The little historical town of Natchitoches lies on the banks of the beautiful Cane River (Louisiana), and it was there that Bill Nettles was born on 13 March 1903 (another source mention 1907)
Natchitoches town (red button) in Louisiana
Bill was a member of U.S. marine and he took a part in World War I. Then he got a job as brakeman on the Pacific railroad line and around this time he met his future bride, Emma Lou Rich from Arcadia, Louisiana: on 19 December of 1922 in Shreveport they were married. He and his wife had four children, the eldest of whom, Bill Jr. (1926), enlisted in the Marines in 1943, reported missing at Okinawa albeit surviving and returning home in 1945. He was the inspiration for Bill writing « God bless my darling he’s somewhere ».
Emma Lou Rich was Bill’s dream maid, tireless manager and director of his Fan Clubs, she wrote the paper « Nettle ‘em » which would significantly support his success.
Bill’s interest in music was initially satisfied by purchasing records of his favourite singer Jimmie Rodgers, as well as buying platters by Jimmie Davis, Gene Autry and Cliff Carlisle.
Then in 1934 Bill teamed up with his brother Norman to form the Nettle Brothers, with Norman on guitar and himself on mandolin. Unlike many popular duos of the time (Shelton Bros, Monroe Bros, Callahan Bros or Blue Sky Boys, etc.) Bill and Norman refrained from duetting on vocals, which made them stand out from the run of the mills outfits trying to imitate the well known names. Thus it was not long before an offer came their way to appear on radio in Shreveport on KWKH, at that time starring a favourite artist of Bill’s, Jimmie Davis. It was he who got their recording contract with Vocalion (1937).
The first session, held in Dallas in June 1937, yelded their first single, « Shake it and take it (like the doctor said – on later issues) »/ »My cross-eyed Jane » which saw Bill vocalising as well as playing mandolin. Augmented by brothers Norman on guitar and Luther on bass with Doc Massey on fiddle, Bill produced a lively performance, reflected in the sales of the record.
The group recorded another session in San Antonio as well as another in Dallas, and all in all eleven singles (a total of 22 sides) were recorded between 1937 and 1938. While their record sales did not set the world alight, their popularity on the radio continued to increase with appearances on KRMD and KXBS (both out of Shreveport, La.), KALB (Alexandria, la.) and KVDL (Lafayette, La.)
Shake it and take it (1937)
No daddy blues (1937) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/perfect-7-10-63-no-daddy-blues.mp3download
Early morning blues (1937) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/early-morning-blues.mp3download
Gradually the membership of the band increased to the stage where it became known as the Nettles Brothers String Band, and early in 1941 they were signed to the Bluebird label, cutting their first session on June 3rd. Once again the venue for recordings was Dallas with Lonnie Hall (violin), Reggie Ward (string bass) and Jim King (steel guitar) making up the five pieces band. By the time of the second session in October, the line-up had changed to the extent that the steel was gone, Hershell Woodall was on bass instead of Reggie Ward. A lead guitarist and a banjo player were also featured.
Nettle Brothers: Fannin’ Street blues http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/bluebird-B-8720-fannin_-street-blues.mp3download
She’s selling what she used to give away (1938) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/shes-selling-what-she-usued-to-give-away.mp3download
Sugar baby blues (1938) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Columbia-37732-sugar-baby-blues.mp3download
Bill had started writing songs as early as 1924 when trying to appease his wife after a domestic tiff and writing « My sweet pot of gold ». His pen gained more prominence as his group’s name spread, and other artists started recording his songs. Among the first were Red Foley and Wilf Carter who, as Montana Slim, cut « Too many blues » on Victor (20-2364). Bill’s original version came on Bullet 637 in 1946. Despite being a prolific writer, Bill had failed to copyright any before « Just before we said goodbye ».
Too many blues (Bullet 637): http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/bullet-637A-too-many-lues.mp3download
It is worth noting that whilst the first records to appear on Vocalion in 1937 were credited to « Bill Nettles & his Dixie Blue Boys », the Bluebird recordings were credited to « the Nettles Brothers ». Bill had in fact played mandolin on a Vocalion session as early as 1935, backing Jimmie Davis and Buddy Jones. Also the Jimmie King who played steel guitar on the first Bluebird session was the father to Claude King, the C&W singer/songwriter of « Wolverton mountain » fame.
