Howdy folks! Plain hot summer, so it’s time for a few more Hillbilly bop/Rockabilly tunes. Note that I will take holidays during this month, so next fortnight early September.
From California first, CHUCK HENDERSON and the fine, steel-guitar dominated 1959 romper “Rock And Roll Baby” on the Ozark label. No more info available.
Grover Franklin “BIG JEFF” Bess is a Nashville legend. He sold beer, cure-all tonics and baby chicks on the Gallatin, TN, WLAC radio from 1946 for 16 years. Appeared in two Elia Kazan films and owned several night clubs, e. g. the famous Nashville’s Orchid Lounge Club. Virtually every major session player in Nashville was a member of The Radio Playboys at one time or another. In fact, the great Grady Martin started out playing fiddle for Big Jeff in the early days. He had records on World, Cheker (sic) and Dot, and today his 1951 “Step It Up And Go” stands as one of the most early Rockabillies. I’ve chosen his first on Dot, “Juke Box Boogie” (1004), strong guitar, and a swinging tight combo.
Indeed Bess has his own CD on Bear Family 16941 “Tennessee Home Brew“, which gathers all his issued sides, plus a lot of unissued or radio extracts. Big Jeff’s story is intended in the future in Bopping.
Then, from a Dutchman’s Collector comp’, KELLY WEST & His Friendly Country Boys and the great “Grandpa Boogie“. Don’t know anything about the original label, or which part of the U.S. it came from. I’d assume 1954-55. Fine fiddle (a solo) and lead guitar. On to Nashville again, this time late ’50s on the aptly named Starday subsidiary Nashville: KEN CLARK offers a folky “Truck Driving Joe” (very early issue on the label, 5009 – he had a 45 on Starday earlier) with a nice steel-guitar, typical of the late ’50s.
From Cincinnati, OH, on the King label (# 1403) and a 4-tracks session (held Oct. 15, 1954) comes the very good “Oo-Ee Baby” by RALPH SANFORD. Typical King instrumentation for this medium uptempo Hillbilly bop. The singer is unknown to me elsewhere, here in fine form.
On July 19, the famous, although long-forgotten LIL GREENWOOD passed away at 86. I enclose a Youtube snippet of a September 2007 live gig, “Back To My Roots“. She’s in real fine form! For more information on her, go to:http://inabluemood.blogspot.com/2011/07/lil-greenwood-former-ellington-vocalist.html
Enjoy the selections!
Lil Greenwood selection: