Silvania for “It’s many a mile from me to you” (# 1161), Country Drifters backing him. Judging by the sound, I’d assume both records being from the late ’50s.
Homer Monroe “It’s many a mile from me to you” download
On the Linda label – there has been a few by the same name: “Country Music From Midway USA” – REBEL WRIGHT offers “I’m a long gone daddy” (not the Hank Williams’ song) (# 002B) and finally from “the heart of Dixie” on the Bama label (# 00001B) (not THE Bama label for Hardrock Gunter‘s “Birmingham Bounce” from 1951) by LEFTY PRITCHETT and the Country Kats, “Just an ole has been“. Enjoy the selections, bye! Next fortnight early January 2014. Have a Boppin’ Xmas and a happy Hillbilly New Year! Rebel Wright “I’m a long gone daddy” download
Never read such a poorly informed biography as this, taken from the back of the Hank the Drifter Crypto album. Alas, I cannot add anything to it, and the music will speak for itself.
HANK THE DRIFTER (real name Daniel Raye Andrade) was born September 2, 1929, 72 Plain Street, Taunton, Massachussetts. As a small boy he loved country and wetsern music and he was given a small guitar to learn on by his now deceased Dad. Soon he was playing and singing up a storm and people everywhere loved his true country songs and the feeling he put into every song. Songs came pouring out of Dan and he wrote songs on every inspired moment.
Many who have puchased his records say it is like Hank Williams back from the grave. In this album you will hear the songs which Daniel Andrade, « Hank the Drifter » composed, during inspired moments. Many have called Daniel Andrade, « Hank The Drifter », the greatest living song writer and country singer in the country and western field.
Dan Andrade thrilled many, with his double tribute (on New England release n° 1012), « Hank Williams is singing again » backed with « Hank, you’re gone but not forgotten », dedicated to the memory of Dan Andrade’s idol, the late great Hank Williams, considered by many to be the gteatest living song writer in the world, and the greatest living singer as well.
Hank the Drifter, “It is honky tonk music” <a ref=”http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/A2-It-Is-Honky-Tonk-Music.mp3″ target=”_blank”>download
On January 1, 1968, Music City News, the leading trade magazine in the Country and <Western music field, did a full page story with pictures of Daniel Andrade. He resides in a lovely $ 20,000.00 home at 12606 Carlsbad, Houston, Texas.
Hank the Drifter, “I’m gonna spin my wheels” download
Hank the Drifter was chosen January 1, 1963, in « Who’s Who, Inc. » on the merits of his song writing, singing and other accomplishments. This honor is bestowed on fifteen in each ten thousand of the country’s population who come under selective standards. Country Song Roundup and « Billboard », trade magazines, have featured Hank.
Sparton and Quality Records of Toronto, Canada, have featured many of Dan Andrade’s 45’s, namely « Cheaters never win », « Don’t you lock your daddy out », « I’m crying my heart out for you », « Cold river blues » and « Painted doll », etc. all sung and written by Daniel Andrade.
« God writes all my songs and being blessed with a lovely wife, Odessa Andrade ; what more could a man ask in life », says Dan. The gifted Dan Andrade has appeared on WPEP, Taunton, Massachusetts with his own show ; on WNBH radio, New Bedford, Massachusetts on the New Bedford Times weekly. He has appeared on KTRH and KNUZ radio stations, plus Big « D » Jamboree, Dallas, Texas, « Cowtown Hoedown », Fort Worth, Texas – « Gulf Coast Jamboree » Television – « Houston Hoedown », Houston, Texas and such.
« Hank The Drifter » records are in numerous libraries on radio stations in the United States, Canada and overseas. Hank says, « I’m very homely, I know, but, look for the inner beauty and we are all pretty people ». My sincere appreciation to Fred Voelker and daughter, Sonya, of Houston, Texas, two fine musicians whom without their help, this album could not have been possible.
Andrade had his first record way back in 1955, as HANK THE DRIFTER: “Hank Williams is singing again” on his own label New England; in 1956, as “Joe Lombardie and the Cats“, he cut “Let’s all rock’n’roll“, then again the same year, as Hank the Drifter, “The Bill Collector’s blues“. 1957, a further more issue, “Don’t you lock your daddy out”. Joe Lombardie & the Cats, “Let’s all rock’n’roll” download
Hank the Drifter, “The Bill Collector’s blues” <a ref=”http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/B5-The-Bill-Collectors-Blues.mp3″ target=”_blank”>download
In 1961, after several years, he revived his label and nom de plume, and reissued masters of the ’50s era. Between March 1961 and 1964, he had this way 9 New England records.
The Burdette Land label out of Richmond, KY, must have been one of the scarcest to the day: it issued only two discs in 1960, although one was even reviewed (Pratt Bros.) in the August 29th, 1960 C&W edition of Billboard. So the promotion has surely have been correctly made, since NYC critics did get the record.
First issue was by HUBERT BARNARD (# 3000-1/2-A/B) and coupled one country side, “The man of the road” (partly written by Burdette Land), an unheard tune, and a more interesting side, “Boy She has gone“, rockabilly/rocker, which even found its way on a European compilation (“Hillbilly jukebox”).
