Howdy, folks. This is the late May 2018 bopping and rockabilly fortnight’s favorites. A fair percentage of selections will come from the State of Tennessee, with the odd number from Ohio or NYC.
On the Nashville Excello label, more familiar to Blues/R&B buffs, let’s begin with both sides of # 2071 by the LINDSEY BROTHERS. They offer 2 uptempos from 1955, both based on solid rhythm guitar, aided by fiddle and steel. « Big Hearted Joe » is the best side of both, for its great duet harmony, and the record is valued $ 50-60. The flipside « Let’s Get Down To Business » has more of the same, although less interesting. A pleasant Hillbilly bop record.
We keep with the LINDSEY BROTHERS 5 years later in 1960, on the Excello sublabel Nasco # 6032, and the change is not in the right direction : the label says « Popular ». Fddle and steel are out, only remains the rhythm guitar for « Mr. Blues » (penned by Jack Toombs : he had cut the Rockabilly « Kiss-a me quick » (Excello 2083), or « Little Andy » as Jackie Trent on Nasco 6012 – see his full story elsewhere in this site) and « Hello Heartaches », very Everly-ish. Value $ 10-15.
Back to Tennessee on the Rythm label [sic] # 303. REX HALE & his Rythm Masters [re-sic]. Two great Rockabilly sides. Steel is omnipresent on « stop-and-go » couplets. Energetic drums, and fine, fine guitar. « Darn Dem Bones » and « Down At Big Mama’s House » would cost you $ 2000-2500, only if you can locate a copy!
Hi ! This is the selection (ten tunes) of bopping favorites for early May 2018.
The first artist in discussion is HANK SWATLEY. He cut two records on the very small Aaron label, out of West Memphis, Arkansas : just across the Mssissipi River. Now the man is only remembered for is energetic version of Johnny Tyler’s « Oakie Boogie », and it surely is : cool vocal, harsh guitar, a fabulous record for 1959. But the man had to record three more sides, which are plainly hillbilly. « It Takes A Long Time To Forget » (Aaron 100) is a nice ballad with a sparse instrumentation : only one rhythm guitar and discreet drums. The flipside « Ways Of A Woman In Love » keeps the same format, with some heavier drums (song penned by Charlie Rich). Swatley’s high-pitched voice reminds me that of Jimmy Work.
On Google, picture tied with Aaron 101 “Oakie Boogie”
The second platter (# 101) has of course « Oakie Boogie », originally a Jack Guthrie hit of 1946 ; but the flipside is once more a bluesy ballad ; « I Can’t Help It » is of course a rendition of the Hank Williams’ song.
« Life Without You » is a good Country-rocker sung by LEON NAIL. A prominent steel, well in the Nashille fashion, and a piano player. The song itself is well sung, a sort of fast Rockaballad on Nashville # 5172, and it was released ca. 1961. Nail had at least another on the small Tennessee label (# 10002) from 1964, for two numbers in the same style.
Then the HODGES BROTHERS BAND for « Searching My Dreams On You »(1959) on the Whispering Pines label (# 200) : (Ralph Hodges, vocal) a great bouncing song with guitar, old fiddle and lead guitar. Vocal is urgent and smells all the flavor of the Appalachian Mountains, a real Hillbilly bop treat. The Brothers had indeed records issued on Trumpet, Mississipi and Starday and even later on California’s Arhoolie. They are so good that they deserve well a feature.
We are going to Texas, more precisely in Luling, home of one intriguing label : Charlie Fitch’s Sarg Records. On May 4, 1956, Fitch recorded Adolph Hofner and the Pearl Wranglers, who comprised on steel BASH HOFNER and on vocal (for this session) Eddie Bowers. The thema chosen this day was « Rockin’ And A-Boppin’ », a real slice of Hillbilly Bop/Rockabilly, well fed up with Western swing overtones. This Sarg 138 is valued at $ 100-125.
To sum up, both sides of Shreveport, La. Clif label 101 by ROY WAYNE : he delivers « Honey Won’t You Listen », a good shuffler from 1957. Sparse instrumentation, but quite effective for the lazy vocal of Wayne. Flipside « Anyway You Do » is in the same vein. The 45 attains $ 400 to 500 if you can locate it.
Howdy, folks. This is the late April 2018 bopping fortnight’s selection, and I hope you will agree with me : every tune here bops lively…
The first three songs are all by a singer, WIBBY LEE, originating maybe from Ohio, maybe from Tennessee, who cut them as late as 1965-66, in Bluesy rockabilly style largely fashioned late ’50s, and all for the Dayton, OH Jalyn label.
Two strong playing guitars for « I’m Lost Without Your Love » on Jalyn 214A. Second guitar is done by Paul Allan. The B-side « Please don’t run me off » has Wibby Lee solo for a more folkish approach.
