Buddy Attaway, a Cajun honky-tonk (1947-1954)

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Patrick « Buddy » Attaway was a Cajun musician (fiddle, electric guitar) from Shreveport, Louisiana, born on 5 January 1923. As a teenager he started the Rainbow Boys with songwriter and promoter Tillman Franks (also later bass player) and singer Claude King. After Army service they all left Shreveport to KLEE, Houston, Texas.

When KWKH started the Louisiana Hayride in 1948, they all returned to Shreveport. Attaway backed Claude King on recordings and in 1950 he recorded a duet with Webb Pierce on Pacemaker Records.

Two discs followed on Imperial in 1954. He was a featured Hayride star by that time, and he sang « Big Mamou » there the day Elvis Presley made his debut. He continued as staff guitarist on the Hayride into the ’60s. He died in Shreveport on 15 June 1968.

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The biography above was published in a CD devoted to Ed Camp. It seems too simple and very limited. So I will add the biograhy of early Claude King (courtesy Imperial Anglares), as Buddy Attaway and King went very close during these years.

January 1946 : Claude, Buddy Attaway, Tillman and Merle Clayton went to Dallas to audition for Hal Horton, a dee-jay at KRLD. They ended up back stage at the Sportatorium meeting Roy Acuff. Things in Dallas didn’t work out so they headed back to Shreveport.

 

Both friends quickly joined Harmie Smith, known as the Ozark Mountaineer, on KWKH until 1947. Claude took Webb Pierce’s place and acted as emcee when playing little country towns in North Louisiana, South Arkansas and East Texas. In that band you could find Buddy Attaway (fiddle), who took Owen Perry’s place, also acting as comedian, and Harry Todd (guitar) aged sixteen years too. Harmie and that gang including Tillman Franks (bass) played the State Fair in Shreveport in November 1946.

billboard president 10 flyer saucers presidenti columbia Bailes loved president Buddy & Claude saucers president  Buddy & Claude loved" flyer buddy & claude

A first record in 1947 was issued on President, in their Southern Series, “Flying Saucers/I Want to be Loved(HB 10) under the name of Buddy & Claude with The Kentuckians. On that tiny label was also The Stamps Quartet. The session was done at KWKH radio in July 1947 with Buddy Attaway, Claude King, Tillman Franks, Shot Jackson and The Bailes Brothers. “I Want To Be Loved” (But Only By You), a Bailes Brothers song issued on Columbia 37341, later reissued 20119, later became a hit for Johnnie and Jack. Both songs are actually duet recordings.

Flying saucers

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I want to be loved

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Bailes Brothers, “I want to be loved

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Buddy & Claude

Buddy Attaway & Claude King

Soon afterwards, Buddy Attaway and Claude got sponsorship from General Mills Flour and they moved to Monroe, Louisiana, working with Sleepy Watts (bass) and Jackie Featherstone (steel) as The Kentuckians. In early 1948, for a short time, Claude and Buddy went to work in Houston (Tx) calling themselves “The Attaway Boys” on their 30-minute KLEE radio show, and working in Elmer W. Laird’s used cars lot by day. Tillman Franks moved to Houston in April 1948 to work with them for Laird. They lost their jobs and radio sponsor after that guy was stabbed to death around late July 1948.

In December 1950, at KWKH, Claude King with Tillman Franks, Buddy Attaway and Webb Pierce cut “A Million Mistakes” and “Why Should I” issued on Pacemaker HB 1010. The record label was co-owned by Webb Pierce and Horace Logan, the boss/founder of the Louisana Hayride. These sides written by Claude were reissued on Gotham 409 in 1951, and were followed by “51 Beers”/”Beer and Pinball (Gotham 411), two songs from the same session, issued in August 1951.

 At the same session as Claude King’s that saw Pacemaker 1010 and Gotham 411, Webb Pierce recorded an uncredited duet with Buddy Attaway titled Freight Train Blues” (of course the old Roy Acuff song of 1936). When issued on Pacemaker 1006-B, the song didn’t even have a singer’s name on the label, without doubt because Pierce was still contracted to 4 * and Bill McCall. The flip side sung by Buddy Attaway is I’m Sitting on Top Of The World”, and even if credited to Buddy Attaway, that’s an old song, first recorded by The Mississippi Sheiks in 1930. The harmonica chorus is played by Rip Jackson (is there a relation with steel player Shot Jackson ? No one knows) and although Webb changed the words slightly, there is not enough to give him credit.