Second and last issue for the label was by the PRATT BROS. apparently Eugene (writer of both sides) and vocalist Vernis, backed for the rockabilly side by “The Rocking 5”. I didn’t hear “Go find your love“, apparently a rocker, thus “The wind told me so” was average rural rockabilly. Hear them. And that was it. A really short affair in time.
Pratt Bros. & the Rocking 5, “The wind told me so” download
Source: 45rpm.com, the Dan DeClark site for Ohio Valley records. Also RCS.
Very little is known about Bobby Soots, except what is contained in a Tampa newspaper snippet dated Nov. 2, 1950. He was born in Alabama during the ’20s, took up the guitar when he was twelve and had his first band, the Red Wagon Boys, entertaining a local radio show in 1938. He then moved to Chicago to sing Hillbilly in the clubs, when the famous jazz drummer and bandleader Gene Krupa noticed and hired him as featured vocalist. Soots had a strong baritone voice, and Krupa used him on New York sessions for C&W tunes like Pee Wee King‘s « Bonaparte’s retreat » (June 1950), « Panhandle rag », « At the jazz band ball » or « Walking with the blues », to name just a few classic Krupa jazz sides.
A year later, free from his contract with Gene Krupa, Bobby Soots went solo for two sessions for Mercury records, apparently cut in Chicago. Eight tracks were recorded circa February/March 1951, whose only four were released, leaving unissued a promising « Fiddle boogie ». Among the issued tunes were Amos Milburn’s « Bad, bad whiskey » (Mercury 6326), and most of all, the immortal « (Help me lose the) Boogie woogie blues » (great steel solo!), often reissued (Mercury 6331). B-sides are less interesting, « I’m crying » and «Have you forgotten my name ». Soots did not write his own material. After these two issues, one loses his trail, and he seems to have disappeared afterwards.
Gene Krupa (Bobby Soots, vocalist) “At the jazz band ball” download
Gene Krupa (Bobby Soots, vocalist) “Walking with the blues” <a href=”http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Vicor-Bobby-Soots-Walking-with-the-blues.mp3″ target=”_blank”>download
Bobby Soots, “Have you forgotten my name” download
Bobby Soots solo discography:
(vo) with instrumental accompaniment: g, rh. g, p, steel, str.b.. Poss. Chicago, circa Feb. 1951
7208 Bad, bad whiskey Mercury 6326
7209 Fiddle boogie unissued
7210 I’m cryin’ Mercury 6326
7211 A thousand times too many unissued
(vo) with fiddle, piano, rh. gtr, g, steel, str.b. circa September/october 1951
7232 Help me lose the boogie boogie blues Mercuy 6331
7233 Goin’, goin’, gone unissued
7234 Lots of nothin’ –
7235 Have you forgotten my name Mercury 6331
Source: Internet for the Gene Krupa records, Bobby Soots photograph and Billboard snippets. Thanks to Ronald Keppner for scan/mp3 of Mercury 6326. Discographical details from Michel Ruppli’s “Mercury label” vol. 1.
A long line of men dressed in rugged suits filed past iron gates on Manchester Street in Highland Park, Michigan, as they did every morning, into the . One by one, they flashed their Ford badges at the guard stationed in a small shack. Ford Motor Company facility Outside the gate, a 15 year-old boy stood near the shack, hands in his trouser pockets, chatting with the uniformed man inside, who interrupted the conversation every so often to check someone’s identification.
“I brought ya some apples,” the young man said with a Tennessee drawl, and handed a paper sack to the guard, who gave one apple back. After sharing a snack together, the young man asked, “Say, what are my chances today? Like I said before, I’m ready to work at anything.”
The guard tolerated his daily appearances, eventually warming up to his friendly personality and persistence. It was obvious the young man, who showed up at the morning whistle every day, intended to stay in Detroit. “Well,” said the guard while keeping his eye on workers entering the property, “There’s a small opening in the fence about sixty feet east of here. It may be wide enough for you to slip through. I reckon I can’t stop you, if I don’t see you.” He took his eyes off the shuffling plant workers long enough to look the kid in the eyes and say, “I know you won’t cause me no trouble.”
“No, sir!” The wide-eyed young man continued chewing apple.
“I just happen to know a foreman who’s looking for a welder,” said the guard. “If you get in, look up Fred Walker.” The young man thanked the guard, who nodded, too preoccupied to look up. Then he strode east to the gap in the fence, slipped through, and secured a position at Ford.
Working man, day and night
Trained on the job as a welder, Forest Rye had grown up in Erin, Tennessee, west of Nashville. Born December 19, 1910, Rye learned to play fiddle and guitar before he left home in 1924. When Rye was a small boy, champion fiddler Walter Warden, from McEwen, Tennessee, and an early influence on Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith, schooled him in music. Warden lived up the road from the Rye household, and thought so highly of Rye that he gave him a fiddle. When Rye came to Detroit, he found a room in a boarding house, and doggedly spent about a week talking his way into Ford’s Highland Park facility.
