Early March 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy folks ! This fortnight is the penultimate of Winter and includes real goodies and rarities.

Arvis McRae – The Texas Keys

First artist in question hailed from the East of Texas, and recorded for the Texarcana label Ranger. ARVIS Mc RAE released at an unknown date (altough stylistic evidence and the absence of drums do lean towards mi-’50s) one brillant « Me And My Love » (Ranger 823). A fine bopper, solid vocal, a demented fiddle and a short but good rockabilly guitar, all these combine for a fabulous tune. By contrast, McRae’s version of Hank Williams’ « Long Gone Lonesome Blues » (Ranger 2074) sounds average, only one clip (1’54) being preserved.

Bobby Lord

Bobby Lord took the song note-for-note, and copied even growls and hollers from Jackson (who fooled Blues afficinados thinking he was a Black artist). Jackson’s original was a fast number, sounded very rural, gravely voice and acoustc guitars. So Lord recognized his debt : if copying is the best tribute one can pay, so Lord offered the best one coud ask for : « No More – No More – No More!» (Columbia 21339 issued December 1954).

BOBBY LORD was a newcomer when he was signed by Columbia late 1954. He came from the Tampa, Flo . area, and brought a song he had learnt from another Floridian, Andy Boyett ; Originally the song was titled « Colored Boy Blues », then changed to « Go Way From My Door » when recorded by Boyett on Mercury 8127 in 1949 as Monroe ‘Moe’ Jackson.

Lawson Rudd

Out of Kingstone, Indiana comes the next artist, LAWSON RUDD. His only delivery on disc was « Shake This Town » . Lazy vocal, unobstrusive chorus. A good mid-paced bopper on Harvest 709 from 1960, valued $ 100-150. His second issue, « Old Love Letters » has only a soundfile. A slow opus, weeping vocal and great fiddle. Label scan untraced.

Paul Howard & his Arkansas Cotton Pickers

« Texas Boogie » by PAUL HOWARD & his Arkansas Cotton Pickers is indeed a great piano pounding tune with a Western feel to it, and a long fiddle solo, to be found on King 779 (April 1949). Vocal part was done by Red Perkins (see in this site his story).
This track has apparently nothing to do with the song of Gene O’Quin (Capitol 1708, from 1951): different composers.

Clay Allen & the Cimarron Boys

CLAY ALLEN & the Cimarron Boys cut on Decca first (# 46324 in 1951): an uptempo shuffle, a discreet fiddle and a bit steel backing Allen well to the fore in « Evalina ». Eight years later as part of the duet « The Country Dudes », he appeared on the Azalea (# 112)
label out of Houston for « Have A Ball » . A solid country rocker, with staccato guitar and implacable loud drums.

Sally Lee

SALLY LEE next does deliver on Royaty 304 a fine bopper, the rollicking « Table Hoppin’ Blues » : very solid piano, an assured vocal – a reat discovery for you !

We come to an end with « (Looks Like) Our Hearts Are Out Of Tune » on R 515 from 1961 by LARRY GOOD ; A pretty melody for a good number. A welcome steel all throughout the song.

Larry Good

Sources: Gripsweat for Arvis McRae’s clip; Ultra Rare Rockabillies for Lawson Rudd; King Project for Paul Howard; YouTube for Clay Allen; Bopping’ Hillbilly 10 fr Sally Lee; my own archives for Larry Good among others.

Late February 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy folks, this is the fourth portion of Country boogie or rockers for this 2020 year, and will contain no less than ten songs. I hope you will find something of interest here.

Lawson Rudd

A famous blogger and writer, Some Local Loser, posted in YouTube both sides of Starday 711. Originally released April 1958, this was the record debut for LAWON RUDD (born Salyersville, Ky in 1929 – deceased December 2011) backed by the Tippecanoe Valley Boys for two great sides. A-side was named « Country Town Girl », a superior uptempo mid-paced, great hillbilly vocal and rhythm guitar, fine steel all through the song (a short solo). B-side, « Blues On The Run » has a rhumba-beat (maraccas) and reminds one of Louisiana Lannis in « Much To Much » issued the year before (Starday 268){see Louisiana Lannis’ story elsewhere in this blog}.

