Here he comes once more, Mr. Jack Dumery, one of the finest connoisseurs in Country music of our time. Jack is often in correspondance with artists, and he has the knack to find the more obscure, although the best talented ones.
Nuff said, here is his turn.
Over the years Charlie Thompson has always been known for the high quality of his live performances all over Europe as well as for his first-class recordings.
His latest release, « THE FOOTHILL SESSIONS’, available on CD/LP, is only here to confirm that he is a true master of Rockabilly and Hillbilly music.
Recorded in Pasadena, California, Charlie is strongly supported by top-notch musicians. We find here TK.SMITH (lead-guitar), JERRY WAKEFIELD (steel-guitar), WALLY HERSON (string-bass and also producer of the sessions), DAVE STUCKEY (drums), BOBBY FURGO (fiddle) and CARL SONNY LEYLAND (piano), a dream band if any.
« The automobile song«
« Boogie blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/boogie-blues.mp3download
« A blue million tears« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/a-blue-million-tears.mp3download
Charlie has selected 12 songs in the 50’s Hillbilly repertoire, every track a real gem whether strong boppers like « The Automobile Song » (Luke McDaniels), or « Boogie Blues » (Earl Peterson) or beautiful weepers like « A Blue Million Tears » (Carl Butler) and « I Miss You Already » (Marvin Rainwater/Faron Young). Charlie put his own touch and sensibility to the songs while every single note from the musicians is a perfect delight for the ears of the listeners. « THE FOOTHILL SESSIONS » is probably one of the best releases for 2015.
« I miss you already« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/I-miss-you-already.mp3download
CHARLIE THOMPSON won « Best Honky Tonk Male Singer » at the Ameripolitan Music Awards 2016 » in Austin, Texas, on February 16, 2016, being the first European to win.
Flatt & Scruggs, along with Bill Monroe, The Stanley Brothers or Jimmy Martin were among the pioneers of traditional Bluegrass music. After playing along side Bill Monroe, Lester and Earl started their own band, The Foggy Mountain Boys, in 1948. Josh Graves joined the outfit in 1955, first as a bass player but soon switched to dobro which was then to become a defining feature of the Bluegrass sound.
Jerry Douglas, acknowledged to be the finest dobro player around these days, has put together a handful of super pickers, known as the Earls of Leicester, to pay homage to the sound of Flatt & Scruggs : SHAWN CAMP (famous singer/songwriter in Nashville), CHARLIE CUSHMAN (banjo), TIM O’BRIEN (mandolin), JOHNNY WARREN (fiddle) is himself the son of Paul Warren, a member of the Foggy Mountain Boys and BARRY POSS (string-bass).
We return to the roots of Bluegrass music with 14 classics from the Flatt & Scruggs songbook like « I’ll Go Stepping Too », « On My Mind », « Dim Lights, Thick Smoke », « You’re Not a Drop In The Bucket ».
« I’ll go stepping too« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Ill-go-stepping-too.mp3download
« On my mind« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/on-my-mind.mp3download
« Dim lights, thick smoke« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/dim-lights-thick-smoke.mp3download
« You’re not a drop in the bucket« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/youre-not-a-drop-in-the-bucket.mp3download
Some might argue that we have here only imitation of the original style but The Earls of the Leicester infuse new freshness and thrilling musicianship into the songs. With their sound and very popular live performances they are in the right position to open new young audiences to the sound of traditional Bluegrass music.
Jim Dickerson is a Memphis singer/guitarist well known for his work with the North Mississippi All Stars and the South Memphis String Band. The Wandering is his latest project for which he has assembled the talents of four female mid-south vocalists/instrumentalists. SHANNON McNALLY (voice/guitar), VALERIE JUNE (vocal/banjo/guitar), AMY LA VERE (vocal/string bass) and SHARDE THOMAS (vocal/fife/drums). DICKERSON plays various guitars and sing harmonies on this recording.
« Sittin’ on top of the world« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/sittin-on-the-top-of-the-world.mp3download
« Lovin’ him was easier than anything I’ll ever do again« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/lovin-him-was-easier-than-anything-Ill-ever-do-again.mp3download
« Glory, glory« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/glory-glory.mp3download
« Mr. Spaceman« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Mr.-Spaceman.mp3download
The song selection, ’Sittin’ On Top Of The World’, opens with a quite unusual fife part played by Sharde who is probably one of the last fife players in the vanishing fife and drum tradition. Her vocal on this all-time Blues (and also Country) classic shines and she also leads an excellent version of the Gospel « Glory, Glory » with harmonies from her partners. Amy La Vere turns the Byrd’s classic « Mr Spaceman » into a jug band number full with a kazoo break, slapped string bass, Shannon’s duet vocal and Valerie’s harmonies. Shannon McNally gives a real cowboy ballad with «Outlaw » including yodel and sweet melody. Her version of «Lovin’ Him Was The Easier Thing » is without doubt the best version ever heard with a true country sound. Valerie June handles classics such as « Old Joe Clark », « You Are My Sunshine » and « In The Pines ».
