Howdy folks! Back from a long, long trip, which sent me first to Britanny (far West) to Corsica (far south East), during three weeks! Fortunately I had prepared the next meeting with you this early October, to bring for your listening (and seeing too) pleasure some goodies I did pick from various sources, and which I hope you will enjoy as much as I chose them.
First on the Acme label, out of Manchester, KY, for a very crude and rural Hillbilly duet (bordering on Bluegrass) , very reminiscent of the Thirties so-called white blues (e.g. Frank Hutchison), although this “Coal Miner’s Blues“. Ed Romanyuk and Sister Elsie Pysar: The label says it all: “Old time singing with guitars“. Hear it!
Now on the West Coast, for two lovely tunes, very different in style, by GENE McKOWN. Originally from Kansas City, he hailed to California by the mid-fifties, and had two records, first on Fable, then later on Aggie. On Fable 571, he offers a fine, fast Hillbilly disc, “I’m Still Wondering Why“, added by a “Fiddlin’ Slim” (who joins McKown on the refrain). Two or three years later, McKown has completely absorbed the new trend in “Rock-A-Billy Rhythm” , a real strong Rocker on Aggie 1001, a newly formed label on the California scene in 1958. On this one, he belts out, and surely, one can wonder if this is the same singer as on Fable. Later, he returned to Kansas City and had pop-country records on Brass, among others, in the early ’60s.
On to Florida with a December 1958 classic, “Hey, Mr. Porter“, by RALPH PRUITT (Lark 1506, the promotional issue before it was commercially issued on MERIDIAN 1506). Strong lead guitar introduction, then an assured vocal, before a swooping piano solo, and the steel sets up an atmospheric solo. Sounds like the boys were together for a long time, a very tight outfit. That is what I call ’50s Country-rock, a mix of Hillbilly (vocal) and Rock’n’Roll (backing). It is the sort of record that grows on you, every time you hear it, even after 30 years of listening. Pruitt was born in Tennessee, but located himself in Florida, where he cuts this single.He died in 1986.
One more Hillbilly bop styled song: “Hot Hamburger” by LEE SLAUGHTERS and His Cumberland Play Boys on a JAY label EP (2159 A). Good fast Bopping tune, rural vocal and amusing lyrics on a lovely backing. Them Boys sure know what to do! From Sydney, OH, they had this EP from 1959, containing the following tunes “Teenage Hop“, “Rock And Roll World” and “You’re The Only One“. Nothing more is known on them, another batch of Country dudes trying their hands at making a novelty record to be sold at the gigs they gave in the area.
Finally, a strong, real wild “Willie’s Boogie Medley” by LITTLE WILLIE LITTLEFIELD. Once published (32 years ago, not reissued to my knowledge) on an old Ace LP, it contains the 1949 rehearsal session for Modern records by a young Littlefield, still firmly in the Amos Milburn mould. The breaks in tempos are particularly impressive, but, woooow, that right-handed piano swooping above the left-handed rolling basses! What a thrill!
As usual, material from various sources: my own collection, Youtube, ebay, Rockin’ Country style. Enjoy the selections! Comments welcome. Bye!