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.

Early March 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy folks ! This fortnight is the penultimate of Winter and includes real goodies and rarities.

Arvis McRae – The Texas Keys

First artist in question hailed from the East of Texas, and recorded for the Texarcana label Ranger. ARVIS Mc RAE released at an unknown date (altough stylistic evidence and the absence of drums do lean towards mi-’50s) one brillant « Me And My Love » (Ranger 823). A fine bopper, solid vocal, a demented fiddle and a short but good rockabilly guitar, all these combine for a fabulous tune. By contrast, McRae’s version of Hank Williams’ « Long Gone Lonesome Blues » (Ranger 2074) sounds average, only one clip (1’54) being preserved.

Bobby Lord

Bobby Lord took the song note-for-note, and copied even growls and hollers from Jackson (who fooled Blues afficinados thinking he was a Black artist). Jackson’s original was a fast number, sounded very rural, gravely voice and acoustc guitars. So Lord recognized his debt : if copying is the best tribute one can pay, so Lord offered the best one coud ask for : « No More – No More – No More!» (Columbia 21339 issued December 1954).

BOBBY LORD was a newcomer when he was signed by Columbia late 1954. He came from the Tampa, Flo . area, and brought a song he had learnt from another Floridian, Andy Boyett ; Originally the song was titled « Colored Boy Blues », then changed to « Go Way From My Door » when recorded by Boyett on Mercury 8127 in 1949 as Monroe ‘Moe’ Jackson.

Lawson Rudd

Out of Kingstone, Indiana comes the next artist, LAWSON RUDD. His only delivery on disc was « Shake This Town » . Lazy vocal, unobstrusive chorus. A good mid-paced bopper on Harvest 709 from 1960, valued $ 100-150. His second issue, « Old Love Letters » has only a soundfile. A slow opus, weeping vocal and great fiddle. Label scan untraced.

Paul Howard & his Arkansas Cotton Pickers

« Texas Boogie » by PAUL HOWARD & his Arkansas Cotton Pickers is indeed a great piano pounding tune with a Western feel to it, and a long fiddle solo, to be found on King 779 (April 1949). Vocal part was done by Red Perkins (see in this site his story).
This track has apparently nothing to do with the song of Gene O’Quin (Capitol 1708, from 1951): different composers.

Clay Allen & the Cimarron Boys

CLAY ALLEN & the Cimarron Boys cut on Decca first (# 46324 in 1951): an uptempo shuffle, a discreet fiddle and a bit steel backing Allen well to the fore in « Evalina ». Eight years later as part of the duet « The Country Dudes », he appeared on the Azalea (# 112)
label out of Houston for « Have A Ball » . A solid country rocker, with staccato guitar and implacable loud drums.

Sally Lee

SALLY LEE next does deliver on Royaty 304 a fine bopper, the rollicking « Table Hoppin’ Blues » : very solid piano, an assured vocal – a reat discovery for you !

We come to an end with « (Looks Like) Our Hearts Are Out Of Tune » on R 515 from 1961 by LARRY GOOD ; A pretty melody for a good number. A welcome steel all throughout the song.

Larry Good

Sources: Gripsweat for Arvis McRae’s clip; Ultra Rare Rockabillies for Lawson Rudd; King Project for Paul Howard; YouTube for Clay Allen; Bopping’ Hillbilly 10 fr Sally Lee; my own archives for Larry Good among others.

Late February 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy folks, this is the fourth portion of Country boogie or rockers for this 2020 year, and will contain no less than ten songs. I hope you will find something of interest here.

Lawson Rudd

A famous blogger and writer, Some Local Loser, posted in YouTube both sides of Starday 711. Originally released April 1958, this was the record debut for LAWON RUDD (born Salyersville, Ky in 1929 – deceased December 2011) backed by the Tippecanoe Valley Boys for two great sides. A-side was named « Country Town Girl », a superior uptempo mid-paced, great hillbilly vocal and rhythm guitar, fine steel all through the song (a short solo). B-side, « Blues On The Run » has a rhumba-beat (maraccas) and reminds one of Louisiana Lannis in « Much To Much » issued the year before (Starday 268){see Louisiana Lannis’ story elsewhere in this blog}.

But LAWSON RUDD’s best known side is to be found two years later (1960) on Kingsford Heights, Indiana based Harvest label (# 709) : « Shake This Town » has a lazy vocal, unobstrusive chorus and good backing for a late period Rockabilly : fine guitar and a trembling steel solo. The guitar player sounds as in Bill Bowen’s « Don’t Shoot Me Baby » (Meteor 5033) cut in April 1956, four years before ! Incidentally the flipside « No One Will Ever Know » couldn’t be traced, a pity..This disc is valued $ 100 to 150.

