En route for a new batch of goodies. I hope you will have as much pleasure to listen to them (or download) as I had chosing them.
Here we go with the same song, a Bluegrass bopper, by its originators first, DON RENO & RED SMILEY in 1957 (banjo and guitar, I’d assume) for King # 5002 : « Country boy rock and roll » combines the energy of both musics for a stupendous number. Two years later, the same tune was revived by a small Maryland duet, FRANKIE SHORT and DEE GUNTER on the Wango label # 200. A very fine version, even faster than the original.
Don Reno, Red Smiley “Country boy rock and roll“
We go up north now for the pure Hillbilly bop beat of « Niagara moon » (Niagara 53727) by ERIC & JOHNNY & Lincoln County Peach Pickers.
Back to Nashville and the Excello label. Indeed it was famous for its Blues and R&B releases, but it had also the odd hillbilly number, for example here RAY BATTS (# 2028) for the great relaxed « Stealin’ sugar ». Batts was also on Bullet and Nashboro.
For this new serie I have chosen to focus on 7 releases on the Imperial label. Indeed they all will be from the famous 8000 serie, and more precisely (with one exception) in the 8200.
Imperial 8000 had begun in 1947 with releases from Danny Dedmon or Link Davis, and the serie had pursued throughout the late 40s and early 50s with varying success. Sides appeared by Jimmy Heap, Tommy Duncan or more obscure artists as Ed Camp or Harry Rodcay. All had a label adorned by 5 stars, and were issued in red (78 rpm) or blue (45 rpm). Majority of sides were cut in Dallas (Jim Beck’s studio).
In 1953, Imperial had a huge success with the first white cover of Big Mama Thornton’s “Hound Dog” by BILLY STARR (# 8186). It’s a very nice version: belting vocal, haunting guitar, nice piano and accentuated drums. Actually it’s almost a rocker. Recorded in March 1953, it had contenders by Eddie Hazlewood, Betsy Gay and Tommy Duncan, all on Intro. Herald in NY had Cleve Jackson’s version (actually Jackson Toombs — full story elsewhere in the site).
Then comes up CURLEY SANDERS, who cut “Too much loving'” in April 53. A good, fast hillbilly, in average (steel,piano, fiddle, guitar and bass) format.(# 8226). GENE HENSLEE next (# 8204) in June 53 had “I’m like a kid a-waitin'”, similar to his other releases, “Dig’n’datin'” or “Rockin’ baby”. July 1953 saw cut the nice, very effective (bass) medium paced “Talking to the man in the moon” by BILLY Mc GHEE (# 8214).
Howdy, folks! We begin way up North, in Wisconsin, with the very first record by a singer who had to wait 11 years more before fame with “Six Days On The Road“! Yes, DAVE DUDLEY cut numerous discs before his giant hit of 1963. Did you know the original version was recorded by a certain PAUL DAVIS on the Nashville Bulletin label in 1961? If you want to hear it, just type his name on the research button. Well, back to Dave Dudley. Here is his “Nashville Blues“, firmly founded on Hillbilly Bop.
courtesy Al Turner
On the West Coast, 1956. DERAL CLOUR (& Charley Drake) recorded the fine “Sundown (Boogie)” for the scarce HU-SE-CO label. A superior medium boogie guitar backed, and a very atmospheric echoey duet vocal, “crazy ’bout the boogie when the sun goes down….”
In the South (Texas?). Imperial records for BILLY McGHEE and “I’m Your Henpecked Man“. This was 1953. McGhee was to have 5 more discs on the label; I don’t know what happened to him afterwards.
BOB POTTER & the Wear Family were apparently from California and cut the odd custom sides for Rural Rhythm. Here it is their good uptempo “Leavin’ And Laughin’” from 1956.
Just another duet, among millions: the GAY BROTHERS. Harold & Carl cut in 1953 the great “You Locked Up My Heart” in Houston for Dan Mechura’s Allstar label: a fast bopper and a stunning fiddle.
ZEKE CLEMENTS was an early Grand Ole Opry star who had many records late ’40s and early ’50s. Here I’ve chosen the good uptempo “I’m Goin’ Steppin’ With You” issued on his own Janet EP label.