This is the first fortnight’s favorites section for 2017, and we begin with a curious record : by CLIFF FERRÉ, « A cocky cowboy » on the Kem label (California). It’s a fast Western swing flavored number.
“A cocky cowboy”
in March 1946 (# 527), and which everybody knows. Strong similarity with Arthur Smith‘s « Guitar boogie » from 1945. Next « Hillbilly boogie » (apart from Jerry Irby on M-G-M from 1948, and which is an entirey different track) was done by a Tennessean, ANDY WILSON on the Dot label (# 1127) : an energetic perfomance including steel and piano. Its flipside, « Lonesome for my baby », is equally good, although more melodic.
Andy Wilson: “Hlllbilly boogie”
“Lonesome for my baby”
RAY WHITLEY (1901-1979) seemingly on the East coast is present with two tracks : « Jukebox cannonball » on Cowboy # 301 from 1947 : a lovely piece of Bop, which reminds me of Hank Williams‘ early sides. One composer name, that of Rusty Keefer, brings to Philadelphia and Bill Haley’s version on Essex 311 (January 1952). A long biography of Ray Whitley is to be found on YouTube: Johnn Maddy chain.
Jesse Rogers “Jukebox cannonball”
Whitley also had in 1949 another great number, « You’re barkin’ up the wrong tree now », on Apollo 195. An insistant crazy fiddle rivalling with an excellent guitar over a warm voice. This was a Hank Willams/Fred Rose compostion. At least the title was renewed in December 1956 in the hands of DON WOODY (Decca 30277) who takes his song at a brisk speed for a true Rockabilly classic, full of amusing barks. Great guitar of Grady Martin.
Ray Whitley “You’re barkin’ up the wrong tree now”
Don Woody,”You’re barking up the wrong tree”
On the West coast now with JIMMIE LAWSON. He does a fine shuffler, « Tennessee blues » (Columbia 20477) from July 1947. Much later on the Fable label, in 1957 (# 584) he had « Ole Jack Hammer blues », a strong medium paced rocker with great guitar (Sandy Stanton, owner of Fable records?).
“Ole Jack Hammer blues”
Finally a R&B rocker by the ‘one-man-band’ JOE HILL LOUIS from Memphis, TN. In 1949 he released « A jumpin’ and a shufflin’ », a song obviously cut for dancers (Columbia 30182).
“A jumpin’ and a’ shufflin’”
Sources : 45cat, 78rpm world for Ray Whitley ; YouTube for Joe Hill Louis and Andy Wilson ; Willem Agenant’s « Columbia 20000 serie » for Jimmie Lawson. Also Roots Vinyl Guide sometimes.