Howdy, folks ! This is the third fortnight’s favorites selection for 2017, and as usual many a not-so-known artist or recording.
I will focus on a steel guitarist from way up North, TINY MURPHY, originally from Kentucky. He cut with his Bar 69 Boys two discs on the Chicago blues label United, a fact not so uncommon for the era (early ’50s) when small specialized labels didn’t hesitate to « cross » the invisible barrier between Hillbilly and Rhythm’n’Blues. United (founded by a Lou Simpkins) had in its stable several well-known artists like Roosevelt Sykes, Robert Nighthawk or Tab Smith and Jimmy Forrest. Tiny Murphy would cut 4 sides late 1952 for them, whose 3 are here. Vocally same, as Murphy sings in a semi-spoken style, very usual at this time ; jazzy sounding for « It’s all your fault » (# 132) and « Nicotine fits ». The latter was a ‘cover’ of Ramblin’ Jimmie Dolan who had issued May 1952 his original version on Capitol 2244. Then an instrumental, « Hot steel » (# 136) is a fast showcase for Murphy, who evokes various steel guitar virtuosi of the era, without forgetting himself ! Enclosed is a rare French issue coupling “Nicotine fits boogie” and “Hot steel boogie“, much rarer than the original United U.S. counterpart..
Ramblin’ Jimmie Dolan “Nicotine fits”
We found Tiny Murphy later on the Ronel label (# 109) in the same style for « 42 », while the flipside « I just can’t imagine » is a bit crooning, with an accordion backing (1954). After this issue, the track goes cold. One more detail : Tiny Murphy was steel player for Dolph Hewitt at an unknown occasion.
In April 2016, there was a selection of TOMMY RIDDLE (« Rayford line » on the Staircase label, from 1961). Today there’s an earlier track cut in Portsmouth, VA, with his Melody Boys for the Cactus label (#108B) , « When you kiss me darling ». All is said with the mention on the label : « Vocal with Hillbilly swing ».
“When you kiss me darling”
Then a 1956 medium-paced Hillbilly bopper by BILL GUYTON & the Tennessee Playboys on the Pride label (# 3000) « I’ve got a little time for loving », location unknown. Fine piano and steel backing over a convincing vocal. Alas, the track is incomplete, cut @ 1’52 », taken from « HillbillyBoogie1 » Youtube chain.
Finally a Starday custom from New York on the Reed (# 802) label (not the Alabama one) : BILL LOOP and his Seneca Indian Boys and «My Foolish heart » has a rural sound and a nice vocal. Disc from September 1959.
“My foolish heart”