RHYTHM HARMONEERS on the Jamboree label (not Nashville, but Shreveport, La.) # 2800. Leader was Tom Bearden. « Women Drivers » is the Bill Carlisle song (Mercury). Harmony vocals and a fine guitar on this utptempo. The Harmoneers went also in 1953 on the Flair 1003 (subsidiary label to Modern) with « Good Old Chlororophyll ».
PAUL WILSON on another Louisiana label, Picture # 1001, released 1962 or ’63. « The Blues You Gave Me » is a steel led uptempo (plus solo) with piano, a really moving track. The record was produced by one M. F. Machart, who also produced Sleepy LaBeff « Ride on Josephine » (Picture 1937) Anothee Wilson record was « You Don’t Love Me » (Pcture 1002) – untraced.
The 3 following songs are by JOHNNY HENDERSON, a West coast artist who cut for High Time in 1956-57. Backed by The Texas Hired Hands, he released « The Girl I Love Is n Okie » (# 117), a medium uptempo bopper, lovely rhythm, although no fiddle. B-side is similar in style : « Down Beside The Rio Grande » High Time 118). « Any Old Port In A torm » (High Time 177) is easily found on compilations, not its flipside , a bluesy item with lively vocal « Rocket In My Pocket ».
On the Hi-Lite label (Alabama 1959) the team led by JOHN R. McKEARN (backed on side A by Billy Stockstill) offers « All Because Of You » (# 510) : forceful rural vocal, a mid-tempo track, great guitar. The B-side has « The Tug Boast Song » backed by Luden R. Gouedy is uptempo Rockabilly. Same good guitar and piano in the background. This disc is valued at $ 200-300 in Lincoln book.
On the (U.S.) London label # 16032 from 1950, on to HANK DALTON & the Brakemen. He was actually Alton Delmore with Ray Smith . Here they do a great train song « Hummingbird Special », same style of the Delmore Brothers.
A nice mid-tempo Rockabilly with Country overtones by the PILGRIM BROTHERS on their own Pilgrim label (# 2001) : « (Slow) Cold Rain ».
On the NJ label Cool (# 111, released 1958), now the fast « Tennessee Baby » by MERLE MATTS II. Rhythm given by a banjo. An urgent vocal, good steel (played like a bottleneck).
« I’m Sorry Now » by BUD DECKLEMAN is the lastest tune this time (1961). He’d cut his most known « Daydreamin’ » on Meteor in 1954 – a fair sized hit ; then a string of hillbilly releases on M-G-M (1955-56), before dropping into semi-obscurity (according to a sideman, he wasn’t reliable). He reappears for a swansong : medium paced, good steel. A typical early 60s Country.(Stomper Time M80w-3355).
Out of Nashille on the very small Jamboree label (501), DICK STRATTON offers « Fat Gal Boogie »in 1950-51. A guitar boogie rocker. Steel and string bass solos. Stratton was also on Tennessee 795 for « Pistol Boogie ».
A medium shuffler now : « You’ll Come Runnin’ Home To Me » by RALPH COLLIER on the Blazon label # 105 out of Nashville.
Lee ‘RED’ Melson did « Boss Man Blues » on the Grand Prairie label # 501 : a very expressive vocal for a medium uptempo with solid fiddle but uninventive guitar. Melson was also on the Georgia Ridgecresst label.
This is the early September 2018 fortnight’s favorites selection of 10 tunes.
We begin with a sort of mystery. Nobody seems to know either the artist nor the label’s location, except that Mecca was a RCA-Victor custom pressing. GLEN COOPER had two records beween 1956 and ’57 on the Mecca label, and I suspect a Carolina or a Virginia location, even Tennessee, judging by the style of music. Backed by the Jets, Cooper delivers on Mecca G-01112/1113, first a fabulous Rockabilly with « Sugar Mama (Daddy) » – a guitar solo and very efficient sparse instrumentation, then a fast ballad bopper, « They Say » – fiddle solo and high standard guitar backing, both from 1956. Cooper had next year two rural rockers, « Just Rockin’ » and « These Blues Are Driving Me Mad » (Mecca H-0330/0331). The one in discussion has a value of $ 300 to 400.