Nettles’s beautiful « Have I Waited Too Long? » was introduced at KWKH in 1943 by Radio Dot and Smoky, and later became Faron Young‘s theme song. Along with Harmie Smith, Bob Shelton, Dick Hart, young Webb Pierce, and host Hal Burns, Nettles & His Dixie Blue Boys helped to launch a twice-weekly Louisiana Hayride program on KWKH in the summer of 1945 that predated the more famous auditorium show by almost three years.
Faron Young: Have I waited too long (Gotham 415-A) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/gotham-faron-young-.mp3download
After the Bluebird sessions Norman retired from the band, which late in 1945 was signed to RCA-Victor, reverting his name to « Bill Nettles & his Dixie Blue Boys » with brother Luther back on bass. However the rest of musicians were local Dallas sidesmen from the musicians’ union. « They were long haired usicians and did not fit in with Bill’s style. He hated these Victor records », wrote his widow Emma Lou. RCA’s and Bill’s personal conceptions differed completely, in fact recordings were by then « mainstream pop ». So greatly was he disillusioned with RCA that Bill broke his contract and went to Bullet Records.
It’s not clear whether this experience with RCA persuaded Bill to reform his own band, but he went to Bullet with a radically new line-up. Danny Dedmon joined as lead guitarist and became a mainstay of the Dixie Blue Boys along with fiddle player Robert Shivers. In between changing of recording labels, Bill moved the family from Shreveport to Monroe, La., where with the exception of short breaks he woud live for the rest of his life. He also started appearing at the local radio station KMLB, where he was to record sometimes. By this stage Bill and his wife had four children. The eldest, Bill Jr. never got deeply involved in his father’s musical career. However one of the remaining children, Loyce (born 1929), became a featured singer in her dad’s band, billed a « The Little Dixie sweetheart ». She became a permanent along with her piano playing husband, Pal Thibodeaux, when the Dixie Blue Boys recorded for Imperial.
Nettles & His Dixie Blue Boys helped to launch a twice-weekly Louisiana Hayride program on KWKH in the summer of 1945 that predated the more famous auditorium show by almost three years.
Bill cut three sessions with Bullet from Nashville. The first date for Bullet was already on 7 July 1946, probably at Jim Beck’s studio in Dallas, as Beck had a tie with Jim Bulleit. « High falutin’ mama » (# 637) was a prime example of uptempo bluesy country. « Too Many Blues » was recorded by Wilf Carter, as told earlier. Other two songs of the session, « You’re breaking my broken heart again » and « Hungry » (#638) were equally good. Both later sessions held in Jackson, Ms., and in Houston, Tx. remained unissued.
High falutin’ mama (Bullet 636)
High falutin’ mama (Bullet 637) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/bullet-637B-high-falutin_-mama.mp3download
Hungry (Bullet 637) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/bullet-638B-hungry.mp3download
Danny Dedmon: Gin drinkin’ mama (Imperial 8065) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/imperial-8065-danny-dedmon-gin-drinkin_-mama.mp3download
Bill Nettles: « Ain’t no tellin’ a woman will do » (Imperial 8032) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/imperial-8032A-aint-no-tellin_-what-a-woman-will-do.mp3download
Danny Dedmon: « The blues keep hangin’ on » (Imperial 8058) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Imperial-8058B-danny-dedmon-the-blues-keep-hangin_-on.mp3download
After a fleeting stay with Red Bird, an affiliation which failed to produce any released material, Bill Nettles then signed with Imperial, as did Danny Dedmon, recording in his own right with a band credited as « The Rhythm Ramblers », actually the Dixie Blue Boys. Dedmon recorded 19 sides for Imperial, albeit only 9 were with Bill Nettles, all cut in Beaumont, Tx. On a couple of Bill Nettles’ singles, daughter Loyce was allotted the vocal duties.
Euell was the third of the Nettles’ off-spring. He too was born in Shreveport in 1935. Thus he was barely fourteen when he played on Bill’s first Mercury session in April 1949, giving the family a 50% share in the group personnel. Not only did he pay guitar, but Euell also doubled as chauffeur and handyman. His versatility extended to playing bass, fiddle and drums. During his three years stint in U.S. Army in Paris, France, he met his Spanish wife to be.