But LAWSON RUDD’s best known side is to be found two years later (1960) on Kingsford Heights, Indiana based Harvest label (# 709) : « Shake This Town » has a lazy vocal, unobstrusive chorus and good backing for a late period Rockabilly : fine guitar and a trembling steel solo. The guitar player sounds as in Bill Bowen’s « Don’t Shoot Me Baby » (Meteor 5033) cut in April 1956, four years before ! Incidentally the flipside « No One Will Ever Know » couldn’t be traced, a pity..This disc is valued $ 100 to 150.

Paul Howard & Arkansas Cotton Pickers

The veteran PAUL HOWARD and his Arkansas Cotton Pickers do come next with « Texas Boogie » released in April 1949 on the King label 779. Actually a showcase, instrumental for the most part (steel, fiddle, guitar and of course a great piano) only adorrned by the vocal of RED PERKINS {see elsewhere in this blog his story}.

Red Perkins

Carolina Cotton

Then CAROLINA COTTON for a lazy vocal tune from May 1950 on M-G-M 10798B, « Lovin’ Ducky Daddy » has a ‘sugar’ voice, even some yodel and a good piano, but sparse backing (bass and drums).

Clay Allen & His Cimarron Playboys

More in 1950, on another major label (Decca 46324) the recording debut of CLAY ALLEN and his Cimarron Boys with « Evalina ». A good, although forgettable, uptempo ballad, the steel and the piano getting the better part behind the vocal.

The Country Dudes

Billboard, Sept. 28, 1959

Chuck Harding & His Colorado Cowhands

CHUCK HARDING was born in 1914 (Marion Cty, Ky.), the son of a minister who taught him the fiddle. With his Colorado Cowhands he released in March 1948 a fabulous « Talking The Blues » : really great bass, awesome vocal, mandolin, steel solo, great fiddle too. It was first released on Texas Blue Bonnet 135A, before being switched to a greater exposure on California’s Modern 581 in May of the same year. Personnel is wholly given on the back of Boppin’ Hillbilly # 19, issued a mere twenty years ago.

Harding was to have in March 1954 on the Des Moines, Ill. (a Northern suburb to Chicago) Replica label # 101 the fine double-sided « Stop Crying On My Shoulder » and « I’m Living In A Lonely World » : accordion well present to the fore (it has its solo), sparse backing and no fiddle but steel solo.

As a matter of comparison I add the original version of « Talking The Blues » (written by Harding and Pyle) by PETE PYLE on Bullet 602 released June 1946. Good guitar, fiddle solo, and a trembling steel over an extrovert vocal – a good disc, but not to the standard of Chuck Harding’s version.

Billboard May 27, 1954

And that’s it for this fortnight ! Pheewww, as usual, a lot of work (research and making-up) and a lot of fun too (listening to dozens songs before choosing the selection I prefer).

Sources: YouTube (Some Local Loser); 45cat and 78rpm worlds; Ohio River; HBR serie; my own archives

Late October 2016 bopping Fortnight’s favorites (1945-1964)

Howdy folks ! En route for a new batch of bopping billies, mostly from the late ’40s-early ’50s, with the occasional foray into the early ’60s.

We begin this fortnight with an artist I’d already post a song in March 2011 – that is more than 5 1/2 years. CURLEY curley-cole-picCOLE was a D.J. in Paducah, KY and a multi-instrumentist. Here he delivers on the Gilt-Edge label (a sublabel to Four Star, as everyone knows) the fine bopper « I’m going to roll » (# 5028). It’s a proto-rockabilly in essence, as a train song, from 1952. Cole also had another on Gilt-Edge 5016, « I’m leaving now/For now I’m free » (unheard).

