Early May 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy folks ! Let’s embark for a new journey into bopping music ! It begins in the late forties and extends until 1965, with an emphasis for the 1954-59 period.

T. Texas Tyler & the Oklahoma Boys

T. TEXAS TYLER & his Oklahoma Boys were a very popular outfit in California during the late ’40s. Here the man « with a million friends » deliver a really hot instrumental « Guitar Boogie Woogie » on 4Star 1114 (recorded May 1946) : a fast, furious guitar showcase (James Pruett or Stan Walker) (plus a steel solo by Joaquin Murphy).

Eddy Raven

Twenty years later EDDY MARVIN, also on a Fort Worth, Tx. label (Oakridge # 117) offers a downhome shuffling bopper. Good piano, cool vocal in « I’m Packing My Duds & I’m Head-in South ».

Bill Goodwin

Here’s a Starday custom, issued on the main label in the 500 serie. Starday 710 by BILL GOODWIN. April 1958 « Teenage Blues », a fast number with Rockabilly guitar. Later on, Goodwin was also on the Starday sublabel Dixie # 2014 (1959) ; with his Western Ramblers,he did « Your Lying Ways ». A bopper with great guitar.

David Gates

The Oklahoma born DAVID GATES, for his second record (the first was issued by Mala), on East-West 123 (a sublabel of the giant Atlantic outlet) : « Swingin’ Baby Doll » is really bopping and rolling. (February 1959)

Clyde Moody

CLYDE MOODY (1915-1989) was the King of Waltzes ; he also had several good boppers, as this « Tend To Your Business » on King 977. It’s a bluesy mid-paced hillbilly tune, piano and fiddle .

Cash Box July 14, 1951

Sandy Walker & His Country Boys

Back to California with SANDY WALKER’s back-to-back sides of Sage 227 (November 1956). Two uptempos : steel, fiddle, piano solos for « Beatin’ Round The Bush » and « So Long Baby Blues ».

Jeanie Pierson

At last a woman ! JEANIE PIERSON from White Cloud, Kansas, came up in Nashville in 1953, providing her solid version of Lefty’s « Run ‘Em Off » (co-written by Onie Wheeler)(Decca 28967).

Cash Box Dec. 28, 1953

Big Bill Lister

Finally a long-time Hank W. impersonator, BIG BILL LISTER, does offer « Countryfied » on Capitol 1551 (June 1951). An uptempo with fiddle, by the way Hank’s styled.

Sources : Country Hicks LP (Eddy Marvin) ; HillbillyBoogie1 YouTube chain (Jeanie Pierson), 4 Star Starday Custom serie (Bill Goodwin) ; Praguefrank (T. Texas Tyler data) ; my own archives from anywhere, piled up through the years..

Late May 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy, friends! This selection is going to be special. The hard disk, which I stock all my music upon, is out of order. And because Cvid-19 confinement, the repair shop is closed. So I took several tunes already published and set up a sequence.

At the tail end of this fortnight, I pay homage to the late, great LITTLE RICHARD, recently deceased. Here we go!

The next pairing was issued in May 1952 (but obviously recorded much earlier) and saw « Our Shotgun Weddin’ Day », a great, fast Hillbilly bop opus issued on DC # 4114 (vocal by Roy Howington).

Red Barn was a regional Kansas City concern, important for example for the first Jimmie Skinner sides of the late ’40s. The name ELMO LINN may be an obscure one ; he had however two interesting issues on this label. « Lorita » (Red Barn 1188A) is a medium paced shuffler with steel. Vocal reminds a bit Ernest Tubb. The flipside « Line on the highway » is a fast guitar backed tune. « Heart full of love » (Red Barn 1195) comes next, with again that shuffling rhythm. Later on Linn went to Westport (pop country)

The second (and final, as it turned out) session for Rich-R-Tone took place October, where the band also backed up country singer Buffalo Johnson for two numbers – and although their records were doing rather well, their thoughts were elsewhere. By this time, the band had pretty much decided to not work with Stanton anymore.

Next stop in Freddie Frank’s career is in Odessa (West Texas) in 1961. Unable to find a label proper to release real Hillbilly at this time, he then launched his own label, Permian, apparently a common venture with Slim Willet. Frank had 3 issues on this label. First «This old rig »(1001-A) has energetic rhythm and voice over very fine fiddle and steel. : a great Bopper.

LEO SOILEAU was a Cajun fiddler, whose intense and dramatic playing is heard in three tracks, first « Les Bleus de La Louisiane » (Decca 17009A) from 1935. When reissued, it was renamed simply « Louisiana Blues » (Decca 5116-A). The whole story is told by Wade Falcon in his super blog « Early Cajun Music », read here: “Les Blues De La Louisiane (Louisiana Blues)” – Leo Soileau. Third track by Soileau is a vocal (himself) for « Petit ou gros » (Bluebird 2197).

In the course of getting ready for release this fortnight, I got some sad news: the death of LITTLE RICHARD. He was my idol who’d never cut a bad record. He was electrifying; I saw him several times, and he was so exciting. I chose to publish several tunes from his long carreer.