« Old Joe Clark« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/old-joe-clark.mp3download
« If I had possession over judgment day« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/if-I-had-possession-over-judgement-day.mp3download
« If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day » comes from the repertoire of Blues giant Robert Johnson and Valerie gives a new life to the song. The work of all those talents, vocally and instrumentally, in the Folk, Blues or Rock fields is a true success and a second volume would be much welcome.
Hear Mr Dickinson ?
Michael Hurtt’s first CD ‘Come Back to Louisiana’ was released in 2006 on the Allons label from New Orleans. Now it’s time to bring more Hurtt music to sink your teeth into. Hurtt moved to Detroit, Michigan, after hurricane Katrina hit south Louisiana in 2005. He was followed by JD Mark (lead/baritone guitars) leaving other members of the band spread around.
« Searching for shadows« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/searching-for-shadows.mp3download
Early 2013 original members of the Haunted Hearts met again in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to record this new project. Michael (vocal/guitar), JD Mark (guitars), Mitch Palmer (electric/steel guitars), John Trahey (string bass) with the addition of Detroit Lonely Charles (drums). The sessions led to a perfect selection of Rockabilly and Honky-Tonk material including original songs mostly written by Michael, from the opening track « Searching For Shadows » which gives the color of the whole CD with hot vocal and lead-guitar to « This Heart is Haunted », a Louisiana colored ballad.
« Ramblers blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ramblersblues.mp3download
In between, « Rambler’s Blues » with its tribute to Jimmie Skinner, superb rockabilly; « I’ll Put The Finger On You » on which recording engineer Erik Alderink shows he can handle the lead-guitar as a true master. « You Don’t Have To Tell Me The Night Is Long » with its shadow of the Johnny Cash sound, and another Louisiana type ballad « This Heart Is Haunted ».
Covers include « Breaking Hearts » (Bill Browning), the obscure « I’ll Move Along » (Red Lewis), « My Hamtrack Baby » (Ray Taylor) and, last but not least, one of the best Rockabillies ever «Teardrops Valley » (The Lonesome Drifter). Unfortunately, JD Mark passed away in July 11, 2013, a few months after these sessions were held in Ann Arbor (RIP).
« I’ll put the finger on you« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Ill-put-the-finger-on-you.mp3download
« This heart is haunted« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/the-heart-is-haunting.mp3download
« Breaking hearts« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/breaking-hearts.mp3download
« Teardrop valley« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/teardrop-valley.mp3download
Howdy folks ! This is the last post on bopping duets. As surely you did notice it, my English is far from fluent ; actually I don’t dream neither think « in English », because it is not my natural language. I really hope you can understand it, and excuse me for writing such intricate phrases yet very common. But I LOVE this bopping music, and let’s keep it first ! My aim is to figure the music posted with record labels and odds and ends on the artists.
The McCORMICK BROTHERS were a Tennessee/Kentucky family affair. Lloyd and Kelly held the guitars, younger Haskel was on banjo, Hayden Clark on bass and Charlie Nixon on dobro. They cut for Hickory in Nashville between 1954 and 58 a fine line of Bluegrass and Rockabilly boppers, among them this « Big eyes » (1958, Hickory 1080). Strong strumming boogie electric guitar and vocals in unison. They even had a full album, « Songs for home folks » on Hickory 102 (1961) and still are playing today.
« Big eyes« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/06-Big-Eyes.mp3download
Chester and Lester, the BUCHANAN BROTHERS were another duet group. They hit big in August 1946 with the pioneering « Atomic power » on RCA, and revived a similar theme in November 1947 with « (When you see) Those flying saucers ». (RCA-Victor 20-2385) « You’d better pray to the Lord when you see those flying saucers, it may be the coming of the Judgement Day ». Good vocal and guitar duet. The song was used in 2009 in the animated release of « Monsters VS. Aliens ».
« Those flying saucers« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Buchanan-Brothers-When-you-See-Those-Flying-Saucers.mp3download
« More lovin’« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/conteste-2-pal-brady-more-lovin.mp3download
PAL (or Palford) BRADY (1922-1988) was a native of Tennessee ; himself relocated too in Michigan, where he had records on Lucky 013 (Cincinnati), Clix (Troy, MI), Bragg, among others (late ’50s to mid-60s). His « More lovin ’ » (Conteste 45-2) from 1961 has two voices for a good « city hillbilly bopper ».
