Black Jack Wayne, Bay Area Country-rock (1957-1960)

Black Jack Wayne

Born: February 8, 1923

Died: June 30, 1999

California Hayride

KEEN San Jose, CA

KVSM San Mateo, CA

Along the way, we’ll find artists who cause some discussion back and forth or even some debate. No, not about their music, but about the details of their career. We’ve already seen some discussion on this fellow in an exchange of emails. But, somehow we stumbled across an issue of Cowboy Songs from December 1957 that had a column written by Imogene Ellwanger who provides some tidbits. And a few other mentions elsewhere, too.

It has proven difficult to find something other than this short biography taken from hillbilly-music.com site. Black Jack Wayne (real last name  : Shults) was a native of Oklahoma who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area when he was 14. He started guitar playing as a hobby but later on down the road, it became part of his career. He had an injury of some type and came back to the Bay Area and decided to join his brother’s band, the “Rattlesnake Ramblers”.

In 1950 he and his younger brother Chuck «  Charles  » bought the «  Garden of Allah  » nightclub, located in Niles, north of Hayward-Oakland Highway. They hired country artist Ed Cima to transform the Garden by painting cartoon cowboys and western scenes in a whimsical mural over the walls. He also hand painted the ceiling to look like the Taj Mahal. They tried to change the name but people wouldn’t accept it, so it remained the Garden of Allah.?In its heyday, the Garden catered to rock and roll fans on Friday nights, country western lovers on Saturdays and square dancers on Sundays. In mid-1956, he had three daily shows over the all-western radio station KVSM out of San Mateo, California. And a one hour show over television station KOVR with the “Bar 10 Ranch Boys”.

Black Jack and the Bar-10 Ranch Boys had several recordings in 1954 on the Cavalier label. Back then their latest release was “A Dream Just Won’t Do” along with “Nip or Two” (# 839) or Jack’s brother Chuck Wayne‘s «  Mean Mean Mean  » (# 836). The latter seems to be the Bud Hobbs song.

Later on in her column, Ms. Ellwanger mentions that KOVR, Channel 13 in Stockton, had two Western music shows on the air. One show had Glenn Stepp and his band. The other had Black Jack Wayne and his “Bar 11 Ranch Boys”. Black Jack had also started a live radio show from the Garden of Allah nightclub he owned that was broadcast over KEEN every Saturday night. She also wrote that there was a possibility that the “California Hayride” might start a show originating from the Garden of Allah every Friday night over Channel 13 in Stockton.

In 1955 on the Spur label we found Charles (Chuck) Wayne for two solid Hardrock Gunter type hillbilly rockers (hillbilly bop with a dose of western swing), «  Rockin’ Rollin’ Rhythm  » and “Rodeo Time Is Here  » # 1245), and maybe more with «  The Golden Key  » (# 1248).

In 1957, per a column in Cowboy Songs by Imogene Chapman, we find that Black Jack had his own record label – Black Jack. And around that time, had put out his first recording, “Time Stole My Empire” b/w “Shallow Water Blues”  : the latter being a strong fast bluesy number. Tom Hall and Terry Fell helped on the record with their guitar and harmonica. At the time, they mentioned that you could order the record from Black Jack in care of radio station KVSM in San Mateo, California. No coincidence that Ms. Chapman might mention Black Jack, for in the same issue featuring “Stars on the Horizon”, she is listed as the president of his ‘fast-growing’ and ‘real-active’ fan club.

Later on, we found a mention on Channel 2, KTVU, now of the Fox Network, on the Bayinsider.com… “Not all of KTVU’s local programming was noteworthy or long-lasting. There was The Black Jack Wayne Show, a western variety show…”

 

 

 

In the KVSM studio (San Mateo), Black Jack Wayne cut in 1957 his next record « What Makes Me Hang Around  » and backed Rose and Cal Maddox on «  Gotta Travel On  »  (Black Jack 104). Medium honky tonk (nice guitar), with Jack vocally fronting, backed on chorus by Rose. His cooperation with the Maddoxes led him to offer them «  Ugly & Slouchy  » (Columbia 40836)

In 1959 Chuck Wayne had «  Wishing/Thank You Call Again  » on Ozark 963, both pop country. Incidentally the latter was written by two comperes of the Rural Rhythm days, Johnny O’Neal and Johnny Tyler. Black Jack Wayne and the Roving Gamblers backed Bill Carter on «  Baby Brother  ». B-side, «  Ride, Gunman, Ride  », was a Jack Wayne original. Chuck Wayne had his last known recordings in 1959 on Black Jack 106 with «  I’m Sending You Some Roses  /Blue Moon Waltz  » (untraced record).

