This first batch of duets will concentrate on bopping Bluegrass tunes. Indeed the choice of tunes is entirely mine, and I post the ones I like very much. The main instruments, as expected, are fiddle and banjo or mandolin, all pushing often an urgent vocal.
The DIXIE DRIFTERS were a small Bluegrass group from Houston, TX ; actually they were the first one to make Bluegrass music so far from Kentucky or Tennessee. Hank Wilson (guitar/vocal & composer) was the leader when they cut « Lies, lies and alibis », a fast ditty on the Minor label (# 112). Enjoy the dobro part! (According to ARLD, this record came out in October 1958). No label scan available, sorry: I’ve just got the music from a Tom Sims’ cassette. Earlier on the boys had another issue on Azalea 110, same style (« Gone forever »). Hank Wilson, as “Slim Wilson” recorded probably one more single for Minor (# 117)”The ring around your finger/Bring a wall around Texas“. And I really don’t know if Hank Wilson and Leon Russell are the same person.
Way up north with the THOMAS BROTHERS (Melvin and Erwin) for an oustanding « Way high, way low » on the Hammond, IN. Mar-Vel’ label (# 355 from 1956). Each voice (3 actually) compete strongly : the highpitched, then the bass man, finally the medium singing « Right in the middle, that’s where I want to be ». A pity they never had another issue. March 22,2018. Actually I found a clip of their EP on Atwell 173, “Let The Light Shine Down“, below.
Third we have a decisive ‘Vocal duet’ on the label : Rena 803 (sub-label to Cozy) from Ripley, WV by RALPH & RUTH. « Hard hearted girl», great rhythm guitar. It’s difficult to assume a date for the issue, maybe late ’50s, or even 1961, as suggested by HillbillyCountry45 (Youtube).
From Pico, California on the Sundown label # 106 : TOMMY GUESS & BILL LOWE do give a lot of energy in their « My foolish heart ». Mandolin solo. They disappeared afterwards 1958. March 22,2018. I’ve added a clip of the flipside, “Unwanted and Alone“. Enjoy!
A beautiful harmony with the NASH BROTHERS, probably from Georgia on the Peach label (# 569) : « My prescription refilled » from March 1959.
Howdy, folks! En route for the new cartload of bopping Hillbillies/Rockabillies and white rockers (this time), plus the usual R&B rocker. First two tunes are by WEBB FOLEY, from Fort Wayne, Indiana it seems. He had “Bee bop baby” on Emerald 2013 in 1957 (flip side is “You ought make records“, listed as “C&W”, alas I didn’t track it down). Rockabilly and that’s all, topical lyrics, good rhythm. Next year he was to have a white rocker “Little bitty mama” (Emerald EP 750), a good one. BUT, beware of his sides on the M label (“Strange little girl/One by one” and “Little town Xmas”), they’re awful! More on Emerald next fortnight.
Next artist must have been a local one, as his label: Royal 100, for COUSIN KEITH LOYD (sic). He cut “Dangerous crossing” (1955?) certainly having in mind Billy Strange’s “Diesel smoke” from a pair of years earlier. Cousin Keith Loyd “Dangerous crossing“
I return to MARVIN RAINWATER. I did celebrate his death last month with one of his most known tracks, “Mr. Blues“. Now I’ve chosen “So you think you’ve got troubles” (MGM 12420), cut a coupe of years later, and a fast good side of its own.
Marvin Rainwater “So you think you’ve got troubles”
BILL LOWE was from West Coast, and cut for the interesting small label Sundown. There he had at least two issues, the one here (# 117), “You set my heart on fire“, a very nice late ’50s hillbilly. Lowe had a duet with TOMMY GUESS, also on Sundown, “Foolish heart” (# 106 – I include it in the podcasts, having copied it from an old Tom Sims’ cassette).
Finally a great R&B Rocker by FLASH TERRY, “ She’s my baby” on the Southbay label (# 500), obviously a S.F. issue. Just take a look at the logo: Southbay must have been inspired by Starday (3 stars). Flash Terry “She’s my baby”
Note (Nov. 30th, 2015) from Steve Gronda: “The Flash Terry on Southbay was bootlegged from my original 45 on Suncoast, a Tampa label run by Doc Castellanos, a local bar owner. Southbay, was based in South Pasadena Florida, about 30 miles from Doc’s bar in Tampa and released this record around 1979.. About 1,000 copies were pressed. The original owner of Suncoast records had no memory of Flash Terry, nor any records or tapes when approached in the early ’70’s by collector Lynn Burnette.”
Enjoy the selections. Any comment or addition/correction welcome!