First version of the song was cut by JIMMIE DAVIS in February 1937, backed by Milton Brown (actually deceased a year before) Musical Brownies. Out of them Lefty Perkins takes two solos on the steel, Papa Calhoun is at the piano and the fiddle duties are taken by Buck Buchanan. It’s a medium paced blues ditty typical of Davis’ work. It was issued on Decca 5349. Jimmie Davis, “High geared daddy”
In August 1949 WEBB PIERCE, after having obviously heard Davis’ tune, revived it (taking the credit to him). Nice honky-tonker (Buddy Attaway on steel?)[Shot Jackson is on steel; Buddy Attaway played the lead guitar – note from March 23, 2018]. The lyrics were a bit different from Davis’. Here they are Pierce’s ones:
Come on here girls and hear my song
I’ll tell you my troubles as I step along
I’m a high geared daddy and there’s nothing I won’t do
I’m a two time papa when you leave me at home
I’ll call another momma on the telephone
I’m a high geared daddy that’s never been made blue
If you leave me at home well that’s allright
I’ll take a new momma with me tonight
[continued this style] this perfect example of honky tonk machism was issued on 4 Star 1413, and many times reissued (e.g. 4* 1601), then was the model for other versions.
TOMMY LITTLE & the Sunrise Rangers, from Durham, N.C. recorded the song, although actually it’s a completely different one same time as Pierce’s and Davis’, because it is an old warhorse of the Thirties, frequently known as « Sweet mama put him in low », first recorded by KARL & HARTY (Karl Davis/Hartford Taylor) in Chicago, January 1941 (Okeh 06066). Not surprisingly the song was credited to “Davis”! Fairley Holden had his own version on King 771 in 1947. Tommy Little’s version, first issued on Tommy’s personal label, Tommy’s, was picked up by Colonial, a sub-label to Hollywood giant Modern diskery. Little gives the song a superbly energetic treatment with the mandolin giving it a wonderful old-time flavour.
Returning to Webb Pierce’s « HIGH GEARED DADDY‘, the song found a new life in the hands of JIMMY WALKER on the West coast Intro label # 6025 in July 1951. He was backed on this occasion by Joe Maphis and Noel Boggs, augmented by George « Crazy » Tracy on harmonica and did offer an fine, relaxed although energetic version. Finally in a novelty style it was revived as a RCA LP track in 1956 by HOMER & JETHRO. Jimmy Walker “High geared daddy”
Earnest Earl Walker was born in Mason County, West Virginia on December 18th, 1915, a few miles from the river town of Point Pleasant. Having been reared in his home locals and also in the Pittsburgh area, he worked as a riverboat man in the late ’30s before being drafted into the military. (more…)