Starday custom 651-675 (July-October 1957): 7th part

Since Malcolm Chapman did suspend some time in 2011 his study on Starday custom in his excellent blogsite, all we have is a short survey of records I did hear.

COWTOWN RECORDS 651   HARRY PEPPEL and the Shenandoah Valley Rangers  Vocals by Alice Brammer

 

         

Po Box 1694, Fort Worth, TX                            Jul 57  (Billboard Review on 15th August 1957)

 

45-651-A – No Baby No

(M.L. Miller / J.W. Stephenson)   (***)

45-651-B – Take A Letter, Mr. Moon

(M.L. Miller / J.W. Stephenson)   (***)

 

STARDAY RECORDS 652    LITTLE JODY RAINWATER and the Jamboree Gang


 

45-652-A – I Broke My Heart Waltzing           

(C Johnson / V Graves)   (Starrite BMI)

45-652-B – The Man That Wrote Home Sweet Home 

                                (Never Was A Married Man)

(None listed)   (Starrite BMI)

A lively fast hillbilly bopper, nice guitar. Short steel solo.

BMI Clearance on 27th September 1957.

PEACH RECORDS 653             RAMBLIN’ RED BAILEY

PO Box 111, Jefferson, GA.

Aug 57


45-653-A – The Hardest Fall

(Kenneth Bailey)   (Starrite BMI)

45-653-B – You’ve Always Got A Frown

(Kenneth Bailey)   (Starrite BMI)

BMI Clearance on 11th October 1957.

 

BLUE RIDGE RECORDS 654

Aug 57

BLUE RIDGE QUARTET

House Of God

(No info)   (No info)

Footprint Of Jesus

(No info)   (No info)

Tenderly He Watches Over Me

(No info)   (No info)

Where Shall I Be On That Judgement Day

(No info)   (No info)

 

STARDUST RECORDS 655

1206 West Joseph St, Perryville, MO.

Aug 57

CHANDOS McRILL and the Perryville Melody Boys

45-655-A – Money Lovin’ Woman

( C McRill / E LaHomme)   (Starrite BMI)

45-655-B – Little Bit Too Bashful

(C McRill / E LaHomme)   (Starrite BMI)

BMI Clearance on 11th October 1957.

Fantastic hick vocal double-sider. Side A is focused on guitar sounding like a steel; B side has

sewing fiddle all along, even a nice solo. A must!

 

PEACH RECORDS 656

606 Pierre Ave, Shreveport, LA

Aug 57

PETE AND PEACHES HARDIN

45-656-A – Ho’Bo’s Heaven

(Hardin)   (Starrite BMI)

45-656-B – I’ve Wasted My Love On You

(Hardin)   (Starrite BMI)

BMI Clearance on 11th October 1957.

 

STARDAY RECORDS 657

Aug 57

LOU WALKER

45-657-A – Rock and Roll (Tennessee Style) :Falls into the white rock category, with a nice saxophone (solo) and a wild guitar.

(Walker)   (Starrite BMI)

45-657-B – I’ll Always Be In Love With You

(Walker)  (Starrite BMI)

BMI Clearance on 11th October 1957.

 

STARDAY RECORDS 658

Aug 57

ROCKING MARTIN

45-658-A – All Because Of You: Lively side, is Martin really Red Smith? I also hears he was Bob Newman.

(Red Smith)   (Starrite BMI)

45-658-B – Do You Still Love Me

(Red Smith)   (Starrite BMI)

BMI Clearance on 11th October 1957.

 

 

STARDAY RECORDS 659

Aug 57

HOYT SCOGGINS – Curley Bingham and Band

45-659-A – Waiting For An Answer

(James Backley)   (Starrite BMI)

45-659-B – One Heart, One Love

(H Scoggins / O. Milsap)   (Starrite BMI)

BMI Clearance on 25th October 1957.

A-side: a lively banjo led bluegrass number. Two nice fiddle solos.

 

STARDAY RECORDS 660

Aug 57

LEON HOLMES

45-660-A Half A Chance : a lively side. Strong guitar.

(Leon Holmes)   (Starrite BMI)

45-660-B Lost Love

(Leon Holmes)   (Starrite BMI)

BMI Clearance on 25th October 1957.

 

STARDAY RECORDS 661

Sept 57

HARRY HOLUNGOR

661-A – Baby

(No info)   (No info)

661-B – Tell Me

(No info)   (No info)

 

DIXIE RECORDS 662

WBVI, Barberville, KY

Sept 57

DAVID LUNDY / ORANGIE RAY HUBBARD

45-662-A – If I Had A Nickel For Every Time You’re Untrue

(David Lundy)   (Starrite BMI)

45-662-B – Sweet Love: a fabulous version of the Jimmy & Johnny/Johnny Burnette’s “Sweet love On My Mind”. Strong vocal, wild guitar. A must. Hubbard was also on Lee (Cincinnati)

(Ray Hubbard)   (Starrite BMI)

BMI Clearance on 15th November 1957.

Note:  On December 11th, 2014, the Starday specialist Nate Gibson says that “Sweet love” is not at all a Jimmy & Johnny song, but a Hubbard original that was later covered by Rusty York. Thanks Nate. I should have kicked mysef: the song is signed “Ray Hubbard”!

STARDAY RECORDS 663

Sept 57

BILL FLOYD – music by the Swingsters

663-A – Hey Boy: a very fine shuffling hillbilly bop: fiddle and guiar (solo) over a relaxed vocal

(No info)   (No info)

663-B – Heartbreak

(No info)   (No info)

Billboard review on 14th October 1957.

 

 

STARFIRE 664 BILLY MATCH and the Starfires

Orlando, FL September 1957

I Want My Baby: fine white rock with chorus (doo wop influenced). Remember Jerry Arnold’s “Race For Time”. Very solid.

Girl Of Mine

This artist was actually Billy J. Killen

 

SHOTT 665 HERBIE SHOTT

Van Wert, OH September 1957

You’ll Cry Tomorrow / A Tip From A Fool

 

DIAMOND 666 GENE HARPER and his Saddle Pals

MO.

Thank The Lord For The Rain / Jesus Is A Friend To Me

 

VENUS 667 LUKE McDANIEL

Pritchard, AL. September 1957

You’re Still On My Mind (McDaniel): an average slow ballad by the “Whoa Boy” man.

Homeward Mule (McDaniel): fast folkish number

STARDAY 668 LARRY NOLEN and the Bandits

Blue River

King Of The Ducktail Cats: topical lyrics. Great guitar. A must!

also on Sarg (see elsewhere in this site)

 

STARDAY 669 DANNY BROCKMAN and his Twilight Ramblers

Foolish Pride (Bailey-Kaiser)

Feel Sorry For Me (Jimmy Logsdon) : urgent vocal over a very good backing (guitar, steel). Uptempo. A great track

 

STARDAY 670 JOYCE LOVE with Curley Sanders and his Santones

Why Did You Leave Me (Sanders-Shirley-Sprowls)

Peace Of Mind (Love): a fabulous bluesy ballad. Welcome female strong voice. A nice guitar.

STARDUST 671 LEE VOORHIES and his Ozark Country Boys

Kansas City, MO. October 1957

Load Up My Blues (Voorhies): uptempo song. Fantastic hick vocal, nice guitar. A must! Similar to Westport sides (see elsewhere in this site the Westport label story)

Hand In Hand (Voorhies)

This artist also recorded as Lee Finn on Westport Records.

 

CORVETTE 672 JOHNNY SKILES with the Harmony Ranch Hands

Portland, OR.

The Twinkle In Your Eyes (Johnny Skiles): avery fine uptempo rockaballad, atmospheric – lot of steel. Skiles had other fine records on Rural Rhythm, Romac.

Ghost Of My Lonely Past (Johnny Skiles): “ghost” song – steel for good effect.

 

STARDAY 673 BILLIE & GORDON HAMRICK with Red Farrell

Cruel Jealous Heart (Nell Palmer)

Gypsy Waltz (Nell Palmer)

 

STARDAY 674 FRANK EVANS and his Top Notchers

I Got A Patent (On My Kind Of Love)(Jimmy Dunkin)

Lonesome Love (Bonnie Burke)

 

STARDAY 675 : no details

Starday custom 626-650 (April-July 1957), part 6 of this serie

STARDAY RECORDS 626                                BILLIE and GORDON HAMRICK with the Low County Gospel Band April 1957

45-626-A – Gonna See My Lord Someday626A (Starday) billie & gordon hamrick gonna see my lord someday

(Nell Palmer)   (Starrite BMI)

45-626-B – Jesus Is The Name

(Nell Palmer)   (Starrite BMI)

Another slice of Gospel heaven from the talented Billie & Gordon Hamrick.

A side is a torrid Blue Grass / Gospel number with nice harmonies. Very nice banjo solos, accompanied by a fiddle player. B side is slower with a Dobro more to the fore. Perhaps this is my favourite 45 by the artists so far. Almost makes me want to go to church! (except, in England, we’d have no music like this being performed.)

STARDAY RECORDS 627                                BOB and CINDY DEAN627-A (starday) Bob & cindy dean I'm knocking at the door

May 1957

45-627-A – I’m Knocking On The Door (To Your Heart)

(Garland Cline)   (Starrite BMI)

45-627-B – One Life To Live

(Garland Cline)   (Starrite BMI)

I never managed to get the Cattle LP (#87) entitled “The Sweethearts Of The Air Sing Hillbilly Music”, so if there’s any sleeve notes, I’ve obviously missed them. The duo appeared on the fliside of a KAY EP, with the other side being two great mumbling rockers from Link Wray.

A side of this disc is a fast hillbilly number with threads of bluegrass influence (probably because of the banjo solo). Nice harmonies from Bob and Cindy. B side is much slower and again has nice harmonies from the duo.

