late May 2014 fortnight favorites

This time we focus on 3 artists only. First DARNELL MILLER, who has enjoyed a comfortable Country music career for 5 decades in W. Va (a long-time affiliate to the famous WVA Jamboree), is present here with three of his early records. On the Dale label (a Starday custom) # 630 from Bluefield, W.Va, in May 1957, he released a very honest medium-paced hillbilly (fiddle present) with “Gettin’ out of the woods“. Two years later, he was to have two nice Country-rockers on the main Starday serie (in the meantime, he had been presented to Don Pierce, boss of the label, in Nashville). He delivers the energetic “Royal flush” (Starday 422) as well, several months later, the equally nice (where he seems to double his voice over) “Back to you” (Starday 459). Later on, he cut many, many records until his retirement early in the 2000s.

DarnellMillerPicture1

Darnell Miller, ’90s

630-B (dale) darnellmiller gettin' out of the woods

starday 422 darnell miller royal flush

starday 452 darnell miller back to you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darnell MillerGettin’ out of the woods download

Darnell MillerRoyal flushdownload

Darnell MillerBack to youdownload

 

The second artist presented here has no biographical data. BILL DUDLEY had cut in Nashville a good amount of records from 1953 to 1972 (in Canada) then disappeared from Dick Grant’s antennas. I’ve chosen the nice hillbilly released in November 1953 by Capitol (# 2662) “If I cry“. All in all, he recorded between 1953 and 1954 thirteen tracks for this label, which issued 4 singles. The next track by him is the fine Country-rocker “Oh please Mr. Conductor” on the Todd label (# 1046) from 1959. This tiny label issued several good disks during this period by Lee Bonds, Jimmie Fletcher or Jericho Jones, to name the most well-known in the Hillbilly bop/Country-rock field.capitol 2662 bill dudley - If I cry
Bill DudleyIf I crydownload

todd 1046 bill dudley oh please mr. conductor

Bill DudleyOh please Mr. Conductordownload
Down in Louisiana, I will dwell on JOEY GILLS upon. A protégé of Jay D. Miller, and né Joseph Guillot, he hailed from Thibodeaux vicinity, La. where he was born on a farm in 1929 (died 2013).A relative to Cajun superstar Johnnie Allan, during the early ’50s, he often gigged with Rusty & Doug, and he sounded so much as Hank Williams that J. D. Miller often used him to test new songs. Here it is his first record from 1953-54 “Hey Meon” (Feature 2002), cut in Crowley, La (J. D. Miller studio): Gills is backed by Lonnie Jones (later known as “Lazy Lester“) on washboard, Johnny on steel (Miller can’t remember his full name) and Wiley Barkdull on piano for a very good waltz-paced ditty, partly sung in French. In February or March 1956, he cut 4 tracks for Mercury, either in Crowley, or in Nashville, which included the great medium boppers “(I am) Like a dog without a bone”, “My name is Joe” and “Consolation prize“. From then on, Gills had his own radio show in Thibodeaux on KTIB, but recorded only this song (found on Youtube).
Joey Gills: “Hey Meon
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/feature-2002-Joey-Gills-Hey-Meon.mp3download
Joey Gills “Like a dog without a bone”
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Joey-Gills-Im-Like-A-Dog-Without-A-Bone-1956.mp3download
Joey GillsMy name is Joe
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/06-My-Name-Is-Joe-Joey-Gills.mp3ref=”http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/06-My-Name-Is-Joe-Joey-Gills.mp3″ target=”_blank”>download
Joey GillsConsolation prizedownload
Joey GillsBaby, leave your troubles at home
http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Baby-Leave-Your-Troubles-At-Home-Joey-Gills.mp3downloadmercury 70867 gills a dogmercury 70832 Gills Joe recadrée

feature 2002 joey gills hey meon

Starday custom 626-650 (April-July 1957), part 6 of this serie

STARDAY RECORDS 626                                BILLIE and GORDON HAMRICK with the Low County Gospel Band April 1957

45-626-A – Gonna See My Lord Someday626A (Starday) billie & gordon hamrick gonna see my lord someday

(Nell Palmer)   (Starrite BMI)

45-626-B – Jesus Is The Name

(Nell Palmer)   (Starrite BMI)

Another slice of Gospel heaven from the talented Billie & Gordon Hamrick.

