Late September 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Hello folks, back from Summer holidays ? En route for the late September 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites’ selection.

Doug Poindexter

June 1954, exactly 18. A newcomer with his first recording. DOUG POINDEXTER came from Vendale, Arkansas. Several months ago, as he had went to Memphis, he had been noticed by a guitar player, Scotty Moore – surely the name rings a bell – and hired as front guitar man of his group, the Starlight Wranglers. His voice was very nasal, without doubt as imitation of his idol Hank Williams. On this day, he cut two sides, whose I retain « Now She Cares No More» under the producer Sam Phillips, hence Sun 202.

The record, albeit reviewed by the famous Cash Box magazine, went nowhere, and Poindexter earned his life later as a successful insurance man. « Now She Cares… » is pure hillbilly bop heaven. Fiddle and steel to the fore, and heavy bass (Bill Black). Less than 2 weeks later Black and Moore backed young Elvis. The rest is history.

Bobby Wayne

From the Washington State in 1963, here’s the very Johnny Cash styled BOBBY WAYNE. « Big Train » first on Jerden 709. During the flipside, « The Valley », the guitarist even adopts Luther Perkins (Cash’ guitarist) licks. Good vocal on both sides, and discrete chorus.

In the December 2016 fortnight I came with Californian Western swing artist EDDIE DEAN and his « Rock’n’Roll Cowboy » on Sage from 1957. Here is a quieter thing (Sage 188) : « Impatient Blues » as its name doesn’t imply is a bluesy thing, nice steel and a bit of crooning.

Eddie And Chuck

« The Louisiana Ramblers », EDDIE AND CHUCK came in 1954 with a bouncing thing, « Boogie The Blues » on the Chicago Chance label (# 3012). Weird and savage steel, great vocal and solid bass. How they were acquainted with an otherwise Blues/jazz label (1100 serie with already known artists like Wllie Nix – ex- Sun Records, or J.B. Hutto) is open to conjecture.

These sides were not unknown to Stan Lewis, owner of KWKH in Shreveport, La., who also acted as talent scout for Northern companies : Dale Hawkins and Sonny Boy Williamson came from his stable of artists and were recruited by Chess/Checker.Chance had apparently a 3000-C&W serie, but I never ever heard of any more record than this in this serie.

Dottie Jones & Winston O’Neal

A real male/female duet now with DOTTIE JONES & WINSTON O’NEAL. A fast bopper , « I’ll Be Yours » has a prominent guitar – the solo comes a la Carl Perkins ! To be found on TNT 134 (San Antonio, Texas).

From unknown source, I picked up on YouTube a nice slice of fast Hillbilly bop wih « Me And My Fiddle » by BENNY MARTIN, apparently in 1954-55. Martin cut records on Pioneer, Mercury and M-G-M. One one side he was backed with  »Hilllous Butrum & his Tennessee Partners », ex-bass player for Hank Williams, and was of rural Tennessee extraction. Nevertheless a very fine Hillbilly bopper.

Cliff Waldon & his Westernaires

Not owning Boppin’ Hillbilly vol. 15, I can’t say nothing about CLIFF WALDON & His Westernaires. His « My Baby Doll », issued on Mark 107, has an agile fiddle (+ solo), a great steel, even a bass solo. Vocal is OK for this fast Bopper.

Cash Box Aug. 31, 1957

CashBox June 25, 1955

Is there any need of presenting the MADDOX BROS. & ROSE ? I chose two tracks from their mostly creative period (Columbia, 1952 onwards). « No More Time » is a fast opus, which is still near to their Four Star product. « I’ve Got Four Big Brothers (To Look After Me ) » has Rose on lead vocal, with funny lyrics, in a true Rockabilly : Columbia 21405 from June 1955.

Sources : YouTube for Benny Martin ; W. Agenant’s Columbia 20000 serie » for the Maddox tracks ; Eddie & Chuck from various good compilations ; Bobby Wayne from 45cat. Starlite Wranglers image from “706 Union Avenue” site. My own archives.S

SUN Records: Hillbilly Bop sides (1954-1956) (part 1)

Sam Phillips never had much chance with Country music. From 1950 to 1956 he cut Blues and Black R&B; from 1956 on he cut Rockabilly and Rock’n’Roll. Here below are his only attemps in the early years to record Hillbilly Bop. In the second part however, we will see names like Carl Perkins, Charlie Feathers, Malcolm Yelvington, Ernie Chaffin, Warren Smith, Mack Self doing Hillbilly Bop or Country music with much more success than Sam had had in the early days of SUN Records….

