Danny Dedmon & his Rhythm Ramblers (1947-1953)

It has proven near impossible to find any biographical data about DANNY DEDMON. He may have been born in Louisiana, since his career was often confined to this state. His professional career begun in 1946, so he must have been in his twenties then, and already an accomplished guitar player being recruited by a ‘star’, Bill Nettles, for the latter’s Dallas recording session.

The Monroe Morning Star (March 23, 1947) showed the only certain known picture of Danny Dedmon (far left).

Bill Nettles & the Dixie Blue Boys

He was associated to KSAM in Huntsville, Tx. when Bill Nettles took him to KMLB in Monroe, La. and made him join as lead guitarist his Dixie Blue Boys. He then cut his first records under the leadership of Nettles in Dallas, Tx. for Bullet, a Nashville label, on July 7th 1946. Jim Bulleit was present at the session, as he was seeking for new talents for his label.

Bullet 637 (Too Many Blues/High Falutin’ Mama) and 638 (Hungry/You’re Breaking My Broken Heart Again) were good sellers for Bill Nettles, and not long after, he was approached by Lew Chudd’s scouts and subsequently signed a contract with Imperial Records, the then rising label in Country music with its 8000 serie launched during Summer 1947.

Danny Dedmon & the Rhythm Ramblers

Dedmon went solo with a contract on his own, and had 7 singles released under his name between Summer 1947 and October 1949, backed by his Rhythm Ramblers, who actually were Nettles’ Dixie Blue Boys in disguise.

« Hula Hula Woogie » (Imperial # 8019) is a call-and-response ditty ; a fine uptempo bopper (a sort of fast bluesy tune) with a fiddle all along the song (Robert Shivers), a mandolin (Nettles), guitar, and steel (« Cowboy » Thomas) solos, all propelled by the bass of own Nettles’ daughter Loyce, while Dedmon had an assured voice, that of a man accustomed to sing.

Billboard, Jan. 23, 1948

Reverse side « Too Many Blue Eyes » is slower, although equally good.

This first Danny Dedmon recording session may well have been cut at KOGT station in Orange, Texas, whom he was associated then with, or in Beaumont, Texas, where many early Imperial sides were recorded. Anyway Billboard noticed him in its early 1948 edition.

Autumn 1947 saw Danny Dedmon back in Beaumont studio for a long 8-tracks recording session. 4 tracks do remain unissued, but it’s obvious Imperial executives had faith in him cutting an entire session. Imperial 8023 (Why Should I Want You Now/It’s Time To Say Goodbye) escaped to my researching antennas, so cannot comment ; two other tracks out of this session however were finally released surprisingly during the second half of 1950. Why Imperial issued them so late is anybody’s guess. « I Don’t Want You Anymore » (Imperial 8099) is a fine, bouncing bopper. Every instrument involved has its solo (although except the string bass). The reverse side, « Lane Budded With Roses », a mid-paced weeeper, is forgettable. This # 8099 was credited to Danny Dedman : a typing error from the labels’ printer ?

In October 1947 Imperial files reveal one more unissued session (3 tunes), and one must wait December 1947 for a 4-track session more. Two tunes went also unissued : « That Chick Was Just My Size » sounds a promising track, talking of a bopper, while Imperial 8045 has two excellent numbers, namely a bluesy, mid-tempo shuffler, call-and-response format with « Hoochie Coochie Woogie » (Pee Wee Calhoun, a newcomer in the Dedmon team, is called before his piano solo) while « Drinkin’ Beer All Night » is a fast item.

Billboard, Jan. 29 1949

Ca. late 1947 and late 1948 Dedmon went to work with Jelly Jolly in clubs and touring, but made no records with him. February 1949 found him again in the Beaumont studio, for 4 more tracks, all released. Imperial 8058 bears two fine sides, and one can detect a Hank Williams influence from then on « You Can’t Hen Peck Me », an uptempo bopper ; « The Blues Keep On Hangin’ On » is a particularly effective fast bluesy tune with its two steel solos (by « Cowboy » Thomas) and the good fiddle of Robert Shivers. The piano takes a solo too, and was played either by Pee Wee Calhoun, either by the newcomer in the Dixie Blue Boys Pal Thibodeaux [see his study elsewhere in this site]. The remaining unheard sides included « That Lonesome Old Moon » and « That Blond Headed Gal Of Mine » and were released as Imperial 8061.

