For this Xmas 2015, as a gift, you faithful visitors of bopping.org will get 13 (yes, thirteen) selections, instead of the usual only 6 ; although for several months I gradually posted more and more tunes. Merry bopping Xmas to y’all !
« Deep Elem blues » was first recorded by the SHELTON BROTHERS (Bob & Joe on vocals and mandolin/guitar) in February 1935 in Chicago (Decca 5422), before the Prairie Ramblers gave their own version in August of the same year. The song refers to the black quarter in Dallas, where you need 50 $ because of the red headed women there. It was an immediate success, revived by others over the years, namely by JERRY LEE LEWIS, whose 1957 version remained unissued in the Sun archives for 40 years ! Same year saw the WILBURN BROTHERS‘ version (Decca 29887) : Doyle & Ted do a fine job on this song. Later on Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead) and Levon Helm had their versions too, outside the scope of this blog, as they say.
Shelton Brothers “Deep Elem blues”
Jerry Lee Lewis “Deep Elem blues”
Wilburn Brothers (Teddy & Doyle)”Deep Elem blues”
JIMMY COPELAND hailed from Flynn, Texas (hence his backing band « The Texas Kids »), but relocated later in Manchester, New Hampshire where he was very popular in the mid-’50s. He cut a fine « Radar » (sound effects) on the Event label (# 4256) in Maine issued May 1956. Two solos by steel and fiddle each. Good hillbilly boogie.
From Robstown, Texas in 1960 comes ED JUNOT for a heavy although very melodic Hillbilly bop « Give your love back to me » on the O-T-O label (# 5015). Junot apparently promises his woman he will be better and shorter on drinks if she’ll returns to him. Nice dobro solo.
Jimmy Copeland “Radar”
Ed Junot “Give your love back to me”
Floyd Tillman apparently wrote but never recorded « Slippin’ around with Jole Blon ». This song was cut by Tillman’s co-writer Bill Franklin, vocalist for BUD MESSNER, both doing a fine relaxed bopper with Western overtones on the Abbey label (# 15004 – see variations of the label). The tune has an unobstrusive organ and a nice steel, and was issued Spring 1950. Later on Merv Shiner, Jess Willard and Dick Stratton had their own version, a sign of the success of the song. Messner had begun his career on radio in Alexander, Louisiana in 1938, and obviously the song derives from the Harry Choates‘ « Jole Blond » saga.
Bud Messner (vocal Bill Franklin) “Slippin’ around with Joe Blon”
Dave Brockman “How about it”
« How about it » (partly written by Tommy « Bingo boogie » Mooney) was issued on Fayette 1002 by DAVE BROCKMAN. Fine lead guitar to the fore, fiddle and discreet (to my ears at least) drums. Indeed Brockman is famous nowadays for « Feel sorry for me » (Starday custom serie # 669, from 1957) ; he had during the ’60s a good country-rocker with « My angel’s gone to hell » on Pea-Nut 1001.
From Cincinnati, OH, HARVEY HURT offers a good country-rocker : harsh vocal, steel, unobstrusive chorus that fits well in the song « Stayed away too long ». Ark label # 296 from 1962. Hurt had also in the same vein « Big dog little dog » in 1965 on Master 10 – urgent vocal ! Hear it on Youtube.
BENNY LEADERS next artist has a long recording career. He was as early as 1950 on Houston Freedom label, and later on 4 *. Here he delivers a good, lazy « Clean town blues » (Nucraft 105), ca. late 1952. The sound of the recording is muddy, sorry. Fine piano and steel.
Harvey Hurt “Stayed away too long”
Benny Leaders “Clean town blues”
CHUCK CARROLL backed by Casey Clark & the Lazy Ranch Boys comes in with 2 tracks, back-to-back of Esta 281 (Hamilton, OH) ; first, side A, « Mean ‘ole blues » (fiddle prominent and insistant medium rhythm) is what white blues is all about : a great side. Side B « Hey now » is uptempo (jazzy fiddle, a certain Chuck Rich on steel – according to Craig Maki). To confuse things, the guitar player pictured here is also named Chuck Carroll but doesn’t sing at all ! Carroll also had another disk on Happy Hearts 133 (« Heart breaker »). Record from 1956.
Chuck Carroll “Mean ‘ole blues”
Chuck Carroll “Hey now”
« Wandering blues », another Hillbilly blues, is plaintive, as sung by AL REX on Arcade 107 (ca. 1953). Yes, it’s the same guy who cut the energetic « Hydrogen bomb » in 1959 (not issued before the ’80s on one « Rockaphilly » album in England). Steel guitar on “Wandering blues” is played by Merle Fitz.
We come to the end with one of the most famous and endurant duets in Rocking Blues : BROWNIE McGHEE & SONNY TERRY, who do the rollicking « Meet you in the morning » cut in 1952 for the New York Jax label (# 307). Bob Gaddy on a fine piano, and McGhee with urgent vocal.
Al Rex “Wandering blues”
Brownie McGhee & Jook Block Busters “Meet you in the morning”
Sources : Youtube (more than one selection! Particular thanks to « Cheesebrew wax archives » channel), 45rpm (Dan De Clark site), Leslie Fancourt’s « Blues discography », Tony Russell’s « Country music records », Galen Gart’s « A.R.L.D., « Hillbilly-music » site, my own archives. Hope that I am not forgetting anyone !