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“Freight train blues”

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I’m sittin’ on top of the world

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On all these Pacemaker songs recorded at KWKH by night, Webb is backed by Tillman Franks (bass), Buddy Attaway (guitar), Tex Grimsley (fiddle) and Shot Jackson (steel guitar). On all those songs, Buddy Attaway plays great guitar licks in a Jerry Byrd style, and we can only regret his passing at 45 years old on 27th May 1968. His guitar work on Hayride Boogie (a song he co-wrote with Webb) was replicated on the version recorded in 1956 for Decca under the title of Teenage Boogie”. He is also responsible for the great boogie guitar on Pierce’s « California blues » or the Tune Wranglers‘ song « Drifting Texas sand ». These 3 songs were credited to Tillman Franks.

Webb Pierce, “Hayride boogie

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Webb Pierce, “California blues

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Webb Pierce, “Drifting Texas sand

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pacemaker Franks Sand pacemaker Franks California pacemaker Franks Hayride

 

 

 

 

 

Buddy Attaway also recorded for Imperial in January 1954 a cover of Claude King’s Why Should I, issued with Rock-A-My Baby On The Bayou (8258) both fine waltz uptempos. « Why did I leave Cloutchville » is a fast opus, very much in the Cajun tradition, while »Doubtful heart » is a quieter tune (8238). All in all, Attaway had between 1947 and ’54 a consistent high level production, be he soloist or lead player for anyone else.

Why should I

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Rock-a-my baby on the bayou

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Why did I leave Cloutchville

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Doubtful heart

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imperial Attaway Should

imperial Attaway Cloutchville45imperial Attaway Heartimperial Attaway Bayou

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harmie smith ( Attaway &  King)

After the Imperial sides, he never recorded again, concentrating apparently on his work for the Louisiana Hayride, where he was a regular until mid-1957.

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March 30th, 1956 leaflet

 

The scheduled issue of a 20-CD on Bear Family in 2017 of Louisiana Hayride tapes should bring some surprises, in this aspect. Attaway will have “Y’all come” (1956) and “In the jailhouse now” (1958) issued.

Warm thanks go to Dominique ‘Imperial’ Anglares and the generous loan of a Claude King early biography : this formed the nucleus of the Buddy Attaway’s one – as both were intimately tied from the beginning. ‘Imperial’ furnished also a good amount of personal pictures..Ole’ Ronald out of Germany as usual furnished rare label scans and music.

Early January 2016 fortnight’s favorites: more seasonal gifts (15 selections)!

Howdy folks, a happy and bopping New Year to everyone. As a seasonal gift, I will post no less than 15 selections, as on the Xmas fortnight.

First a mystery with GEORGE BOWE & the Travelers. It has proved impossible to find any detail on him neither even the location of the label, Eagle – a common label name during the ’50s/60s. A very small clue is to be detected in the deadwax, « Rimrock » – which leads one to Arkansas Wayne Raney‘s label of the ’60s. Anyway Bowe delivers a Rockabilly styled opus with « Big man » (Eagle 110A) – the whole thing is quiet and lazy. B-side (« Do you remember ») is a melodic ballad, a bit sentimental, over sympathetic backing.

Big man

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Do you remember

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Note: Alexander Petrauskas did advise me that the Eagle label was definitely associated with Rimrock, the latter pressing the Eagle products.

 

 

DON WHITNEY (incomplete bio statistics – he died in 1985) was a D.J. associated with Arkansas radio stations KLCN in Blytheville, then KOSE in Osceola (1957) ; he’s been too on WELO in Tupelo (MS), and cut a whole string of boppers for 4*. Where he cut them ? Probably Nashville. I chose from 1950 « Red hot boogie » (# 1471), call-and-response format (girl chorus). Steel and piano are barely audible, while the guitar player does a too short but wild solo. « Move on blues » (# 1588) from 1951 is a fine bluesy tune over a boogie guitar. Discreet steel and piano.

don whitney pic

4* whitney red4* whitney - move

 

Red hot boogie

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Move on blues

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On Adco records (# 781), cut in Cincinnati, OH, next comes GLEN CANYON and a rocker from 1965, « I won’t be able to make it » : a shrilling guitar thoughout, and the disk is valued $ 50 to 100. I couldn’t locate the flipside « Still in love with you », reputedly a bopper. Canyon appeared also on Acorn and Boone (Kentucky).

I won’t be able to make it

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The Sandy label out of Mobile,AL. is interesting for many records issued between 1957 and 1962 and highly revered by Rockabilly/Rock’n’roll buffs : do Ronny Keenan, Happy Wainwright, Jackie Morningstar (« Rockin’ in the graveyard »), Ray Sawyer (« Rockin’ satellite ») or Darryl Vincent (« Wild wild party ») ring each a bell to you ? Well, the label also had its hillbilly boppers, like Johnny Foster (more on him next fortnight, late January 2016) or WADE JERNIGAN. Both his sides (# 1010) are high quality boppers penned by label bossman Johnny Bozeman in 1958. « Road of love », medium paced, has a very « hillbilly » type vocal (high pitched at moments), over a prominent fiddle and good steel, while its flip « So tired » uses the same format, just a little bit slower. A good record for Hillbilly lovers.