Billboard, Jan. 23, 1948

Is this really Danny Dedmon? (unknown origin)

The remaining tracks, and nearly the last Dedmon ever recorded, were cut in October 1949 with the same line-up of Bill Nettles’ Dixie Blue Boys. All these are rousing tunes. « Gin Drinkin’ Mama » (# 8065) is definitely one of his best songs : shouting vocal (although the voice is barely recongnizable), fast rhythm, as the reverse « Gonna Trade My Red Head For Blonde » (a mid-tempo). The long steel solo and the shiny fiddle playing make this a typical pure Honky tonk shuffler.
« Mama-In-Law Troubles » (# 8068) keeps along the same pattern as « Gin Drinkin’ Mama », when « Sweet Little Sweetie Pie » is also a romper : it’s another fabulous shuffler typical of the era.

How versatile he was is shown by 2 snippets taken in early 1949 from the Billboard. In January he had joined once more Bill Nettles at the time of the first Mercury session which gave in April “Hadacol Boogie” (but he was not present on the session); then in March 1949, he joined Cal Maddox (guitarist of the Maddox Brothers) on KTRM out of Modesto, California. Finally March 1951 found him back in the band of Jolly Jelly.

We find Danny Dedmon (this time backed by the Cain River Boys) once more on the L.A. Flair label (# 1005) released 1953. Things are very different from the previous Louisiana discs. The backing is a limited one : exit the fiddle. Accent is put on the omnipresent steel-guitar (NOT « Cowboy » Thomas, with aural evidence) and a tendency toward pop, particularly in « Sally Anne » ; « Maybe Things Will Work Out Right » has a pizzicato played lead guitar, and no rhythm at all. Both sides are written “Pee Wee (Calhoun?)-Dedmon”. Does it suggest that his band had followed him in California, or the Flair issue was simply recorded in Louisiana before its release on a near-major label (Flair had been launched in 1953 by Modern for issuing Southern artists)? This record is a question in itself.

At this point, Danny Dedmon disappears from the music scene, except one big mention. He’s credited in October 1956 as co-writer of the Rockabilly classic « Hot Dog » by Corky Jones (actually Buck Owens) on Pep 107. Had he put his hand on this gone unnoticed little gem that he should have tickled all the record collectors since then.

Sources : my own archives ; HBR for Imperial label scans.Ronald Keppner for some music; 78worlds for some label scans; Billboard archives.

Bopping in Philly: the Gordon Jennings sound (1954-1959)

Very little is known about GORDON JENNINGS. He seems to have spent some time in Philly as well as West VA. , Tennessee and Missouri. He was for sure D.J. for certain stations in Saint-Louis, MO (KMOX and WEW), and Bluefield, W.Va. (WHIS and WKOY). He made between 1954 and 59 four records in a Hillbilly style and all four are very good boppers.

West Va. bordering Ky, Tn. and Pa.

Bluefield, Mercer Cty, bottom of the State of W. Va.

 

Jennings Gordon

 

 

What follows is what « Johnn Maddy », seemingly from Arkansas, wrote about Jenning’s « I saw you cheatin’ last night » (Skyrocket) in his YouTube chain :(additions in [] by bopping’s editor)

« A tune Gordon co-wrote with two other artists, and released on a Skyrocket single in 1959. He was born on Oct. 21st 1916 and came to a very serious Bluegrass group called The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers back around 1938-39. Together they really became popular on W.H.I.S Radio in Bluefield West Virginia [but they never recorded on discs at this time]. Jennings had several Radio shows out of St Louis as well, when is unknown, but we did find another single Gordon done in 1958 for another label in Philly called ”Arcade”, but that is the extent of what we learned of Gordon Jennings and his singing career, friends, but still looking for more. Enjoy it Folks, I’ve heard this one done by several artists [Rex Zario on Arcade 202 – other versions by Skeets Yaney and Marty Collins have different credits], but now hearing Gordon the lead composer do it, a good one it is.!!! »

Jennings Gordon  "Quit Teasin' Me"His first record was done in Kingsport, Tennessee for the famous, although quite Jennings Gordon  "The Telephone Girl"scarce now, tiny Kingsport label, primarily devoted to Bluegrass (Jimmy Gregg), with some advances towards Hillbilly bop (Reece Shipley, L. C. Smith). It’s the last record of the label, cut around 1954 (#112), and it combines a great bopper    « Quit teasin’ me » (uptempo – a bluesy guitar led and a boogie piano – and a nice vocal) and « The telephone girl » (unheard, Allan Turner collection). How Jennings came to this Tennessee label is unknown: one can speculate a leasing of masters by Kingsport label due to radio relations. Anyone has got an idea ?