They’ll appear later in this series (Starday 688) (MC)

Bob and Cindy Dean were a popular Country and Western team who were based in Elkton, VA and made some stunning records throughout their musical career. Bob was born on the 26th October 1919 in Elkton (Cindy Morris was born December 24th 1924).

Bob’s musical career started in 1956/7 after he found a lead guitar picker, Leon Baxter, with whom he formed a band. Their first job was just a plain beer joint in NW Washington, DC, where they picked their music three nights a week. Through their popular live performances, Bob got a recording deal with DC Records. He remembered that in Virginia there was a good fiddle player, so he got in touch with him and talked over their would-be music venture. His name was Hank Dean and he also sang tenor. (Hank was no relation to Bob). Bob hired Hank and along with Leon, the three of them recorded “Maple On The Hill” and “I’m Sheddin’ Tears Over You” on DC 8049. The sessions took place at the Paragon Studios in Washington, DC.

DC Records were interested in releasing two more sides, as 8049 was selling well locally, thanks in part to Connie B Gay’s radio program “Town And Country Time”, and Bob’s personal appearances. Their next recordings were “Back To Old Smoky Mountain” and “I’ll take Her From The Valley” (DC 4101). By this time, Bob was opening up for acts at the Constitution Hall for Connie, being followed by the likes of T. Texas Tyler and the Sons Of The Pioneers.

627-B (Starday) bob & cindy dean One life to live

In 1948, after the death of his father, Bob (and Cindy, who was his wife – the sleeve notes don’t mention how they met) moved to McGaheysville, VA to be with his mother. Bob worked for a while at a chemical plant, but once he was laid off, he decided to get into the music business full time. By now, Cindy was singing along side him. They formed a new band featuring his old school friend Eddie Michael on fiddle and Cindy learned how to play the stand-up bass. Carroll Ray was on electric guitar.

By 1955, Bob and Cindy Dean were winning first prize on a Connie B Gay show with a song entitled “Walk, Walk, Walking Blues”. This track, along with “When You Cross Your Heart” were eventually issued on Ben Aldeman’s KAY label from Washington, DC, with the flip side of the EP being taken up by two manic vocal recordings from Link Wray (“I Sez Baby” / “Johnny Bon Bonny”). According to the sleeve notes, these tracks were recorded in 1955.

How Bob and Cindy found themselves on Starday is a bit of a mystery as it’s not really explained in the sleeve notes. According to the session details listed on the LP, these were recorded in 1958 and their next Starday release (#688) was recorded in December 57. It mentions that a Frank Merica was on banjo at the session and Carroll Ray was still on guitar.

WILLIE NELSON RECORDS 628 WILLIE NELSON628-A 'Willie nelson) willie nelson no place for me628-B (willie nelson) willie nelson lumberjack

Vancouver, WA May 1957

45-628-A – No Place For Me

(Willie Nelson)   (Starrite BMI)

45-628-B – Lumberjack

(Leon Payne)   (Hill and Range BMI)

Willie Nelson was born 30th April 1933 and is by far, one of the most well known artists to cut a disc for the Starday Custom series. After studying music at home, he joined the Bohemian Fiddlers as their singer and guitar player. After graduating from high School in 1950, he joined the Air Force where he was eventually discharged for having back problems. After stints as a musician (he played bass for Ray Price) and as a DJ, he signed a contract with Pamper Music as a songwriter. He wrote some of the best known country classics, such as “Funny How Times Slips Away“, “Hello Walls“, and “Crazy“.

But back to this little gem. Both sides are dominated by an acoustic guitar (presumably by the man himself) and the vocals have a fair slab of echo added to it, giving it a slight haunting feel. There is a steel guitar nestled in the background – well, almost in the next room to be honest. The flip is okay; a nicely sung cover of a Leon Payne song. But it’s the A side that really sticks out.

FAITH RECORDS 629 THE RELATIVE QUARTET

Conover, NC May 1957629-A (faith) the relative quartet A home for my soul

45-629-A – A Home For My Soul

(J Q Deal Jr. / Rheda L Strickland)   (Starrite BMI)

45-629-B – Heavenly City

(Rheda L Strickland)   (Starrite BMI)

Lovely far-back-in-the-hills Gospel from what sounds like a white quartet. I can only hear an accoustic guitar being played, no other instruments and no solos. No personnel details, except perhaps the names listed as song writers.

The FAITH label turns up a fair bit later in the series with various addresses. I’ve wondered if FAITH was the gospel version of the DIXIE label. Can’t be sure.

DALE RECORDS 630                                                    DARNELL MILLER

Bluefield, VA May 1957630-A (Dale) darnell miller waiting game for love630-B (dale) darnellmiller gettin' out of the woods

45-630-A – Waiting Game For Love

(D Miller) (Starrite BMI)

45-630-B – Gettin’ Out Of The Woods

(Cecil Surrat)    (Starrite BMI)

I’m assuming this is the same Darnell Miller who recorded for Starday Records (# 349, « She’s gone/Cardboard Sweetheart », 1958 and “Royal Flush“, # 422, 1960), as they sure sound similar. A side is a slow weeping hillbilly song; probably not one for the memory banks, but Darnell sings with feeling. Flipside is a medium tempo ditty with fine vocals from Darnell, ably backed by some fine fiddle playing.

STARDAY RECORDS 631                                              KEN CLARK and his Merry Mountain Boys

May 1957

631-A(starday) ken clark ho! ho! love 'em Joe631-B (Starday) ken clark quit fool45-631-A – Ho! Ho! Love ‘Em Joe (Clark)   (Starrite BMI)

45-631-B – Quit Fool (Mama’s Lookin’) (Clark)   (Starrite BMI)

Okay, so I know darn all about Clark, except he recorded for Starday main series (« Buckskin Coat/Pretty Love », # 442, 1959), and for the Nashville label (assoc. with Starday) : « Truck Driving Joe » (# 5009).

A side is a nice uptempo number with fiddles, steel guitar, dobro and lead guitar and some lovely Starday sounding echo. Some call it country, some call it Rock-A-Billy. Whatever the musical tag, it’s a lovely record. B side is more country/hillbilly and there’s a little less echo. Another uptempo side and very nice it is too. Cowboy Copas recorded at least one song of Clark’s.

KENTUCKY records 632                                               MAC O’DELL

Garrard, KY                                                        May 1957

45-632-A – It Was Springtime (When I Met You) (Walter Brock) (Starrite, BMI)

45-632-B – When I Was Young (Dewey Brock) (Starrite, BMI)

Untraced. O’Dell recorded prolifically, e.g. on King (« Penicillin »), Intro (« Diesel Smoke ») and Exclusive.

GULF Records 633                                                        TRICE GARNER

Route 4, Tupelo, MS                                            May 1957633-b (gulf) trice garner lover's hill

45-633–A – Tombigbee (Garner) (Starrite, BMI)

45-633-B – Lover’s Hill (Garner) (Starrite, BMI)

Artist already unknown. The A side has yet to be heard. B side is a very fast Bopper, some could say Rock’n’Roll, but it has no drums, only two very effective guitars (no solo). Vocal is very impressive, fine Southern accent, words almost impossible to understand for me, French speaking !

ROBIN Records 634                                                       ZEKE WILSON & the Prairie Playboys

Macon, GA                                                         May 1957

634-A – My Heart Needs A Vacation (F J Beskidniak)(Starrite, BMI)

634-B – I’ve Just Said Goodbye (F J Beskidniak)

Vocal on A side is by Zeke Wilson and Lenn Dries ; on B side, Zeke Wilson solo.

Untraced record.

NIGHTHAWK Records 635 JIMMY STEWART & The Nighthawks

Argo, IL                                                            May 1957

635-A (night hawk) jimmy stewart dream world45-635-A – Dream World (J Stewart) (Starrite, BMI)635B (night Hawk) jimmy stewart nuthin' but a nuthin'

45-635-B – Nuthin’ But A Nuthin’ (J Stewart) (Starrite, BMI)

A side has yet to be heard, while the B side is one of the greatest Rock-a-billies ever comitted to wax. Cool vocal, some growling, a very nice lead guitar and sparse backing of acoustic and bass. Stewart also had another slab of Rock’n’Roll with « Rock On The Moon » in 1959 on the Eko label.

OLD DOMINION RECORDS 636                               SLIM and ORNA BALL

June 1957

45-636-A – Mother’s Prayers (Were Not In Vain) (No info)

45-636-B – When I Get Home (I’m Gonna Be Satisfied) (No info)

STARDAY RECORDS 637                                         MEL PRICE & his Santa Fe Rangers

June 1957

45-637-A – I Miss You So637A (starday) mel price I miss you so637b (starday) mel price midnight whistle blues

(John Suite / Mel Price)   (Starrite BMI)

45-637-B – Midnight Whistle Blues

(Mel Price)   (Starrite BMI)

Mel (or Melvin) Price had only fine records on Blue Hen (“Nothing Seems To Go Right Anymore” and “I Ain’t Got Time“), regular Starday (#186 and 226, respectively “The Pace That Kills” and “Gonna See My Baby“), Dixie (“Until” and “Little Dog Blues“) and Regal (“For You My Love“). His story is intended for a future issue. The record although here is unheard.

