Early June 2021 bopping fortnight’s favorites (at last, the return)

TOM TALL was a West coast country personality, who cut many a record. Here we go with one of his first ones, on the Fabor label (# 123)( 1955) with the average bopping « Underway ». Later on he went frankly Rockabilly on Crest Records (# 1038) in February 1958 with the classic « Stack-a-records » – « I got records here, I got records there, all over the place, but I am looking for the one that my baby likes to hear, where the guitar plays so fine -it goes (then solo) ». Great, great record !

Hello everybody ! Well I’m not dead, but found myself in the hs)pital for the pas t5 months, after a serious illness. Thanks a lot to anyone who took time to encourage me and express care for my welfare. This means a lot to me. Anyway I’m back and ready to entertain you with mroe and more bopping music. Here we go :

Litterally nothing is known on the next artist, JIMMY THORPE, except he recorded for the King sub-label DeLuxe in 1953, so probaby in Cincinnati : « Locked in My Heart » (# 2006).

Trepur was a small label from La Grandenge, Georgia, which issued in te late ’50s some great records, e.g. “Milkman Blues” ‘1006, November 1958) by CHUCK JOYCE & his Chain and his Chain Gang, then “The Moon Won’t Tell” (1005, June 1958) , aimed at Country-rock aficionados for his good piano, by CHUCK GODDARD.

An all-time favorite of mine (since Tom Sims’ cassettes in the ’80s) is KEN HAMMOCK ‘ « It’s Now Or Never » (Starday 370) from 1960. Nice vocal and guitar.

We come to an end with, again on the West coast, with LYNN HOWARD and her « Red Thunderbird » on Accent 1044 from 1960.

As usual, various sources. Trepur sides do come from an old White label album ; Jimmy Thorpe and Lynn Howard from internet.

a Southern voiceless artist: guitar player Ken Hammock (1958)

Ken Hammock on Starday-Dixie

Ken Hammock is certainly not a household name in music history – even in collector scenes he is an obscure figure. Only two record releases – one on Dixie and the other on Starday – were his contribution to American music but nevertheless, these recordings are now sought after collector items.

Hammock first appeared in the late 1940s, when he was a member of the Tennessee Valley Boys led by Clyde Grubb. This group was possibly the same that was a featured act on the Grand Ole Opry and recorded on Victor sometimes after 1942. May it as it be, Hammock left the band around the summer of 1948 and founded his own act, which he called the “Tennessee Valley Gang.” Members of the gang included H.J. Keck (fiddle/guitar), Ray West (guitar), Jimmy Wisher (“hot guitar” as called in Billboard), Jimmie Brewer (guitar), Johnnie Brewer (bass) with Hammock possibly on lead guitar.

In 1948, they performed on a tent show and joined WGAP in Maryville, Tennessee, in January 1949. The next nine years are a blanket in Hammock’s career since there is no mention of him performing. He appeared in 1958 on the Dixie label with a rockabilly instrumental called “Blue Guitar Jump” with Hammock taking over the lead guitar. By then, a singer called Hugh Lewis was a member of the group and he is the one who can be heard on Hammock’s second single, “Now or Never” b/w “Gotta Find Some Way” for Starday. Both tracks were solid Country performances. These tracks were possibly recorded in Ashland, Kentucky.

Hammock again disappeared for a while. In 1970, there was a Ken Hammock who accompanied the Bailey Brothers on some of their recordings in Knoxville, Tennessee, backing the duo up on string bass. There’s no indication that this is the same musician.


Dixie 45-2009: Blue Guitar Jump / Angel in Person

Starday 45-370: Now or Never / Gotta Find Some Way

Recordings with the Bailey Brothers

These recordings were released on Old Homestead LP OHCS 138 in 1982

Knoxville, Tennessee, in June 1970

Charlie Bailey (vcl/mand), Danny Bailey (gtr/vcl), Ken Hammock (bs)

“Mary of the Wild Moor”

“Jack and Mae”


“The Sweetest Gift”

“Where No Cabins Fall”

“He’s Still Knocking”

“Step Out in the Sunlight”

“I’d Rather Have Jesus”

“Blow Your Whistle Freight Train”

“Knoxville Girl”

Beside that, nothing is known about Ken Hammock.  The Starday issue (“Now Or Never“, # 370) is a great mid-tempo Hillbilly bop side. Electric bass, guitar constantly chanting around Hugh Lewis’ vocal. A great tune!

I really don’t know where I picked this story up! Someone can help? Yes, Alexander Petrauskas did! The article was first published in his site:  http://hillbillycountry.blogspot.com. but without pictures and sounds. Thank Alexander!