Quit teasin’ me

download

Billboard 15 May 1954

Billboard December 17, 1955

Jennings Gordon "Three day pass"Jennings Gordon  "Drivin' home"His second offering was cut in Pittsburg for the tiny Alba label (# 400), and coupled two good sides again, backed by a « String quartet » : the mid-paced « Drivin’ home » and the faster «Three day pass ».

Three day pass

download
Drivin’ home

download

Well-assured vocal fronting a solid backing. The Alan Schafer named in the credits could have been the label’s owner as well as co-writer of the songs. The short Billboard snippet is learning that the disc was going strong in the Pittsburg area.

We jump to 1958 for a third Jennings issue on the famous Philly label Arcade. « Is it yes or is it no » (# 146) is a fine bopper, and has, for the first time in a Gordon Jennings record, a steel guitar, while the lead plays on the bass chords for good effect. The flip side « I wonder if you miss me too » is unheard (Allan Turner collection = unavailable).

Billboard June 9, 1958

Is it yes or is it noJennings Gordon "Is It Yes Or Is It No"Jennings Gordon "I wonder if you miss me too"

download

Next and final record is to be found again in Philadelphia on the new up-and-coming Skyrocket label, in 1959 [other good records are Rex Zario’s « Go man go, get gone »(# 1001) and Ray Coleman’s « Toodle-oo mambo » (# 1002)]. First side of the Jennings’ disc bears a very good version of Hank Williams’ « My sweet love ain’t around » Jennings Gordon "My Sweet Love Ain't Around"(Skyrocket 1003), and the flipside is an original, written by Jennings, aided by Tex Zario (himself being an artist and owner of the label) and the unknown to me Lucky Taylor. The song « I saw you cheatin’ last night » is a nice country-rocker (insistant drums) backed Jennings Gordon  "I Saw You Cheatin' Last Night"by a good embroidering steel guitar, the lead guitar is fine too over a wave of fiddle.

Billboard December 8, 1958

My sweet love ain’t around

download
I saw you cheatin’ last night”

download

 

So popular must this song have been that in 1968 on Arcade 202 it was revived by Rex Zario (it’s unclear if Rex and Tex are the same person) in a more rocking style: drums are louder, the steel is more discreet (a short solo), the vocal is a bit smooth.
Rex Zario, “I saw you cheatin’ last night

downloadZario Rex  "I Saw You Cheatin' Last Night"
In any case, Gordon Jennings had disappeared from the music world since 1959, at least in terms of known recordings.

Sources : YouTube (Johnn Maddy, CheesebrewWax Archives) ; Hillbilly Researcher (Alba) ; 78rpm-worlds (Kingsport) ; 45rpm-cat (Arcade and Skyrocket) ; my own record (Rex Zario) ; Hillbilly-music.com for radio stations and Gordon Jenning’s picture; Billboard archives for personal data.

BILL MORGAN a.k.a. BILL CARROLL: Feel so good

a.

No image available of the boys neither of Bill Morgan at the moment. Maybe someone has one picture? Pease help!

This Bill Morgan has nothing to do with the Columbia songwriter and artist (1954-55), brother to George Morgan.

By the mid-1955, Texans Bill [Morgan, rhythm guitar] and Carroll [Hunt, lead guitar] came from Beaumont, Texas, to Lake Charles’ (La.) Goldband recording studio and cut their first sides. They were issued on Goldband 1034 early 1956, comprised of two Hillbilly boppers tunes : « Love me just a little bit » has harmony vocals in the bridge, the rest goldband-carroll-lbitgoldband-carroll letter

Love me just a little bit

download

My blue letter

download

 

 

 

being sung by Bill Morgan ; fine backing of fiddle and steel by the Netche Valley Boys; « My blue letter » is faster and equally good. The boys try with brio to sing harmony all along the track. Again great aggressive fiddle, as on « Honest to goodness baby » (Goldband 1053) issued 1957. The B-side « Love grown cold » is a slowie ; the vocals are plaintive but the spirit (a piano is added) of the other sides remain intact.

