Jitterbugging baby: the short story of David Ray Smith (1956-58)

David Ray, a top singer and song stylist of Texas/Oklahoma Rockabilly and Honky-tonk, was born Oscar Ray Smith in Duncan, Oklahoma on March 14, 1934. When he was at an early age, his faùily moved to Roswell, New Mexico. At age 8, he learned to play guitar, and in his youth became friends with Lefty Frizzell, who on many occasions invted David to his recording sessions. In 1950, the family moved back to Duncan, and David formed a country music band. Early employment included aD.J. Program on radio station KRHD, and a live show on Channel 12, KXII-TV. How he got the forname “David” is unknown.

David Ray got his first records on Heart (# 245), a Four Star custom label out of Oklahoma, in 1956. Two fine sincere Hillbilly duets by himself and Johnny Doggett, « Farewell goodbye » and « Maybe I should have cheated too » ; then two Rockabillies (Ray Smith solo) « Gone baby gone » and « Swinging boogie », both fine rockers (# 250). Many thanks to John Burton (53jaybop) for posting these songs on Youtube.
heart 244 farewell

heart 244 maybe

heart 250 gone baby gone

heart 250 swinging boogie
Johnny & RayFarewell goodbye download
Johnny & RayMaybe I should have cheated too
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Johnny-And-Ray-2-Maybe-I-Should-Have-Cheated-Too-HEART-RECORDS-OP-244-45.mp3download

Ray SmithGone baby gonedownload

Ray SmithSwinging boogiedownload

In 1957 he signed a recording contract as David Ray with Gainesville, Texas recording executive Joe M. Leonard, Jr. His early recordings of « Jitterbugging baby » and « Lonesome baby blues » (Kliff 101 and 105) were instant successes on the Kliff Records label. Not only did Ray’s first records releases sell well in the United States, but they attained immense success in Europe when reissued by Ronnie Weiser on his Rollin’ Rock label. Personal for these sessions were Johnny Baggett or Joe Dean Evans on guitar and Paul Jorgenson on bass, including a wild piano player.

kliff 101 lonesome baby

 

kliff 105 jitterbugging baby

 

kliff 105 lonesome feeling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David RayLonesome baby blues” (original version)download

David RayLonesome baby blues”(Kliff)download

David RayJitterbugging babydownload

 

 

Other songs were « Lonesome feeling » and the less fast, almost poppish « I’m a fool », while « All the time », « Why can’t you and I », « No, oh no », all ballads, « Too fast, too wild » and the original gutsy, less fast « Lonesome baby blues » were withheld until their release on Collectables.
David RayLonesome feelingdownload

David RayWhy can’t you and Idownload
In 1962 Ray Smith had a Country-rocker « A place within my heart » on the Toppa label (# 1071)
, honest honky tonk, a far cry from his Kliff sides (Thanks to Uncle Gil to have provided this song). Alexander Petrauskas points out this may be a different artist, because of songwriting credits. Thanks, Alex!

toppa 1071

 

Ray SmithA place within my heartdownload

Since David Ray’s voice has remained strong and vibrant over the years, Leonard productions decided to record him on some new Texas songs. In August 1993 a session was held in Tyler, Texas. The songs were « Long cold winter », « You make my day », « Ways of a woman » and « Package deal ». The musicians were Ronnie Redd (keyboards), Jim Holley (bass), Greg Hough (drums), Bobby Garrett (steel guitar), Donny McDuff and Jerry Tiner (electric guitars), Ken Shepherd harmonica and rhythm guitar) as well as Lonnie Wright (producer, engineer and rhythm guitar). Back-up vocalist : David’s ex-wife, Lavinia Smith.

David RayYou make my daydownload

 

David Ray was then living near Ft. Worth, Texas, where he continued to compose and entertain. He died in 1997.

 

Freely adapted from the notes to Collectables CD 5770.david Ray Smith