DEL-MAR RECORDS 638                               DELMAR WILLIAMS SINGERS

Dayton, OH                                                          June 1957

638-A – Lonely Tomorrow

(D Williams)   (Starrite BMI)

638-B – I’m Not Angry Now

(D Williams)   (Starrite BMI)

RALPH JOHNSON RECORDS 639                                   RALPH JOHNSON & the Hillbilly Show Boys

Box 4, Minden, WV                                                June 1957

45-639-A – Reality639-b (ralph johnson) ralph johnson henpecked daddyralph johnson

(M Pack) (Starrite BMI)

45-639-B – Henpecked Daddy

(M Pack) (Starrite BMI)

Ralph Johnson was born in the Clinch Mountains of south West Virginia.  He began developing his musical career at the age of six, after receiving his first guitar.  At the age of fifteen, his singing and musical talent had developed enough to enable him to put together his own band.  Ralph and his band auditioned for a radio show in Richlands, VA. They landed the job on WRIC radio.  During this time, his band played schools, halls and theatres in the area.  They later auditioned for a spot on a new TV station in Bluefield, WV.  Some time later, they had earned the privilege of performing two shows on WOAY in Twin Oak Hill, WV.  It was here that he recorded his first record, “Henpecked Daddy“.  After appearing on different radio and TV stations throughout the country, he moved his operation to Baltimore. MD.  While in Baltimore, he launched Wedge Records, Dome Records and Fleet Records.  Along with all of his record labels, he opened his own publishing company, Big Wedge Music.  He released all types of music from the Washington and Baltimore areas.  He later moved his operation to Vineland, NJ where he became the co-owner of WDVL Radio.  As a DJ, he played country music five hours a day, every day.  He went on to develop and book country music acts from Nashville, TN into Palentein Park every Sunday.  In 1976, he decided to move to Nashville, TN, where he proceeded to record and promote records on his Wedge Entertainment record label.  He used songs from his own publishing company, Big Wedge Music.

MISSOURI RECORDS 640                                        ERNIE NOWLIN and Blue Shadow Boys

5508 Wells Ave, St Louis, MO                           June 1957

E Nowlin45-640-A – Tally Ho640A (missouri) ernie nowlin tally ho

(Nowlin) (Starrite BMI)

45-640-B – Tell Me Why

(Nowlin) (Starrite BMI)

A fine Hillbilly bop, in the average category. Duet vocal at times, a borderline rockabilly with fine inventive guitar on a solid beat (snare drum). Flip unheard.

BLUE GRASS RECORDS 641                                         BOB VARNEY and Stone Mt Boys

31 Pine St, Logan, WV                                         June 1957

45-641-A I Hear You Calling

(No info) (No info)

45-641-B Stoney Mt. Boogie641b (blue grass) bob varney stoney mt. boogie

(B Varney)   (Starrite)

B-side : good boogie guitar instro, fine southern vocalizing from Varney. Whole thing is propelled by a strong rhythm guitar.

STARDAY RECORDS 642                                              BUDDY SHAW

June 1957

45-642-A – Don’t Sweep That Dirt On Me642a (starday) buddy shaw don't sweep that dirt on me

(Ruth Snider / Buddy Shaw) (Starrite BMI)

45-642-B – Second Place

(Ruth Snider / Buddy Shaw) (Starrite BMI)

Fast Hillbilly bop, again bordering on Rockabilly. Welcome tinkling piano (fine solo), urgent lead guitar (two solos). A classic ! Shaw had “No More“, a fine CountryBilly on Starday 618 (see elsewhere in the site for this number)

LINCOLN RECORDS 643                                            CARL TRANTHAM and the Rythm All Stars (sic)

Peoria, IL                                                        June 1957

45-643-A – Where There’s A Will (There’s A Way)643A (lincoln) carl trantham where there's a will

(Trantham)   (Starrite BMI)

45-643-B – After I Go Away

(Trantham)   (Starrite BMI)

A side : Hillbilly bop/rockabilly. This is where Hillbilly boys were doing Rock’n’Roll, nice guitar licks a la Scotty Moore, cool vocal (some hiccups), fine bass, and an almost unheard drum kit. Another classic ! For the B side, the boys return to a more Hillbilly approach, this time with a good steel. Vocal changes too, in a more rural way of phrasing. Again that fine lead guitar. Trantham also had “Deedle Deedle Dum” on Starday 336 (1958), a very fine Country rocker.

CRESTWOOD RECORDS 644                                      MARVIN JACKSON

Box 49 Route 1, Cadet, MO                                 July 1957644A (crestwood) marvin jackson someday you'll be sorry

45-644-A – Someday You’ll Be Sorry

(Jackson) (Starrite BMI)

45-644-B – My Crying Heart

(Jackson) (Starrite BMI)

Unheard record. Jackson had “Gee Whiz, Miz Liz“, a good rocker, on Crestwood 200 (backed by Ozark Toppers). Collector records issued a full CD of Rock’n’Roll sides of his, fine although average rockers.

STARDAY RECORDS 645                                     FRANK EVANS and his Top Notchers

(Artist based in Tampa, FL)                           July 1957

45-645-A – Pull The Shades Down Ma645A (starday) frank evans put the shades down ma

(Jimmy Dunklin)   (Starrite BMI)

45-645-B – Would You Believe Me

(Owen Wilson)   (Starrite BMI)

« Pull The Shades Down Ma » is Fifties country music of the sheerest excellence. « Now this city’s dwellin’ just ain’t cut out for me… » sings Frank in his most exuberant vocal on record and the band lays down an infectious rhythm that complements the lyrics perfectly. The song is reminiscent of the cool stuff Little Jimmy Dickens was cutting at the time: fun, full-blooded country that was uncompromisingly rural sounding.

COWTOWN RECORDS 646                                           GENE RAY

Fort Worth, TX                                                    July 1957

45-646-A – I Didn’t Mean (To Fall In Love)

(No info)

646B (cowtown) gene ray I lost my head45-646-B – I Lost My Head

(Miller)

B side is a fine shuffling Hillbilly with stop-starts, steel, guitar (uninspired solo) and fiddle. Singer is in fine voice however. Ray had an EP on Cowtown 677 (moreover in the serie) with « Rock’n’Roll Fever ».

UNKNOWN RECORD LABEL 647 (UNKNOWN ARTIST)

July 1957

UNKNOWN RECORD LABEL 648 (UNKNOWN ARTIST)

July 19 57

KHOURY’S RECORDS 649                                     NATHAN ABSHIRE and his Pine Grove Boys

Lake Charles, LA                                           July 1957

45-649-A – Boora Rhumba

(None)   (None)

45-649-B – Carolina Blues649A (khoury's) nathan abshire boora rhumba649B (khoury's) nathan abshire carolina blues

(None)   (None)

Unheard record.

STARDAY RECORDS 650                                       CLARENCE BAKER

July 1957

650-? – Hear My Plea

(No info)   (No info)

650-? – Soon I’ll Hear My Saviour Calling

(No info)   (No info)

Unheard record.

As usual for these series, many details do come from Malcolm Chapman’s site devoted to Starday Customs. This time, label pictures were easier to find than music: actually this serie does not contain, but exceptions, rockabilly classics, so many records escaped to reissue programs. Note a good percentage of sacred recordings.

Starday custom series: # 601-625 (December 1956 to March 1957) – Gospel-, Hill-, Rocka-…. -billies

CIMMARON RECORDS 601 FRANK BOWEN and Dave Warren and the Ark. Valley Wranglers

Lamarr, CO                             December 1956

45-601-A – A Broken Heart45-601-B (Cimarron) Frank Bowen rock & roll blues45-601-A (Cimarron) Frank Bowen A broken heart

(Bowen/Warren)   (Starrite BMI)

45-601-B – Rock And Roll Blues

(Bowen/Warren)   (Starrite BMI)

The story starts with Gene Clay, founder of the Ark. Valley Wranglers, which was the most popular country band in Lamar, CO. Between 1949 and 1955, they were playing over KLMR (Lamar, CO) and performing at many local watering holes,(Spot 50 Tavern in La Junta and the Eagles Club in Lamar to name just two),  high school dances, American Legion halls etc. But in 1955 two members of the band joined the US Army and one moved to Pueblo to attend college, so the band took a break.

Meanwhile, another local band, The Rhythm Ranch Boys were performing locally and gravitating towards the Rock & Roll end of the music market. Wanting to make a record but not knowing where to start, Frank and Dave approached Gene for advice. As he had some influence at KLMR, he arranged a recording session there, but on the condition he was allowed to use his own band’s name on the record. So the Rhythm Ranch Boys became part of the Ark. Valley Wranglers.

Recorded in the fall of 1956, they recorded two of Frank and Dave’s compositions and despatched the tracks to Starday Records for pressing on their Cimmaron label (after nabbing the publishing on both sides). Boxes of records came back with postcards to be sent to radio stations that they sent to DJ’s with the hope of some airplay.

The A side is a pleasant enough country/hillbilly weeper with lovely harmony vocals on the chorus.  The B side is a nice relaxed rocker in the style of “Heartbreak Hotel“, but with a more “countryish” musical leanings and again features some nice harmonies. The band, compared to other Starday Customs, sounds very tight and professional.

After spending another year with the Wranglers, Frank moved to Denver and started another band, called the “String-A-Longs”. Later, moving to North Carolina, he worked in the insurance industry before retiring. Dave worked for the Denver police before setting in retirement in Missouri.

Huge thanks to Lisa Wheeler who kindly allowed me to plunder her excellent blogspot for the info above. For the full story of Gene Clay and the Ark. Valley Wranglers (plus two short sound clips of  the record above), visit the link below.

Pueblo City Limits

STARDAY RECORDS 602 FRANK EVANS and his Top Notchersfrank evans

December 1956

(J Dunklin / J Rowell)   (Starrite BMI)

45-602-B – If You Knew

(Bonnie Burke)   (Starrite BMI)

Recorded at WHBO with Arnold Newman (Ld Gtr), Roland Newman (fiddle), Colin Thomas (Steel Gtr), Walter Studenberg (bass) and Frank on Vocals and rhythm guitar. Although neither side stands out, they are pleasant enough to listen to more than once, but sound musically inferior to their other offerings. As the Billboard advert below shows, they were performing over WHBO 5 days a week and performing live frequently.