A side is a torrid Blue Grass / Gospel number with nice harmonies. Very nice banjo solos, accompanied by a fiddle player. B side is slower with a Dobro more to the fore. Perhaps this is my favourite 45 by the artists so far. Almost makes me want to go to church! (except, in England, we’d have no music like this being performed.)

STARDAY RECORDS 627                                BOB and CINDY DEAN627-A (starday) Bob & cindy dean I'm knocking at the door

May 1957

45-627-A – I’m Knocking On The Door (To Your Heart)

(Garland Cline)   (Starrite BMI)

45-627-B – One Life To Live

(Garland Cline)   (Starrite BMI)

I never managed to get the Cattle LP (#87) entitled “The Sweethearts Of The Air Sing Hillbilly Music”, so if there’s any sleeve notes, I’ve obviously missed them. The duo appeared on the fliside of a KAY EP, with the other side being two great mumbling rockers from Link Wray.

A side of this disc is a fast hillbilly number with threads of bluegrass influence (probably because of the banjo solo). Nice harmonies from Bob and Cindy. B side is much slower and again has nice harmonies from the duo.

They’ll appear later in this series (Starday 688) (MC)

Bob and Cindy Dean were a popular Country and Western team who were based in Elkton, VA and made some stunning records throughout their musical career. Bob was born on the 26th October 1919 in Elkton (Cindy Morris was born December 24th 1924).

Bob’s musical career started in 1956/7 after he found a lead guitar picker, Leon Baxter, with whom he formed a band. Their first job was just a plain beer joint in NW Washington, DC, where they picked their music three nights a week. Through their popular live performances, Bob got a recording deal with DC Records. He remembered that in Virginia there was a good fiddle player, so he got in touch with him and talked over their would-be music venture. His name was Hank Dean and he also sang tenor. (Hank was no relation to Bob). Bob hired Hank and along with Leon, the three of them recorded “Maple On The Hill” and “I’m Sheddin’ Tears Over You” on DC 8049. The sessions took place at the Paragon Studios in Washington, DC.

DC Records were interested in releasing two more sides, as 8049 was selling well locally, thanks in part to Connie B Gay’s radio program “Town And Country Time”, and Bob’s personal appearances. Their next recordings were “Back To Old Smoky Mountain” and “I’ll take Her From The Valley” (DC 4101). By this time, Bob was opening up for acts at the Constitution Hall for Connie, being followed by the likes of T. Texas Tyler and the Sons Of The Pioneers.

627-B (Starday) bob & cindy dean One life to live

In 1948, after the death of his father, Bob (and Cindy, who was his wife – the sleeve notes don’t mention how they met) moved to McGaheysville, VA to be with his mother. Bob worked for a while at a chemical plant, but once he was laid off, he decided to get into the music business full time. By now, Cindy was singing along side him. They formed a new band featuring his old school friend Eddie Michael on fiddle and Cindy learned how to play the stand-up bass. Carroll Ray was on electric guitar.

By 1955, Bob and Cindy Dean were winning first prize on a Connie B Gay show with a song entitled “Walk, Walk, Walking Blues”. This track, along with “When You Cross Your Heart” were eventually issued on Ben Aldeman’s KAY label from Washington, DC, with the flip side of the EP being taken up by two manic vocal recordings from Link Wray (“I Sez Baby” / “Johnny Bon Bonny”). According to the sleeve notes, these tracks were recorded in 1955.

How Bob and Cindy found themselves on Starday is a bit of a mystery as it’s not really explained in the sleeve notes. According to the session details listed on the LP, these were recorded in 1958 and their next Starday release (#688) was recorded in December 57. It mentions that a Frank Merica was on banjo at the session and Carroll Ray was still on guitar.

WILLIE NELSON RECORDS 628 WILLIE NELSON628-A 'Willie nelson) willie nelson no place for me628-B (willie nelson) willie nelson lumberjack

Vancouver, WA May 1957

45-628-A – No Place For Me

(Willie Nelson)   (Starrite BMI)

45-628-B – Lumberjack

(Leon Payne)   (Hill and Range BMI)

Willie Nelson was born 30th April 1933 and is by far, one of the most well known artists to cut a disc for the Starday Custom series. After studying music at home, he joined the Bohemian Fiddlers as their singer and guitar player. After graduating from high School in 1950, he joined the Air Force where he was eventually discharged for having back problems. After stints as a musician (he played bass for Ray Price) and as a DJ, he signed a contract with Pamper Music as a songwriter. He wrote some of the best known country classics, such as “Funny How Times Slips Away“, “Hello Walls“, and “Crazy“.