Paul Howard & Arkansas Cotton Pickers

The veteran PAUL HOWARD and his Arkansas Cotton Pickers do come next with « Texas Boogie » released in April 1949 on the King label 779. Actually a showcase, instrumental for the most part (steel, fiddle, guitar and of course a great piano) only adorrned by the vocal of RED PERKINS {see elsewhere in this blog his story}.

Red Perkins

Carolina Cotton

Then CAROLINA COTTON for a lazy vocal tune from May 1950 on M-G-M 10798B, « Lovin’ Ducky Daddy » has a ‘sugar’ voice, even some yodel and a good piano, but sparse backing (bass and drums).

Clay Allen & His Cimarron Playboys

More in 1950, on another major label (Decca 46324) the recording debut of CLAY ALLEN and his Cimarron Boys with « Evalina ». A good, although forgettable, uptempo ballad, the steel and the piano getting the better part behind the vocal.

The Country Dudes

Billboard, Sept. 28, 1959

Chuck Harding & His Colorado Cowhands

CHUCK HARDING was born in 1914 (Marion Cty, Ky.), the son of a minister who taught him the fiddle. With his Colorado Cowhands he released in March 1948 a fabulous « Talking The Blues » : really great bass, awesome vocal, mandolin, steel solo, great fiddle too. It was first released on Texas Blue Bonnet 135A, before being switched to a greater exposure on California’s Modern 581 in May of the same year. Personnel is wholly given on the back of Boppin’ Hillbilly # 19, issued a mere twenty years ago.

Harding was to have in March 1954 on the Des Moines, Ill. (a Northern suburb to Chicago) Replica label # 101 the fine double-sided « Stop Crying On My Shoulder » and « I’m Living In A Lonely World » : accordion well present to the fore (it has its solo), sparse backing and no fiddle but steel solo.

As a matter of comparison I add the original version of « Talking The Blues » (written by Harding and Pyle) by PETE PYLE on Bullet 602 released June 1946. Good guitar, fiddle solo, and a trembling steel over an extrovert vocal – a good disc, but not to the standard of Chuck Harding’s version.

Billboard May 27, 1954

And that’s it for this fortnight ! Pheewww, as usual, a lot of work (research and making-up) and a lot of fun too (listening to dozens songs before choosing the selection I prefer).

Sources: YouTube (Some Local Loser); 45cat and 78rpm worlds; Ohio River; HBR serie; my own archives

Early February 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Hi ! Everyone visiting this blog. You are going to be treated with ten rockabillies or country boogies from 1953 to 1959, allegedly the best era for bopping music.

Billy Smith or Rocky Davis ?

BILLY SMITH is a mystery. His lonely record on Red Hed (Indianapolis, Ind.) was published in 1957 {see below}, and easily attains the value of $ 300-400 (or $ 150-200 in the book of B. K. Johns- who surprisingly gives a Texas location) . Prefixes of J indicate an RCA-Victor pressing in 1958. Anyway « Tell Me Baby » is the side to look for: wild vocal, great guitar on bass chords played, energetic drums, all you Rockabilly/White Rock fans you could dream of. Flipside « Baby Please Come Home » (is this the Country standard?) is a quieter. lot of good steel, a strong bass. The singer is convincing.

And now the mystery goes on. Tom Lincoln & Dick Blackburn in their classic book (Guide to Rare Rockabilly And Rock’n’Roll 45’s) do secure that Billy Smith and the next artist, ROCKY DAVIS are the same man. At last, the drums sound the same, and an uninventive guitar is heard in the 6 tunes. Davis hailed from Florida, and cut for Blue Sky Records located in St Cloud or Orlando in 1958-59. Davis did give 3 strong rockers and a ballad with welcome choruses, not unlike Jerry Arnold (« Race For Time » issued on Texas Security or N.Y.C. Cameo) : « Your A Doll » (Blue Sky 101) is a fast rockabilly – urgent vocal, although largely uninventive guitar. The same goes for the flipside « Save A Little Love For Me ».

Texas ‘Red’ Rhodes

TEXAS ‘RED’ RHODES, next artist, released « Go Cats Go » with topical lyrics on the Echo label (# 1001) in 1958. This Echo label has apparently nothing to do with the same name concern out of N.Y.C. or the New Orleans R&B label of 1950, but hails also out of Florida. A joyful Rockabilly/White rocker : piano, good guitar, a solid rhythm. Barry K. John gives a $ 500-600 price.