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Harmonica Frank Floyd (1909 in Tacapola, Mississipi ; died 1984). A phenomenon, who spent 30 years with medicine shows all around the South. He went in 1951 to see Sam Phillips and recorded several Country Blues : Swamp Root, the traditional Step It Up And Go, Goin’ Away Walkin’ and Howlin’ Tomcat, soon sold to Chess in Chicago. He sounded black, and many Blues collectors until the seventies (his rediscovery by Steve LaVere) were wrong with him…In 1954, Sun issued two sides (Sun 205) : Rockin’ Chair Daddy and The Great Medical Menagerist. « …Daddy » from 1951 is proto-rockabilly with strong rhythm guitar, wild vocal, and mouth harmonica. He had a strong career when rediscovered in 1974 and recorded for Adelphi.
“Step It Up And Go”download
“Howlin’ Tomcat”download

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Earl Peterson (Feb. 24, 1927 in Paxton, Illinois. died 1971). made his beginnings at a radio station in Michigan. Become popular, he cut a first disc on Nuggett records, before signing at Sun in 1954. He recorded 4 titles, the best being « Boogie Blues » (Sun 197): sewing fiddles, steel-guitar, drums and bass, and a vocal very reminiscent of Jimmie Rodgers ; and the song itself derives from pre-war Country songs, like Gene Autry’s « Lowdown Blues ».
“Boogie Blues”
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Doug Poindexter & The Starlite Wranglers. Born in Arkansas, he too went to Sun in 1954 and cut (May 25, 1954) two sides of Hillbilly weepers : Now She Cares No More For Me and My Kind Of Carrying On. Published on June 1rst, 1954 on Sun 202. Two of the Wranglers were…Bill Black (bass) and Scotty Moore (lead-guitar), soon to back up the young Elvis less than two months later. Good  hillbilly sides, tending towards Rockabilly. Poindexter then left for insurance business..
“My Kind Of Carryin’ On”download
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Howard Seratt in April 1964 (rare picture from Martin Hawkins)

Howard Seratt, from Arkansas. Country gospel. Two sides (Sun 198), alone with his guitar & harmonica  for Troublesome Waters/I Must Be saved. Nice sincere vocal. 1954
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Hardrock Gunter (Feb. 17, 1925 in Birmingham, Alabama). He had a long recording story behind him when he sold two songs to Sam Phillips in 1954 (Sun 201) : Gonna Dance All Night was a proto-Rock & Roll song, and a recut of a previous 1950 Bama issue. Fallen Angel is far quieter. Gunter had a long career afterwards, recording prolifically and still entertaining afficionados in Europe in 1995 !sun gunter dance
“Gonna Dance All Night” download
 

 

 

 

Slim Rhodes (Pocahontas, Arkansas, 1913 ; March 10, 1966 – thanks for the death info, Alex)). Guitar player and bandleader, very popular in the Memphis area in the late 40s/early 50s. Phillips leased several of his 1950-1951 recordings to Gilt-Edge. His first Sun single (Sun 216) was sung by Brad Suggs and billed « ordinary » by Billboard in May 1955. Rhodes would afterwards cut Romp and Stomp (Sun 238), a romping Hillbilly Boogie with steel-guitar and fiddle. It must have been a good seller, as the guitar solo was taken note-for-note on Harold Shutter’s « Bunny Honey » (Goldenrod 300 from May-June 1957), then Do What I Do (Sun 256), a superb Rockabilly in 1956 (vocal Sandy Brooks). He had several issues on Gilt-Edge. For Sun 238 and 256, please see SUN Records: Hillbilly sides (part 2).
“Gonna Romp And Stomp”download
 

Malcolm Yelvington (1927, Covington, Tennessee) led his first band, The Star Rhythm Boys, during the late 40s, wih pianist Reece Fleming. He cut his first sides in 1954 for Sun, among them his personal Western swing treatment of Sticks McGhee’s R&B classic Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (Sun 211). The guitar player follows Brownie McGhee’s solo, and Reece Fleming plays the Your Red Wagon theme (it was then adapted for Rock around the clock). All in all, it is a pretty proto-Rockabilly song, a fine blend of black & white styles. Later on (see part 2), Yelvington came close to Rockabilly (Sun 246) with Rockin’ With My Baby.sun yelvington drinkin'

“Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee”download
 Clyde Leoppard & the Snearly Ranch Boys were a group firmly associated with Sam Phillips during 1955-1957. Clyde Leoppard (steel), Johnny Bernero (d), Smokey Joe Baugh (p), vocalist Bill Taylor, Buddy Holobaugh (g) backed Smokey Joe, Warren Smith, and numerous other artists during this period. They had a solitary issue on Flip 502 (Sun subsidiary label) in 1954, and they handle right the charming piece of nonsense « Split personality », a romping Hillbilly bop. Smokey Joe had his own issue on Sun 228 in 1956 with « Signifying monkey ». His vocal is crude, and, as once said, a sort of Rockabilly Fats Waller (see part 2).
“Split Personality”download
 

See part 2 for 1956-1958 Sun Hillbilly sides elsewhere on this site!