goldband-carroll-goodnessgoldband-carroll-cold

Honest to goodness baby

download

Love grown cold”

download

Departing from Goldband Bill & Carroll left behind them 5 unissued songs only published in France and U.K. during the late ’80s. A first version of the future Dixie classic “Feel so good“, a perfect example of Hillbilly bop heading towards Rockabilly (great guitar and fiddle backing).The medium paced « Shadow on my heart » is reminiscent of « Love grown cold », but a little faster. Enters even an accordion player. Some mambo rhythm for « Boo hoo », then « Hold me baby » is a fast number, quasi-rockabilly (at least for the guitar playing), a bit Everly-ish. The last tune, « Bluff city rock » is pure rock’n’roll, with heavy drums and tickling piano, and again that fine guitar.

Feel so good“(1956 version)

download

Shadow on my heart

download

Boo hoo

download

Hold me baby

download

Bluff city rock

download

Next step was on Madison, TN, Dixie label. Both of the guys were reunited under the name « BILL CARROLL » for a second version of their previous « Feel so good » (Dixie 2010) – a sharp lead guitar, and a firm vocal. This is the best ever of their product – value $ 300-400, and one would hear their B-side « In my heart » , not available since its November 1958 issue.

dixie-carroll-good

Feel so good

download

d-morgan-wicked

courtesy Udo Frank

From then on, it seems that both of them went separate ways, as further recordings are all assigned to « BILL MORGAN ». First in 1959 (reviewed by Billboard in August) on Pappy Daily’s « D » label (# 1092) . « Your wicked love » is a fast bopper: clear voice, nice backing of piano and an ordinary guitar, probably not by Carroll Hunt. Things are slower for the flipside « At home with mom », full of echo. Next step is on the Dart label (a sublabel to « D ») for « Red hot rhythm combo » (# 137) in 1960 : a good jumping little rocker. The guitar riff is fine and insistant, and Morgan is in good voice.

Your wicked love

download

Red hot rhythm combodart--morgan-combo

download

The man moved again to Texas, and had a good amount of recordings until 1972, when his trail goes cold. On Delta Records, he had late 1962 # 501 « I need your love » picked up by Chess and reissued on # 1841, a good little rocker. Then on Delta 504 in 1963, « She gave me lovin’ », once more a fine rocker. Then on Gem (1964-65) a similar instrumentation for the energetic « Tennessee moon » (# 5) or the lovely (female chorus) « Land of the midnight sun » (# 7)(not posted here). I did not hear further recordings on New World, Stoneway and Myra, so cannot comment neither podcast them.

chess-morgan-needdelta-morgan-gave

gem-morgan-moon

I need your love

download

 

She gave me lovin'”

download

 

Tennessee moon

download

Another Bill Morgan appeared on Rebel 249 (VA.), who had nothing apparently to do with this artist. Indefatigable visitor (and corrector) DunkenHobo points out a different version of “I need your love”(Chess) by a BOBBIE MORGAN on (Tx) Blackbird 505. It is aurally not an alternate of the Chess issue; a seemingly female vocal; no speeded up tempo I’d assume; and this time a good piano. Producer Bill Morgan, says DrunkenHobo. So maybe Bobbie was his wife? Here it is for what it’s worth:blackbird-morgan-love

Sources: 45rpm.com site; notes to Goldband LP 107 “Bop stop rock”; notes to BF 16408 “D & Dart”; YouTube.(53jaybop chain for the Goldband 1034 label scans)

Cajun Hillbilly Bop (in French..): PAL THIBODEAUX and LITTLE PAL HARDY – “PORT ARTHUR BOOGIE”

Nothing or nearly has surfaced on the precise whereabouts of PAL THIBODEAUX (his actual Cajun name). Here are the details I could glean from his records, or from 45rpm-cat or even from Bill Nettles’ story as it appears on the CD   « Bill Nettles & his Dixie Blue Boys : « Shake it and take it » – Cattle CCD248) and « Bill Nettles – « Hadacol boogie » – on Jasmine 3548 » . I even didn’t succeed obtaining a picture of Pal Thibodeaux, also known as LITTLE PAL HARDY (on Imperial 8282).