Black Jack Wayne had several interesting records on Cheyenne, among them «  Dancing With A Stranger  » (# 114) in 1960, before a couple on Big West and a solitary issue in 1962 on Decca. Charles Wayne also backed Mel Dorsey («  Little Lil  » rocker) on Black Jack.

sources: main source was “hillbilly-music.com” site. Many Youtube label shots. And a lot of research! I am not THAT satisfied with this article.

early November 2011 fortnight’s favourites

For this new rendez-vous, I’ve chosen three tracks from the ’50s, then one from…1978, the remainder being from the ’30s.

First, JOHNNY NELMS on Azalea 015/016 (Houston label), “After Today” is his finest hour, raw, emotional honky tonk. The uncredited backing band here is Peck Touchton‘s Sunset Wranglers, which includes Doug Myers (fiddle), Herman McCoy (guitar), Hoyt Skidmore (steel guitar), and George Champion (piano). I add in the podcasts his Starday offering, “Everything Will Be Alright” (# 228) from 1956. He already had records on Gold Star, Freedom, and later (briefly) on Decca. Nothing but a plain Country boy, who never made it…

Johnny Nelms (Azalea,Starday)NelmsAzaleaBBJuly16,55

Then, from the Cincinnati area, one JIMMIE WILLIAMS, I know nothing about, except this little record on the Acorn label (# 153). Here it is his original “Hey, Hey Little Dreamboat“, a nice, uptempo Hillbilly bop. Apparently the man had nothing to do with later Arkansas rocker of “You’re Always Late” fame.

acorn 154 jimmie williams hey, dreamboaternie chaffin

From Nashville TN, April 1954, when young ERNIE CHAFFIN entered the Hickory studios, nothing really happened with his four sides; I somehow find some freshness in his “I Can’t Lose The Blues”  (# 1024). Shortly after, he was to launch, with his steel player Pee Wee Maddux, the Fine label in Biloxi, MS. before moving in 1956 to Sun in Memphis.

That’s it for the ’50s! Now with a legend, ROSE MADDOX, taken live from Youtube (I just kept the sound track), for an old Jimmie Rodgers’ song, “Muleskinner Blues“. The Lady does it perfectly!

Onto the ’30s. First with ex-Governor of Louisiana (twice!) JIMMIE DAVIS. He sang Hillbilly as early as the late ’20s. Here you get his rendition of the traditional “When The Saints“, under the title “Down At The Old Country Church” (recorded Charlotte, NC, 1931), with Ed Shaffer on the lap-steel guitar. Full of emotion… jimmie davis 30-40

Finally, from 1936 comes a one-time associate to Davis, his Black bottleneck guitar player, OSCAR WOODS. Here he sings, on a funny cartoon, “Don’t Sell It – Give It Away“. The whole thing, recorded in New Orleans, sounds very much Western swing! Magic of internet to find those gems…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pjYT9RME80&feature=share

Maddox Brothers & Rose

 

Maddox Brothers & Rosemaddox-arhoolie2

They promoted themselves as «The Most Colorful Hillbilly Group In America », and no one would deny that their various western stage outfits emcompassed all the hues of the rainbow. They were a reasonably talented bunch of singers and, albeit rudimentory musicians, they were filled with an endless stream of adrenaline, a riotous sense of humour and vitality, which was leavened with just the right blend of musical exuberance. In Rose Maddox the band had a totally atypical female vocalist. No shy retiring song thrush she, Rose had grown up the rough edge of town, she was street wise and took no shit from anyone. Her whole demeanour was a gal who would smack you one in the mouth if you stepped out of line. (more…)