At the first Mercury session Bill recorded the highly promising « Hadacol boogie ». Covered by Jesse Rogers on RCA (32-0001), whose version outsold Bill’s, It had also a version by Professor Longhair (Roy Byrd), who combined it with Bill’s third Mercury session « Hadacol bounce ».
A tune he wrote and recorded for that label, « Hadacol Boogie« , in a Monroe radio station in 1949, was a celebration of Dudley LeBlanc‘s restorative elixir. It went to # 9 on the country charts. (« Hadacol Boogie » is alleged to be the first song that Jerry Lee Lewis performed in public, in 1949. Occasionally Jerry will perform the song on stage, though he never recorded it.)
Presumably encouraged by this hit, Mercury had on 3 February 1950 ensured in Cincinnati, Ohio that their musicians parade horses (Jerry Byrd, Tommy Jackson and Zeb and Zeke Turner) were sent into the ring for « Push and pull boogie » (Mercury 6330). Turner’s guitar intro is similar to that of the Delmores’ « Blue stay away from me » or early Hank Williams’.
Yet another recording session could not bring more hit. Bill took his residence at radio station KLMB, Monroe on with their own group. The only new name was Sam Yeager who played the guitar. Although « Hadacol bounce » should been even better than the « Hadacol boogie » according to Mercury, it failed.
Hadacol boogie (Mercury 6190) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/mercury-6190-bill-nettles-hadacol-boogie.mp3download
Do right daddy (Mercury 6209) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/mercury-6209-do-right-daddy.mp3download
Push and pull boogie (Mercury 6330) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/08-Push-And-Pull-Boogie-Bill-Nettles.mp3download
In 1953 Bill had one of his short spells away from Monroe when he was sponsored by the Surety Gas Co. To appear on WRBC out of Jackson, Miss. Whilst there he cut a session for the local Trumpet label. Sadly nothing was ever issued from these recordings and undoubtedly « When my kitten starts cattin’ around » sounds intriguing. Maybe it was due to the fact that Bill moved on to another radio station elsewhere that caused Trumpet to lose interest, for it was around this time that he moved to KOGT in Orange, Texas, then to KOBX inBeaumont, Texas, finally KFRO in Long View, Texas. It seems likely that this exposure around the Texas area brought Bill to the attention of Starday Records, where he cut the fine « Wine-o-boogie » and « Gumbo mumbo » (# 174). The session included an unissued re-recording of « Shake it and take it » and was probably held at Gold Star studio in Houston (1954), with regular local musicians, Hal Harris (lead guitar), Doc Lewis (piano), Red Hayes (fiddle) and Herbie Remington (steel) providing the backing.
Wine-o boogie (Starday 174) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/1-Bill-Nettles-Wine-O-Boogie.mp3download
Whilst the advent of rock’n'roll put a brake on Bill’s recording activities, perhaps inspired by his youngest daughter Shirley (born 1936) married to Rev. Gerard Lewis (a first cousin of Jerry Lee Lewis, and a fine piano player in his own right), Bill was « saved » and
baptized in 1958, subsequently becoming a devout Christian. Around 1957/58 The Dixie Blue Boys were performing on radio as a sacred group, before Bill disbanded the group and effectively retired from business.
Early 60s he cut in Monroe a whole lot of tracks for an unknown label (private recordings?), all of which do remain untraced and unissued.
In 1965 he was talked into a comeback and appeared on his own Nettl label. His preoccupation with the Vietnam War caused him to re-do his old song as « God bless my darling he’s somewhere in Vietnam ». Sadly this revival (3 singles) was short lived : Bill Nettles died on April 5 1967.
Old age pension blues (Nett 10005) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/bill-nettles-Old-age-pension-blues.mp3download
Throughout his life he wrote over 300 songs, and had 155 published by leading publishers. It is worth looking at some of the artists who made use of Bill as composer :
Be nobody’s darling but mine – Roy Acuff
Old age pension check – Roy Acuff
Old age pension blues – Shelton Brothers
I just can’t say goodbye – Pete Pyle
Louisiana moon – Gene Autry
I still believe in you – Charlie Mitchell
It’s nobody’s fault but my own – Will Johnson
Our last goodbye – Stanley Brothers
Honky tonk blues – Al Dexter
Just forgive and forget – Jimmie Davis
Nobody’s darling but mine – Jimmie Davis (huge 1941 hit)
Answer to blue eyes – Johnnie & Jack
No time for tears – Bill Boyd
Too many blues – Montana Slim, Red Foley
Have I waited too long – Faron Young
I just don’t know why but I do – Jenx Carman.
