Late April 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Hello, visitors ! Hi to old ones. The story goes on with a small dozen of tunes mostly issued during the ’50s (1950-59) with the odd item from 1965.

A short career (no more than 2 years) but a very prolific one : AL VAUGHN cut many records on 4 Star just the days before the 1948 Petrillo recording ban, and also some sides in 1950. Born Alton Faye Vaughn (1922, Arkansas), he later settled in Oklahoma, before eventually moving to California and got signed to Bill McCall’s whom he cut records for. Here’s the risqué « Right Key In The Wrong Keyhole » (# 1480) with fast pace, an agile steel which reminds one of Milton Brown’s steel-man, Bob Dunn. A tight little Western-tinged tune, of course ‘not suited for radio use’.

Next artist, HOMER LEE SEWELL, was a Southern one (Houston and Oklahoma). He first presents « She’s Mad At Me » on D 1067. A fast little country bopper, fiddle always present. From April 1959. Flipside equally good : « Whisper Your Name » is a lovely atmospheric ballad ; Willie Nelson holds the lead guitar. Sewell was also on Oakridge 104, « Country Boy Shuffle », a passable Country rocker , piano to the fore.

Mack and Gwen

We remain in Texas : Marshall. The duet of brother & sister MACK (Smith) and GWEN (Phillips) was active during 1959 and 60 and released records on their own Phil label. On # 1200 it’s their most famous track, backed by the Country Playboys, « Baby I Want Another Date With you » – fast number, good guitar and a bit of fiddle : the whole thing is energetic and moving. They recorded their production by Mira Smith’s studio (Ram Records), Shreveport, La. The flipside, « I Don’t Care What They Say About You » is a gentle bopper – loud bass, a steel solo and a welcome piano. Later they relocated to Dallas for their second issue (Phil 1201, the fast « If It Ain’t The Board Draft It’s My Baby », fine dobro) with another backing outfit (The Garlanders), finally on Phil 1203 they had « I’ll Be There With All Of You », a slow bopper, less interesting.

Ken Gabbard & the Hilltop Rangers

Nearer to us, here’s KEN GABBARD and the Hilltop Rangers for «Things Can’t Be As They Were » in 1965 on the Harp label # 15730 (a Trenton, OH label). A mid-pace opus, a weeping vocal and steel : an excellent ballad

From Oklahoma (where he’d begin with his own label Echo), JACK PADGETT went to Jesse Erickson Talent label, and released two discs between 1949 and 50. « Peppermint Sticks » (Talent 722) is a medium paced, typical late ’40s Texas bopper, good guitar and fiddle. On his second, faster issue, « Boogie Woogie Gal » (# 729), he is joined by the house pianist Aline McManus on romping piano. Great steel by the overshadowed Curley Cochran. Padgett’s base was KTMC in McAlester, South East of the State).

The Willis Brothers

The WILLIS BROTHERS (formerly the Oklahoma Wranglers) were a famous trio affiliated with KGFF in Shawnee, OK. They present an excellent instrumental – Vic Willis’ leading with his accordion – « Wrangler Boogie » on Mercury 6071, early ’50s. Then a shuffler with « Long Gone » on Coral 64175, 1953 ; this time led by the eldest of the Trio on guitar, GUY WILLS ; plus a welcome piano (solo) and steel. Later they went to Starday among other labels.

Billy Dee

Released in July 1954, here’s « I Can’t Get Enough Of You » by BILLY DEE (vocal, piano, steel) is a refreshing, joyful small bopping opus (Fabor 111B), while his other disc, « Drinking Tequila » is a bit disappointing : a good tune but average bopper – one ought to wait something better with such a title (Fabor 104)

Sources : YouTube ; 45cat ; Gripsweat ; HBR site (Talent) ; Ohio labels.

Late May 2017 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Hello Folks ! This is the late May 2017 bopping fortnite’s selection. It begins with a Starday custom disc on the Friendly label [from Milan, TN] (# 853) by RAY BELL : « Yodelin’ catfish blues » [what a title!], which is a cross, in my mind, between Rockabilly and Bopper. Dating from 1960 or even later. No guitar solo. A good song anyway which growns on one’s ears at every listening. Bell had another disc on Queen (obviously distributed by King), but a Jay Miller production: it is a suggestion of a Louisiana recording or at least a link. Same Queen label has a Miller protégé, Katie Webster. So the link may be strong. « Blues tavern » (# 24006, June 1961) is a decent uptempo hillbilly ballad. He also had two “leased” titles on the same date which went unissued at King. 

