Howdy, folks! Back from holydays on Italian Ligurian Riviera. Believe me, it’s hot over there, nice small towns beyond the sea but not bopping music at all, aaargh! A nice not-feeling-at-home anyhow, that’s the most important. Hope you all had good holydays too, and ready to embark for more work, more trouble – world do seem to go head-over-heels. Fortunately we have the music!
Let’s begin this favourites’ return with a strange item: a fair Hillbilly on a Boston, East Coast label. Al Hawkes had launched his Event label in Feb. ’56, recording first only Country, thus KEN FAIRLIE (# 4264) for “The Table’s Turned” – nice fiddle, and smooth vocal for a very short (1’42) tune. Later on, Hawkes would have on his stable Rockabillies/Rockers Curtis Johnson, Ricky Coyne, even young Dick Curless. Recently I posted the LLOYD McCOLLOUGH story, and repeat here one of his finest songs on the Nashville/Los Angeles EKKO label (which published in its short existence very important discs by the likes of Jess Willard, The Cochran Brothers or Johnny Tyler): “Until I Love Again” (# 1023). Entire output of McCollough can be found on a U.K. Stompertime CD. Next record he had was Rockabilly on the Nashville Republic label. This Ekko release is from ’55.
From Raymondville, Texas comes FLETCHER HANNA, with Joe “Red” Hainer and the Ozark Playboys, for the nice shuffling “Hepcat Boogie” – topical lyrics, references to “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Blue Suede Shoes“, and a very short slap bass solo – on the Valley 101 label (not to be confused with the Tennessee label of the same name – remember Reece Shipley or Darrell Glenn). Very good atmospheric (steel guitar) record. Must be from ’56.
From California on the Happy Hearts label (a very rich and interesting one), JIMMY HAYES with the Coney Ridge Ramblers for “Tom Cat Boogie” (# 141) from as late as 1961. Another shuffler with a good guitar player, who makes some nice licks.
Now on the legendary Dixie label. BILL WILLIS had Starday custom releases, such as “Boogie Woogie All Night” or “Goin’ Down To Sal’s House” (Dixie 502) (respectively on Ace or Collector CDs). Here, he is vocal duetted (Goldie Norris?) on a rattlesnake-drummed “Where Is My Baby“. Nothing spectacular, just an ordinary ’57 Southern record.
Finally a real R&B blaster! YOUNG JESSIE in a New York session with Mickey Baker on guitar and Sam “The Man” Taylor on tenor saxophone – added by (unknown) baritone sax, bass and drummer, for the fantastic “Hit, Git And Split” for the Modern label. Why this was not a hit is a mystery: without doubt, the barrier of racism in ’56 and the savagery of the record, which must have been banned by radio stations, even in the Alan Freed’s territory. One of the real all-time R&B rockers classics!
Next fortnight early October – I will be out of town by mid-September.