TREND RECORDS 603 KEN PATRICK with Chet Tant on Steel Guitar

Grand Canyon, AZ December 1956

45-603-A – Snow Flake45-603-A (Trend) Ken Patrick Snowflake

(No info)   (Starrite BMI)

45-603-B – Do You Love Me

(No info)   (Starrite BMI)

No info. Never actually seen or heard this record. Oct. 16th, 2012. Thanks HillbilyBoogie1, who posted the record on YouTube. I’ve heard it: a very fine fast number; the steel guitar is astonishing! The artist has another entry on Maken 9962, “Night Train“, a strong ditty from the late ’50s (see podcasts below)

MOVIECRAFT RECORDS 604 ROD BURTON

930 West 7th Place, Los Angeles, CA December 1956

45-604-A – Wedding Bells Are Ringing For The Bride

(No info)   (No info)

45-604-B – My New Sensation

(No info)   (No info)

Another musical bank. Missed a copy on a set sale list about 10 years ago and seen sight or sound of it since. The label had moved by 1957 and was located at 6766 Hawthorn Ave, Los Angeles and any correspondence was care of Gerard Enterprises.

Confusingly, I have also seen listed another disc (Drake Morgan – My Heart Believes / Are You The One – Movie Craft 605) which may or may not be a Starday Custom, or perhaps 604 isn’t one after all. Only actually seeing a copy is going to sort this one out.

COWTOWN RECORDS 605 GENE HARRELL

PO Box 1694, Fort Worth, TX January 1957

45-605-a (cowtown) gene harrell I won't be back no more45-605-A – I Won’t Be Back No More45-605-b (cowtown) Gene Harrell Mumbles

(Mary L Miller)   (Starrite BMI)

45-605-B – Mumbles

(Daphine Orme)   (Starrite BMI)

Label owned by John W Stephenson. More of a vanity / Custom Press label than a song poem concern, he did manage to release quite a few great records in amongst the dross. The label was still going through the 70’s. As for Gene, he was performing at the time at Chaylor’s Night Club in Texarkana, TX at the time of this release. For some reason, there seems to be two pressings of this disc.

STARDAY RECORDS 606HOYT SCOGGINS and the Georgia Boys

(Artist based in Rome, GA at time of recording)

January 1957

45-606-A – What’s The Price (To Set Me Free)45-606-a (starday) hoyt scoggins what's the price45-606-b (starday) hoyt scoggins the old chain gang

(J Rackey / H Scoggins)   (Starrite BMI)

45-606-B – The Old Chain GangHoytsScogginsBand

(H Stillwell / H Scoggins)   (Starrite BMI)

More jolly hillbilly from Scoggins. Both are nicely sung, nicely played. The A side sets a terrific pace, whilst the flip is more akin to a medium tempo’d blues ditty, albeit sung in a hollerin’ country manner. Hoyt was performing over WROM (TV Channel 9) and was the band leader of the Saturday Night Jamboree (Rome, GA??). In any case, it’s not “Tennessee Rock“, but it’s a mighty fine accompaniment.

STARDAY RECORDS 607             45-607-a (starday) don owens last chanceDON OWENS and the Circle “O” RanchboysJanvier 1957

45-607-A – Last Chance

(Owens)   (Starrite BMI)

45-607-B – A Thief (In The Heart Of A Rose)

(Owens)   (Hank Snow Music)

A pleasantly sung country/hillbilly song. The A side has a bit of, perhaps, “rhumba” influence. Taken at a brisk tempo, it has nice accoustic guitar accompaniment with sawing fiddles and steel guitar sharing the solo. I can hear Hank Snow singing this. Odd to mention Snow as he’s the writer of the B side. This is a ballad sung with feeling. There’s a small bio on Don on his previous Starday Custom Release (#559, see earlier entry of « Starday custom serie », # 551-575).

STARDAY RECORDS 608 LUCKY WRAY with Link and Doug Wray

January 1957

45-608-a (starday) lucky wray teenage cutie45-608-A – Teenage Cutie45-608-b (starday) lucky wray you're my song

(H Albert / C Davis / L Wray)   (Starrite BMI)

45-608-B – You’re My Song

(B Baker / J Williams / L Wray / C Davis)   (Starrite BMI)

Killer Rock-A-Billy and classy ballad from Lucky and Link. A side is fast, mean and moody with Lucky’s understated vocals threatened by Link who threatens to steal the proceedings with a flick of his pick up switch. The ballad side is a dreamy affair with Link almost sounding like a steel guitar in parts. Sadly this was their last appearance on a Starday-Custom pressed disc . Both Link and Lucky went on to bigger and better things.

STARDAY RECORDS 609 BUDDY SHAW

January 1957

45-609-A – Just Like A Fool609-A - BB Rev 9 Mar 57Buddy Shaw pic

(Ruth Snider / B Shaw)   (Starrite BMI)

45-609-B – I Belong To You

(Ruth Snider / B Shaw)   (Starrite BMI)

Two ballads from Buddy. Both are pleasant without being exceptional. Nice snippet of overloaded each just as he starts singing on the A side. I especially like Buddy’s “hick” Vocals. Band lend fair support with steel guitar being the prominent lead instrument. The artist was possibly from Kentucky. Both sides are co written with Ruth Snider – a name seen before on writers credits but can’t place where.

TARHEEL RECORDS 610      LEVON McCALL

January 1957

45-610-A – I Lose Again

(No info)   (No Info)

45-610-B – If I Don’t Change My Mind

(No Info)   (No Info)

Nothing on the above artist or label.

UNKNOWN RECORD LABEL 611          UNKNOWN ARTIST

January 1957

“All I Do Is Cry Over You”

“One Dark Sunday Night”

This is a blank acetate, supplied by Dave Sax. It has no artist, label or song credits. In fact, it’s totally blank. The only info is in the dead wax which has the issue number and A/B designations. As there are no titles, the ones listed here are what a few of us “think” they are – we could very well be barking up the wrong tree with these.

MARYLAND RECORDS 612 THE GOSPEL TROUBADORS  Gospel Vocal by Henry NoeFebruary 1957

45-612-A – Cry Aloud And Spare Not45-612-a (maryland) gospel troubadors Cry aloud and spare not45-612-B (maryland) gospel troubadors Ananias

(Noe)   (Starrite BMI)

45-612-B – Ananias

(Noe)   (Starrite BMI)

Record unheard

STARDAY RECORDS 613ART RODGERS with the Texas Top Hands

February 1957

45-613-A – Our anniversary

(Rodgers)   (Starrite BMI)

45-613-b (starday) art rodgers Ten thousand miles45-613-a (starday) art rodgers Our anniversary45-613-B – Ten Thousand Miles

(Rodgers)   (Starrite BMI)

Another slightly blurred label shot from another unknown artist. I found an Art Rodgers on Seven Stars Label from Cincinnati, OH from 1957, and it’s possibly the same artist, but not 100% certain. The A side is a nice mid-tempo honky-tonk song. He sounds to be about 30-40 years old. Flip side is mid tempo but more in the hillbilly vein. Nice fiddles and steel guitar. B side has some nice harmonies as well.

VAN RECORDS 614 CAMPBELL TRIO with Jerry Tuttle, Hawaian Acc.

614 North Kimball, Malden, MO February 1957

45-614-A – Satan Lost A Sinner

(Jack and Billy Campbell)   (Starrite BMI)45-614-a (Van) campbell trio Satan lost a sinner

45-614-B – God Can Do Without Your Service

(Jack and Billy Campbell)   (Starrite BMI)

Nice, delicate white gospel (with a hillbilly flavour)  from the Campbell Trio. It’s the harmonies that win me over here. A side is taken at a faster clip than the B side, but it’s the B side I prefer. Jerry Tuttle, the steel guitarist appears on a Rite Pressing from 62 (King Tutt – “Twisting At The Little Big Horn” / “Shorter Hours In School” – Starline 1001 (Flint, MI), and he had at least one release on Dot Records (“Tweedle-O-Twill” / “Bop Goes The Weasel” – Dot 16093).

NO NAME LABEL 615 HOYT SULLIVAN

Phoenix Street, Greenwood, SC February 1957615-Hoyt Sullivan Advert

45-615-A – Hoyt Sullivan’s Drug Products 1 and 2

(No info)   (No info)

45-615-B – Hoyt Sullivan’s Drug Products 3 and 4

(No info)   (No info)

Cut in records with R and B hits of the day. Hoyt ran a reasonably successful beauty products company. He later owned HSE Records (amongst others) where he recorded Gospel Music. I’m figured Hoyt was (is) black, but according to Alistair Blazaar, he was white.

HUFF RECORDS 616COWBOY HUFF

18 Southwest 27th, Oklahoma City, OK February 1957

45-616-a (huff) cowboy huff No two timin' me45-616-A – No Two Timing Me45-616-b (huff) cowboy huff what's gonna happen to me

(Huff / Raines)   (Starrite BMI)

45-616-B – What’s Gonna Happen To Me

Very little is known on this artist. Informed that Cowboy Huff is Charlie Huff, a singer, songwriter and record label owner from Oklahoma;as Charlie Huff, he cut at least one good rocker on Arlo Records (which he may have owned) {She’s My baby / Hiding My Tears – Arlo 100} which also appeared on Huff Records (#100) (both labels carry the same Oklahoma City, OK address). There’s also a Cowboy Charlie Huff LP on Northstar 1001, which may be the same guy. Also Billboard magazine mentions (25th Mar 1967) that ….”Charles “Cowboy” Huff is trying to sell all of part of his publishing firm, Record Masters“.

Also found two 4-Star Releases {4-Star 1190 “Conversations With A Mule / Sad Sack“} and {4-Star 1191 “Maybe Next Week Sometime / High Hat Blues“}, plus a couple of 45’s on North Star (727 & 729), plus a couple of later Huff Records (722 & 723).

As for this record, the A side is a fast(ish) hillbilly number with fiddles taking the solo and what sounds like an accoustic guitar taking the place of a stand-up bass. B side is more of the same really. Huff’s vocals has got that Texas/West Coast drawl to his voice.

