Late December 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy, folks ! This is the last 2019 fortnight’s favorites selection. It’s been another 23 this year : one per fortnight, usually showing up 8 to 10 records (a short reckoning gives a total sum bewteen 175 and 240 records, mainly uncommon or frankly obscure). The greats are too well-known, and I have a preference for so many Unknown Soldiers of bopping music, who made but one record, generally not a second one – but they gave us Country boogie (or bopping ballads) of very high content and level. This time you will have 10 records cut between late ’40s and 1968.

Both sides of 4 Star 1286 were selected by the West coastian AL VAUGHN, who offers fine crossings between Hillbilly and Western bop. He was backed by the cream of California musicians for a typical late 1940’s sound. « I Can’t Believe You (Cause You Lied) », a lovely uptempo, has a lazy backing, a steel prominent, and a relaxed vocal. The flip, « Why Kid Myself About You » is a faster side.

Does the second artist need an introduction ? BILL HALEY & the Saddlemen was rocking the Western country in 1951 for already several years. Actually they deliberately copied black music for White people. Here’s, from July 1951, their great rendition of the Jackie Brenston/Ike Turner’s hit « Rocket 88 » on Holiday 105 out of Pennsylvania. Solid swooping piano, car effects ; even Haley has already his breathless voice. A fabulous Country boogie ! Later on he went in the same format on Essex (« Rock The Joint »).

Out of Texas, JOHNNY HICKS (born in Missouri in 1918) was not a newcomer when he cut at the tail end of 1951 in Dallas, Tx. (Seller’s studio) for Columbia the fine « Rainy Night Blues » (# 20900) ; he was backed by the great ubiquitous Paul Blunt on steel, Lefty Perkins on lead guitar, and received his band chorus for this bluesy opus. Actually as a D.J. he entertained listeners of KRIM, later of KRLD for 5 or 6 years before, and was going to launch as co-producer the Big D Jamboree. He’d retire in Salina, Ca. and entertained on KTOM before his death in 1977, aged only 59.

All the remaining tunes will have a distinct ’60s feel.

EARL WATKINS issued in 1960 on Rem # 307 a fast bopper in Cincinnati, Oh, « One Night Of Happiness » : a strong rhythm guitar, a fiddle solo – a too short guitar solo. A record worth watching for.

« Trucker’s Lament » was released on the chanteur’s own label in Cleveland, Oh. in 1965. FRANK BELL releases a strong countryish song.

In 1965 (on the Tamm label # 2015 – unknown location) NORMAN WOOD did deliver his « Black Lake Boogie » : a great rocker, with bluesy voice and bass chords played guitar (a solo). Another record to look for.

Finally out of Franklin, Pa. in 1965, on the Process label # 129, here’s a vocal duet given by HOWARD (NICK) FOLEY & the Rambling Esquires : « If You’ll Be Mine I’ll Treat You Kind » has an harmonica, a mandolin, a banjo – the whole thing is bordering Bluegrass music.

Cousin Zeke

COUSIN ZEKE, out of Memphis, Tn. in 1968 offers on the Tri-State label (# 1924) what it appears to be an adult-only record. « Get Your Fingers Out Of It » is labelled « Party Record ». It’s a stop-and-go type fast song – voice does sound old – lot of echo on the guitar – loud drums. The flipside, « Lover Man Minus Sex Appeal » is more Countryish : steel and guitar – same ‘old’ voice. A very good record for the era.

That’s all folks. Have a nice Christmas and a bopping New Year.

Sources : YouTube, Gripsweat, Ronald Keppner for rare Al Vaughn 78rpm ; Will Agenant « Columbia 20000 serie » for Johnny Hicks ; 45cat and 78worlds for labels.