DEAN ARMSTRONG& The Arizona Dance Hands come next with a jumping Hillbilly boogie (call & response format), « Cowboy Boots ». The singer, KENNY SMITHhad his own career : born 1931, he sang with Merl Lindsay(« Blue Mary ») on Cormac Records, then he had under his own name the fine double-sider « Walkin’ By My Lonesome/I’m So Lonesome Baby » issued n Johnny O’Neal’s Rural Rhythm # 507 label in 1957.
AUBREY CAGLE has his own entry in bopping.org. I chose two tracks released in 1959 on his own label Glee (# 100) in Indianapolis, although Cagle hailed from Tennessee. »Be-Bop Blues » is Rockabilly which guitar and piano twinkle in – topical words for Be-Bop music. The B-side « Just for you » is a Rockaballad, with an heavy bass and steel (solo). Good hillbilly voice.
From Detroit the WINDY MOUNTAiN BOYS issued in 1963 a Bluegrass sung in unison, « High Wide And Lonesome » on Fortune 223. They released also records with Wendy Smith and Delmar Delaney on Wedge and Rebel. “High Wide And Lonesome“
From Campbellsville, Kentucky came KEITH BUCK and His Harmony Playboys. He cut the nice, sincere vocal « Only Fooling Around » (guitar, fiddle, great rhythm) and the romper « Leon Boogie » on the Folk-Star label (# 630) at an unnown date (circa ’54 or ’55).
Finally the familiar T. TEXAS TYLER has a semi-instrumental (much interjections to the guitar player James Pruett, and the steel Joaquin Murphy) with « Guitar Boogie Woogie » issued on Four Star 1114 in 1946, and it’s really a gas !
This is the late August 2018 fortnight’s favorites selection. BLONDIE BROOKS opens the ball with a lovely female vocal tune, « We’ll Make Out Together » from March 1962, with a nice steel and heavy drums on the Gulf Reef label 1008. Backed by Cousin Wilbur (perhaps her husband), she had previously appeared on Bullet 691 (Cousin Wilbur leader) in 1949 for a fine shuffler : « Why Not Confess » and a good revamp of the Delmore Brothers‘ « Blues Stay Away From Me » : strident steel.
We go further with GENE McKOWN on the California Fable label # 571 (owned by Sandy Stanton, and actually a song-poem label). He had previously cut for Aggie the rockabilly classic « Rockabilly Rhythm ». Here we have « I’m Still Wondering Why » : McKown is joined by a certain Fiddlin’ Slim for this fast hillbilly rocker from 1957. Later on McKown went on Brass Records.
Two selections then by the RHYTHM HARMONEERS. On the Jamboree label 28001 (one of a few to have this name), they do « Women drivers », a fast shuffler, with vocals in unison. They previously had cut for the Flair label (Los Angeles) # 1003 (1950) « Good Old Chlorofyll» in the same manner.
In 1962 on the California Arlen label (# 1014) LESTER ROSE & the Tennnessee Road Runners do deliver two fine sides. « Alimony Blues », a half spoken tune, while its flipside « Wino Blues » has, as expected, hiccups. A good record to look for..
From 1965 on the Wheeling, WVa. Emperor label # 266, the PERRY BROTHERS (Bob & Harry for two good unison vocals and a nice guitar on « Waiting In Vain ».
Finally LUCKY WHITE & the Dude Ranch Playboys on the Arizona label Courtney # 103, and « Down And Out Blues », which has a strong resemblance to « Milk Cow Blues ». Good, lazy vocal and piano. The legendary Leodie Jackson is on steel. White had also « Teddy Bear » on Courtney 129, while Jackson issued « That Naggin’ Wife Of Mine » on # 130. He also appeared on Jess Willard records (« Cadillac Blues », « Honky Tonk Boogie » and « Lonesome Dollar Bill ») and Johnny Tyler (« Freight Train Boogie »).
