Howdy folks ! Hi ! To returning visitors. This a particularly important fortnight feature, because it includes no less than 11 selections !
We begin with an already reviewed artist (December 2010) in the article devoted to the K.C. label Westport. Here is the important and prolific MILT DICKEY. Born 1920, he was D.J. on KCMO during the early ’50s and cut nice boppers for first K.C. located Sho-Me label (# 528), like « Neon love ». The record must have been a regional success, as it was reissued exactly as same on Coral 64146 in 1953. I include the B-side of his Westport 129 disc (« Television love »), the fine weeper « Bleeding heart » with piano and fiddle backing and a good steel as expected. Dickey also released « Checkbook baby » on Coral 64169.
Still in Kansas, but 1963 for the next artist. BOB MARRIOTT & the Continentals is an hybrid of Country-rock, Soul and Rock’n’roll with « I’ll walk a mile » (Jayco 702). I know such an item may come upon Bopping’s visitors’ ears, but I like the drive of the tune, the harsh voice of the singer Chuck Vallent and a good guitar. You can of course disagree and leave a negative comment !
From Nashville in a more settled Country mould here’s PAUL DAVIS. During the ’50s he had two releases on M-G-M, the very fine « I don’t want a backseat driver » (# 12472, to be found on the Cactus « M-G-M Hillbilly, vol. 2 » compilation) and now « Big money » (# 12357, recorded June 18, 1956). « Big money » but a « single man »…Good shuffler according to Nashville standards : steel guitar throughout and good guitar over a relax vocal.
Five years later Davis would record the prototype of any truck repertoire with the original of « Six days on the road » released on the small Bulletin label # 1001 (reviewed June 18 1961, well nearly two years before the Dave Dudley hit). Fabulous wailing steel guitar, a lot of echo both on vocal and backing. By far according to my tastes the best version !
« Carroll county blues » was recorded on March 11 1929 by NARMOUR & SMITH, a duet emanating from Mississipi. The lead figure is taken on fiddle by Will Narmour, who befriended bluesman Mississipi John Hurt, and sustained by Shell (Sheriff) Smith on guitar. The tune has something of hypnotic, and was said to have come from the whistling of some black farmer. It’s been the duet’s greatest hit, and was revived on the Clarion reissue as Jones & Billings. Pretty old and crude Hillbilly !
Out of Trumansburg, N.Y. Seemingly in ’57 comes a pretty tame version of the Drifters’ « Money honey » by JANECE MORGANwith the Melody Men on the Marlee (# 101) label. An agreeable guitar and a too discrete steel over the singer, a poor man’s (woman’s!) Wanda Jackson. She had also a « First from» on Marlee 103, described as « teen rockabilly » on a ebay sale.
The name DEE STONE can be a bit familiar to Bluegrass afficionados, as he had at last 3 issues in 1952-53 on the Blue Ridge (from Virginia) and Mutual (from Illinois) labels, all backed by His Virginia Mountain Boys or his Melody Hill-billys. This time we find him on Blue Ridge 304 for « Countin’ the days », a very good Bluegrass uptempo tune (banjo and fiddle) over a duet vocal. In fact, this could as well be described, minus the banjo, as Hillbilly. Later on (in 1956, according to RCA « G » prefix), the man appears on Eastern (location unknown) for two great boppers, steel to the fore, and a piano : « Sun of love » and « Drifting down this lonely road ». An artist who we wish to hear more from. Final disc in 1960: « Ocean of dreams/After the dance » also on Eastern 12460.
Finally, a R&B rocker, cut in 1954 at a Clarksdale, MS radio station. Ike Turner was present at the session but didn’t play on this harsh-voiced « I’m tired of beggin’ », inspired by Junior Parker‘s « Feelin’ good » 1953 hit [Sun 187] by Eugene « THE SLY FOX ». Here he is pictured 20 years later, as Clarksdale high school principal. Of course the Spark label (# 108) was run by Leiber & Stoller out of Los Angeles, and had in its stall the Robins, Big Boy Groves and Ray Agee. Fox would cut « My four women/Alley music »(# 112) just at the time Atlantic bought this important small label late 1955.
An important Texas artist of the ’30s and ’40s, (W.A.) SLUMBER NICHOL. He first cut records and had shows with the Sons of the Pioneers, then went after WWII to S&G label for the romping « Cotton pickin’ boogie » (# 3003)(vocal Andy Hallcom). He also had the first postwar version of « Cocaine blues », credited to T.J. Arnall. I never knew if this was actually Nichols disguising himself under a nom de plume. The song was reissued on Imperial, then covered by a lot of artists i.e. Roy Hogsed on Coast, later on Capitol, had the best-selling version ; Billy Hughes had his own version on King, among others. Later on Nichols had « Booger red blues » (unheard – sounds promising) on Imperial 8047, and now his track grows cold.
From Tennessee to Louisiana in Ville Platte : ALDUS ROGER & his Lafayette Playboys. He has « Cajun special » on Swallow 110, from 1959-60. Even for me, French-speaking being, it’s hard to understand all the lyrics !
From Texas on the Towne House (Sulphur Springs) label (# 11): EUEL HALL & the Rhythm Rockers for two nice bluesy country-rock sides, « Stand in line » and « Blue feeling » . Small but very efficient backing, a prominent lead guitar.
Howdy, folks! We begin way up North, in Wisconsin, with the very first record by a singer who had to wait 11 years more before fame with “Six Days On The Road“! Yes, DAVE DUDLEY cut numerous discs before his giant hit of 1963. Did you know the original version was recorded by a certain PAUL DAVIS on the Nashville Bulletin label in 1961? If you want to hear it, just type his name on the research button. Well, back to Dave Dudley. Here is his “Nashville Blues“, firmly founded on Hillbilly Bop.
courtesy Al Turner
On the West Coast, 1956. DERAL CLOUR (& Charley Drake) recorded the fine “Sundown (Boogie)” for the scarce HU-SE-CO label. A superior medium boogie guitar backed, and a very atmospheric echoey duet vocal, “crazy ’bout the boogie when the sun goes down….”
In the South (Texas?). Imperial records for BILLY McGHEE and “I’m Your Henpecked Man“. This was 1953. McGhee was to have 5 more discs on the label; I don’t know what happened to him afterwards.
BOB POTTER & the Wear Family were apparently from California and cut the odd custom sides for Rural Rhythm. Here it is their good uptempo “Leavin’ And Laughin’” from 1956.
Just another duet, among millions: the GAY BROTHERS. Harold & Carl cut in 1953 the great “You Locked Up My Heart” in Houston for Dan Mechura’s Allstar label: a fast bopper and a stunning fiddle.
ZEKE CLEMENTS was an early Grand Ole Opry star who had many records late ’40s and early ’50s. Here I’ve chosen the good uptempo “I’m Goin’ Steppin’ With You” issued on his own Janet EP label.
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!