BOB PERRY on the Chicago label Bandera ( 1305) does provide us with a great, fast Country-rocker in 1960-61, « Weary Blues, Goodbye ». Fabulous rhythm guitar, assured vocal, and a out-of-this world steel-guitar solo. No drums audible, the rhythm guitar does give the pace. Perry was also on the Denver, Co label Bandbox (# 255) with the average « It’s All Over Now « . The « Goodbye » item change hands for $150-200, according to Tom Lincoln’s book. Barry K. John doesn’t even mention it.
Some call him « the « King of rockabilly « (or the inventor,to say the least). CHARLIE FEATHERS had a rich career from 1955 until his death (1998). He began on Sun Records, before going for his greatest exposure on Meteor in 1956 and the classic double-sider « Get With It/ Tongue tied Jill » # 5032. He then switched to King, without any success (the place was full of young rockers), after that he came to small concerns : Kay, Memphis, Holiday Inn (a Sam Phillips’ label), Philwood, Pompadour and Vetco ; not to mention , after his rediscovery ;many albums iincluding on his own label, Feathers. Here he is with is second disc for Sun (the first was on the temporary Flip label). « Defrost Your Heart » has all the ingredients of Rockabilly : slapping bass (Bill Black), the Quinton Claunch (guitar) and Bill Cnntrell (fiddle) team, howms and growls by the singer. Sam Phillips never did allow Feathers to sing Rockabilly but ballads (November 1955).
The second side exceeds the limits of the site (1945-1965), a tour-de-force for Charlie, his lead player and the slapping bass of Marcus Van Story : « Where She’s At Tonight » (also publshed as « Rain ») (1969) is a dream come true for any Rockabilly lover.
.From a King to another ; this one of Honky Tonk, the greatest of ’em all : HANK WILLIAMS (1923-1953). He left behind him a lot of demos like this « Blue Love ». Great rhythm guitar and this unmistably voice. Next song is a another demo, which was later overdubbed by his band, the Drifting Cowboys. « Weary Blues From Waitn’ » is pure Honky Tonk heaven. It even has some yodel by Williams .
SLIM RHODES (born 1913) originally from Arkansas, cut records for Sam Phillips in 1950 which were issued by Gilt-Edge, a California concern. His “Hot Foot Rag » (# 5015) had a powerful lead guitar. In 1956 they cut 4 sides at Sun records aimed at Rockabilly circles, « Gonna Romp And Stomp » ( # 238) and “Do What I Do »/ »Take And Give » (256)
Next artist was out of Nahville. CLAY EAGER recorded for Republic. « Don’t Come Cryin’ On My Shoulder » ( # 7077) was a fair medium-paced bopper. . Later on, he went on his own label and Karl.
BOBBY ROBERTS was a two-faced artist. In 1955, he cut a fabulous Hank Williams styled Honky tonker, « I’m Gonna Comb You Outta Of My Hair » (November 1955) with his Ozark Drifters ( King 4837 (what a title!), The follow-up was « I’m Pullin’ Stakes And Leavin’ You » (# 4868), then was gone for Rockabilly in 1958 on Hut Records, a very small diskery,and in 1956 for Sky (MS) « Big Sandy »/She’s My Woman ». The son to Roberts did confirm me his Dad was on King then Sky and Hut.
CHUCK HARDING must have been a good seller, because Modern issued a good half-dozen records by him. « Talkin’ The Blues » is a fine bopper from 1947.
from the notes of Shane Hughes, « Yahoo » « rockin’ records» group.
This Roberts has obviously nothing to do with the one on U.S.A. label and the other on Cameo, who came later early ’60s, and drastically change in style. Nothing to do too with Media (Philadelphia) or GMA artists.
Bobby Roberts’ music, from editor’s point of view.
It is hard to imagine such a change in so little time in style between the King session and the Sky one.
All 4 sides cut at King (« with the Ozark Drifters ») are pure dreamed hillbilly a la Hank Williams. All medium paced tracks, they feature a strong string-bass, and a weird steel-guitar, both propelled by a crisp fiddle. Vocal is a dream, Roberts has a firm voice, even some semi-yodelling vocalizing over nice lyrics.
In complete contrast, the Sky sides are out-and-out rockers. « Big Sandy » is a screamer, and the whole thing is a gas. « She’s my woman », a bit slower, fetches to Rockabilly. Note on the reissue the presence of the Jennings Brothers.