Second offering is real tour-de-force, « I’m Talking Not Walking The Blues » is Rockabilly Blues style. Great guitar and drums. Rhythm given by a banjo. The flipside « Might As Well Be No Moon At All » is unheard (untraced). Price for this item : $ 200-300 when it comes for sale (Lncoln & Blackburn book). Curiously valued by Barry K. John at only $ 25 or 30.
Finally the very fast « Inflation Blues » from 1976 or 78. Its frame is built on a banjo, which battles with a guitar : who will be the speediest ? Jalyn 1001. The disc had first been published by a Kingsport, TN Bonus label # 101.
Next artist, HARRY CHOATES, was the Cajun fiddler extraordinaire. He was the first to cut « Jole Blon », a Cajun national anthem, and had numerous records – many posthumously issued – on Gold Star, D, DeLuxe, Cajun classics, Modern, Hummingbird. Here I chose a lesser known track, « Honky-tonky Boogie » first issued on Starday 224 (1956) : a guitar (Larry Nolen?), a great shuffling fiddle, plus bass, and to sum it up, French lyrics : « Tu m’as quitté, pour t’en aller – mais ça sera pas pour longtemps », interspersed with yells (« Hey ! Ha-ha ! ») and encouragements from Choates.
PAL BRADY (full name Palford) was a Detroiter, who had already cut for Clix (it is unknown to me if the tunes on # 145 « L-o-v-e » and « When you’re gone » had already been cut by the Cincinnati’s Lucky label # 0013 – they do sound identical). Nevertheless we find him in good form for « More Lovin’ » on the Michigan Conteste label (# 45-2), in a similar style to his Clix/Lucky sides : a medium honky tonk, with guitar, bass, steel (solo) and drums. Brady was born 1926 and died 1988. He had records on small labels as Barney 1005 (“Troubles again“), Bragg (« Trading Stamps »), Carl and the larger King label.
An hybrid Western swing/Bopper with Rocky Harper and “Show Me Love” from N.J. on the Wagon label # 1001..
The last three tracks are all by ANN JONES, singer and rhythm guitar player, who led an all-girl combo, the Western Sweethearts. « Baby Sitter’s Blues » the oldest song of the three, was issued by Capitol (# 57-40227) in September 1949. As shown on the label, « Vocal with Western Band ». The girls do a good job on this, a fast sympathetic and fluent backing, a sweet voice over a boogie guitar solo.
Next two songs are to be found on King Records. The famous « Knockin’ Blues » (# 972) (March 1951) has an harsh voice, and is a so-called Hillbilly Blues, with stops-and-starts. Fine backing : piano, steel and fiddle. Finally « Monkey Business » (# 1137) from December 1952 is a fast ditty, with very good guitar and fiddle (solo).
Howdy, folks! Here we go with 6 “new” Hillbilly Bop goodies from various sources, spanning nearly 20 years from 1949 to 1967. Let’s begin with Indiana’s BLANKENSHIP Brothers. They were a group doing Bluegrass and Rockabilly, as late as 1960. I’ve chosen “I Just Got One heart“, the B-side to their most famous and best tune “That’s Why I’m Blue” (Skyline 106). Way up North in the Detroit, Michigan area. Hillbilly was concentrated on Fortune Records (Jack & Devorah Brown), and the label saw many, many fine releases by Southerners who did entertain the Ford car workers. Many good Fortune sides are to be found in the excellent NL Collector serie “Boppin’ Hillbilly“(“Detroit in the 50’s“, 3 volumes), and here we have one of the earliest sides (Fortune 141, 1949) by EARL SONGER, “Mother-In-Law Boogie“. Songer himself was from West Va. and came to Detroit in the late 30’s; being a fan of Bill Cox, he was a one-man band (vocal/guitar/harmonica), before teaming with Joyce (born in Tennessee). Together they recorded many songs on Fortune: 7 disks within 2 years. Immense success.
Next we have TOMMY JACKSON and “Flat Top Box” from Lexington, KY (Sun-Ray 131) as late as…1967. Great guitar, very modern in style, altho’ the Hillbilly spirit remains untouched. Back to Indiana with the prolific Hodges Brothers Band, fronted by RALPH HODGES for a little classic on Whispering Pines 201, “HONEY TALK” with the buzzing guitar and swirling fiddle. That’s a crossover between Hillbilly and Rock’n’Roll, what they call sometimes Hillbilly Rock. They had a good amount of albums recorded by Chris Strachwitz for Arhoolie in the 1970’s.