Charlie & Wallace, the MERCER BROTHERS came from Metter, GA and began a professional career during the late ’30s. After the WWII they had their own radio show on WMAZ before joining in 1948 the prestigious « Louisiana Hayride ». From 1951 to 1954 they cut a dozen sides for Columbia in Dallas, with their Blue Ridge Boys (Clyde Baum on mandolin and Doyle Strickland (fiddle) + Wayne Raney (harmonica). I chose from their equally constant in quality output « No place to hang my hat » (Columbia 20927, 1952-53), very Delmore Brothers styled. After 1954 they settled in Macon, GA, and WIBB radio station before completely disappear.
« No place to hang my hat« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/columbia-20927-Mercer-Brothers-No-place-to-hang-my-hat.mp3download
JOHNNIE (Wright) and JACK (Anglin) were regulars on the ’50s charts, before Anglin was killed in a car crash in 1963. Their «Oh boy ! I love her » (RCA 47-6932) from ’57 is an enjoyable jumping little opus. Earlier on they had cut the C&W classic « Ashes of love » (revived during the ’80s by the Desert Rose Band), and « Cryin’ heart blues » in 1951, supposed to have been recorded (but lost) by Elvis Presley on Sun Records.
« Oh boy, I love her« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Johnnie-Jack-Oh-Boy-I-Love-Her.mp3download
On the Kentucky Dixiana label # 105 from 1954, CLIFF GROSS offer a sort of fast talking blues (with the band chanting in unison) with « Hog pen hop », probably recorded in Dallas. Gross was a mountain type fiddler, and Dixiana emanated from Bowling Green, Wayne County.
« Hog pen hop« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/04-Cliff-Gross-Hog-Pen-Hop.mp3download
« Spring of love« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Mercury-6374-Paul-Roy-Spring-Of-Love.mp3download
PAUL & ROY, The Tennessee River Boys, already discussed in another « Duet » feature (they had a two-sider on Nashville Pace label), have recorded for Mercury in 1953 « Spring of love » (# 6374) : it’s a fast Bluegrass influenced ditty – lead vocal & backing vocal.
« Always dreaming« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/ivory-golden-state-boys-always-dreaming.mp3download
Next track GOLDEN STATE BOYS‘« Always dreaming » was already posted here in April 2013. But I like very much this tune with its urgent vocal, the dobro part of Leon Poindexter, the vocal/mandolin of Herb Rice, and the energetic banjo of Don Parmley [personnel give then by a visitor]. Date : early to mid-62, Shamrock 717, Artesia, California.
A solid rocker (with drums), « Good gosh gal » on the Nashville Briar label # 111 by PHIL BEASLEY & CHARLIE BROWN. Nice guitar and steel solo, 1961.
« Good gosh gal« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/briar-111-Phil-Beasley-amp-Charley-Brown-Good-Gosh-Gal-Rockabilly-45.mp3download
It’s useless to present the YORK BROTHERS (their story is on this site). Here is one of their rarest issues on their own York Bros. Records # 600Y-100, from 1963, and the great « Monday morning blues ».
« Monday morning blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/york-bros.-monday-morning-blues.mp3download
More of a solid rocker on Chapel Hill, NC Colonial label (# 7000 from June 1959) by the FRANKLIN BROTHERS. « So real » is strong, that’s not Hillbilly bop, but a real Rocker for a change!
« So real« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/colonial-7000-The-Franklin-Brothers-So-Real.mp3download
We are going to the end with FRANKIE SHORT & DEE GUNTER on the Balto, MD Wango label (# 201) : again a solid version of Don Reno‘s « Country boy rock’n'roll » . Remember L.C. Smith and « Radio boogie » (2nd version) on this label.
« Country boy rock’n'roll« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/wango-201-Frankie-Short-Dee-Gunter-Ctry-Boy-Rock-And-Roll.mp3download
Used sources: Wikipedia, Youtube,ancestry.com (Pal Brady), hillbilly-music.com, Galen Gart’s ARLD, 45rpm.com
For this third feature specialized in bopping duets, we begin with the aptly named HARMONY BROTHERS. Their « Baby, tonight » fom 1959 was cut for St-Louis, MO label Bobbin 109, and it’s a very solid backed Everly Brothers styled opus. They had another one « Saturday night hop » on Bobbin 116 which sounds good (alas, untraced).