But back to this little gem. Both sides are dominated by an acoustic guitar (presumably by the man himself) and the vocals have a fair slab of echo added to it, giving it a slight haunting feel. There is a steel guitar nestled in the background – well, almost in the next room to be honest. The flip is okay; a nicely sung cover of a Leon Payne song. But it’s the A side that really sticks out.

FAITH RECORDS 629 THE RELATIVE QUARTET

Conover, NC May 1957629-A (faith) the relative quartet A home for my soul

45-629-A – A Home For My Soul

(J Q Deal Jr. / Rheda L Strickland)   (Starrite BMI)

45-629-B – Heavenly City

(Rheda L Strickland)   (Starrite BMI)

Lovely far-back-in-the-hills Gospel from what sounds like a white quartet. I can only hear an accoustic guitar being played, no other instruments and no solos. No personnel details, except perhaps the names listed as song writers.

The FAITH label turns up a fair bit later in the series with various addresses. I’ve wondered if FAITH was the gospel version of the DIXIE label. Can’t be sure.

DALE RECORDS 630                                                    DARNELL MILLER

Bluefield, VA May 1957630-A (Dale) darnell miller waiting game for love630-B (dale) darnellmiller gettin' out of the woods

45-630-A – Waiting Game For Love

(D Miller) (Starrite BMI)

45-630-B – Gettin’ Out Of The Woods

(Cecil Surrat)    (Starrite BMI)

I’m assuming this is the same Darnell Miller who recorded for Starday Records (# 349, « She’s gone/Cardboard Sweetheart », 1958 and “Royal Flush“, # 422, 1960), as they sure sound similar. A side is a slow weeping hillbilly song; probably not one for the memory banks, but Darnell sings with feeling. Flipside is a medium tempo ditty with fine vocals from Darnell, ably backed by some fine fiddle playing.

STARDAY RECORDS 631                                              KEN CLARK and his Merry Mountain Boys

May 1957

631-A(starday) ken clark ho! ho! love 'em Joe631-B (Starday) ken clark quit fool45-631-A – Ho! Ho! Love ‘Em Joe (Clark)   (Starrite BMI)

45-631-B – Quit Fool (Mama’s Lookin’) (Clark)   (Starrite BMI)

Okay, so I know darn all about Clark, except he recorded for Starday main series (« Buckskin Coat/Pretty Love », # 442, 1959), and for the Nashville label (assoc. with Starday) : « Truck Driving Joe » (# 5009).

A side is a nice uptempo number with fiddles, steel guitar, dobro and lead guitar and some lovely Starday sounding echo. Some call it country, some call it Rock-A-Billy. Whatever the musical tag, it’s a lovely record. B side is more country/hillbilly and there’s a little less echo. Another uptempo side and very nice it is too. Cowboy Copas recorded at least one song of Clark’s.

KENTUCKY records 632                                               MAC O’DELL

Garrard, KY                                                        May 1957

45-632-A – It Was Springtime (When I Met You) (Walter Brock) (Starrite, BMI)

45-632-B – When I Was Young (Dewey Brock) (Starrite, BMI)

Untraced. O’Dell recorded prolifically, e.g. on King (« Penicillin »), Intro (« Diesel Smoke ») and Exclusive.

GULF Records 633                                                        TRICE GARNER

Route 4, Tupelo, MS                                            May 1957633-b (gulf) trice garner lover's hill

45-633–A – Tombigbee (Garner) (Starrite, BMI)

45-633-B – Lover’s Hill (Garner) (Starrite, BMI)

Artist already unknown. The A side has yet to be heard. B side is a very fast Bopper, some could say Rock’n’Roll, but it has no drums, only two very effective guitars (no solo). Vocal is very impressive, fine Southern accent, words almost impossible to understand for me, French speaking !

ROBIN Records 634                                                       ZEKE WILSON & the Prairie Playboys

Macon, GA                                                         May 1957

634-A – My Heart Needs A Vacation (F J Beskidniak)(Starrite, BMI)

634-B – I’ve Just Said Goodbye (F J Beskidniak)

Vocal on A side is by Zeke Wilson and Lenn Dries ; on B side, Zeke Wilson solo.

Untraced record.