HUFF RECORDS 617 COWBOY HUFF

18 Southwest 27th, Oklahoma City, OK February 1957

45-617-A – Lover’s Waltz45-617-a (huff) cowboy huff lover's waltz

(Huff / Raines) (Starrite BMI)

45-617-B – Patonia (Pride Of The Plains)

(Arr: Huff) (Starrite BMI)

More of the same here from Huff. A side is indeed a waltz with fiddles taking the lead. Flip is faster and more like the previous two sides.

STARDAY RECORDS 618BUDDY SHAW

March 1957

45-618-a (starday) buddy shaw no more45-618-A – No More

(Ruth Snider / B Shaw)   (Starrite BMI)

45-618-B – The Breath Of Life To Me

(Ruth Snider / B Shaw)   (Starrite BMI)

Buddy’s back with another offering by him and Ruth Snider. “No More” is ALMOST rockabilly. In fact, if you cut out the steel and added a guitar, it’d be darn close to being really good. But as it is, it’s darn fine hillbilly. Flip is a ballad which, apart from the fine vocals by Buddy, is a little pedestrian for my tastes.

CRESTWOOD RECORDS 619 MARVIN JACKSON with the Battreal Boys

Cadet, MO

March 1957

45-619-A – Honey, If You Love Me

(M Jackson) (Starrite BMI)

45-619-B – World Of Make Believe

(M Jackson)   (Starrite BMI)

Here’s Marvin Jackson’s first record. Now, Marvin may not be household name around these parts, but thanks to White Label / Collector Records, there’s a whole CD of his stuff floating around out there. He cut some rough and ready rockabilly tracks (“Gee Whiz, Miss Liz” on Crestwood 200), a few instrumentals (Marvin plays lead guitar) and some nice country stuff (“Dippin’ Snuff” on Mar-Lee). Marvin got this and his follow up disc pressed by Starday – 300 hundred copies and perhaps some promotional material (which was either post cards to send to DJ’s or – in Red Moore‘s case (# 840 « Crawdad Song ») – a stamper which you could stamp “Play This – It’s Hot” on the paper sleeves.) His third disc was pressed by King who only pressed 200 copies. The artist was based out of Cadet, MO at the time of these recordings., and Crestwood was his own label.

A side is pretty much country, but Marvin’s got that voice that easily skips the fence of Country into the green fields that is rockabilly, so it’s an early example of what he’s gonna sound like later on. B side is a ballad. Quite nice steel guitar featured on both sides. I’ll have some more info on him by the time we reach his next release (#644, in the next « Starday customs serie)

CAROLINA RECORDS 620              RENE McCALL and her Candy Ranch Boys

Rt 7 – Box 474, Charlotte, NC March 1957

45-620-A – We’re Strangers Now

(C Johnson / R McCall)   (Starrite BMI)

45-620-B – The Waltz In The Rain

(Preston Miller)   (American Music Inc)

Another record I haven’t seen or heard.

JAMBOREE RECORDS 621               BILL and BOB // BILL BOLAN and the Country Melody Boys

4213 Rose Ave, Lyons, IL March 1957

45-621-A – Falling Apart At The Seams

(No info)   (Starrite BMI)

45-621-B – Country Music

(No info)   (Starrite BMI)

No info on the artists. Musically, the A side is a weepy country ballad with that sad steel guitar sound throughout. There’s a fiddle player in the background who takes a brief solo. The B side is a faster, fiddle & steel guitar led hillbilly song. Bill sounds like a real southerner when he sings, despite the label location of IL.

STARDAY RECORDS 622LUCKY HILL

March 1957

45-622-A – Fickle Baby45-622-a (starday) lucky hill fickle baby45-622-b (starday) lucky hill It's comin' home to you

(Lucky Hill)   (Starrite BMI)

45-622-B – It’s Comin’ Home To You

(Lucky Hill)   (Starrite BMI)

Billboard review on 29th April 1957.

A side is a hillbilly song, kinda like an early Lattie Moore King 45. Fiddles are the main instrument here. B side is slower and more bluesy (in a typical hillbilly sort of way). More of a Hank Williams type song, and the tune bears a passing resemblance to “You’re Gonna Change Or I’m Gonna Leave“.

As for Lucky himself, he appeared on the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial celebration in Meridian, MS, held over May 21st-22nd in 1957. He wrote in Billboard advertising this disc can be acquired from him from an address in Tiffin, OH. By July 57, having come back from an Armed forces tour of North Africa, Lucky could be found as a staff announcer over KDRO-TV, Sedalia, MO. In December 1957, Billboard also announced that his piano player (Denny Bolin) had broken his neck in a car accident near Joplin, MO.

There was a Lucky Hill who recorded for TNT. Andrew Brown confirmed that the Lucky Hill on TNT is the same artist as the Starday Artist.

JAY RECORDS 623 BOB COLE

New Orleans, LA April 1957

45-623-A – Face To Face

(B.Cole)    (Starrite BMI)

45-623-B – You Lied

(B.Cole) (Starrite BMI)

Bob had his own radio show broadcast over WARB, Covington, LA and appeared as the MC and a singer on the “Old Country Barn Dance », which was held at the Ann Theatre, Baton Rouge, LA. (He was still appearing at the Ann Theatre in 1958, but after that I have no idea.)

A side is a slowish country ditty; a little like an early Hank Williams. (To be honest, most songs of this type always remind me of Williams). Nice dreamy steel guitar and tic-tac guitar. Guitar solo is a simple run around on the melody. The B side is faster and has a nice catchy melody. Again the guitarist skips along with the melody in the solo. If anybody has this 45, label shots would be most welcome.

DIXIE RECORDS 624 TOM CROOK and the Rock And Roll Four

Rome, GA April 1957

45-624-a (dixie) tom crook my heart don't lie45-624-A – My Heart Don’t Lie45-624-b (dixie) tom crook weekend boogie

(Crook)   (Starrite BMI)

45-624-B – Weekend Boogie

(Crook)   (Starrite BMI)

A side is a slow number, sung with a hillbilly flavour. Tom has that great “hillbilly twang” to his voice. There’s some nice guitar gently supporting Tom whilst he’s crooning his love song.

Flip the disc over and you get a great relaxed Rock-A-Billy/Hillbilly/Country hybrid ditty with an accoustic guitar taking the lead with fine support from a steel guitarist. Oh, the joys of the weekend (unless, of course, you’re unemployed – in which case, to quote Morrisey,  “every day is like Sunday”).

According to Terry Gordon (Rockin’ Country Style), the artist was from Rome, GA.

COOSA RECORDS 625            ERNEST PAINTER

Shannon, GA April 1957

45-625-A – No One But You

(Painter)   (Starrite)

45-625-B – Whispering Heart

(Painter)   (Starrite)

Sadly, no info on the artist. Nor have I heard either side. Oct. 16th, 2012. Thanks HillbillyBoogie1 (YouTube), I’ve heard “No One But You“, a rather slowish honky tonker. Nice but average one.

As for the previous Starday custom series, a generous use has been made of Malcolm Chapman’s excellent blogsite “Starday customs” (just do search through google). My thanks to him, reprinted with permission. All label scans were taken from his site, except # 601 (Frank Bowen), which was provided by John Burton, thanks a lot, john.

Ken Patrick”Do you love me” (Trend 603) download

Starday Custom series, part 3 (# 551 to 575) (April to July 1956): from Hillbilly bop to Rock-a-Billy

For introduction on “Starday Custom” series, see the feature : “Starday Custom series: an introduction”.

This article takes the third place, after “Starday Custom Series”, part 1 (1953-1955), part 2 (1955 to March 1956), to be found in this site. Just type in the research bottom, upper right.

MID WEST RECORDS 551 MOWEE JOHNSON (April 1956)

Wichita, KS

551-A – I Hope Tomorrow Never Comes

(No Writers Credit) (No Publ. Info)

551-B – What Am I Going To Do

(No Writers Credit) (No Publ. Info)

Yet again, another artist had slipped past my radar and vanished into that “Bermuda Triangle” of obscure artists.

STARDAY RECORDS 552 LUCKY WRAY (April 1956)            lucky wray & palomino ranch gang

(Artist based at time of disc in Washington, DC)

ST-2421 – It’s Music She Says552a 2

(Cindy Davis / Larry Stone) (Starrite BMI)

ST-2422 – Sick And Tired552b sick & tired

(Cindy Davis / Joe Drew) (Starrite BMI)

Lucky, Doug and the more famous sibling, Link hailed from North Carolina, although by the early 50’s they were playing in and around Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia. Lucky (real name Vern) took the name ‘lucky’ because of his luck at gambling. The original band were called Lucky Wray and the Lazy Pine Wranglers, playing mainly C&W / Hillbilly music. They worked mainly at the Fernwood Farms Dance Hall in Virginia. By 1955, they had renamed themselves Lucky Wray & the Palomino Ranch Hands and had relocated to Washington, DC, which included Shorty Horton on bass. The tracks above (and the other two singles) were cut at Ben Adelman’s studio. The A side on this disc bops along with Links’ guitar to the fore and an unknown steel guitarist – a hillbilly bopper that’s almost Rock-A-Billy. Flip is more mainstream hillbilly with Vern in fine vocal form and nice harmonies in the chorus. Both sides sport a Starday matrix which makes wonder if Starday were considering placing this in their main series instead of pressing it up as a custom.

ARKANSAS RECORDS 553 ALTON GUYON and his Boogie Blues Boys (April 1956)

Box 336, Judsonia, AR

45-553-A – River Boat Blues  553a river553b leave

(K Murphy / A Guyon)    (Starrite BMI)

45-553-B – Leave My Baby Alone

(K Murphy / A Guyon)    (Starrite BMI)

Tough as old boots hillbilly bopper, bordering on early rock-a-billy from Alton and his Boogie Blues Boys from Judsonia, Arkansas. About a year after this disc was pressed, Guyon’s manager sent Starday four more sides for consideration which were (sadly) rejected. Quite why they didn’t press these onto a Starday Custom is anybody’s guess. As an aside, the A side was recorded by Buddy Phillips for the CKM label from Bald Knob, AR, with the flip (Coffee Baby) also written by K Murphy and Alton. I wonder if this track is also one of the remaining unissued sides, the last one being « Bop Bobby Sox Bop » (first time the word “bop” appears on a Starday recording).