Abe Heape

From Stillwater, Oklahoma in 1958 ABE HEAPE cut the great « Short Fellow Blues » on Rose 118 (valued by Lincoln/Blackburn at $ 150-200 ; John ignores this item). Is the singer male or female? The song anyway is a medium paced Rockabilly, well worth watching for.

And now on to Country boogie…

On the Tennessee label (# 791) in 1951, the one-record TINY BENNETT, backed by seemingly the related Blackie Bennett, did release the very fine « Boogie Woogie Plowboy », obviously a copy note-for-note of Red Foley’s « Chatanooga Shoe Shine Boy » : a boogie guitar all throughout the song, bass and rhythm do their job, while a welcome piano is giving a good rinky-dink solo.

Tiny Bennett with Blackie Bennett & his Band

Clyde Moody

Finally the medium-paced Hillbilly boogie « Whatta line » by CLYDE MOODY released on Decca 28785 in 1953. Moody generally excelled in waltzes, but now he gives this great minor-classic tune: nice embroidering guitar (solo), a piano is backing , a fine steel solo.

And now this fortnight is over. Rendezvous on February 16th for the next one. I hope you have found something of interest here. Comments are welcome !

Sources : YouTube (Texas Red Rhodes, Rocky Davis) ; « Country Hicks » series ; Rocky Davis’s picture from « Rocky52 » great, French site. My own archives.

Late January 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites (10 records)

Hello everybody ! Here are ten more selections for this late January 2020 fortnight’s favorites. Very different ones, and they date from 1950 to early ’60s.

Texas Slim

TEXAS SLIM – I dare say we’ll never know who he actually was – cut in 1964 two superior sides for the Ark label (# 309) in Cincinnati. They do present a surprising and good combination of banjo and steel guitar : « Look What You Gone And Done To Me » and « When I’m Old And Gray » . This man has nothing to do with one Texas Guitar Slim (early ’60s La. blues) on Jin Records.

Chuck Manning and the Rhythm Ranch Boys

Now a late ’50’s (stylistically) Rockabilly out of Arcadia, California on the small Corby label (# 103 or 232) by CHUCK MANNING and the Rhythm Ranch Boys. « Let’s go », a train song, has a strong rhythm guitar, a cool vocal ; a good steel guitar all the track along, and a fabulous lead guitar : no less than 4 solos ! Excuse the somewhat ‘muddy’ sound, which was on original record. Value $ 200-250 for Tom Lincoln, $ 100-150 for Barry K. John.

CECIL CAMPBELL’s Tennessee Ramblers

The veteran CECIL CAMPBELL (backed by his Tennessee Ramblers), today unjustly neglected, cut his first records as vocalist, and most of all, as steel player, in 1934. Here is from December 1950 the « Spookie Boogie », as expected a ghost song. The story goes as to make rattling bones sounding, Cecil was looking for an “…unusual hollow type of rattling sound designed to send cold chills rushing down the spine.” He couldn’t find that sound on the musical instruments. But as fate would have it, one of the members of the Tennessee Ramblers had false teeth and that mysterious sound that appears on the tune “Spookie Boogie” was made by a pair of chattering false teeth. The tune has a nice steel, a loping bass and fiddle and a good piano (RCA-Victor 48-0409).

Later on, Campbell adapted well on new trends. He offered the instrumental « Go Man Go » in 1955, to be found on the Cactus comp’ « M-G-M Hillbilly » vol. 4 (not listed here, neither « Beaty Steel Boogie », issued on Super Disc 1004, reissued on YouTube). Here however I release his « Rock And Roll Fever » from 1957 issued on M-G-M 12482, a fine Rockabilly on its own.

DESSIE FAULKNER (1903-1993) cut at the tail end of the ’50s and early ’60s a nice string of Honky-tonk bopping songs, among them I chose her offering of « I Dare You Yo Love Me » on D 1159 (issued August 1960) : an assured vocal for a fast bopper with fiddle all along and a steel solo. The song was first reissued on U.K Cascade (1983) « 20 Country Great Recordings » that included George Jones and Joe Carson among others.
Second Dessie Faulkner selection is a good weeper on a stroller rhythm issued on Big 6 138 : « I Cried Again » is mid-paced and has a crying steel. Faulkner also had « You Can’t Stop A Heart From Lovin’ », a good Honky tonker from 1967 issued by Cincinnati’s Arvis (# 1) label (not selected.