Although he was retired from secular music since 4 years, he helped his ancient Upsetters with this Fats Domino hit (1961). Pounding piano!

Too long forgotten in the Specialty archives, at last released in the ’80s, “Heeby-Jeebies-Love” is thrilling, and has all what’s good for being a hit.

In 1972, while at the United Artists building in Los Angeles, he fooled around with the Canned Heat group for a parody, “Rocking With The King”.

During an English tour, he cut in January 1966 the frenetic “Get Down With It”, backed by English group Bluesology – their piano player (not here) was..Elton John.

I chose finally a live track from a 1993 Europe touring. Here Richard does a good version (too short) of “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie”

Early February 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy, folks ! This is the third « fortnight » for 2019 : early February selection of 9 Songs cut between 1953 and ’63, a good part coming from Ohio river neighboring states.

Walt Cochran & His Holly River Boys

Here we go first with WALT COCHRAN & His Holly River Boys (lead guitar Billy Strawser) ; they released in 1963 a single on the Cincinnati, OH Olimpic label (# 249), comprising first a jumping uptempo tune « What Am I Gonna Do » and a new version of the evergreen (HOW many singers did cut this song since its original issue in 1930 by the Mississipi Sheiks? « The lyrics of the original song convey a stoic optimism in the face of emotional setbacks, and the song has been described as a “simple, elegant distillation of the Blues”[Wikipedia]) « I’m Sittin’ On Top Of The World ». Both sides are very nice boppers for the era.

Jim Wilson on Dot Records

On the Gallatin, TN Dot label, we turn now to a Western swing flavored bopper « Big Fat Mama », a good fast bopper full of enthusiasm sung by JIM WILSON (# 1167) (released in May 1953). The flipside « Unwanted Love » show a neat tendency to crooning on a slow ballad (steel and fiddle), certainly forgettable. The singer went really pop on later Mercury sides (1956), but the Dot A side has fantastic fiddle and steel solo, and the singer is OK.

Big Bill Johnson

In Manchester, Kentucky BIG BILL JOHNSON does offer a fast bopper (steel solo and a good guitar) « That’s The Way I Like You Best » on the Acme label # 1275 in 1957. Johnson also had on the Nashville label later (1963) « Alimony » (# 5150) and the minor Rockabilly classic « Umm Boy, You’re My Baby » (# 5133), also « Hot Rod Car » on Blue Angel 2004 (1964), and REM until the early ’70s.

Jimmy Settle & the Blue Grass Rangers

On the same Acme label (# 1295) from 1958, we hear to JIMMY SETTLE & the Blue Grass Rangers for « I Don’t Need Your Kind Of Love », a fast ditty with strong baritone voice, guitar and fiddle solos. Settle also had « Admitting Defeat » on Pier-Wats #301 (1957), a nice uptempo cut in Louisville, Kentucky.

May Hawks

MAY HAWKS from Detroit, Michigan, had a full career in the ’50s, and surely deserves an essay. Here she offers « Meet Me Down In Nashville » (Fortune # 179) in 1954 : a fast tune, an acid/sweet voice and a good guitar.

Kenny Lee

Finally probably cut in Nashville, KENNY LEE offers a good uptempo bopper (extrovert vocal, steel and fiddle solos, good string-bass) on RCA-Victor 47-5629 with « That’s My baby’s Kisses ». He had further boppers with « Flame Of Fire » (RCA 5733) and « Holding Hands » (RCA 5816) recorded between September 1953 and January 1955.

Sources : 45cat, HMC compilation (thanks UncleGil’s Rockin’ Archives), Karlheinz Focke, my own archives. Michel Ruppli for Kenny Lee RCA files.

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.

Early April 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy, folks! Hello to past visitors, hi! to new ones. Here it’s the new fortnight’s favorites selection of bopping music (early April 2020), and you’ll be treated with tunes as early as 1934, to immediate early ’60s.

Zeke Clements & his Western Swing Gang

An early Grand Ole Opry star, ZEKE CLEMENTS (1911-1994) was an immensely popular artist with songs like « Smoke On The Water » or « Oklahoma Blues ». Here he is on the Blazon klabel (# 10B) from the late ’40s for « It’s My Life », an uptempo a bit jazzy/Western swing : clarinet all through along the tune, piano and jumping vocal. Clements even adapted himself in 1959 to Rock’n’roll on his own Janet label.

Homer Callahan

Even earlier (1934) by HOMER CALLAHAN part of the Callahan Brothers duo (the other was Walter). This is crude Hillbilly ! « Rattlesnake Daddy » has a raw power, only singer and his guitar, with some yodel. Vocalion 04362, cut in NYC.

Randy Atcher

A fast hillbilly now in the hands of RANDY ATCHER, a Louisville, Ky artist. « Flying High » (M-G-M 11954), released iin 1955, is a fast number that moves, with a nice fiddle. More of the same for « You’re A Living Doll » (# 12058) : steel effects and also moving. Atcher cut an « Indian » classic hillbilly in 1956, « Indian Rock » (M-G-M 12347). He was also on Contract Records.