STARDAY RECORDS 554 MARTY LICKLIDER (April 1956)

(Artist based in OH at time of release)

45-554-A – Cold Hands, Warm Heart

(Licklider)    (Starrite BMI)

45-554-B – Our Anniversary Day

(Licklider)    (Starrite BMI)

Mr. Licklider was business manager, singer, guitarist and song writer for a band called the Fox Hunters. Marty was also a DJ on WICA (Ashabula, OH) in 1952. The Fox Hunters consisted of Marty, Buell Licklider (Marty’s brother) on mandolin and bass fiddle, Andy Hill (violin), Eddie Allen (accordian) and Marty’s son, Larry who also played a violin. Marty had at least one disc issued on Coral (64126) (“Down By The Missouri River” / “I Don’t Want My Darlin’ To Cry.”) The A side of this disc is a very pleasant hillbilly bopper with good steel & lead guitar. Flip is a ballad about the joys of marriage. Billboard described this disc on the 28th April, 1956 as:- “Cold hands, Warm Heart” – Licklider, new to the label, has a deep voice and relaxed style that reminds the listener of the incomparable Ernest Tubb. He employs his voice to good advantage on this humorous, bouncy tune.” “Our Anniversary Day” – “The singer portrays the feelings of a couple that has been happy in marriage for many years. A thoughtfully presented reading that many country deejays will want to program.”

STARDAY RECORDS 555 LUKE GORDON Acc by C. Smith and the Tennessee Haymakers.     (April 1956)

(Artist based possibly in Quincy, KY at time of release.)

45-555-A – Let This Kiss Bid You Goodbye

(Gordon) (Starrite BMI)

45-555-B – Baby’s Gone

(Gordon) (Starrite BMI)

Another offering from Luke. The A side is more in the sad Hank Williams vein. Flipside is a superior country rocker with some fantastic lead guitar bubbling behind his vocals. . Luke’s got one of those voices a cross between Hank Williams and Luke McDaniels.

555b refait


H and C RECORDS 556 OKLAHOMA MELODY BOYS 556b your heart

Vcl by Jearl Ritter (April 1956)

Tulsa, OK

45-556-AWasted

(Goldie Hood) (Starrite BMI)

45-556-B – Your Heart And Mine

(Thelma Conrad / Goldie Hood) (Starrite BMI)

Nothing on this band. Possibly T. Texas Tyler’s band that he used on some of his 4-Star recordings. Nothing again on Jearl Ritter or Goldie Hood (who penned both sides.) Both sides of the disc is pleasant hillbilly.

SULLIVAN RECORDS 557 THE LEWIS FAMILY

(No known location)

557-A – Lights In The Valley

(No credits) (No publication info)

557-B – My Jesus is the one

(No credits) (No publication info)

SULLIVAN RECORDS 558 THE LEWIS FAMILY (April 1956)

(No known location)

558-A – Did You Do What The Lord Said To Do

(No credits) (No publication info)

558-B – Wait a little long please Jesus

This and the previous disc are yet another in a long line of blanks where info is concerned. The “Lewis Family” were a reasonably successful gospel band, but there may have been two different groups with the same name so I’m not sure which one is which – without hearing them and seeing the discs of course which, after 20 years, I’m still waiting to do.

STARDAY RECORDS 559 DON OWENS and the Circle “O” Ranch Boys

(Artist based around Arlington, VA)                    (May 1956)                   559a something

45-559-A – Somethings You Cannot Change

(Owens) (Starrite BMI)

45-559-B – Adios Novia

(Owens) (Starrite BMI)

This Don Owens was a DJ who broadcasted over WARL (Arlington, VA)and he once appeared on a Jimmie Rogers Memorial Show with the likes of Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb. (Billboard lso mentioned that attendance was very good despite the almost torrential rain that poured from the heavens that day. He also appeared before the Pastore Senate Subcommittee in 1958, saying that ” … The strongest condemnation of rock & roll and country music comes from people who have never spent five minutes paying attention to it.” (Good for him, although, as a DJ & musical director of Arlington’s only country music station, I doubt if he was defending R&R – but still … kudos to the man for speaking his ind in public.) A further tale from this artists was mentioned in Billboard in Oct 55 which states … “Don Owens, WARL, Arlington, VA debuted a new ballad recently on one of his shows that was composed by a local detective and his prisoner. The unusual writing team got together when detective Alvin Fuchsman picked up 24 year old Ted Borrelli of Hoboken, NJ on a vagrancy charge. Upon discovering that the prisoner had with him some 50 odd poems that he had written, the detective put music to a few, tape recorded one of them (“Underneath The Lamp Post”) which was later played by dee-jay Owens.

Sadly, Don Owens was killed when he fell asleep at the wheel of his car (this was the second, or third time he had fallen asleep at the wheel.) It is said this was due to the long hours as a DJ, and his TV Show.

Musically, Don almost talks his way through the A side instead of singing. It’s a nice love song I guess and the band are excellent. Flip side is more of the same really. I could hear Hank Williams singing this song better.

STARDAY RECORDS 560 JERRY HANSON (May 1956)  560a cry560b doing

45-560-A – Cry

(Jack Rhodes / Jerry Hanson) (Starrite BMI)

45-560-B – I’m Doing All Right

(Jack Rhodes / Jerry Hanson) (Starrite BMI)

In 1954, Hanson was appearing on the “Western Star Serenade” Hillbilly show out of Tyler, TX and somehow ended up at Jack Rhodes cozy little motel out of Mineola, TX, where he probably cut these sides. Sometime later (or even perhaps earlier), Jerry cut a faster take of B-side (issued on “Gene Vincent Cut Our Songs” CD.

Cry” is a nice song, more country than anything else and Jerry and Jack Rhodes were hoping to pitch it to a good and known country singer through Capitol Records. “I’m Doing All Right“, on the other hand is a tight, moody rockabilly classic with a threadbare feel, fronted by Hanson’s assured vocals. Although I can hear quite a few artists covering “Cry“, Jerry OWNS the B side and I can’t quite imagine anyone else covering the song as well as Hanson does.

Hanson later appears on Ed Manney’s Bluebonnet and Manco labels (Both are good vocally, especially the Bluebonnet 45) and on Colpix and then he disappears into thin air.

STARDAY RECORDS 561 JIMMY JOHNSON (May 1956)

45-561-A – Woman Love

(Jack Rhodes) (Central Songs BMI)

45-561-B – All Dressed Up

(J Rhodes / D Carter / D Nalls) (Starrite BMI)

Born in 1930 in Smith County, Jimmy Johnson played guitar, fiddle and sang in Jack Rhodes Ramblers(sometimes known as the Lone Star Buddies). Whilst appearing on RD Hendon’s Western Jamboree Club in Houston, he was approached and offered a recording contract by Solomon Kahal, who owned the local Freedom label. (“Salt Your Pillow Down” being recognised as a classic example of East Texas honky-tonk/hillbilly.) After a couple of sessions, Jack Rhodes got him signed up for Columbia records where he recorded some great tunes (“Eternity” & Mama Loves Papa” being the best of the bunch.) Then the Korean war came along and Jimmy was drafted. He came back a changed man, haunted by what he experienced on that war torn peninsula. He married Billie Jo Spear’s sister (Betty Lou), had three children and worked for a local oil drilling company, with all the hopes of cashing in on his Columbia recording contract fading rapidly.

Like Jerry Hanson, Jimmy was frequently found recording at Jack Rhodes’s motel in Mineola, TX. For the session (recorded probably in March 56), Jimmy sang and played lead guitar, his wife on rhythm and Leon Hayes played an upright bass. Jack Rhodes mailed copy tapes to Cliffie Stone who had acetates made up for Ken Nelson, A&R supremo for Capitol Records. Whilst impatiently waiting for Ken to put the record out by somebody – hell, ANYBODY, Jack got 300 copies pressed up by Starday, who put it out on their custom series instead of on their main series . “Woman Love” was eventually recorded by Gene Vincent, although it was “Be-Bop-A-Lula” that became the hit, which brought in some nice royalty checks for Rhodes.

Johnson recorded many demos for Jack Rhodes but quickly faded from

musical history. (Some of these demos appear on the CD “Gene Vincent Cut Our Songs“. He passed away on Jan 8th 1980.

561b dressed561A (Starday) jimmy johnson woman love

Woman Love” is a brooding shuffler with Jimmy’s deep and urgent vocals grabbing most of the attention. “All Dressed Up” is the faster side (but not by much) with Leon & Betty Lou joining in on the choruses. Quite why Jimmy didn’t go on to cut more records with that great voice of his is beyond me really. Still, I suppose cutting one of the most famous “Starday Customs” is something worth being remembered for.

GIBSON RECORDS 562 KING STERLING (May 1956)

(No Location)

45-HD-562-A – Slippin’ Out – Stealing In

(R L Blythe / J M Alstatt) (Starrite BMI)

45-HD-562-B – Alone, Lonesome And Blue                                                                             562a slippin'

(R L Blythe / J M Alstatt) (Starrite BMI)

Apparently, this artist became Sterling Blythe who recorded for Sage & Sand (can anybody confirm this?) A quick trawl through Billboard magazines found a few titbits on this artist. He was signed up to the KWKH Artist Services Bureau, run by Horace Logan, (booking manager of the Louisiana Hayride), and around Feb. ’57, he was listed as one of the Hayride’s personnel. By March 57 he was also appearing over KRBB (El Dorado, AR) on the King’s Corrall Show. By then, he’d managed to get on the Starday main series with “What Will The Answer Be” / “Not Much” (#298) which was reviewed by Billboard on the 3rd of June that year. (They described the A side as a …”highly effective weeper.”