Harmony Brothers « Baby, tonight« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/bobbin-109-The-Harmony-Brothers-Baby-Tonight.mp3download
Houle Brothers « Dream night« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/circle-dot-1012-The-Houle-Brothers-Dream-Night.mp3download
Mike & Bob, Houle Brothers « I heard the bluebird sing« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/bangar-642-Mike-Bob-I-Heard-The-Bluebird-Sing.mp3download
On the Minneapolis, MN Circle Dot label (# 1012) , again from the late ’50s, we chose « Dream night » by the HOULE BROTHERS. Again Everly Bros. influenced, it fetches up to $ 250-300. Mike & Bob, the Houle Brothers, had another record on Bangar 642 in 1965, « I heard the bluebird sing ».
Jimmy Lee & Wayne Walker »Love me« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/chess-4863-Jimmy-Lee-And-Wayne-Walker-Love-Me.mp3download
Now a great wild thing with the classic « Love me » (Chess 4863) from Spring 1955, cut at KWKH studio in Shreveport, La. by JIMMY LEE & WAYNE WALKER. It has urgent vocals and a ferocious steel (Sonny Harville), all propelled by the thuding bass of Tillman Franks and the jumping drums of D. J. Fontana.
Farmer Boys « My baby done left me« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/capitol-3476-Farmer-Boys-My-baby-done-left-me.mp3download
Let’s go west with the FARMER BOYS, and the very special Western rockabilly style from the Capitol studio on « My baby done left me » (# 3476). The staff is composed by Bobby Adamson and Woody Murray (vocals), Roy Nichols on lead guitar, Fuzzy Owen on steel and Cliffie Stone on bass, and the tune was out May 31, 1956.. The story of the Farmer Boys is on this site.
An unusual duet of uncle and nephew were the JACOBY BROTHERS on TNT 1004, from San Antonio, TX. Great harmonies and backing (guitar and mandolin) for « Warmed over love ».
Jacoby Brothers « Warmed over love« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/TNT-1003-Jacoby-Brothers-Warmed-over-love-.mp3download
Martin Brothers « Where have you been all night« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/libert-martin-bros.-where-have-been-all-night.mp3download
West VA. and the Liberty label (not to be confused with the big pop company in L.A.) (# 107). The MARTIN BROTHERS offer the good bopper « Where have you been all night ». Value $ 50-60.
Church Bothers « Broken vows and a broken heart« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/1-Broken-Vows-And-A-Broken-Heart.mp3download
From N. Wilkesboro (S.C.) we turn now on the CHURCH BROTHERS and « Broken vows and a broken heart » (Blue Ridge 209), a typical 1953 bluegrass bopper: nice vocal and chorus in unison. I’ve read that the lead was Buffalo Johnson, an important figure not so well known today. Research goes on him.
From N. Charleston, (S.C.) and July 1954 BILLIE AND GORDON HAMRICK, a sacred tune on Rangeland 504 (one of the very first Starday customs). « He’s gonna take his children out » has a lead vocal male) and a chorus, plus a good banjo solo.
Billie & Gordon Hamrick « He’s gonna take his children out« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/45-506b-Billie-Gordon-Hamrick-Hes-Gonna-Take-His-Children-Out-rangeland-07-54.mp3download
Paul & Roy « Free, twenty one & ambitious« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Paul_Roy_Free_21_Ambitious-Pace.mp3download
Paul & Roy « I wish you were a country girl« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Paul_Roy-I-Wish-Youd-Be-A-Country_G.mp3download
PAUL (Boswell) & ROY (Pryor) out of Nashville on the Pace label (# 1004) had previously cut a dozen sides for Mercury.The Pace issue date from late ’50s, and offer two medium tunes, « Free, twenty one and ambitious » and « I wish you’d be a country girl ». Good, a bit above average boppers.
Finally the terrific sacred « I’m a millionaire » by the Tennessee Harmony Boys (Dillard Anderson & Solon Maynard) on the Fortune label out of Detroit (# 209). A great, great mandolin solo, and a lot of excitement.. They had previously cut on their own « Tennessee Harmony Boys » label, and even had an E.P. on Fortune (# 1334).
Tennessee Harmony Boys « I’m a millionaire« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/fortune-209-The-Tennessee-Harmony-Boys-Im-a-millionaire.mp3download
More of these Hillbilly bop duets, even a foray into Rock’n'Roll (country overtones)
It’s useless to present the DELMORE Brohers (Rabon & Alton). They began their career in 1931 ! When they stopped at King studio in Cincinnati in 1946, they cut many, many Hillblly boogies, either as vocal duet, or with spare instrumentation (Wayne Raney and Lonnie Glosson on harmonica). It’s been a real task to choose « Down home boogie » (King 784AA) : the Brothers sing in harmony for this romper cut in November 1947 in Cincinnati. Lead electric guitar player could be Roy Lanham or Zeke Turner.
