early April 2013 fortnight’s favourites

Howdy, folks! Here we go first with a romper, the fast BILLY SCOTTYou’re Braggin, Boy” on a Tee-Vee, OP 4 Star label (#225). Great steel and piano, and call-and-response format. Then in Nashville for the Marty Robbins’ owned Robbins label (# 1005) by the typical hillbilly duet of TOMMY & JOHNNY. They do “I’ll Go On” (#1004), tinkling piano, sawing fiddle and steel -all have their solos, but nothing exceptional!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nashville on the Bullet label. I couldn’t find any picture of the label (# 706) of “Walking Up Stairs“, by Texan PAUL BLUNT, which, according to Kevin Coffey, could well be the the forerunner of the young Eddie Cochran for “Twenty Flight Rock” six years later.  Steel and piano (Blunt was at ease with both) for this fine bopper. Blunt was a renowned session player (Lefty Frizzell, Bill Boyd) since the ’40s and had records on Columbia and Imperial too. Thanks go to Michel Ruppli! Thanks to DrunkenHobo, a faithful visitor, here is the label!

Paul Blunt

 

Ohio based AL WINKLER on his own Winkler label (# 45-88) for this “Show Boat Boogie“, along with the Warren County Band. It’s a belter (call-and-response), two guitars, it rolls.

From California and a Tom Sims’ cassette (I found a label scan), for a Bluegrass wildie: The GOLDEN STATE BOYS on the Shamrock label (# 717) . Powerful banjo and mandolin. Chorus, then urgent vocal on “Always Dreaming“. The Golden State consisted of Hal Poindexter (guitar/writer), Vern & Rex Gordin, plus virtuoso young Chris Hillman on mandolin. Disc from 1962. 

Finally the one and only BUFFALO  JOHNSON. The name can seem not that familiar. He had a long string of releases on Mercury, Gateway (“T’ain’t Big Enough“, # 520, with Jimmie Ballard on vocal) among others in the late 40s/early 50S. Here he offers a good guitar picking bopper. I still do research on him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A visitor, Mr. Jason Odd, gave me the following details (September 30th) on the GOLDEN STATE BOYS:””Always Dreaming” — Herb Rice is playing mandolin and singing high harmony. Hal Poindexter is singing lead.
Although not issued until as late as August of 1962 (this date may be wrong) the Golden State Boys debut 45 single ‘Always dreaming’ b/w ‘Wicked woman’ (Shamrock 717) was recorded in early 1962.

The Golden State Boys at the time were Don Parmley (banjo), Herb Rice (mandolin, vocals), Leon Poindexter (vocals, dobro, guitar), Harry Kniss (bass, vocals), and Hal Poindexter (vocals, guitar).

Hal actually quit the band for part of 1962, but rejoined a radically different line-up later that same year. Hal and Don Parmley were the real constants in the group after that, although by late 1963 they were down to a quartet with Don, Hal and the Gosdin Brothers Rex and Vern. With a disagreement over management [Bob Flowers] Parmley and the Gosdins went out on their own as the Golden State Boys with Chris Hillman taking over on mandolin, while Vern Gosdin switched from mandolin to guitar. That group briefly worked as the Golden State Boys until Hal Poindexter and Bob Flowers took control of the name and rebuilt the group.

The Gosdin-Hillman-Parmley combo became known as the Blue Diamond Boys and as that group cut the album that was later credited to the Hillmen when released in 1969.” Thanks Jason!

Kentucky records (1952-1955): Cincinnati Hillbilly

BURKHARDT, CARL Carl Burkhardt was the owner of Rite Records in Cincinnati, the parent company for Kentucky, Gateway, Big 4, Big 6, Arc, Deresco, Worthmore, and others.  The operation started as a radio repair shop and record store at 3930 Spring Grove Avenue in the Knowlton’s Corner area of Cincinnati in 1940.  They began pressing records there but eventually moved to the Evendale area, where their building was across Interstate 75 from the GE Plant and could be seen from the highway.  In this location they added a studio, pressing plant, and printing presses, so they could do everything in house.  In 1955 a custom pressing division was opened to manufacture records for anyone who wanted to record and had the money to pay for it.  This continued until 1985, and in that span of time, Rite did custom pressing on approximately 21,000 different singles, most of which were country, bluegrass, or gospel.  During its existence, Rite produced 78 rpms, 45 rpms, and some LPs. (more…)

late July 2010 fortnight

Hello folks! This is REALLY a hot summer over there in France, lot of heavy clouds but…no rain at all. Perfect time anyway to keep oneself well dry inside and stomp to that good ole’ Hillbilly beat. We begin with a very elusive artist from the Cumberland Valley/Cincinnati area. I’ve told before in this site about him, and did promise I should post everything I gathered for one year and a half. This could be later this year, so watch out for the fullest possible story on Mr. JIMMIE BALLARD. The first cut in this fortnite is Ballard’s own version of “Birthday Cake Boogie” (Kentucky 508)cake508ballard

of course, the same song was also recorded by, among others, BILLY HUGHES and SKEETS McDONALD, and stands out as a classic ‘risqué‘ or ‘double-entendre‘ song. Ballard was the front man then of BUFFALO JOHNSON‘s Herd (who was active in the D.C. area, and a full story on him is on the line.  And he keeps the vocal duties with the also ‘risqué‘ (Kentucky 520 ) “T’ain’t Big Enough“. Both songs are from 1953/1954, fine uptempo Boppers, altho’ just above average, except for lyrics.