That description pretty much described the A side of this disc as well. Sterling’s got a nice voice for these kind of songs, a little like Werly Fairburn in places. Flipside is a mid-tempo hillbilly number with nice steel and lead guitar with fiddle filling up the spaces behind the vocals. (I especially like the slight miss-fingering by the guitarist on the solo.

STARDAY RECORDS 563                             HOYT SCOGGINS and the Saturday Nite Jamboree Boys              (May 1956)

45-563-A Why Did We Fall In Love    563b tennessee

(Scoggins) (Starrite BMI)

45-563-B Tennessee Rock

(Scoggins) (Starrite BMI)

Having not heard the A side, I make up for it with having the B side all lined up for me to swoon over. Not the usual gospel stuff, just a clear stab at breaking into this new fangled “Cat Music.” He sounds a little unsure of himself while he’s wailing away at this type of music but it’s a winner of a song. Band provide good support (as Billboard would say).

STARDAY RECORDS 564 TEX DIXON (May 1956)     Tex Dixon(rcs)564a lies

(Possibly a Tennessee Artist)

45-564-A – Your Lovin’ Lies

(Jimmie Atkins / Walter Dickey) (Starrite BMI)

45-564-B – I’m Just Feeling Sorry For Myself

(Jimmie Atkins / Walter Dickey) (Starrite BMI)

This artist was pretty prolific during the 50’s and early 60’s. His real name was Walter Dee Dickey and he recorded under the name Mason Dixon for Reed Records (but the Mason Dixon on Meteor is a different artist), Walter Dixon on Erwin Records and Tex Dixon on this release and also on Zone and Stompertime Records from Memphis, TN. He was a regular on the Dixie Hayride (Florence, AL). Walter was blessed with a voice that could do stone-cold country and Rock-A-Billy in a blink of an eye. Both tunes here were co-wrote by Jimmie Atkins, an artist he shared billing with on a 45rpm on Alfa Records. Both sides represented here are similar, heartbreaking hillbilly songs with steel guitar being the main instrument.

Mr. Joel Russell wrote (Jan. 25, 2014) that: “I saw the record and the photo of Tex Dixon on your site.  The writers of the song was listed as Jimmie Adkins and Walter Dickey.  Walter Dickey was his real name and Tex Dixon was ONE of his pseudonymns.  My dad was Speedy Russell, and back in the fifties, dan and Walter were best buds and they played all the honkeytonks together.  Dad was THE steel guitar player back in those days in the Bessemer, Alabama area.  That is where Walter did most of his music.  Walter had high hopes of becoming a big nashville star, but he never made it.  There are several 45’s out there of him, and he paid to record every one of them.  My mom and his wife would go with them sometimes to gigs and walter would tell them to stay away from them so the women in the bar would think they were single.  Dad an walter used to go out, play music, dad would get drunk and go home with some whore night after night and when he would finally come home, he would beat up my mother.  Of course she was a bitch and deserved it.  I was born during all that.  Thought I’d give you some history of Walter “tex dixon” Dickey from Bessemer, Alabama.”

STARDAY RECORDS 565                                                 LUKE GORDON and his Lonesome Drifters

(artist based in Quincy, KY)           (label scans untraced — sorry!)                                                                                         (April1956)

ST-565-A Big New Dance

(L Gordon) (Starrite BMI)

ST-565-B Just Doin’ What’s Right

(Unknown Credits) (Starrite BMI)

Another fine offering by the excellent Luke Gordon. The A side fully embraces the new music style that was frequently pushing aside country music at the time, whilst staying true to his musical roots. The band once again are excellent. Once again, Luke ventured to Ben Adelman’s cool little studio on Cedar Street in Washington DC to record these tracks. I haven’t heard the flip side as yet, nor have I seen the record.

MOVIE CRAFT 566 ROD BURTON – Moviecraft Orchestra

930 West 7th Place, Los Angeles 17, CA                                                                  (June 1956)

566-A – I’d Like To Be A Baby Sitter

(Morris-Gerard) (Golden State Songs BMI)

566-B – “I’m Dolling You Up For” Somebody Else

(Morris-Gerard) (Golden State Songs BMI)

Another musical blank. Possibly a song-poem.

STARDAY RECORDS 567 FRANK EVANS and his Top Notchers

(Artist from Tampa FL at time of release.) (June 1956)

45-567-A – Go On And Be Carefree st 567B frank evans what is it

(Gene Rutland) (Starrite BMI)

45-567-B – What Is It (That I’m Too Young To Know)

(Gene Rutland) (Starrite BMI)

By the time Frank came around to recording another disc for Starday (albeit on the custom series), he had organised his own backing band – the Top Notchers. The band were Arnold Newman (ld gtr), Roland Newman (fdl), Pip Studenberg (bs) and Colin Thomas (Stl gtr – who doesn’t appear on this disc). The drummers name is long forgotten. This was recorded at WHBO in Tampa FL.

The A side is a pleasant enough hillbilly disc, but it’s the flip side that catches your attention. Taken at a fast clip, this has an almost “bluegrass” feel to it. Pretty cool stuff for a bunch of youngsters!

MOONLIGHT RECORDS 568                            CARL TANNER and IVENA BUCKINS and the Southern Pine Boys (June 1956)

Box 745, Waycross, GA

45-568-A – Together  Me And You

(Tanner) (Starrite BMI)

45-568-B – We’re In Love

(Tanner / Buckins) (Starrite BMI)

568a together A second offering from Carl, this time supported by one Ivena Buckins. A side is a slow hillbilly disc with sawing fiddles and Carl & Ivena take turns in singing portions of the song. Ivena’s voice is a little flat here and there – (in fact, Carl struggles a little too – almost like the key is slightly too low for him to sing in.). The flip side is taken at a breath-taking tempo, with both singers sound much more comfortable with the song. The band cook up a storm throughout this side.

STARDAY RECORDS 569                                           COUSIN ARNOLD and his Country Cousins           (June 1956)

(Artist located in Rock Hill, SC at time of release.)

45-569-A – Be My Baby, Baby Doll   569a baby

(A E Baynard) (Starrite BMI)

45-569-B – What is Life To You

(A E Baynard – Glenn Martin) (Starrite BMI)

Billboard reveals that Cousin Arnold is one Arnold E Baynard who was the commercial manager of WTYC, Rock Hills, SC (Summer 56). BB (August 13, 1955) mentions that Arnold and his band are ” … new to the South Carolina area and are doing a weekly half-hour sponsored show over WTYC. They were also doing a weekly bard dance at a lodge in Rock Hill. By November 1955 he was also doing “Day Break In Dixie” which was a 6:00 – 6:30 am segment in addition to his 1:00 – 2:00 over the same radio station. It also mentions he has penned two songs “Be My Love” & “If I Were A Millionaire” which he ‘s trying to get recorded. Did he ever record these? Anyhow, by the summer of 1956, he’d recorded the two tracks above and had them shipped to Starday for a pressing run of 300 copies.

The A side is a jolly old hillbilly song with a banjo as the main instrumental. It’s a bit of a “sermon” rather than an actual song, but pleasant enough I guess. Flip side is a torrid Country / Rock-A-Billy cross over which flies along at a fast pace. Good guitar and steel throughout with that rather annoying banjo threatening to take over at the slightest provocation. Marvelous stuff indeed! (MC)

STARDAY RECORDS 570                                                ARNOLD PARKER and the Southernairs

Cuerco, TX (June 1956)

45-570-A – People Laugh At A Fool570a people Arnold Parker

(A Parker – W Adams) (Starrite BMI)

45-570-B – Find A New Woman570b find

(W Adams – J Hill) (Starrite BMI)

Arnold was born on January 25th 1936 in Cuerco, TX and has been singing since standing up in his local church and belting out a song as a small child. Once Arnold graduated from high school, he became the featured vocalist for a popular dance band called The Southernairs, playing mainly around the south Texas area.

With regards to the record above, I’m gonna let Arnold do the talking – well – writing – which he sent to me by email:

The musicians on the record were the exact 8 piece band that we had in the 1950s. The intro and the second guitar lead is Ken Williams. The first guitar lead is Jack Hill who actually wrote “Find a New Woman”. We recorded this at ACA Studios in Houston, Texas in 1956. Walter Adams was my so called manager at the time and he set up the recording and handled everything. I don’t remember the exact amount but I know we got quite a few copies to begin with and then went back and got more later. Radio stations in Texas and some in Louisiana played the song and we did perform it live quite a bit on our dance jobs. I also made some trips around to a number of radio stations plugging the record. There were a couple of local stations that conducted a weekly hit parade and the record showed up in the top 10 on those.”

sarg 106A arnold parker One way love

Parker first ever record, 1954

I’ve never heard the A side. But the flip is one of the best, killer Rock-A-Billy records ever pressed on Starday – some achievement when you think they also issued Sonny Fisher, Truitt Forse, Bob Doss and many, many others. Parts of the solo has an almost western-swing – twin guitar feel to it but it’s the biting intro and end part of the solo that gets my heart a-pounding. Arnold’s got one of those voices which can make a plain country record great and effortlessly slip into RaB without almost no effort at all! (His Sarg recordings are also darn good, although not as great as this disc) Billboard described this disc as follows: (17 Nov 56) “A side – Wistful warbling on an appealing weeper” B side – ” Parker sells a bouncy rock and roller with verve and good beat” Understatement of the year! In December of that year, it also mentions that he had joined the deejay staff at KULP, El Campo, TX. Again, in BB, on the 4th August, it mentions the members of the Southernaires.