« Down home boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/king-784AA-Down-Home-Boogie-Delmore-Brothers.mp3download
A dozen years later or so, a man led a typical Hillbilly combo : JERRY DOVE (instrument unknown). He had already put a minor rockabilly classic in 1956, « Pink bow tie » on T.N.T. Label (# 144), but he was more a producer and musician than a singer. Here he gathers the duet (male/female) of Ray Stone and Dove’s wife, Peggy. First side is bluesy, and very atmospheric : « Losin’ the blues » (# 173), paired with an uptempo « Why don’t you love me ».
« Losin’ the blues« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/TNT-173-Jerry-Dove-Losing-the-blues.mp3download
« Why don’t you love me« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/tnt-173-Jerry-Dove-Why-dont-you-love-me.mp3download
Let’s get back to December 1947 with the Arkansas born real ARMSTRONG TWINS. They recorded for 4* a serie of boogies showing the prowesses of Lloyd on mandolin, Floyd backing on guitar, especially on « Mandolin boogie » (4* 1231), a fast and furious piece of Bluegrass.
« Mandolin boogie« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/1-Mandolin-Boogie1.mp3download
On the Cincinnati, OH based label Jalyn (# 208) JOHN & FRANCIS REEDY have « Quit kicking my dog around » : fine uptempo tune, amusing lyrics. This record goes back to ’64.
« Quit kicking my dog around« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/jalyn-john-and-francis-reedy-quit-kicking-my-dog-around.mp3download
More of the same with RUFUS SHOFFNER & JOYCE SONGER, clearly billed « Vocal duet » although both join on chorus only, with the powerful « It always happens to me » on the Detroit’s Hi-Q label (# 17) from 1962. Awesome and driving guitar playing by Earl Songer’s ex-wife. Both seem unlucky in the song.
Next is « Truck driver’s boogie » by the MILO TWINS (Edwin and Edward), originally from Arkansas. Their style is pretty close to that of the DELMORE, the CALLAHAN, the SHELTON or the YORK Brothers. Released December 947 on Capitol 40138: fine harmony vocals over a good harmonica playing.
« It always happens to me« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/hi-q-17-rufus-shoffner-it-always-happens-to-me.mp3download
Milo Twins » « Truck driver’s boogie »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/capitol-40138-milo-truck.mp3download
Finally GENE PARSON’S BAND, who’s backing Kimble and Wanda Janes on vocals in a classic, « Night club Rock’n'roll » from March 1959 on Southland label (# 4501) from lllinois. Parson was the owner of this small label. He already had cut for Chicago’s Eko label. I’m pretty sure this Gene Parson has nothing to do with the member of Byrds or Flying Burrito Brothers bands of the ’60s. The Southland issue falls into a collector’s hands for $ 400-500.
« Nightclub rock’roll« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/southfield-Gene-Parsons-Band-Night-Club-Rock-And-Roll-vocal-Kimble-Wanda-James.mp3download
Sources: various compilations and reissues for the most part, the odd record from my collection.
This first batch of duets will concentrate on bopping Bluegrass tunes. Indeed the choice of tunes is entirely mine, and I post the ones I like very much. The main instruments, as expected, are fiddle and banjo or mandolin, all pushing often an urgent vocal.
The DIXIE DRIFTERS were a small Bluegrass group from Houston, TX ; actually they were the first one to make Bluegrass music so far from Kentucky or Tennessee. Hank Wilson (guitar/vocal & composer) was the leader when they cut « Lies, lies and alibis », a fast ditty on the Minor label (# 112). Enjoy the dobro part! (According to ARLD, this record came out in October 1958). No label scan available, sorry: I’ve just got the music from a Tom Sims’ cassette. Earlier on the boys had another issue on Azalea 110, same style (« Gone forever »). Hank Wilson, as « Slim Wilson » recorded probably one more single for Minor (# 117) »The ring around your finger/Bring a wall around Texas« . And I really don’t know if Hank Wilson and Leon Russell are the same person.
« Lies, lies and alibis« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/minor-112-Dixie-difters-lies-lies-alibis.mp3download
« Gone forever« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/azalea-110-The-Dixie-Drifters-Gone-Forever.mp3download
Billboard June 22, 1959
Way up north with the THOMAS BROTHERS (Melvin and Erwin) for an oustanding « Way high, way low » on the Hammond, IN. Mar-Vel’ label (# 355 from 1956). Each voice (3 actually) compete strongly : the highpitched, then the bass man, finally the medium singing « Right in the middle, that’s where I want to be ». A pity they never had another issue.
