Howdy ! This is the early February 2018 fortnight’s favorites selection.Let’s begin with a Western swing Houston scene veteran : DICKIE McBRIDE, here late in his career ( October 1951). Billed with his wife Laura Lee (who is absent here), he delivers a powerful and moving « I love you boogie » on M-G-M 11056. Fine steel and piano, and a lot of yells and whistles from apparently McBride himself.
Another veteran, out of the Gospel and Bluegrass field : MAC ODELL (rn Odell McLeod), who was born in 1916 in Roanake, Alabama. His career had a large stretch between New Orleans and Michigan, before he settled down in Nashville, as « Ole Country Boy » in the late ’40s. He recorded first at Mercury, then landed at King , but had poor sales as an artist. More as a songwriter for others : « The battle of Armageddon » for Hank Williams, or « The glorybound train » for Roy Acuff. At King, he was firmly Bluegrass, backed by Don Reno and Red Smiley. Here is his fast half-talked «Penicillin » from September 1953 on King 1251. O’Dell has deceased in 2003.
Red Barn was a regional Kansas City concern, important for example for the first Jimmie Skinner sides of the late ’40s. The name ELMO LINN may be an obscure one ; he had however two interesting issues on this label. « Lorita » (Red Barn 1188A) is a medium paced shuffler with steel. Vocal reminds a bit Ernest Tubb. The flipside « Line on the highway » is a fast guitar backed tune. « Heart full of love » (Red Barn 1195) comes next, with again that shuffling rhythm. Later on Linn went to Westport (pop country).
From Lorain, Ohio, VERN TERRY on the Athena label (a Starday custom) from 1959. « Miss you » is a good slowie, the instrumentation is minimal, echo is on the vocal, and steel is to the fore. (# 804). The flipside « Someone new » is an uptempo shuffler. Good steel and fiddle.
From Nashville, RAY BATTS in 1954 for two sides on the Excello label # 2028. The marvelous bopper « Stealin’ sugar » : complete with steel and piano. It has moreover nothing to do with the Merle Lindsay tune (MGM 10795) of the same name. The flipside, « Maybe it’s you, sweetheart » is a shuffler. Batts had also on Bullet 754 the great double-sided « Bear cat daddy/Wild man boogie », reviewed in « Bullet – always a smash it », published here in May 2012.
En route for a new batch of goodies. I hope you will have as much pleasure to listen to them (or download) as I had chosing them.
Here we go with the same song, a Bluegrass bopper, by its originators first, DON RENO & RED SMILEY in 1957 (banjo and guitar, I’d assume) for King # 5002 : « Country boy rock and roll » combines the energy of both musics for a stupendous number. Two years later, the same tune was revived by a small Maryland duet, FRANKIE SHORT and DEE GUNTER on the Wango label # 200. A very fine version, even faster than the original.
Don Reno, Red Smiley “Country boy rock and roll“download
We go up north now for the pure Hillbilly bop beat of « Niagara moon » (Niagara 53727) by ERIC & JOHNNY & Lincoln County Peach Pickers.
Back to Nashville and the Excello label. Indeed it was famous for its Blues and R&B releases, but it had also the odd hillbilly number, for example here RAY BATTS (# 2028) for the great relaxed « Stealin’ sugar ». Batts was also on Bullet and Nashboro.
Howdy folks! Here is my new selection. First GEORGE KENT from Texas. He must have cut “Don’t Go Back Again” circa 1961-62: heavy bass, weeping steel and fiddle solo, on the Maverick label (# 1001). The whole has been influenced by Wynn Stewart and reminds me of the Bakersfield sound. Now from Kansas City and a real hillbilly boogie on the Red Barn label, “Bad Daddy Blues” by BOBBY COOK & BUDDY NELSON with the Texas Saddle Pals. Chorus on a guitar/fiddle/mandolin backing.
A pleasant hillbilly on the Ohio Esta label from 1956, “Within These Four Walls” by one SYBIL GIANI. 2 guitar solos, but nothing spectacular though. Esta from Hamilton was better known for its Rockabilly sides.
Then from Nashville, a veteran from the Bullet label, RAY BATTS. It’s on the Ernie Young’s R&B Excello label, a rare opportunity to hear bop music on a “black” label” (the other notable in this case being “I’m The Man” by Al Ferrier). Anyway, “Stealin’ Sugar” (# 2028) is a fast number, with nice guitar soloes on a solid piano backing.
On the big Carl Burkardt concern of low-budget labels, here Big 4 Hits, we find PRESTON WARD and “New Green Light“. I don’t know who cut the original version, anyway here is top class backing over a fine vocal.
Finally two Rocking blues wildies by GAR BACON. On Okeh first, he does the rasping Bo-Diddley-beat “Marshall, Marshall”. On the Baton label, “There’s Gonna Be Rockin’ Tonight” strangely sounds like a white singer. You’ve got to hear both to compare.
I will be out of town circa May 15, so next fortnight on June 1rst, ok?
The Bullet Recording and Transcription company was formed in late 1945 by former Grand Ole Opry booking agent Jim Bulleit, in partnership with musician Wally Fowler and businessman C. V. Hitchcock. (more…)
First we have two very sought-after rockabillies from Mississipi by RICK RICKELS (MH Label), “I’m Gone” and “You Gonna Go Away”. Then the truck drivers’ favorite “Six Days on The Road” given a rocking treatment by PAUL DAVIS (Bulletin label), nice strong steel-guitar. Further on, classic lap-steel guitar of Clem Slumley behind the vocal of ROY ACUFF for this 1936 offering, “Freight Train Blues”. Then on to gospel with the Soul Stirrers pre-Sam Cooke – lead is R. H. HARRIS in “Walk Around” (1939). Finally we return to Hillbilly boogie with RAY BATTS and his “Wild Man Boogie” (Nashboro, 1951) – fine trombone which did inspire Sonny Burgess a couple of years later. Enjoy the music!