A pioneer country music bandleader in Detroit, Rye entertained at house parties through the 1930s, eventually leading groups of musicians in local cafes and bars. In 1937 he married, and moved back to Erin, where he started a grocery with his savings. He visited friends in Detroit occasionally, and after divorcing in 1939, Rye returned to Detroit’s east side, near Chrysler facilities where he worked the day shift.
The area surrounding East Jefferson Avenue near St. Jean included neighborhoods of white Southerners who had moved for work in local factories. In this environment, Rye formed Rye’s Red River Blue Yodlers, and gigged steadily at the Torch Club on East Jefferson. They may have performed on Detroit radio as well.
In early 1942, the band cut a record for the Mellow Record Company, based in the Mellow Music Shop a few blocks away from the Torch Club. “You Had Time Think It Over” backed with “On Down The Line” were pressed on the Hot Wax label (with Mellow catalog number 1616 – it was pressed on Mellow, too). Vocals on the Hot Wax label were attributed to “Conrad Brooks,” a fake name Rye used on the record – perhaps to avoid public association with the hot lyrics of “On Down The Line,” a risqué song made strictly for jukebox plays in bars. The band included Rye’s fiddle, Hawaiian (lap) steel, rhythm guitar, and bass. Side 1 (“You had time”) was uptempo while the B-side (“On down the line” was medium paced.
Rye’s Red River Blue Yodelers, “On down the line” download
Rye’s stage show included humor, and as early as 1942 he was making appearances on the WSM Nashville radio’s “Grand Ole Opry” as comedian Little Willie Rye. This made him the first Detroiter to perform with the “Opry.” Many Detroit musicians would follow Rye’s path, beginning with the York Brothers after World War II. Not to mention a few musicians who moved to Detroit after first performing at the “Opry” (e.g., Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith, Okie Jones, and Chick Stripling).
Rye moved back to Tennessee in 1945 and married again. He returned to Detroit in 1947 as his family began to grow, remaining through 1955. Soon after this third move to Michigan, Rye secured a gig at WXYZ radio with his Sage Brush Ranch Boys, a band that included bassist Earl “Shorty Frog” Allen, who led his own band in Detroit several years later.
Around 1945/46 he cut with his group two sides for the Detroit based Universal company (the York Brothers also recorded for this label). Yet Rye still handles the vocals as disguised “Conrad Brooks“, and very assured. Steel guitar is wild, and Rye is even yodeling a bit. Both sides are very nice uptempos for the era. “Snake bite blues” and “Don’t come crying around me mama“, both written by Rye.
For a couple of years during the late 1940s, Mountain Red appeared with Rye’s Sage Brush Ranch Boys in Pontiac area nightclubs as a featured singer. Red also appeared with Rye on WXYZ, when he wasn’t performing his solo programs at WCAR radio Pontiac.
Sage Brush Ranch Boys, late ’40s – Rye on fiddle
Rye often let other musicians sit in with his band in Detroit nightclubs. Joyce Songer recalled performing with the Sage Bruch Ranch Boys several times, when she and husband Earl started their musical career, around 1949.
Early 1951 Rye cut four sides in Detroit, apparently, for Mercury, two uptempos “Crying my eyes out” (# 6328) and “Won’t you give me a little loving” (# 6329), coupled with the great medium-paced “Midnight boogie blues” (great steel solo!) and “After all these tears”. These 4 sides have not been reissued, except “Midnight boogie blues” on some English compilation.
Rye maintained ties to Nashville, including relationships at WSM with announcer George D. Hay and many performers. Singer Pete Pyle, a 1940s recording artist (Bluebird label) and one-time member of the Bill Monroe and Pee Wee King bands, was a fast friend, eventually moving next door to Rye’s house in Taylor, Michigan. They appeared together in local nightclubs, such as the West Fort Tavern on West Fort Street in Southwest Detroit. In 1953, Rye and Pyle cut sessions for Fortune Records. Rye’s “Wild cat Boogie” and Pyle’s “Are You Making A Fool of Me?” were combined on a single record (Fortune 172). Al Allen (el. g) and Chuck Hatfield (steel) were present on Pete Pyle’s session.
In 1955 Rye and Pyle moved their families back to Tennessee. As Little Willie Rye, Rye worked on Nashville radio as a solo comedian, and with the band of Big Jeff Bess. He wrote songs, operated a song publishing company (Geraldine), produced and made his own recordings, and issued music on his own record label (Forest – 3 known records by other artists in a 5600 serie) , besides playing music in studios and on stages. He also booked acts for WSM radio and Nashville area venues. In 1967 Rye left behind his activities in country music to become a Christian preacher. He passed away April 24, 1988.
Thanks to Ronald Keppner of Frankfurt am/Main, Germany, for the loan of his rare Forrest Rye ’78s on Hot Wax, Universal and Mercury. Without him, this article would have proved impossible to write. Thanks also to Allan Turner, out of England, for getting me the mp3/scans of the rare Pace 45.