« Way high, way low« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/mar-vel-Thomas-Bros.-Way-high-way-low.mp3download
Third we have a decisive ‘Vocal duet’ on the label : Rena 803 from Ripley, WV by RALPH & RUTH. « Hard hearted girl», great rhythm guitar. It’s difficult to assume a date for the issue, maybe late ’50s, or even 1961, as suggested by HillbillyCountry45 (Youtube).
« Hard hearted girl« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/rena-803B-Ralph-And-Ruth-Hard-Hearted-Girl.mp3download
From Pico, California on the Sundown label # 106 : TOMMY GUESS & BILL LOWE do give a lot of energy in their « My foolish heart ». Mandolin solo. They disappeared afterwards 1958.
A beautiful harmony with the NASH BROTHERS, probably from Georgia on the Peach label (# 569) : « My prescription refilled » from March 1959.
« My foolish heart »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/sundown-106-guess-lowe-foolish-heart.mp3download
« My prescription refilled« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/nash-brothers-my-prescription-refilled.mp3download
First version of the song was cut by JIMMIE DAVIS in February 1937, backed by Milton Brown (actually deceased a year before) Musical Brownies. Out of them Lefty Perkins takes two solos on the steel, Papa Calhoun is at the piano and the fiddle duties are taken by Buck Buchanan. It’s a medium paced blues ditty typical of Davis’ work. It was issued on Decca 5349.
Jimmie Davis, « High geared daddy » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/decca-5349A-HIGH-GEARED-DADDY-by-Jimmie-Davis.mp3download
In August 1949 WEBB PIERCE, after having obviously heard Davis’ tune, revived it (taking the credit to him). Nice honky-tonker (Buddy Attaway on steel?). The lyrics were a bit different from Davis’. Here they are Pierce’s ones:
Come on here girls and hear my song
I’ll tell you my troubles as I step along
I’m a high geared daddy and there’s nothing I won’t do
I’m a two time papa when you leave me at home
I’ll call another momma on the telephone
I’m a high geared daddy that’s never been made blue
If you leave me at home well that’s allright
I’ll take a new momma with me tonight
[continued this style] this perfect example of honky tonk machism was issued on 4 Star 1413, and many times reissued (e.g. 4* 1601), then was the model for other versions.
Webb Pierce « High geared daddy« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/webb-ierce-high-geared-daddy-249.mp3download
TOMMY LITTLE & the Sunrise Rangers, from Durham, N.C. recorded the song, although actually it’s a completely different one same time as Pierce’s and Davis’, because it is an old warhorse of the Thirties, frequently known as « Sweet mama put him in low », first recorded by KARL & HARTY (Karl Davis/Hartford Taylor) in Chicago, January 1941 (Okeh 06066). Not surprisingly the song was credited to « Davis »! Fairley Holden had his own version on King 771 in 1947. Tommy Little’s version, first issued on Tommy’s personal label, Tommy’s, was picked up by Colonial, a sub-label to Hollywood giant Modern diskery. Little gives the song a superbly energetic treatment with the mandolin giving it a wonderful old-time flavour.
Karl & Harty « Sweet mama put him in low« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/06-Sweet-Mama-Put-Him-Low.mp3download
Fairley Holden « Sweet mama put him in low »
Tommy Little « High geared daddy« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/colonial-116A-Tommy-Little-And-His-Sunrise-Rangers-High-Geared-Daddy-.mp3download
Returning to Webb Pierce’s « HIGH GEARED DADDY‘, the song found a new life in the hands of JIMMY WALKER on the West coast Intro label # 6025 in July 1951. He was backed on this occasion by Joe Maphis and Noel Boggs, augmented by George « Crazy » Tracy on harmonica and did offer an fine, relaxed although energetic version. Finally in a novelty style it was revived as a RCA LP track in 1956 by HOMER & JETHRO.
Jimmy Walker « High geared daddy« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/jimmy-walker-high-geared-dddy.mp3download
Homer & Jethro « High geared daddy« http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/HOMER.mp3download
«Step it up and go » does ring a bell for you ? The song goes back (first recording) to 1932 by a jug band, but was cut well into the Fifties as a Hillbilly classic.