BB Arnold Parker  4 Aug 56 starday 570

About the same time as the recording, Arnold and the band made their first appearance on the Louisiana Hayride. (He also met Elvis Presley here and discussed Arnolds home-made shirt his mother had made for him.) In February 1957, he met the love of his life – Jeanette Catherine Wendt in El Campo, TX and 3 months later he left the band and got married. The early 60’s finds him in Victoria, TX and he was fronting a band called The Mustangs and recording for Charlie Fitch’s Sarg Records. (He had recorded with the Sarg label before this disc too.) He continued playing until 1973 when he decided to spend more time with his family. But, as the music bug seems to linger in all true musicians, even today he steps up on stage and belts out a country tune and the odd RaB number for the crowd. Arnold also recorded for Wildcat Records.

ALABAMA GOSPEL RECORDS 571 THE TOM HARMON TRIO

(Unknown Location) (June 1956)

(Pno Acc: by Dan Garrett)

45-571-A – I’d Like To Know

(T Harmon) (Starrite BMI)

45-571-B – God’s Miracles

(T Harmon – J T Clark) (Starrite BMI)

Pleasant Gospel Music, spoilt perhaps by the “recorded at home” sound quality of the disc. Who ever the female vocalist is, her voice cuts through everybody else’s efforts.

BIG STATE RECORDS 572 572a tomorrow JACK FROST and his Band

No. 8 Manchester Road, Wichita Falls, KS (July 1956)

45-572-A – There Is No Tomorrow

(Ken Blackridge) (Starrite BMI)

45-572-B – Crying My Heart Out

(Ken Blackridge) (Starrite BMI)

No knowledge about Jack Frost and his Band. Both sides are western swing, like an early Texas Playboys with trumpet, guitar, fiddle – the whole nine yards of western swing sophistication. The B side is the better of the two in my opinion but they are kind of similar so it’s hard to chose on from the other.

MARYLAND RECORDS 573 LUCKY CHAPMAN and the Ozark Mountain Boys (July 1956)  Lucky Chapman

(No Address – Artist based in Frederick, MD)

45-573-A – I’ve Waited So Long

(Lucky Chapman) (Starrite BMI)

45-573-B – Blue Grass 573b blue grass

(John Duffy) (Starrite BMI)

Lucky Chapman came from Frederick, Maryland – moved to Florida in the 1960’s – died around the late 60’s. Other info: The band re-cut the side ‘Bluegrass’ on the Fonotone label, which Joe Bussard owned – it was cut down in Joe’s basement on July 26, 1959 – the flip side being the Bill

Monroe classic ‘Put My Little Shoes Away‘ (Fonotone 617) Lucky Chapman – guitar; Bill Berry* – mandolin; John Duffey – mandolin. The band were working out of WFTR, Royal, VA in 1951, where Frank Esworthy was the bass player. The band consisted of Lucky, Frank (???) & Bill Poffinberger at this time.

(B-573 is an instrumental featuring John Duffy on mandolin. The B side was reissued on STARDAY EP-258.)

The Maryland issue was cut down in Lucky Chapman’s basement – when they received, and listened to the record, they were not happy with the sound – Joe says that Lucky Chapman said that they wished they had cut the sides at Joe’s.

*Paul Chaney, *Bill Berry: They were Bill & Paul The Bluegrass Travelers – who cut an EP on Dixie 981 (Doin’ My Time, Bluegrass Hop, Change Of Heart, Cumberland Valley Special)

Bill Berry was killed over at Brunswick, when coming out of an exit his car was hit by another.

They also cut a record on their own Traveler label: ‘Banjo Stretch’/’Cherished Memories‘ (Traveler 500), cut at Joe Bussard’s Studio.

MISSISSIPPI RECORDS 574HODGES BROTHERS574a rock

Box 101, Osyka, MS (July 1956)

45-574-A – I’m Gonna Rock Some Too

(Ruth Thompson) (Starrite BMI)

45-574-B – Because I Loved You So

(Ruth Thompson) (Starrite BMI)

The Hodges Brothers were one of many old time bluegrass / hillbilly bands that lived in a musical time warp deep in the US south. Rediscovered by Chris Strachwitz of the famed Arhoolie Record Co in 1960, their music still harked back to the twenties and thirties before the great depression.

Originally recording for Lillian McMurray’s Trumpet label, rockabilly fans will be more aware of their gut-kicking monster “Honey Talk” on Whispering Pines 201 from Indianapolis, IN .. But recently, this disc appeared out of nowhere and it knocks that disc into the bleachers. A solid arse kicking country bopper with great guitar work and lovely back-in-the-woods vocals.

All three brothers were born and raised in a small rural settlement called Bogue Chitto, MS. Felix (1923-1979) was the fiddler in the brothers band. Ralph (1927-1976) was the guitar / mandolin player and did most of the singing. James (1932- was the rhythm player. He was still alive in 2003.

STARDAY RECORDS 575 LUCKY WRAY

Washington, DC area

45-575-A – What-Cha Say Honey   575a wray whatcha say honey

(C Davis / J Drew / J Williams) (Action Music BMI)

45-575-B – Got Another Baby 575b got

(L Wray / Cindy Davis) (Starrite BMI)

Another great hillbilly offering (on the A side) and a chugging, almost threatening rocker on the B side. The B side is certainly a musical highlight in anybody’s life. This is the second of 3 45’s they had issued on Starday, leaving the best one ’til last (Starday 608).


—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

All appreciations from Malcolm Chapman’s blogsite devoted to “Starday Custom series”. Used by permission.

Sounds from various sources, mainly from own collection, “Starday Custom” virtual CDs and YouTube.

Frank Evans & his Top Notchers: Tampa, FL., Hillbilly/Rockabilly/Rock’n’Roll (1955-1959)

Frank (born 1940) was singing as a child on WHBO in Tampa, FL. (According to Frank, the radio station was so small, the signal “ … just barely made it over the tree tops”. He was 15 years old when he cut this, his first recording, at the Burdette Sound Studios in Tampa, backed by the Western Hayriders (who were already an established band by this time & included Pete Howell on lead guitar & Dusty Robbins on steel guitar). Frank plays the banjo on these sides. The A side, « I’m Different » (Starday 540), is a nice uptempo number with Frank soloing on the banjo with nice support from both lead & steel guitar. The flipside is a hillbilly weeper. It’s a great debut from an underrated artist.   540a refait

Soon after, Frank formed his Top Notchers and cut « What That Is (That I’m Too Young To Know » (Starday 567) in the spring of 1956: it’s an uptempo ditty with a bluegrass feel (banjo and fiddle upfront), recorded at the tiny WHBO radio station in Tampa. A brief write-up in the June ’56 issue of Country Song Roundup mentions that « Frank Evans and his B-Bar-B Ranch Hands (the name they used when they appeared on TV in St. Petersburg) have recently returned from Nashville where they appeared on the Grand Ole Opry… » It was actually the Junior Opry they appeared on.

st 567B frank evans what is it

The Top Notchers’ next release, « Barrel of Heartaches (Bucket Of Tears » (Starday 602), from late ’56, is their most primitive. Colin Thomas’ steel can be heard for the first time, and Arnold Newman’s lead gets in a few licks, but neither the song nor the performance show much inspiration.

The guys got things together for their next record, however. « Pull The Shades Down Ma » (Starday 645), released around June 1957, is Fifties country music of the sheerest excellence. « Now this city’s dwellin’ just ain’t cut out for me… » sings Frank in his most exuberant vocal on record and the band lays down an infectious rhythm that complements the lyrics perfectly. The song is reminiscent of the cool stuff Little Jimmy Dickens was cutting at the time: fun, full-blooded country that was uncompromisingly rural sounding.

starday 645A Evans pullstarday 645B evans would you believe mestarday 674A evans Patent

starday 674B evans lonesome love


Frank’s next release came only three or four months later. « I’ve Got A Patent (On My Kind Of Love) » (Starday 674) is an uptempo swinger built around a fine « twin guitar » riff from lead and steel (which also gets in a good solo). Like all their records, « I’ve Got A Patent » got little notice except on WHBO. One of the deejays in Tampa who regularly played Frank’s records was Bill Floyd, who recorded the excellent « Hey Boy » for Starday. Local Mack King recorded for Starday as well, and Dixie records Benny Joy was also from the area.

Up to this time, the Top Notchers had pretty much side-stepped rock’n’roll. But in late ’57 or early ’58, Colin Thomas left the band and the guys added a drummer, moving closer to a rockabilly sound. Their final Starday single, « The Ain’t Got Blues » (Starday 719), recorded in the spring of ’58, could be described as low-key rockabilly. Frank’s vocal is not as strong as the previous two releases; nonetheless it’s a good effort. As with Frank’s previous five records, it’s highly probable that only 300 copies were pressed, the standard quantity for Starday customs.

starday 719 frank evans blues

In early ’59, Frank and a guy named Byron Clark set up a small recording studio and label in Tampa called Nugget (Lonzo & Oscar handling the song publishing). The label issued local rock’n’roll bands. The second Nugget release was the Top Notchers’ last, but they went out blazin’ with « Gotta Get Some Money » (Nugget 1001), a solid rocker with guitar and drums to the fore – you wouldn’t know by listening to it that these guys were purely country just a year or so earlier. Alas, it was the poorest seller of their releases: in 1960, it had sold 132 copies! Disillusioned, Frank sold his rights to Byron Clark. He later appeared weekly on Ernie Lee’s TV show.


nuggett 1001A Frank Evans

The ticket out of Tampa came from a phone call from Bill Carlisle, who wanted Frank as thumb-guitar player for a tour. It helped establish him with Nashville musicans. He played circa ’62 with Skeeter Davis and Hawkshaw Hawkins. Later he joined ex-Drifting Cowboys Jerry Rivers in a country-folk-bluegrass band, even cutting an album in ’65 for Starday. Next 25 years saw him in Nashville, both as a musician and a businessman, before returning to Tampa, outside of the business completely. He diied in 2000.

Source: article by Andrew Brown in Hillbilly Researcher # 24 (’80s)

Thanks to Udo Frank for label scans. Nugget scan comes from YouTube.