« Cravin’ » is a routinely rocker, while « Hop skip and jump » (not the Collins Kids’ number, neither the York Brothers’ on Bullet ) is an average rocker – even a sax – which Billy Riley could have cut this style. Actually it bears a little similarity with « Pearly Lee »..
The son to Bobby Roberts once posted in « bopping » that his father was the same man on King, Sky and Hut ; so I asked for some details and a picture, if available – no answer..
With thanks to Uncle Gil (King 4868 sound file) and Dave Cruse (King 4868 label scan). Internet research.
Hello folks! This is REALLY a hot summer over there in France, lot of heavy clouds but…no rain at all. Perfect time anyway to keep oneself well dry inside and stomp to that good ole’ Hillbilly beat. We begin with a very elusive artist from the Cumberland Valley/Cincinnati area. I’ve told before in this site about him, and did promise I should post everything I gathered for one year and a half. This could be later this year, so watch out for the fullest possible story on Mr. JIMMIE BALLARD. The first cut in this fortnite is Ballard’s own version of “Birthday Cake Boogie” (Kentucky 508)
of course, the same song was also recorded by, among others, BILLY HUGHES and SKEETS McDONALD, and stands out as a classic ‘risqué‘ or ‘double-entendre‘ song. Ballard was the front man then of BUFFALO JOHNSON‘s Herd (who was active in the D.C. area, and a full story on him is on the line. And he keeps the vocal duties with the also ‘risqué‘ (Kentucky 520 ) “T’ain’t Big Enough“. Both songs are from 1953/1954, fine uptempo Boppers, altho’ just above average, except for lyrics.
Back to a Wildcat out of Texas, a very long career as steel guitar player as soon as 1936, then singer and front man of his band, the XYT Boys, BILLY BRIGGS. I will have some day a complete story on him. He was (maybe he’s still alive, I dunno) to have a sound on his own, and produced very strange ditties from his steel in 1951 for his greatest success (much covered) “Chew Tobacco Rag N° 2” . Here I’ve chosen the amusing “North Pole Boogie” (Imperial 8131, late Forties), complete with icy wind effects (on steel), and Briggs’ own barytone voice imitating a sort of ‘polar bear’ .
Back to Cincinnati and BILL BROWNING. I’ve written about him elsewhere in the site with the story of the LUCKY label. Today I listen to his composition “Dark Hollow“, which was a hit in 1958 when picked up by JIMMIE SKINNER, before the very nice version on BLUE RIDGE by LUKE GORDON (watch out for his story later in 2010), then even by The Grateful Dead in 1973, among others. I particularly like the recent version made by FRED TRAVERS (90’s) which I’ve included in the podcasts; almost falsetto urgent vocal and great dobro.
More from Cincinnati. BOBBY ROBERTS (I think there were at least 2, or 3 personas by the same name during he 50’s). Here he’s the great Hillbilly singer, who cut late 1955 4 sides for KING records. I cannot rememeber if I posted earlier his great “I’m Gonna Comb You Out Of My Hair” (what a title!). This time, I offer the second KING (4868, unverified – Ruppli’s book still stored) “I’m Pulling Stakes And Leaving You”, same lyrics format. Great, great Hillbilly Bop. Later in 1956, Roberts (or one of his aliases) had “Big Sandy” or “Hop, Skip and Jump“, pure Rockabillies. I still wonder if it’s the same man; if so, he would have adapted very well and quickly (within some months) from pure Hillbilly vocal to almost Rock’n’Roll. By the way, he would not have been the first to do so: SKEETS McDONALD, GEORGE JONES, MARTY ROBBINS did very well the transition early in 1956.
Another elusive artist: guitar player/singer PETE PIKE. Recently deceased (2006) just after a CD ‘back to roots’ (Bluegrass) issued in 2005, he was active both in Virginia and D.C. areas from 1947 onwards, and associated several years with another interesting man, BUZZ BUSBY (Busbice). Pike had Hillbilly Bop records on FOUR STAR and CORAL in 1954-1955, among them I’ve chosen the superior ballad “I’m Walking Alone“. Another future entry in www.bopping.org, research is well advanced.
Finally, on the Rocking Blues side, you’re in for a treat with L.A. ‘black Jerry Lee Lewis’ (as the Englishmen call him when he visits their shores), WILLIE EGAN and “What A Shame” from 1957 (Vita label). Pounding piano, wild vocal, strong saxes, heavy drums, the whole affair rocks like mad, althoug relaxed. Enjoy, folks. Comments welcome. ‘Till then, bye-bye.