First Picaninny Jug Band of Dallas cut « Bottle it up and go » in 1932 on the Varsity label. I don’t know if the song was a success then, but it was revised several years later by the Memphis Jug Band (on Okeh, 1934) with Will Shade on vocal and guitar. Tommy Mc Clennan on Columbia (November 1939) as « Bottle it up and go », then in March 1940 by Blind Boy Fuller as « Step it up and go » (Vocalion or Columbia). In the meantime Sonny Boy Williamson (John Lee Williamson) had recorded it in May 1937 as »Got the bottle up and gone » (with vocal by Robert Lee McCoy, aka. Robert Nighthawk) on Bluebird. So after the Picaninny Jug Band, this must be the source where all the followers came. Leadbelly also came with his own version in September 1948 (Folkways).
Picaninny Jug Band « Bottle it up and go » (1932) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/picaninny-bottle-it-up-and-go.mp3download
Sonny Boy Williamson, « Got the bottle up and gone » (1937) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/SONNY-BOY-WILLIAMSON-Got-the-bottle-and-go.mp3download
Tommy McClennan, « Bottle it up and go » (1939)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Bottle-It-Up-And-Go-TOMMY-McCLENNAN-1939-Delta-Blues-Guitar-Legend.mp3download
Blind Boy Fuller, « Step it up and go » (1940)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Columbia-37230-Blind-Boy-Fuller-Step-It-Up-And-Go-1940.mp3download
Maddox Bros. & Rose « New step it up and go » (Four Star, 1950)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/4-1549-DJ-Maddox-Bros.-Rose-New-step-it-up-and-go.mp3download
Big Jeff and the Radio Playboys (Dot, 1951)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/dot-1058-Big-Jeff-step-it-up-and-go.mp3download
Harmonica Frank Floyd (Chess, 1951)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Chess-1475-HARMONICA-FRANK-STEP-IT-UP-AND-GO.mp3download
Carl Story (Columbia, 1953)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/columbia-21250-carl-story-Step-It-Up-And-Go.mp3download
Big John Greer, « Bottle it up and go » (Groove, 1955)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/groove-Big-John-Greer-Bottle-It-Up-And-Go.mp3download
In September1950, the Maddox Bros. And Rose adopted the song on 4 Star as « New step it up and go » (with Don Maddox on vocal and fiddle, and interjections by Rose and the other members), obviously based on Blind Boy Fuller’s version. In July 1951 Harmonica Frank Floyd cut his own version for Sun (Chess 1475) while in 1953 Carl Story had « Step it up and go » as a-nearly-rockabilly version (strong lead guitar, but nice mandolin solo by Red Rector) on Columbia. Finally both Big John Greer (on Groove, 1955, with Mickey Baker on guitar) and John Lee Hooker (on Impulse) had « Bottle it up and go » or « Bottle up and go ». Even Mac Wiseman had his version in 1956 on Dot.
The original words were added by anybody’s verses, and as in many a blues song, the tune became this way a classic, still done these days.
Tommy McClennan’s lyrics :
Yes, yas?? Got to bottle it up an go?Got to bottle it up an go?Now, ‘em high-power women?(guitar) Yeah??Now, she may be old?Ninety year?She ain’t too old?For the shift them gears??She gots (guitar)?’Got to do what, tell me ‘gain?’?'Got to bottle it up and go’?Now, them high power women -Yeah!??Now, I told my girl?Week ‘fore last?The gate she jus’ came in?Just a little too fast??She had to bottle it up an go?She had to bottle it up an go’d?An them high-power women?(guitar) Yes, yeah??Now, the nigger and the white man?Playin’, set ‘em up?Nigger beat the white man?Was scared to pick it up??’He had the bottle up and do what?’?Had to bottle it up and go?And them high-power women?(guitar) Yeah??Now, look-a-here, baby?You stay last night??Ain’t none a yo’ business?You don’t do me right? – ‘You got t’?(guitar)?’Gotta do what??Tell me again, I don’t understand?’?I’ve got the bottle up and go’d?I ain’t gon’ bother with ‘em?Now, them high-power women?Yeah??Now, nickel is a nickel?A dime is a dime?I don’ need no girl?If she want wine? She has to?(guitar)?Had do what??Had to bottle up and go?And them high-power women Yeah??Now, my mama killed a chicken?She thought it was a duck?She put him on the table?With the legs stickin’ up??He had-a (guitar)?Had to do what??He had the bottle it up and go’d?An them high-powered women?Sho’ got the bottle up and gone??’Yeah, play it man-a??Be-da, bee, bop, bop, bop?Bo, de-dum, be-dum, bop, bop?Bo, bom, bom, bom, bom?Bee-da, bee-um, bop-um, bop-um, bop?Bo, bop-um, bop-um, bop-bop, be-ba?T-dee-da, t-dee-da?T-da-da-da (guitar)Yeah! Uh-huh!??Got the bottle up and go?Got the bottle up and go?Now, you high-power women?Sho’ got to bottle ‘em up and go.?
