A small Kentucky label: DIXIANA (1953)

The Kentucky based DIXIANA label was a short lived concern, maybe operating from Bowling Green (Warren County). Launched in 1953, the label appears to have only lasted 6 months or so. However, during that relatively short time, the owners released some first rate Hillbilly, some of which can be found on various White Label « Boppin’ Hillbilly » albums.

kentucky usa

kentucky warren cty

Kentucky and Warren Cty

 

 

 

 

 

100.

 

101.

 

 

102. Southern Harmony Boys – Hattie Mae Fleming (piano)

That great mansion DA 12

The Lord and I DA 13

103. The Renfro Brothers and the Valley Sta. Playboys

Ever ready (BH 2821) no mtx

Just over a girl (BH 2821) no mtx

dixiana rendfro brothers ever

Both tracks are superior hillbilly boppers. Very fast tracks, over assured vocals. Backing is superb : sawing fiddle, steel, piano, even an accordion solo. The « Girl » side reminds me of the Carlisles.dixiana renfro-brothers girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

104. Odis Blanton and his Blue Star Rangers

Steppin’ High Wide and Handsome (BH 2807) no mtx

Don’t move the moon no mtx

Both sides are superior Hillbilly boppers too. Over a fast fiddle routine, an assured vocal is backed by accordion, steel and piano. The « Moon » side is an excellent medium rock-a-ballad, with the piano well to the fore.

odis blanton dj

Odis Blanton, DJ

 

dixiana blanton  steepin'Odis and Hugh would handle the vocal turns as solos. When they did their trio numbers, it usually included John, Gene and Odis.

odis blanton & BSR1The Blue Star Rangers had a 45-minute show that aired every day except Sunday over WLBJ called “The Farm And Home Hour”. They also did the usual personal appearances throughout the area of western Kentucky and northern Tennessee, including stage shows and square dance engagements.

Group Members included:odis blanton & band

Odis Blanton, leader and manager, rhythm guitar

John Blanton, steel guitar

Gene Kitchens, violin

Hugh Poteet, bass

“Pappy” Jones, saxophone

Gwen Dalton, piano (she had several records on her own on Republic)

105. Cliff Gross and his Texas Cowboys

Hog pen hop (BH 2822) no mtx

Smokin’ and jokin’ (and pokin’ along) no mtx

I only heard « Hop » side : a fine hillbilly boogie, sort of talking blues, with the band singing the refrain in unison. Western swing overtones. The side had surely been recorded in Dallas (Jim Beck’s studio), even “Beck” co-written. Gross was a mountain style fiddler, who had played as early as 1929 with the Hi-Flyers, then in 1932 with the Light Crust Doughboys.

dixiana gross hog

 

106. Jack Bybee and the Rhythm Wranglers

Drifting down the stream    no mtx  dixiana bybee drifting

You don’t love me  no mx

(N.B. This label shot was unearthed by Drunken Hobo. Thanks to him)

 

107. Jimmy Smith

Does he love you no mtx

It ain’t no fun to say I told you so no mtxdixiana smith fun

Nothing is known about this fine singer. I only heard « Does he love you », which is a fine heavy rockaballad, again over accordion, fiddle and piano accompaniment. Smith (according it’s the same person) has an excellent “First choice” – very fine guitar picking – on Cactus “Rockin’ Hillbilly” vol. 1 (included here).

One then can wonder if the backing members are not the same at least for the known sides.

 

based on Hillbilly Researcher # 13 issue (mid-1990s). Additional research and comprehensive musical appreciation by Bopping editor.

early August 2012 fortnight’s favourites

Howdy folks. If you are there, you’re in for a musical journey in Hillblly bop music. Here we go for more obscure or lesser known names, who one cannot know anything about, except what it’s in the grooves, or what I gathered – and most of the time the harvest is a meager one. Talking about harvests, let’s not forget the “contact me” section: here are for sale excellent CDs or vinyl records (very nice condition) for sale from my collection. Don’t overpass this occasion!

Chuck Bowers did hail from Arkansas, where he was born in 1921. He was a regular of the St. Louis, MO. Ozark Jubilee and had a spot on KWTO. His acclaimed shuffler “Pig Pen Boogie” on the Kansas City Choice label (# 845) is one of the serie he did for radio or TV appearances. Actually you can find 3 songs by him that contain “boogie” in the title on Youtube! Later Bowers was on Decca for two Nashville produced pop rockers, the better being “Blabber Mouth Sidewalk Stroll” (# 30578) from 1957. I don’t know anything on Bowers afterwards.

chuck bowers

choice bowers pig

bart martin tears

billy martinWay up North and Michigan, on the Bart label. One Billy Martin has the really fine Hillbilly bop ballad “Tears I Couldn’t Hide” on the Bart label (# 7G28). Prominent steel over a very sincere vocal. The same Billy Martin had also « Angel »/ « If It’s Lovin’ That You Want » (Lucky 0009, 1960) and « I’m Home Again » (Fortune 198). . There were also issues on Happy Hearts, D, Cannon and Misty in the 70’s.

The very small – Kentucky based, as said in an old Hillbilly Reserarcher issue  – Dixiana label was launched in 1953, and do seem to have only lasted six months or so. From his 7 issues I chose The Renfro Brothers‘ “Just Over A Girl“, a fast romper led by a boogie pianist and showcased by an accordion (# 103). On the same label was issued Odis Blanton & his Blue Star Rangers, who I will post later the great “Steppin’ High Wide And Handsome“. On Dixiana 105, there is still a Cliff Gross to be found yet (both titles sound interesting).

dixiana renfro bros girl

baron angel walking

 

a&a angel walking

Walter Scott‘s great “I’m Walking Out” (see Ruby # 240, elsewhere in this site) was cut in 1968 by a L. C. Angel with Coye Farmer on the microscopic Baron label (no # number) out of Trenton, OH. The record gives full personal (steel-guitar-bass); so which instrument was played by Farmer or Angel? Incidentally the very same record was reissued twelve years later on the A & A label (still no #) out of Hamilton, OH. A fine version nevertheless, but the artist is completely out of sight!

Ben Hall has the fine “Moo Mama” Rockabilly on the Cord label (# 101). Very rare one; even rarer is the unissued at the time “Be Bop Ball“, saved from oblivion by the Dutchman!

Finally from a February 1932 session do come the very sexual “Red Nightgown Blues“, cut by Jimmie Davis for RCA-Victor (with sublime slide guitar by Oscar Woods) and issued in the Bluebird serie (# 5699). A tune that suits exactly to Jerry Lee Lewis‘ way of life, and one may wonder how he has not recorded this song (remember “Long Legged Woman” cut for Sun?)

cord hall moo

bluebird davis nightgownFlash (January 23rd, 2012). I received a mail from JIMMY RENFRO. His Dad Jim had not heard their songs within a very long time, so he was stunned and happy. His uncle Raymond did the same. Thanks Jimmy! I include in the posts the flipside of their Dixiana 103, “Ever Ready“. Alas, I don’t know any other record by them.
dixiana renfro-brothers ready