(more…)

VANCE MORRIS & the Alabama Playboys: “Crazy ’bout the boogie”

Vance Morris and the Alabama Playboys monopolized Nashboro’s early hillbilly releases with accomplished, zestful tunes like “Crazy ’bout the boogie” and “Slap-happy pappy“. That Morris, born in 1919, grew up near Oklahoma City probably accounts for the heavy Western swing influence in the band’s repertoire. “I idolized this kind of music“, said Morris to Martin Hawkins. After 1942 he had a band which at one time had no less than 13 pieces in the Play Boys. They fielded offers from King and Mercury. vance morris & AlabamaPlayboys

He went to Mississipi in 1934, then on to Huntsville, Alabama. A local promoter, Robert ‘Big Deal’ Vann, got him on Nashboro. There were two sessions, no royalties, and only a little airplay. Vance sang and played guitar and bass; Hank “Dub” Williams played bass, rhythm guitar and sang. “Lefty” Haggard also sang on one side; Ronald Glenn played lead guitar. Malcolm “Buck” Buffalo and Cliff Luna played the fiddle.

After the Nashboro disks, the band members went their separate way. Morris at one time repaired cars, before the split of his band was complete.

from notes by Martin Hawkins for “A shot in the dark” boxset. Thanks to Ronald Keppner and his invaluable help (mp3 and label scans)

Notes from Bopping editor :

« Crazy ’bout the boogie » (# 1005) is by far the best of the 6 sides cut for Nashboro. An heavy boogie guitar (solo), the piano takes a boogie solo, and steel is driving throughout the tune. Sold recently (2016) for $ 103.

nashboro 1005B vance morris - crazy 'bout the boogie

nashboro 1005A vance morris - rainy weather

Crazy ’bout the boogie

download

Rainy weather

download

The flipside, « Rainy weather » is quieter, and a bit sentimental, with a voice reminiscent of that of Tex Williams.

Nashboro 1006 is pairing two lovely uptempos. « Some of these days » is an agreeable shuffler, while the instrumental « Boot hill drag » has the steel to the fore. A mostly danceable track.

 

Some of these days

download

Boot hill drag

download

nashboro 1006- vance morris - some of these daysnashboro 1006-B vance morris - boot hill drag

Nashboro 1009 combines again a vocal and an instrumental. « I’ll get by don’t you cry » is a shuffler, a bit sentimental, while « Slap-happy pappy » is a real showcase of the whole band. Each of the instruments (bass, piano, guitar) takes its solo, all propelled by a fine steel throughout. Add the vocal yells, and you’ve got a really fine fast Hillbilly boogie.

 

nashboro 1009-A vance morris - I'll get by don't you crynashboro 1009-B vance morris - sjep-happy pappy

 

I’ll get by don’t you cry

download

Slap-happy pappy

download

Rem Wall & the Green Valley Boys: Michigan’s Country-rock (1950-1962)

Not many things are known about Rem Wall. He was born 1918 in Frankfort, Illinois and he died 1994.rem wall

He started at an early age entertaining during the ’30s at different local radio stations and, after being graduated in 1939, decided to settle in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He performed on radios WGFG, later WKZO, where he had even a TV show, « the Green Valley Jamboree » which lasted for 36 years, himself being signed to WKZO for even 44 years.

He then recorded for a lot of companies : Wrightman in 1951 (as Rembert Wall), then Bakersfield (1957), Glenn (1960-62), Wolverine and Columbia. He even had an issue in Great Britain. His music, although hillbilly at the beginning, became more and more softer by the years ’60s. His best songs are : « Heartsick and blue », « Waiting » (lot of echo for this good ballad), « One of these days » (banjo led folkish tune) , « Time alone » from 1962 (a fine shuffler) or « Carried away ».

wrightman wall nebraska

bakerfield wall awayglenn wall lonesomeIn 1958 he was chosen by the U.S. Government to represent Country music in Germany and then he toured a lot there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He seems to have remained a regional hitmaker, having given up his career after his wife’s death during the ’60s. His son Rendal carries on the family tradition as a guitar player.

 

Sources: various. Wrightman sides and label scan do come from Hillbilly Researcher. Glenn label scans from “45rpm” blogsite. Picture from hillbilly-music site

glenn wall days

 

 

top-rank glenne blueglenn wall waitng

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The girl on the matchbox cover“[1950]

download

Heartsick and blue

download

Waiting

download

I’m losing my tears over you

download

One of these days

download

Carried away

download

Time alone“[1962]

download

 

 

 

You can read a lot more on RemWall by clicking this link: http://www.visioncouncil.org/bobrowe/rem_wall.htm