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

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.

Early December 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy, folks ! This is the latest batch of bopping goodies – and the penultimate 2019 selection. You will have to be comprehensive with label scans, that don’t match the usual bopping.org criteria : as a matter of fact I am experiencing the latest Photoshop version and not completely familiar with it. Anyway the music is still intact and ready for listening/downloading. So let’s go.

Ted Daffan’s Texans

TED DAFFAN (1912-1996) was a bandleader and prolific songwriter (and steel guitar player) since the mid-30s. Backed by his Texans, he wrote many hits and classics: just one among others, the abundantly revised later « Born To Lose » from 1941. Here he is with « Car Hop Blues », orginally published on Okeh 6452, then reissued in June 1947 on Columbia 37438 then 20165 : a fine shuffler, indeed adorned by Daffan’s steel, plus accordion and a bluesy guiar. The vocal is done by the disillusioned Chuck Keeshan. A short note : Daffan had his own label in ’55-’58, which released fine records by Jerry Irby « Clickety Clack »), Jerry Jericho (« These Hands »), Fidlo (« Triflin’ Heart ») or William Penix « Dig That Crazy Driver » .

Jimmie Ballard

As vocalist for Buffalo Johnson & His Herd on Kentucky 520 (1950, Cincinnati), JIMMIE BALLARD cut the two risqué « Tappin’ Boogie » and « T’ain’t Big Enough ». Great boppers, the fastest being the A-side – great walking bass for a combination of guitar and steel over a non-sense vocal. The B-side is slowier, although equally good.

Billboard Sept. 27th, 1952

Billboard, Dec. 20th, 1952

This time two years later on King, as JIMMY BALLARD, he once more had very fine records. The double-sided « I Want A Bow-Legged Woman » and « Shes Got Something » are both superior boppers, drums present – actually pre-rockabilly tunes. Nice steel and vocally fluent.(King 1118). His later amusing « The Creek’s Gone Muddy (And The Fish Won’t Bite ») (# 1143) is done in a similar style. The agile guitar player in these sides could be the great Al Myers, who adorned several days before a Bob Newman session (« Phht ! You Were Gone »).

Adam Colwell, Tex White & the Country Cousins

Less and less known are both next artists. ADAM COLWELL is delivering in 1962 (Cincinnati) the fast « Open the Door » (some chorus, but great steel) on Ark 219, while TEX WHITE — is doing a medium nice uptempo on Nayco 2526 (location and date unknown – do you have any clue, Drunken Hobo?) with « You’re Wasting Your Tears ».

“Little Willie” Littlefield

Finally we got fabulous piano walking basses and tremendous high-pitched notes by LITTLE WILLIE LITTLEFIELD : his first record from 1948 on Houston’s Eddie’s 1202, « Little Willie’s Boogie » is very reminiscent of Amos Milburn great Aladdin wildies like « My Baby’s boogeing » or « Amo’s Boogie » ; Littlefield’s « Jim Wilson Boogie » on Federal 12221 is done in the same style.

Sources : HBR « Kentucky label » ; Will Agenant « Columbia 20000 serie » for Ted Daffan ; King Hillbilly Project (Jimmy Ballard) ; Gripsweat (Tex White, Adam Colwell) ; my own archives.

Late November 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy, folks! Here is the more recent selection of fortnight’s favorites. Hope you will find something of interest here.

>The Tennessee Drifers

The TENNESSEE DRIFERS were a small outfit, whose main instrument was a piano. The vocalist was either George Toon, either Billy Hardison, and they released three nice fast tracks on Dot : « Mean Ole Boogie » ( # 1098, from 1951), and « Boogie Woogie Baby»/ »Drive Those Blues Away » (1953 on Dot 1166). Great hillbilly bopping piano. At times, Tommy Moreland (remember the great « The Drifter » n Maid 1000, released in November 2018 fortnight’s favorites) was among the members.At a very later date (1961), George Toon and the Tennessee Drifters released a pop-country effort, “Those Fairy Tales” (Unamic 4501). The track is posted only for comparison with their better early ’50s bopping sides!

Rooster Swan

Internet is a a firm place to unearth some new music. Here’s a demo of « Honky Tonk Girl » by ROOSTER SWAN from 1957. A rhythm guitar then a lead for a short solo plus vocal of course. The song does last for less than a minute but is a pleasant bopper.

