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.

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.