Early February 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy, folks ! This is the third « fortnight » for 2019 : early February selection of 9 Songs cut between 1953 and ’63, a good part coming from Ohio river neighboring states.

Walt Cochran & His Holly River Boys

Here we go first with WALT COCHRAN & His Holly River Boys (lead guitar Billy Strawser) ; they released in 1963 a single on the Cincinnati, OH Olimpic label (# 249), comprising first a jumping uptempo tune « What Am I Gonna Do » and a new version of the evergreen (HOW many singers did cut this song since its original issue in 1930 by the Mississipi Sheiks? « The lyrics of the original song convey a stoic optimism in the face of emotional setbacks, and the song has been described as a “simple, elegant distillation of the Blues”[Wikipedia]) « I’m Sittin’ On Top Of The World ». Both sides are very nice boppers for the era.

Jim Wilson on Dot Records

On the Gallatin, TN Dot label, we turn now to a Western swing flavored bopper « Big Fat Mama », a good fast bopper full of enthusiasm sung by JIM WILSON (# 1167) (released in May 1953). The flipside « Unwanted Love » show a neat tendency to crooning on a slow ballad (steel and fiddle), certainly forgettable. The singer went really pop on later Mercury sides (1956), but the Dot A side has fantastic fiddle and steel solo, and the singer is OK.

Big Bill Johnson

In Manchester, Kentucky BIG BILL JOHNSON does offer a fast bopper (steel solo and a good guitar) « That’s The Way I Like You Best » on the Acme label # 1275 in 1957. Johnson also had on the Nashville label later (1963) « Alimony » (# 5150) and the minor Rockabilly classic « Umm Boy, You’re My Baby » (# 5133), also « Hot Rod Car » on Blue Angel 2004 (1964), and REM until the early ’70s.

Jimmy Settle & the Blue Grass Rangers

On the same Acme label (# 1295) from 1958, we hear to JIMMY SETTLE & the Blue Grass Rangers for « I Don’t Need Your Kind Of Love », a fast ditty with strong baritone voice, guitar and fiddle solos. Settle also had « Admitting Defeat » on Pier-Wats #301 (1957), a nice uptempo cut in Louisville, Kentucky.

May Hawks

MAY HAWKS from Detroit, Michigan, had a full career in the ’50s, and surely deserves an essay. Here she offers « Meet Me Down In Nashville » (Fortune # 179) in 1954 : a fast tune, an acid/sweet voice and a good guitar.

Kenny Lee

Finally probably cut in Nashville, KENNY LEE offers a good uptempo bopper (extrovert vocal, steel and fiddle solos, good string-bass) on RCA-Victor 47-5629 with « That’s My baby’s Kisses ». He had further boppers with « Flame Of Fire » (RCA 5733) and « Holding Hands » (RCA 5816) recorded between September 1953 and January 1955.

Sources : 45cat, HMC compilation (thanks UncleGil’s Rockin’ Archives), Karlheinz Focke, my own archives. Michel Ruppli for Kenny Lee RCA files.