The Bridge Brothers

More of late ’50s wih the BRIDGE BROTHERS and « Stick-A-By-You » on A-B-S 119 (which stands for « America’s Best Sellers ») : a good duet, nice bass chords played guitar, the whole is refreshing and ernergetic. Thanks CheeseBrew Wax Archive YouTube chain to unearth such fine songs.

Out of Shreveport, La. on the Ram label (# 101) and released in 1956, here’s CAROL WILLIAMS an her great, fast « Just For A While ». Has a fresh vocal, and a good guitar (solo).

Luke Gordon

Finally the superlative, and him also unjustly neglected (although he never did a bad record) LUKE GORDON on Blue Ridge 502. His usual style for « You May Be Someone (where You Come From) » – a great, great dobro (solo), fiddle and discreet mandolin + a good bass.

That’s all folks for this time. Research goes on many artists, such as Fairley Holden, Iry LeJeune, Johnny Foster, Bill Hutto, Jerry Irby, Cowboy Sam Nichols among others. Let’s keep plugged to bopping.org !

Sources : YouTube (Hillbilly Boogie1 for Carol Williams pic), 45cat and 78-worlds ; hillbilly-music.com for pic of Cecil Campbell and the story of the rattling bones ; an old Tom Sims’ cassette for Texas Slim Ark release (label scan from 45cat) ; my own archives.

Early January 2020 – regular bopping sides and seasonal greetings..

Rex Zario & Country All Stars

Howdy folks ! I sincerely wish you all a happy New Year full of good mood and bopping exciting music.

The first artist ends up the alphabet : REX ZARIO & the Country All Stars did release in 1968 for the Philly Arcade label (# 202) a very fine double-sider. « Blues Stay Away From Me » is sung in unison vocal, on a strong rhythm guitar and a discreet lead guitar (which has itus own solo). The flipside « I Saw You Cheatin’ Last Night », an uptempo is a good bopper, despite an electric bass. The lead plays its solo on the bass chords for good effect, and the vocal is relax. A good disc to begin the year.

Leon Payne

Then the veteran well-known blind singer/songwriter (also as « Pat Patterson » on early Starday releases) LEON PAYNE for an all-time classic (even Hank W. had his version) from October 1948 on the Nashville’s Bullet label (# 670). « Lost Highway » is a very fine bopper, done as a shuffler : great steel and a fiddle solo. Singer is convincing to say the least.

Ramblin’ Red Bailey

Next records by RAMBLIN’ RED BAILEY on a Starday Custom from April 1957, Peach 653. Side A offers a mid-paced, very melodic « The Hardest Fall » ; good piano and vocal, a too-short guitar solo. Side B in complete contrast, is really very fast. The guitar player does a real showcase of his dexterity on « You’ve Always Got A Frown », in my mind an inferior track to side A. Bailey had also an EP on Peach, then turned out on Heap Big and Bethlehem labels between 1957 and 62 (untraced).

Lee Bell

Cut in 1953, the already unknown LEE BELL releases « Beatin’ Out The Boogie (On The Mississipi Mud) » (RCA 20-5148). A fabulous gas ! What a romping piano ! A great boogie guitar (plus a fantastic solo) ; steel and fiddle have also their solos ! Bell also did « I Get The Biggest Thrill » (RCA 20-5024), also interesting, but less than the first side reviewed. He was also to have two issues on Imperial, 8000 serie (untraced).

Lonnie Smithson

« Quarter In The Juke Box » was sung on the Louisiana Hayride in 1958 by LONNIE SMITHSON. The original, a bit like Johnny Cash, was released earlier on Starday 359. The guitar player sounds consciensly like Luther Perkins !

Finally we get to Louisiana, with two latter tracks. In 1967 the BALFA BROTHERS (Dewey, lead vocal and fiddle) released on the « Earl Gibson Transport, Inc. » a good « Indian On A Stomp ». Good Cajun music (let’s get attention to the rhythm given by the ‘ti’fer’ (= small iron triangle).

Robert Bertrand

And now the rollicking « Mowater Blues » (sung of course in French) by the multi-instrumentist ROBERT BERTRAND from 1971-72 on the Goldband label # 1221 (Lake Charles, La.) : “Cajun style” steel guitar, fiddle, el. bass, accordion and solid, impeccable/implacable drums + great vocal and fiddle by Bertrand .

That’s it, folks.

Sources : Gripsweat for Lee Bell second issue ; YouTube for Lonnie Smithson, Leon Payne and Rex Zario ; Starday project for Ramblin’ Red Bailey ; 45cat and 78-worlds ; my own archives