Research done mainly from Internet: google, collector’s frenzy, Youtube. Bibiographical research: Leslie Fancourt, « Blues discography 1943-1973″, Godrich/Dixon « Blues & gospel records 1902-1943″. « Sun records, the discography ». Notes to Big Jeff Bess BF CD. Notes to Carl Story from « Columbia 20000″ (Willem Agenant site)
Mac Wiseman « Step it up and go » (Dot, 1957)http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Mac-Wiseman-Step-It-Up-And-Go-1956.mp3download
Mac Wiseman-Step It Up And Go-1956
The Steeldrivers « Reckless » Rounder 0624-2 (2010)
Steeldrivers’ singer (Chris Stapleton) left the group and his replacement, Gary Nichols, will be in Craponne. Stapleton, beside being a good vocalist, is first a Nashville songwriter. One can surely see this new group on YouTube. I prefer personnally the fiddle player Tammy Rogers (already seen in Nashville, and 2 times in Paris) and Mike Henderson, mandolin and, most of all,dobro.
Better sides of this hybrid bluegrass band : the powerful fast « The Reckless Side Of Me », the bluesy (great dobro) « Peacemaker », the lively classic bluegrass sound of « Guitars, Whiskey, Guns and Knives » and the haunting (fine vocal by Stapleton) « Ghosts Of Mississipi ». Buy it in confidence !
Tim Hus « Hockeytown » Stony plain (2010)
Tim is a Canadian honky-tonk singer, whose compositions are very promising and interesting. The instrumentation is of classic origin, even comprising accordion (« North Atlantic Trawler ») and the inspiration includes references to trucker’s culture (« Canadian Pacific »). Also noticed were « Picture Butte Charlie », classic honky-tonk sound, and the « Talkin’ Saskatoon Blues ». An artist to look for in the future !
Nadine Landry & Stephen « Sammy » Lind « Granddad’s Favorite» (2010)
A duet (Nadine on vocal and guitar, Stephen on banjo and fiddle) who offer a cajun pot-pourri of old, traditional songs as well as personal compositions. I like Nadine’s high-pitched vocal in « Parlez-nous A Boire » (Invite us to drink), or the good « Les Oiseaux Vont Chanter » (The birds are going to sing). I picked up « Un Ange Pour Toute La Louisiane» (An angel for all Louisiana) too, and the fine instrumental fiddle-led « Brown’s Dream ». Really don’t know if they are used musicians on CD, but felt it a bit monotonous in term of paces and rhythm guitar styling. Maybe a duet to look for in the future.
Eileen Jewell presents Butcher Holler « A Tribute To Loretta Lynn » Signature Sounds (2010)
This is a difficult task of paying tribute to an icon of Country music of the ’70s to the ’90s, but Eileen Jewell (vocal) does it fairly well. Actually her versions of Lynn’s songs may even sound better than the originals, according to Jack Dumery ! I believe him, me being not familiar with Loretta Lynn’s music. Anyway, I particularly liked « Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind »), with Eileen’s assured vocal over a crisp lead-guitar. Other goodies do include « I’m A Honky Tonk Girl », with love gone wrong lyrics which seem suited to Loretta’s image. Let’s also take a listen to the nice shuffler « A Man I Hardly Know » or the good « Deep As Your Pocket », and I’m ending with « You’re Lookin’ At Country », a great Honky tonk song in its own right. A very fine CD, you surely enjoy if you ever decide to pick it.
Pokey Lafarge & Soul City Three « River Boat Soul » Free Dirt Records (2010). Takoma Park, MD
This is entirely something else. Back to roots music and « jazz manouche ». Pokey and his band do offer a large amount of happy old-time music, be it traditional songs (« Claude Jones » or « Sweet Potato Blues ») or own compositions like « Daffodil Blues ». I felt like their sound of traditional instruments, like kazoo, mouth harp, banjo and acoustic guitar. All selections are taken at brisk tempos, even the blues songs. I noticed the slower « Bag Of Bones », full of laziness. A very nice record I recommend to old-time music lovers. But the other people will enjoy it too !
This is Jack Dumery’s new chronicle. Jack kindly chose the CDs and sent them , allowing me to review them with an open ear. And I found in the batch some real treasures in various styles, honky tonk, cajun or gospel hillbilly. Although I don’t have Jack’s writing abilities to English, I hope to pass round the pleasure I had discovering the CDs.
Jack left, Xavier (bopping editor) right - Attignat, 2008
Here we go…
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