NIGHTHAWK Records 635 JIMMY STEWART & The Nighthawks

Argo, IL                                                            May 1957

635-A (night hawk) jimmy stewart dream world45-635-A – Dream World (J Stewart) (Starrite, BMI)635B (night Hawk) jimmy stewart nuthin' but a nuthin'

45-635-B – Nuthin’ But A Nuthin’ (J Stewart) (Starrite, BMI)

A side has yet to be heard, while the B side is one of the greatest Rock-a-billies ever comitted to wax. Cool vocal, some growling, a very nice lead guitar and sparse backing of acoustic and bass. Stewart also had another slab of Rock’n’Roll with « Rock On The Moon » in 1959 on the Eko label.

OLD DOMINION RECORDS 636                               SLIM and ORNA BALL

June 1957

45-636-A – Mother’s Prayers (Were Not In Vain) (No info)

45-636-B – When I Get Home (I’m Gonna Be Satisfied) (No info)

STARDAY RECORDS 637                                         MEL PRICE & his Santa Fe Rangers

June 1957

45-637-A – I Miss You So637A (starday) mel price I miss you so637b (starday) mel price midnight whistle blues

(John Suite / Mel Price)   (Starrite BMI)

45-637-B – Midnight Whistle Blues

(Mel Price)   (Starrite BMI)

Mel (or Melvin) Price had only fine records on Blue Hen (“Nothing Seems To Go Right Anymore” and “I Ain’t Got Time“), regular Starday (#186 and 226, respectively “The Pace That Kills” and “Gonna See My Baby“), Dixie (“Until” and “Little Dog Blues“) and Regal (“For You My Love“). His story is intended for a future issue. The record although here is unheard.

DEL-MAR RECORDS 638                               DELMAR WILLIAMS SINGERS

Dayton, OH                                                          June 1957

638-A – Lonely Tomorrow

(D Williams)   (Starrite BMI)

638-B – I’m Not Angry Now

(D Williams)   (Starrite BMI)

RALPH JOHNSON RECORDS 639                                   RALPH JOHNSON & the Hillbilly Show Boys

Box 4, Minden, WV                                                June 1957

45-639-A – Reality639-b (ralph johnson) ralph johnson henpecked daddyralph johnson

(M Pack) (Starrite BMI)

45-639-B – Henpecked Daddy

(M Pack) (Starrite BMI)

Ralph Johnson was born in the Clinch Mountains of south West Virginia.  He began developing his musical career at the age of six, after receiving his first guitar.  At the age of fifteen, his singing and musical talent had developed enough to enable him to put together his own band.  Ralph and his band auditioned for a radio show in Richlands, VA. They landed the job on WRIC radio.  During this time, his band played schools, halls and theatres in the area.  They later auditioned for a spot on a new TV station in Bluefield, WV.  Some time later, they had earned the privilege of performing two shows on WOAY in Twin Oak Hill, WV.  It was here that he recorded his first record, “Henpecked Daddy“.  After appearing on different radio and TV stations throughout the country, he moved his operation to Baltimore. MD.  While in Baltimore, he launched Wedge Records, Dome Records and Fleet Records.  Along with all of his record labels, he opened his own publishing company, Big Wedge Music.  He released all types of music from the Washington and Baltimore areas.  He later moved his operation to Vineland, NJ where he became the co-owner of WDVL Radio.  As a DJ, he played country music five hours a day, every day.  He went on to develop and book country music acts from Nashville, TN into Palentein Park every Sunday.  In 1976, he decided to move to Nashville, TN, where he proceeded to record and promote records on his Wedge Entertainment record label.  He used songs from his own publishing company, Big Wedge Music.

MISSOURI RECORDS 640                                        ERNIE NOWLIN and Blue Shadow Boys

5508 Wells Ave, St Louis, MO                           June 1957

E Nowlin45-640-A – Tally Ho640A (missouri) ernie nowlin tally ho

(Nowlin) (Starrite BMI)

45-640-B – Tell Me Why

(Nowlin) (Starrite BMI)

A fine Hillbilly bop, in the average category. Duet vocal at times, a borderline rockabilly with fine inventive guitar on a solid beat (snare drum). Flip unheard.

BLUE GRASS RECORDS 641                                         BOB VARNEY and Stone Mt Boys

31 Pine St, Logan, WV                                         June 1957

45-641-A I Hear You Calling

(No info) (No info)

45-641-B Stoney Mt. Boogie641b (blue grass) bob varney stoney mt. boogie

(B Varney)   (Starrite)

B-side : good boogie guitar instro, fine southern vocalizing from Varney. Whole thing is propelled by a strong rhythm guitar.