Yodelin’ catfish bluesfriendly Bell Yodelin'

queen Ray Bluesdownload
Blues tavern

Carl Butler

1927-1992

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CARL BUTLER is too well-known, and doesn’t deserve any presentation. Here early in career he adopts a high-pitched vocal, backed by good dobro and banjo. Art Wooten is playing the fiddle for this catchy « No trespassing » from April 1951 on the Capitol label, # 1701.
 “No trespassing

downloadcapîtol Butler  trespassing

Next selection is by three guys (brothers) also well-known, first as the Willis Brothers (led by the eldest of them, James « Guy » Willis) then later as Willis BrothersOKLAHOMA WRANGLERS. They put between 1946 and 54 on line a fine string of Country rockers and hillbilly Boppers. I’ve chosen – an uneasy task – two boppers. First the fast «Hoot howl boogie » from April 1951, issued on RCA 20-4309. Piano accompanying throughout the tune (Vic Willis), nice guitar solo (Guy Willis) over a fiddle part (Skeeter Willis) + two unknowns : steel player and a thudding double-bassist. It has an irressistible beat.

rca Oklahoma Wrangler sHoot

Second song is a program per se : « Hillbilly rhythm » (RCA 20-4848, cut rca Oklahoma Wranglers Hillbilly Rhythm"May 1952). Not as fast as the previous song, it’s excellent all the way. Fiddle part is more prominent, while the brothers sing the refrain in unison. Guy Willis even plays in a style Merle Travis had done famous several years ago. More on the Oklahoma Wranglers in a not too distant future, when I put my hands on biographical details.

 

Hoot howl boogie

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Hillbilly rhythm

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MALCOLM PARKER seems to have migrated from Nashville to West coast (or was it the opposite). The first record noticed was on a California label, Mesa 101: a mid-tempo, nice rhythm-guitar and vocal led for « The tears you saved », stylistically from the early ’60s, although the label indicate « Stereo », which may indicate a 1970’s issue: a great record for this era! Then a second issue on Code, a Nashville label (# 301), early ’60s too. It’s a great rocker (piano and great guitar solo) for « Come along with me ». Perhaps different artists with the same name ? I found (but unheard) one side described by its vendor as « hillbilly » , « The panther den/We’re through » on the Bee (location unknown : label too much damaged), on the RootsVinylGuide site, which is usually very helpful. But not this time ! Anyone help us all?

The tears you savedmesa Parker tears

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Come along with mecode Parker Come

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At last a woman, PATTI LYNN from Detroit, screams her « Same old blues » on Hi-Q 23. A real belting rocker from 1964!

hi-q Lynn bluesSame old blues

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illinois Ontario Wiggle

ART ONTARIO is a well-known figure among Rockabilly circles. He had releases on Dixie (« It must be me », # 2019 (Madison, TN) in 1959, then as Art Buchanan, on sparse Dixie regional issues or on Flame during the early ’60s. Now a rare Starday custom, Illinois label (# 725) presents « Wiggle walkin’ boogie ». A great vocal, an insistant lead guitar (solo) over fine inventive drums. A nice record.

Wiggle walkin’ boogie

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A jumping little tune now on an Atlanta Leo’s label (# 2016) for BLUEGRASS ERVIN : « I won’t cry alone ». Lots of fiddle (at times, played pizzicato, like a mandolin; at other times, duetting with steel). Steel is great, plus a clever guitar player. A great, great light country-rocker !

leo's Ervin  cry I won’t cry aloneBluegrass Ervin

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Finally FREEMAN ERVIN [apparently no connection with the preceding artist] in 1962 for « Living doll » on the Newbury, OH Bryte label # 241. Banjo-led, and high-pitched vocal. Good bopping Bluegrass to finish this issue.

Living dollbrite Freeman Living

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Sources: thanks to UncleGil Rockin’ Archives (Oklahoma Wranglers files) ; HillbillyBoogie1 Youtube chain ; RootsVinylGuide for various scans, as 78rpm-world ; BF CD for Carl Butler personal on this session ; RCS for Art Ontario.