Bob Dean & Cindy

From Washington, D.C. comes BOB DEAN & Cindy with the Kountry Kings. They released in ’59 the fast Country-rocker « Walk, Walk, Walkin’ Blues » on Kay 3690.

The York Brothers

Another Indian Hillbilly is « Mohawk Squaw » (King 1468, recorded May 1955) by the YORK Brothers, Leslie and George. It’s a fine novelty « Mohawk Squaw, Hugh-hugh »..), well in their usual manner : good guitar and some spare drums. Released also on UK. Parlophone.

From Oklahoma on the Razorback label (# 103) in 1958 we are treated with a fast Hillbilly bopper by BILLY PARKS : « Four Leaf Clover » is a lively opus, string bass well to the fore, boogie guitar and a discreet steel (too short solo), chanter in good form. The flipside, « Why Shoud I Keep On Trying » is similar in essence and tempo, as well as the UBC 1015 « If I Shoud Tell You I’m Sorry » (issued November 1960).

Jimmy Reed

Finally a master in Rocking Blues : JIMMY REED with two tracks from a July 1955 session for Chicago’s Vee-Jay Records Company. W.C. Dalton on lead guitar, Milton Rector on bass, Earl Phillips on drums, plus the very great Henry Gray on piano (later with Howling Wolf). The two tracks have Reed on vocal and harmonica : « She Don’t Want Me No More » and « I Don’t Go For That » – neither me !

Sources : YouTube for Randy Atcher ; HBR 19 (Razorback) for Billy Parks’ songs ; Google Images for Randy Atcher and Jimmy Reed ; Ron Keppner for Zeke Clements on Blazon ; 45cat for Billy Parks and Bob Dean ; my own archives.

Late March 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy, folks ! This is late March 2020 fortnight’s favorites’ selection. 7 discs only this time but great ones, published between 1952 and 1961. Some originals, some covers.

Jack Turner

« Everybody’s Rockin’ but Me » is already a Rockablly classic of the genre as performed by BOBBY LORD in June 1956. Yet it had its original Hillbilly bopper in the hands of JACK TURNER, cut in Nashville April 1956. Topical lyrics (references to « Blue Suede Shoes » and « Alligators »), released by Hickory (# 1050). Turner was born in Haleyville, Alabama,in 1921 but had moved to Nashville in 1942, prior to marrying and entering in U.S. Navy. Later he became hooked to Hank Williams’ sound, and it was Williams’ mother, Mrs. Lilian Stone, who turned attention of Acuff-Rose editions to his songs.

Billboard Aust 8, 1956

Out of Cincinnati, Carl Burkhardt’s label Kentucky specialized in copying hits of the time. Here’s « Detour » (1952, (Kentucky 561) which was first cut by West coast Jimmy Walker {see his story elsewhere in this blogqite}and became a standard. So the song is copied here Hillbilly bop style : guitar, steel and double vocal.

Later on the Echo Valley Boys did the backing to Bill Browning on Island Records.

Melvin Endsley was more known for his compositions given to others; nevertheless he made some few very good records on his own.

Melvin Endsley

Here he performs the strong rocker “I Like Your Kind Of Love” (1957), backed by the cream of Nashville’s musicians. Later on, a nice sincere ballad “Sarted Out A-Walkin'” (1961). The detail has some importance, since one knows that Endsley was confined to a wheel-chair (polo).

Jerry Newton

Jerry & Wayne Newton, Virginia born (Roanake) went rarly at music (listening on Grand Ole Opry) and practicing very yon steel and guitar. Later, their family relocated in Arizona and soon they aired from a station in Phoenix. They even had their first record as The Rhythm Rascals on the Rnger label. How they came to the attention of an ABC talent scout is open to speculation. “Baby, Baby, Baby” is a showcase of their talent on electric guitar and steel. They were later booked with a long-term contract in Vegas.

The Armstrong Twins

Lloyd (guitar) and Floyd (mandolin) were exact twins, out of Little Rock, Arkansas, where they had their own radio show. In 1947 they relocated in California and soon appeared on Cliffie Stone show; around the same time they began to cut records for Four Star. “Alabama Baby” (1386) is a fast vocal duet, an impeccable tempo; solos of fiddle and mandolin: a really stomping thing.

Carl Story

CARL STORY had a long steer of sacred recordings (Old Homestead), but he failed too to the Rockabilly/Country Boogie craze with this disc “You’ve Been Tom Cattin’ Around” (Columbia 21444 – one of the very last items in the 20 000 serie). Good boogie guitar, a driving chanter.September 1955.

Sources: Willem Agenant (20 000 Columbia serie); DJM album notes to “Hillbilly Rock” (Jack Turner’s personnel); YouTube Hillbilly Boogie1 (Echo Valley Boys); Praguefrank (Bobby Lord disco); KarlHeinz Focke (“Jumpin’ Charlie”) for Melvin Endsley soundfiles.