taint big enoughBilly Briggs - norh pole boogie

Back to a Wildcat out of Texas, a very long career as steel guitar player as soon as 1936, then singer and front man of his band, the XYT Boys, BILLY BRIGGS. I will have some day a complete story on him. He was (maybe he’s still alive, I dunno) to have a sound on his own, and produced very strange ditties from his steel in 1951 for his greatest success (much covered) “Chew Tobacco Rag N° 2” . Here I’ve chosen the amusing “North Pole Boogie” (Imperial 8131, late Forties), complete with icy wind effects (on steel), and Briggs’ own barytone voice imitating a sort of ‘polar bear’ .

Back to Cincinnati and BILL BROWNING. I’ve written about him elsewhere in the site with the story of the LUCKY label. Today I listen to his composition “Dark Hollow“, which was a hit in 1958 when picked up by JIMMIE SKINNER, before the very nice version on BLUE RIDGE by LUKE GORDON (watch out for his story later in 2010), then even by The Grateful Dead in 1973, among others. I particularly like the recent version made by FRED TRAVERS (90’s) which I’ve included in the podcasts; almost falsetto urgent vocal and great dobro.Bill Browning Island 7 - dark hollow

More from Cincinnati. BOBBY ROBERTS (I think there were at least 2, or 3 personas by the same name during he 50’s). Here he’s the great Hillbilly singer, who cut late 1955 4 sides for KING records. I cannot rememeber if I posted earlier his great “I’m Gonna Comb You Out Of My Hair” (what a title!). This time, I offer the second KING (4868, unverified – Ruppli’s book still stored) “I’m Pulling Stakes And Leaving You”, same lyrics format. Great, great Hillbilly Bop. Later in 1956, Roberts (or one of his aliases) had “Big Sandy” or “Hop, Skip and Jump“, pure Rockabillies. I still wonder if it’s the same man; if so, he would have adapted very well and quickly (within some months) from pure Hillbilly vocal to almost Rock’n’Roll. By the way, he would not have been the first to do so: SKEETS McDONALD, GEORGE JONES, MARTY ROBBINS did very well the transition early in 1956.

Another elusive artist: guitar player/singer PETE PIKE. Recently deceased (2006) just after a CD ‘back to roots’ (Bluegrass) issued in 2005, he was active both in Virginia and D.C. areas from 1947 onwards, and associated several years with another interesting man, BUZZ BUSBY (Busbice). Pike had Hillbilly Bop records on FOUR STAR and CORAL in 1954-1955, among them I’ve chosen the superior ballad  “I’m Walking Alone“. Another future entry in www.bopping.org, research is well advanced.

Finally, on the Rocking Blues side, you’re in for a treat with L.A. ‘black Jerry Lee Lewis’ (as the Englishmen call him when he visits their shores), WILLIE EGAN and “What A Shame” from 1957 (Vita label). Pounding piano, wild vocal, strong saxes, heavy drums, the whole affair rocks like mad, althoug relaxed. Enjoy, folks. Comments welcome. ‘Till then, bye-bye.

late March 2010 fortnight

Howdy folks! No post since a long time. I have been out of town, sick and busy elsewhere. Now I’m back with another batch of Hillbilly bop and Rock’n’Roll goodies… First we have JACK RIVERS’ “Haunted House Boogie” (was on Columbia, 1954), complete with sound effects on steel-guitar! Then onto a little classic on King (1953) “The Creek’s Gone Muddy (and the Fish Won’t Bite)” by JIMMY BALLARD. I will tell you someday the story of Jimmy Ballard, very strange one: he had risqué songs (some call it pornobilly) same time as sacred, on small Kentucky labels. Earlier (40s) with CLIFF CARLISLE’s “Shanghaï Rooster Yodel # 2” – fine dobro. Same period (or even the 30s?) with UNCLE HENRY and the haunting harmonica instro “Lost John”. Then back to 1953, another interesting artist from Virginia or D.C., JOE FRANKLIN. Here is the reverse of his fabulous “Hillblly Boy” on M-G-M: the mid-tempo “Hitch-Hiking Blues” . Nice Hillbilly piano (Franklin himself?). We come to an end with the frantic “Don’t Happen No More” (78 rpm) from 1956 (Atlantic – Mickey Baker on guitar) by YOUNG JESSIE. Enjoy these gems!