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!
Hello folks! This is REALLY a hot summer over there in France, lot of heavy clouds but…no rain at all. Perfect time anyway to keep oneself well dry inside and stomp to that good ole’ Hillbilly beat. We begin with a very elusive artist from the Cumberland Valley/Cincinnati area. I’ve told before in this site about him, and did promise I should post everything I gathered for one year and a half. This could be later this year, so watch out for the fullest possible story on Mr. JIMMIE BALLARD. The first cut in this fortnite is Ballard’s own version of “Birthday Cake Boogie” (Kentucky 508)
of course, the same song was also recorded by, among others, BILLY HUGHES and SKEETS McDONALD, and stands out as a classic ‘risqué‘ or ‘double-entendre‘ song. Ballard was the front man then of BUFFALO JOHNSON‘s Herd (who was active in the D.C. area, and a full story on him is on the line. And he keeps the vocal duties with the also ‘risqué‘ (Kentucky 520 ) “T’ain’t Big Enough“. Both songs are from 1953/1954, fine uptempo Boppers, altho’ just above average, except for lyrics.
Back to a Wildcat out of Texas, a very long career as steel guitar player as soon as 1936, then singer and front man of his band, the XYT Boys, BILLY BRIGGS. I will have some day a complete story on him. He was (maybe he’s still alive, I dunno) to have a sound on his own, and produced very strange ditties from his steel in 1951 for his greatest success (much covered) “Chew Tobacco Rag N° 2” . Here I’ve chosen the amusing “North Pole Boogie” (Imperial 8131, late Forties), complete with icy wind effects (on steel), and Briggs’ own barytone voice imitating a sort of ‘polar bear’ .
Back to Cincinnati and BILL BROWNING. I’ve written about him elsewhere in the site with the story of the LUCKY label. Today I listen to his composition “Dark Hollow“, which was a hit in 1958 when picked up by JIMMIE SKINNER, before the very nice version on BLUE RIDGE by LUKE GORDON (watch out for his story later in 2010), then even by The Grateful Dead in 1973, among others. I particularly like the recent version made by FRED TRAVERS (90’s) which I’ve included in the podcasts; almost falsetto urgent vocal and great dobro.
More from Cincinnati. BOBBY ROBERTS (I think there were at least 2, or 3 personas by the same name during he 50’s). Here he’s the great Hillbilly singer, who cut late 1955 4 sides for KING records. I cannot rememeber if I posted earlier his great “I’m Gonna Comb You Out Of My Hair” (what a title!). This time, I offer the second KING (4868, unverified – Ruppli’s book still stored) “I’m Pulling Stakes And Leaving You”, same lyrics format. Great, great Hillbilly Bop. Later in 1956, Roberts (or one of his aliases) had “Big Sandy” or “Hop, Skip and Jump“, pure Rockabillies. I still wonder if it’s the same man; if so, he would have adapted very well and quickly (within some months) from pure Hillbilly vocal to almost Rock’n’Roll. By the way, he would not have been the first to do so: SKEETS McDONALD, GEORGE JONES, MARTY ROBBINS did very well the transition early in 1956.
Another elusive artist: guitar player/singer PETE PIKE. Recently deceased (2006) just after a CD ‘back to roots’ (Bluegrass) issued in 2005, he was active both in Virginia and D.C. areas from 1947 onwards, and associated several years with another interesting man, BUZZ BUSBY (Busbice). Pike had Hillbilly Bop records on FOUR STAR and CORAL in 1954-1955, among them I’ve chosen the superior ballad “I’m Walking Alone“. Another future entry in www.bopping.org, research is well advanced.
Finally, on the Rocking Blues side, you’re in for a treat with L.A. ‘black Jerry Lee Lewis’ (as the Englishmen call him when he visits their shores), WILLIE EGAN and “What A Shame” from 1957 (Vita label). Pounding piano, wild vocal, strong saxes, heavy drums, the whole affair rocks like mad, althoug relaxed. Enjoy, folks. Comments welcome. ‘Till then, bye-bye.