STARDAY RECORDS 642                                              BUDDY SHAW

June 1957

45-642-A – Don’t Sweep That Dirt On Me642a (starday) buddy shaw don't sweep that dirt on me

(Ruth Snider / Buddy Shaw) (Starrite BMI)

45-642-B – Second Place

(Ruth Snider / Buddy Shaw) (Starrite BMI)

Fast Hillbilly bop, again bordering on Rockabilly. Welcome tinkling piano (fine solo), urgent lead guitar (two solos). A classic ! Shaw had “No More“, a fine CountryBilly on Starday 618 (see elsewhere in the site for this number)

LINCOLN RECORDS 643                                            CARL TRANTHAM and the Rythm All Stars (sic)

Peoria, IL                                                        June 1957

45-643-A – Where There’s A Will (There’s A Way)643A (lincoln) carl trantham where there's a will

(Trantham)   (Starrite BMI)

45-643-B – After I Go Away

(Trantham)   (Starrite BMI)

A side : Hillbilly bop/rockabilly. This is where Hillbilly boys were doing Rock’n’Roll, nice guitar licks a la Scotty Moore, cool vocal (some hiccups), fine bass, and an almost unheard drum kit. Another classic ! For the B side, the boys return to a more Hillbilly approach, this time with a good steel. Vocal changes too, in a more rural way of phrasing. Again that fine lead guitar. Trantham also had “Deedle Deedle Dum” on Starday 336 (1958), a very fine Country rocker.

CRESTWOOD RECORDS 644                                      MARVIN JACKSON

Box 49 Route 1, Cadet, MO                                 July 1957644A (crestwood) marvin jackson someday you'll be sorry

45-644-A – Someday You’ll Be Sorry

(Jackson) (Starrite BMI)

45-644-B – My Crying Heart

(Jackson) (Starrite BMI)

Unheard record. Jackson had “Gee Whiz, Miz Liz“, a good rocker, on Crestwood 200 (backed by Ozark Toppers). Collector records issued a full CD of Rock’n’Roll sides of his, fine although average rockers.

STARDAY RECORDS 645                                     FRANK EVANS and his Top Notchers

(Artist based in Tampa, FL)                           July 1957

45-645-A – Pull The Shades Down Ma645A (starday) frank evans put the shades down ma

(Jimmy Dunklin)   (Starrite BMI)

45-645-B – Would You Believe Me

(Owen Wilson)   (Starrite BMI)

« Pull The Shades Down Ma » is Fifties country music of the sheerest excellence. « Now this city’s dwellin’ just ain’t cut out for me… » sings Frank in his most exuberant vocal on record and the band lays down an infectious rhythm that complements the lyrics perfectly. The song is reminiscent of the cool stuff Little Jimmy Dickens was cutting at the time: fun, full-blooded country that was uncompromisingly rural sounding.

COWTOWN RECORDS 646                                           GENE RAY

Fort Worth, TX                                                    July 1957

45-646-A – I Didn’t Mean (To Fall In Love)

(No info)

646B (cowtown) gene ray I lost my head45-646-B – I Lost My Head

(Miller)

B side is a fine shuffling Hillbilly with stop-starts, steel, guitar (uninspired solo) and fiddle. Singer is in fine voice however. Ray had an EP on Cowtown 677 (moreover in the serie) with « Rock’n’Roll Fever ».

UNKNOWN RECORD LABEL 647 (UNKNOWN ARTIST)

July 1957

UNKNOWN RECORD LABEL 648 (UNKNOWN ARTIST)

July 19 57

KHOURY’S RECORDS 649                                     NATHAN ABSHIRE and his Pine Grove Boys

Lake Charles, LA                                           July 1957

45-649-A – Boora Rhumba

(None)   (None)

45-649-B – Carolina Blues649A (khoury's) nathan abshire boora rhumba649B (khoury's) nathan abshire carolina blues

(None)   (None)

Unheard record.

STARDAY RECORDS 650                                       CLARENCE BAKER

July 1957

650-? – Hear My Plea

(No info)   (No info)

650-? – Soon I’ll Hear My Saviour Calling

(No info)   (No info)

Unheard record.

As usual for these series, many details do come from Malcolm Chapman’s site devoted to Starday Customs. This time, label pictures were easier to find than music: actually this serie does not contain, but exceptions, rockabilly classics, so many records escaped to reissue programs. Note a good percentage of sacred recordings.