Road of love

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So tired

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Now on to Louisiana. The Khoury’s label began activities in 1951 to cease them in 1955 (last known is # 647, « Lu Lu boogie » by Nathan Abshire, which I owned moons ago before selling it – I am biting my fingers now..). We find here on # 700B (not in numerical order, this one is from 1954) a fabulous Cajun wildie « Louisiana stomp » by LEBLANC’S FRENCH BAND (an unidentified singer yells and encourages by his yells the whole fiddle led orchestra). Reverse is by Eddie Shuler, the founder of Goldband. Second La. selection : by GENE RODRIGUE, who had other releases on Folk-Star, Houma and Rod (the Cajun Rockabilly « Little cajun girl” from 1959). Here is his « Jole fille » (Meladee 101, cut in New Orleans), full of energy and « joie de vivre », Cajun style. Nice fiddle, steel and piano. This comes from the late ’50s apparently.

khoury's  le blanc's stompmeladee rodrigue - jole

 

Louisiana stomp

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Jole fille

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More from Louisiana with PAL THIBODEAUX (also known as Little Pal Hardy on Imperial) and « Port Arthur boogie » (Sky Line OP-154). Call-and-response, sung in French and English. Fiddle solo, sympathetic backing, two good guitar solos encouraged by the singer a la Bob Wills.
Port Arthur boogie

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sky line thibodeaux Arthur

 

You ask for yodeling ? Here it’s ROBERT LUNN (billed as « The Talking Blues Boy ») in late 1947. He cut I don’t know where (I suspect North of the States) the marvelous « Yodeling blues », slow’n’easy – fiddle, ‘blues’ lyrics, guitars, and spoken vocals, a dream…On Mercury 6104.

robert Lunn pic2

Robert Lunn

mercury t lunn yodelingYodeling blues

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GEORGE GREEN & The Missouri Ranch Boys comes next with a good 2-sider on Zeylon . The medium paced « I don’t love you anymore » is backed by a welcome accordion, and sounds its late ’40s recording, although its prefix (J80W, an RCA pressing, dates from..1958). The flip « Be a little angel » is a jumping little thing, which grows on you at each playing. Good fiddle.

I don’t love you anymore

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Be a little angel

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Zeylon  green- anymoreZeylon  green  angel
« Just because «  is a classic Sun side, only issued on RCA, by ELVIS PRESLEY. We conclude this fortnight with his version (RCA 47-6640, early 1956) and the original by the SHELTON BROTHERS (in the ’30s). Great lyrics. Elvis does a very fine job on it.

 

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Shelton BrothersJust because

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Elvis PresleyJust because

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Sources : Somelocaluser blogspot (George Bowe, Wade Jernigan, George Green), Youtube for several tunes (Don Whitney – scans from 78rpmworld) ; Robert Lunn on a 3-CD compilation of country music on Mercury, picture from “hillbilly-music.com”. Hope you enjoy this selection. Comments welcome. ‘Till then, bye.

 

Note: important addition on Khoury records by Louisiana tireless researcher and faithful friend Wade Falcon (Feb. 5th, 2016):

I read your latest article on Leblanc on Khoury.  The musician is Floyd Leblanc.  Fiddle player that originated with Bennie Hess and Virgil Bozman and the Oklahoma Tornadoes.   Floyd had recorded the song Louisiana Stomp first with Virgil’s label O.T. Recording Company (#104-B)
After Virgil folded the label, Khoury who helped finance it, picked it up along with his artists and started Khoury and Lyric.   Khoury re-released the song on his label.  (700-B)
I actually know Floyd’s daugher.  Very nice person.
Also, Khoury’s 600 series label ended with #652 in 1955.  He started his 700 series again (which we’ll refer to as the “second 700 series”).  There, you have the 700-B side you mention in your blog with Shuler on one side and Leblanc on the other.  That lasted till about 1962.   His last Cajun in the series was #720 Pee Wee Broussard.
Thanks, Wade!
OT eblanc stomp

Late June 2015 fortnight’s favorites

Howdy folks, I am back from Corsica isle (“l’île de Beauté”) where I visited my girl friend and did help her to set up her fairytales’ exhibition in front of children. While I was there I couldn’t get access to my files, thus not allowing to myself to set up early June fortnight’s favorites.