And then we have a woman – and God knows they were THAT uncommon in Hillbilly! JEANIE CHRISTIE on the Blue Sky label out of St. Cloud, FLA from 1958: “Flying High“. Great and firm vocal, a solid steel-guitar throughout. A nice record!
Finally in Virginia for the tiny Liberty label (no connection with the California concern), HENDER SAUL, “I Ain’t Gonna Rock-Tonite“, one of my all-time faves in Hillbilly Rock. Forceful vocal, nice lyrics, great interplay between guitar and fiddle.
I really hope you will enjoy the selections, and you will comment after a listen or two. You can download everything, of course!
“Lâche pas la patate” (Don’t loosen the potatoe) to quote Cajun Jimmy C. Newman, and keep on Bopping!
Sources: various CDs. Pictures as usual from the excellent Terry Gordon’s site “Rocking Country Style”. Take a look at it!
Howdy, folks ! Hello to returning visitors – welcome to new ones. This is the early April 2018 bopping fortnight’s selection (10 sides ranging from 1947 to 1965).
I would not call a minor artist, such one who released 4 records, and even had his own label. This is the case of TOMMY LITTLE & His Sunrise Rangers. Obviously based in Durham, N.C., he appeared on a N.Y. label Ollit (# 2001) for « Mean Mean Woman » : a 1947 country rocker (heavy drums and bass, plus a mandolin break) ; the flipside « One Time Too Often » is medium, a nice loping guitar. What a good start !
Finally he appeared on Colonial 116 (subsidiary of Hollywood’s Modern, not the N.C. Label of Johnny Dee) with « High Geared Daddy », a common macho theme of the era. Fast two guitars and vocal. Is this the same song as Webb Pierce‘s ? (see elsewhere in the site for it).
Next artist is a real unknown from 1958. Nevertheles his record is much sought after, and it attains $ 600-750 when sold. OTIS WHITE and the Hillrockers out of Vidalia, Ga. has the Rockabilly side (great guitar and slapping bass plus swooping piano) for « Shape Up » on the Gala label # 101. On Gala 102, White this time alone, delivers a very convincing Hillbilly rock (fiddle solo and heavy drums) with « A Losing Game » from 1958/59. The flipside « You been doing me wrong » escaped my researching antennas..
Way up North in Michigan on the Bart label (7G 25/26) for a two-sided Rock’n’Roll classic by LAFAYETTE YARBOROUGH No inferior side, both are of the highest standard : « Cool Cool Baby » and « Livin’ Doll » have a solid guitar and a high vocal. The Bart record is sold for $ 800 or 1000 and it deserves them well!
Finally from 1965 in Tampa, Florida : HEROLD WHITE & His Country Masters for « You’re Not Mine » : a fast wailing vocal and a great embroidering guitar are to be found on the Fuller label # 2522. “You’re Not Mine“
Hello folks, welcome to new listerners, howdy to returners !
This is the late March 2018 fortnight’s favorites selection, and it will include only 3 artists.
First is TAYLOR PORTER for 4 sides. First two were issued February 1958 (60 years ago..) on Starday # 694. « No more lovin’ you » is a fluid uptempo bopper ; the steel solo is common. The overall impression however is great. The flipside « It’s over now » is more of an uptempo shuffler. Fiddle and steel solos. It bears something lazy. Now it’s not that sure this Taylor Porter was the same as in the following tunes.
The old Hank Snow (as « Hank, the Singing Ranger » who cut this song in 1944) song « Sunny side of the mountain » by (another?) TAYLOR PORTER on the Salem, IN Radio Ridge label # 85. It’s a fast bluegrass (banjo) bopper ; fiddle solo dueling with banjo, from 1956. He had another issue on the same label, « Sweetheart, you were wrong », and on Excellent 225.
Then in 1961 on the Manchester, KY Janet (which was Zeke Clements’ – the latter’s story is on the line) label (# 25-60), he has « Away out there », a fast unclassable country tune. We finally find him for a sacred 6 songs EP on Ark 312 in 1964.
Next track is an instrumental, rare in bopping (I prefer voices!). DINK EMBRY [And – strangely – The Kentucky Lads] is probably a Memphian. Is he who pounds the ivories on this « Mason Dixon boogie », issued on Dot 1039 (early 1951) ? In any case, the tune is medium lowdown danceable one with guitar, piano and steel (plus bass of course).
The next four tracks are all done by JAKE THOMAS and all issued between September 1962 and March 1965 on the Dixie label. Wonder if this is really the Starday custom famous label. All tracks were apparently recorded in Arkansas.
Both first tracks, as Jake Thomas and Bluegrass Band, issued on Dixie 987, are medium paced, and have a fine dobro backing over a great vocal, plus bass and rhythm : « What’ll I do » and « If you keep doing what you do to me » are very good examples of 60’s Hillbilly bop.