Keith Anderson & the Ohio Valley Boys

KEITH ANDERSON is famous for his ’60s sides on Cozy, like « Hot Guitars » (Cozy 12/13). Here he is with an earlier side, « Locked Up Again » with Ohio Valley Boys, on a New Martinsville, WVa. Ran-Dell label # 934. It’s a sort of rocking ballad – good steel and extrovert vocal (1961).

Elva Carver with Pat Kingery & the Kentuckians

Out of Scottsville, Ky, the Goldenrod label issued several Rockabilly classics (remember Harold Shutters). Here’s ELVA CARVER with Pat Kingery & the Kentuckians for « Two-Toned Love » from 1956. Good fiddle and electrifying mandolin over a nice female vocal.

The Western Cherokees

The Western Cherokees backed in recording sessions and on stage Lefty Frizzell from 1950 to 1952. They were led by Robert Lawrence « BLACKIE » CRAWFORD, guitar player. They had in their own right sides cut on Coral then Starday. Here is « Jump Jack Jump » on Coral 64138. Great and fast hillbilly bopper out of Texas. A further side is an equally good, lowdown shuffler, « Baby Buggy Blues » (Coral 64118).

Happy Wainwright

Then HAPPY WAINWRIGHT on a 1961 disc, « Nothing But Love » (Carma 505, out of Kenner, La.). It’s a belter – good steel throughout.

Sources: sometimes YouTube (Eva Carver, Keith Anderson, Rooster Swan); from Ohio River 45’s: Blackie Crawford : songs from HBR series; picture from Hillbilly.com. My own collection for Tennessee Drifters on Dot, “Boogie Beat Rag” comes from Karl-Heinz Focke – thanks to him.

Early November 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Hello everyone ! This is the selection for early November 2019 fortnight’s favorites. Every track will be within the 1954-57 period, except the odd item from early ’60s or even later.

Riley Crabtree

RILEY CRABTREE was born in Mount Pleasant, TX in 1921, and followed first the steps of Jimmie Rodgers on his Talent sides from 1949. Later he adopted the Hank’s pattern, and was an affiliate of the Dallas’ Big Jamboree. Here on the very small Ekko label, he’s backed by the young Cochran Brothers Eddie and Hank for the bluesy strong « Meet Me At Joe’s » (# 1019) from late 1955. Nice piano, and of course fine guitar.

In 1957, he emerges on the Dallas’ Country Picnic label (# 602) with the fast « Tattle Tattle Tale ». Great ‘bar room’ piano, a good steel, and a Scotty Moore styled solo. Crabtree was confined on a wheel chair, and died in 1984 from a fire caused by an electric blanket.

Cash Box Oct. 12, 1957

In 1970 SHORTY BACON released his version of the Billy Barton small classic « A Day Late And A Dollar Short » on the Chart label # 5104. Despite the late period, it’s a nice country-rocker : great fiddle and steel are battling.

Walter Scott

Way up North on the Ruby label (first issue, # 100 out of Hamilton, OH) then WALTER SCOTT and the really fine bopper « I’m Walking Out » : a lovely swirling fiddle and a surprisingly good banjo. Scott had also « Somebody’s Girl » on an Audio Lab EP 35 (untraced).

Red Hays

‘RED’ HAYS (also sometimes named Joe ‘Red’ Hayes) was a fiddler as early as 1950 in the Jack Rhodes’ band in Mineola, TX. He offers here a nice and fast « Doggone Woman » on Starday 164 from October 1954. Good vocal for this jumping call-and-response bopper ; of course a fiddle solo, and all the way through a bass chords played guitar. The flipside « A Satisfied Mind » (a very sincere ballad) was covered first by Porter Wagoner, then had nearly 100 versions, among them Jean Shepard Capitol 3118), even Joan Baez’s or David Allan Coe’s. Hayes – according him being the same artist – went later on Capitol in 1956 for a ballad more (« I’ll Be So Good To You », # 3382 and an uptempo « Every Little Bit », # 3550).

DeLuxe was apparently a short-lived, small sublabel to the giant King, which issued some fine music. I’ve selected « Strange Feeling » by JIMMY THORPE (# 2006, from December 1953), who was seemingly more at ease with lowdown and medium-paced items (DeLuxe 2016 and 2018). Here is a solid bopper, although not a fast one. Good assured vocal and guitar, and a nice fiddle solo.