I’m going to rollgilt-edge-cole-roll

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The second artist of this serie also appeared in January 2016, but with different tracks. DON WHITNEY was a D.J. for don whitney picRadio KLCN out of Blytheville, AR. in 1951 when he cut for Four Star « I’m gonna take my time, loving you » (# 1548), again a nice bopper. Later on, he had the romper « G I boogie » (# 1581) in late 1951. Minimal instrumentation (lead guitar, rhythm, bass [it even got a solo], a barely audible fidde) but a lot of excitement. At the beginning of this year I’d posted both his «Red hot boogie » and « Move on blues ». 

I’m gonna take my time, lovin’ you

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G I boogie

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Billboard April 14,1951

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Billboard May 10, 1952

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From Vidalia, GA. Came in 1960 the group Twiggs Co. Playboys for a (great for the era) Hillbilly bopper, « Too many ». Very nice interplay between fiddle and steel (solos) over an assured vocal (Gala # 109). This label is now more known for its rockers (Billy « Echo » Adkinson, The Sabres, Otis White) than for Country records.

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“Too many”

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Hank Penny

It is useless to present HANK PENNY. To quote the late Breathless Dan Coffey in a very old issue of his magazine « Boppin’ news », and a feature on Jerry Lee Lewis : « If you don’t know what happened to him, you shouldn’t read this mag ! ». From the heyday of his discographical career (which spanned from the late ’30s until 1969), actually of a constant highest level on a par with his popularity, however I was forced to choose two songs he cut for King Records between 1945 and 47, but released on the same 78rpm, King 842, late 1949 or early 50. « Now ain’t you glad dear », cut in Pasadena, CA. in Oct. 1945 at the same session as « Steel guitar stomp » and « Two-noel-boggs-hill-musictimin’ mama », is a fast brillant Western bopper backed in particular by Merle Travis (lead guitar) and Noël Boggs (steel). The other side, recorded in Nashville two years later, and penned by Danny Dedmon (Imperial artist and member of Bill Nettles‘ Dixie Blue Boys) isn’t not at all a slow blues : « Got the Louisiana blues » is equally fast as the B-side, and showcases James Grishaw on guitar, Louie Innis on bass and Bob Foster on steel. A great record.

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billboard Feb. 25, 1950

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Now ain’t you glad dear

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Got the Louisiana blues

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From Atlanta in 1947 comes on piano LEON ABERNATHY & his Homeland Harmony Quartet for « Gospel boogie », a fine call and response romper on the White Church 1084 label.

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Gospel boogie

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Next artist, whom I don’t know much on, is called CLAY ALLEN, from Dallas, Texas. He had two Hillbilly sessions between April and July 1951 for the Decca label (« I can’t keep smiling »,# 46324, is maybe scheduled for a future clay-allen-hill-musicFortnight). He was part of the Country Dudes on the Azalea label in 1959 with the very good rocker « Have a ball »). Later on, he cut several discs between 1961 and 1964 for the Dewey longhorn-allen-one-Groom‘s Longhorn label, « Broken heart » (# 516) for example. I’ve chosen « One too many » (# 547) as his great deep voice backed by a bass chords playing guitar comes for a great effect. Maybe later I’ll post the flipside « I’m changing the numbers on my telephone », but lacking space this time.

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Country Dudes guitar player (Clay Allen?)

One too many

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To round up this serie, here are two tracks by the Atlanta guitar virtuoso JERRY REED, early in career which he began on Capitol Records. From October 1955, there’s the traditional « If the Lord’s willing and the creeks don’t rise » (# 3294), done in a fast Hillbilly bop manner making its way onto Rockabilly. Both steel and fiddle have a good, although jerry-reed-pic-hill-musicshort solo, while Reed is in nice voice. He comes once more, this time recorded in January 1956 : « Mister Whiz » is frankly Rockabilly (# 3429) but the Hillbilly bop feeling is retained : a nice fiddle flows all along, while the guitar player may be (to my ears at least) Grady Martin. Capitol files and Praguefrank are silent on the personnel of Jerry Reed sessions, a pity.

If the Lord’s willing and the creeks don’t rise

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Mister Whiz

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Sources: mostly 78rpm-world or my archives; John E. Burton YouTube chain (Twiggs Co. Playboys); various researches on the Net. Countrydiscographies.com (Praguefrank) for Hank Penny and Jerry Reed data.