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Glenn Reeves

 

Let’s begin in Texas with GLENN REEVES, born 1932 in Shamrock, TX. He had his first two records on the T.N.T. Label (owned by Bob Tanner, who billed proudly his labels records as « Tanner’n’Texas »!). « I’m Johnny on the spot » (TNT 120) is already a proto-rockabilly classic. But its reverse, the plaintive hillbilly « The blues are out tonight », is not so well known, although a very good ballad. Listen to the real hillbilly pronunciation of Reeves, over a nice fiddle and steel. I love such a record like this. 

The blues are out tonight

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Later he had on TNT 129 « I ain’t got room to rock », before switching to Republic (the great « That’ll be love ») and Atco (« Rockin’ country style »/ »Drinkin’ wine spo-dee-o-dee ») in 1956, yet before turning teen on Decca in 1957. Meanwhile, he had relocated in Florida, pushing himself as a performer and D.J. On WPDQ out of Jacksonvile, FL. That’s where he met Mae Axton, her fellow-composer, and Tommy Durden, who both looked for someone who could demo their « Heartbreak hotel ». At first, Reeves denied, before agreeing – and the result was presented at a Nashville D.J. convention late 1955 to Elvis as his first million seller (the promise of Mae Axton), which he cut January 1956, in a style very close to Reeves. Here is the Reeves’ demo.

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Glenn ReevesHeartbreak hotel

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The third compere was TOMMY DURDEN. He had a long story as steel player for Tex Ritter, and later for Johnny Cash, and composer (e.g. « Honey bop » for Wanda Jackson). In 1951 on the Sahul Kahal’s Freedom label out of Houston, Texas, he cut the great « Hula boogie » (# 5025). Later on, he had his own version of « Heartbreak hotel » (« Moods » LP, religious songs), before relocating in Michigan. He retired in the early ’90s.

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Tommy Durden

 

 

 

Tommy DurdenHula boogie

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freedom durden hula

 

 

On the next artist, GEORGE HEFFINGTON, I know litterally nothing, except he was one of the first to record on the growing Toppa label (owned by Jack Morris, out of Covina, Ca.), and is backed for the fast « Ghost of love » (# 1007, 1958) by, among others, Ralph Mooney on steel. Good piano too.

George HeffingtonGhost of love

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toppa heffington ghost

Real name to next artist was Wilcoxson, but he’s known now as JIMMIE DALE. And there were in the ’50s two different men with the same name. The first to jump on my mind is an Indiana artist, who cut two Starday custom records in 1958. First on Jeffersonville, IN Saber label (# 707), he cut the fabulous two-sider « Baby doll » (great slap bass, energetic drums and lead guitar) and « Darlin’ » (very nice piano, à la Teddy Reddell over a mambo rhythm). In Louisville, KY, he had in 1958 too on the Farrall label (# 687) « Man made moon », more of a country record. Nice vocal, and again a rinky-dink piano and good steel. I couldn’t locate the flipside « For a day ».

The second JIMMIE DALE was a Nashvillian, who cut « Tennessee ghost train » in 1953 on the Original label # 501. The credits don’t give any clue. Lot of echo on the steel, a train song of course.

 

 

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Jimmie Dale (Saber, Farrall)

Jimmie DaleBaby doll

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Jimmie DaleDarlin’

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Jimmie DaleMan made moon

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Jimmie Dale [different artist]”Tennessee ghost train

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saber  dale dollsaber dale Darlin'farral dale moonoriginal dale ghost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all for this fortnight, folks. Comments welcome, as usual.

Sources and credits : internet, RCS, Youtube, lot of labor !

early February 2012 fortnight’s favorites

Howdy, folks! Finally moved. More room for records, more space for living. Hope all of you are fine, still prepared for good ole’ Hillbilly music. Two classics will be discussed this time. All the podcast will be 78 rpm but only one 45: many a hiss! (more…)

Lloyd (Arnold) McCollough & the Drifting Hillbillies story

I found the story on RaB-HOF site. It’s not that often a relative to an artist offers such a complete and accurate story. It even goes back to the beginning of 20th century!  So I decided to let its author speak by herself. Here it is:

LLOYD ARNOLD McCOLLOUGH STORY

by: Annette Wondergem (Lloyd’s niece)

with additions from Dave Travis, Al Turner, Terry Gordon & Bo BerglindLAnDH1954

A raw December wind sent an icy chill through the tall, lean young man who stared longingly at the mandolin in the display window of the music store. Just a few more dollars saved from odd jobs and sacrificed lunches and that fine instrument would be his. He pulled his collar closer about his throat and turned wistfully homeward. The year was 1950, the place was Memphis, Tennessee and the young man was Lloyd Arnold McCollough. At this point Lloyd had a lifetime ahead of him and he could imagine the possibilities that a mandolin could bring. Twenty years later the pressure of a touring musician had begun to take it’s toll. But, let’s not go ahead of time, the story of Lloyd Arnold, who became a pioneer of early Memphis music, began many years earlier.

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