Bobby Lile

On the West coast, on the Sage label in 1956, BOBBY LILE « with music by Bob and Laverne » (who are they?) delivers « Don’t You Believe It » (# 222), a fine fast tune. The guitar player reminds me a bit at times of the great Joe Maphis – although it’s definitely not him there.

He was on the C&W serie of the big New Jersey concern Savoy, and bopping.org featured RAY GODFREY and his « Overall Song » (Savoy 3021) in the March 2013 fortnight’s favorites. Not a great singer, he had a good uptempo (« Wait Weep And Wonder ») on Peach 757, then the pop-country « If The Good Lord’s Willing » on Tollie 9030. Here he releases on the Yonah label # 2002 (March 1961) the passable « The Postman Brought The Blues » (good early 60s styled steel and fiddle).

Danny Reeves

Finally a very good double-sided country-rocker by Houstonian DANNY REEVES on ‘D’ 1206 (between July and September 1961). A nice baritone voice for the fast « I’m A Hobo » (great although too short guitar solo, very sounding 1956) and a fine guitar for « Bell Hop Blues ». This record was recently auctioned at $ 760 ! Reeves had also in 1975 his own version (untraced) of « My Bucket’s Got A Whole In It ». Before that he released in 1962 the double-sided rocker “Spunky Monkey/Love Grows” (San 1509) and, at an unknown date, the Countryish “Little Red Coat” on the obscure label L. G.Gregg 1001.

Sources : « Armadillo Killer » for Ray Godfrey ; Google images and the Starday project for Red Hays. Jimmy Thorpe from HBR # 50  Walter Scott and Shorty Bacon found on YouTube and Ohio River 45s site  Riley Crabtree from an HMC compilation; Gripsweat for Danny Reeves San issue.

Late October 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Hello, this is the late October 2019 favorites’ selection, and very different things this time.

These are two tracks of the nearest JIMMY MURPHY ever bordered to Rockabilly. A veteran (his 1951 sides on RCA-Victor) of Country bluesy sides, with an appeal to religious ones, like « Electricity ».(RCA 21-0447), and his two-sided November 1955 « Here Kitty Kitty »/ »I’m Looking For A Mustard Patch » (Columbia 21486) sounded (with Onie Wheeler on harmonica) as if they had been recorded in..1945. That was the main problem for Jimmy Murphy, always behind the times. Nevertheless great acoustic guitar and assured,vocal. A must for Rockabilly fans.

Next HANK CADWELL and the Saddle Kings on the West coast D’Oro label (# 103) do come with a Western swing tinged opus, « Alibi » from late ’40s : accordion solo, fiddle solo, lovely assured vocal and chorus.

Then ABE LINK, or A. BLINK (he went under both names) on the Ohio Canton label. « Skeleton Bookie », « and the Western Spotlighters » (S.T.R.C Canton 106) has beautiful steel effects for a Halloween (?) disc, while « Yodelin’ Blues » (Canton 107) is very different. A classic shuffling bopper from 1955. Lot of yodel of course, and a lot less steel.

We jump to 1961 for a male duet. A nice country-rocker by PHIL BEASLEY and CHARLEY BROWN on the Briar (# 111) label, from unknown location. « Good Gosh Gal » has loud drums, and a nice guitar throughout (a fine solo).

On the B.W. label (location unknown), here’s KENNY BIGGS (B.W. 615) for a nice Country-rocker « There’s No Excuse » (early ’60s). One expects in this very melodic tune some chorus (very unobstrusive if ever present).

Col. Tom Parker paid the Norfolk, Va. and Jacksonville, Fl. radio stations not to play PHIL GRAY’s disc on Rhythm 101, and even gathered the copies to destroy from a too Elvisy (Sun style) Rockabilly. He even had done to prevent Gene Vincent to be unplayed in vain. Gray was 15 years old when he cut « Pepper Hot Baby » and « Bluest Boy In Town ». Great guitar, Elvis-style hiccups (the song is like « Baby Let’s Play House »), a real success. This disc is so rare that a copy, when it comes on auction, may get as high as $ 3000 !

Finally a romper with AMOS MILBURN and his great rendition of the Don Raye’s classic, « Down The Road Apiece » (Aladdin 161, 1946-47). Great vocal, fabulous boogie piano.

Sources : YouTube ; 45cat, 78worlds, various compilations, W. Agenant « Columbia 20000 » serie, Gripsweat (A. Blink)