Of the Dixie Blue Boys, Danny Dedmon, Pal Thibodeaux and Norman Nettles recorded in their own right.
Nettles loved to write « answer » songs, such as « Answer To Blue Eyes », « It’s Your Turn To Walk The Floor For Me », « I Hauled Off and Loved Her », and even answered his own songs: « (I Want To Be) Somebody’s Darling » and « Hadacol Bounce ».
Reprinted (with written permission) from Adam Komorowski’s article in Hillbilly researcher n° 7 (1988), based on a unpublished text written by Emma Lou Nettles for the 60′s magazine « Western Coral ». Many thanks to Ronald Keppner (Germany) for the loan of rare 78 rpm.
Discography (from Praguefrank): Bill Nettles
Howdy folks! Hope you are well!! Thanks to you, more than 78. 600 visitors can not be wrong, so I will keep up the good work with confidence. Latest posts on the site: the ALLSTAR label from Houston, the JACOBY Brothers from San Antonio. In the process of a huge project on BILL NETTLES & His Dixie Blue Boys. More research on Buffalo Johnson, Billy Hughes, list is endless. I found new friends and contributors, first Herr Ronald Keppner from Frankfurt, Germany.
Here we go first for sad news. Surely you have heard sudden death of MARVIN RAINWATER on September 17. What a great loss, as he was one of the greats in Hillbilly/Rockabilly/R&R of the ’50s. Two tracks there. His original version (later done by the Maddox Brothers) of « I Gotta Go Get My Baby » on 4 *. Then his great (mumbling vocal, and a great slap-bass) « Mr. Blues » on M-G-M 12240 from 1956.
I gotta go get my baby (1954) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/A3-Marvin-Rainwater-I-Gotta-Go-Get-My-Baby.mp3Download
Mr. Blues (1956) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/MR-BLUE-MARVIN-RAINWATER.mp3Download
Harry Choates i946 « Jole Blon » had many sequels, including Floyd Tilman‘s « Slippin’ around with Jole Blon« . Here I offer what is supposed to be the original version by BUD MESSNER (with the co-writer of the song, Bill Franklin on vocal) on the Abbey label. In due course, there is the flipside, a nice shuffler called « I died all over you ».
Bill Franklin, « Slippin’ around with Jole Blon » (Abbey 15004) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Slippin-Around-With-Jole-Blon.mp3Download
Bill Franklin, « I died all over you » (Abbey 15004) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/I-Died-All-Over-You.mp3Download
Back to old friends:the GEORGIA CRACKERS. Their story (and that of the younger brother of the Newman trio, BOB NEWMAN) has been told earlier in this site. I recently put my hands on one of their early renditions (1947) on RCA-Victor, « That’s the way it’s gonna be » (RCA 20-0038). Fine bopper. Hope someday RCA will reissue all their output.
Georgia Crackers, « That’s the way it’s gonna be » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/The-Georgia-Crackers-Thats-The-Way-Its-Gonna-Be.mp3Download
Now for two sides from the multi-faced SONNY JONES. From New Orleans or vicinity, he was at one time called SKINNY DYNAMO (on Marlin and Excello). Here are his very first sides cut with Salvador Doucette on piano in 1952 for Specialty. Great swooping Louisiana Rocking Blues! Later he went on Imperial.
Sonny Jones, « Do you really love me? » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/specialty-443-sonny-jones-do-you-really-love-me.mp3download
Sonny Jones « Is everything all right » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/specialty-443-sonny-jones-is-everything-all-right.mp3download
Have a nice survey of the selections. Comments as usual welcome. Bye
Warning: I am experimenting html language, so to set the audio podcasts up beside their texts. This language isn’t that easy. Sorry for inconveniences!
Allstar Record Co.
1953: 3116 Garrow St., Houston TX
1958-1959: 2106 Orean Street, Houston 17, Texas
1960: Allstar Music Enterprises, 8029 Gulf Freeway, Houston 17, Texas
1961-1966: 1110 Washington, South Houston, Texas
also: Allstar Distributors
Allstar Records, a quasi-song-poem label with a slightly more plausible claim to legitimacy than most its song-sharking peers, was the brainchild of Houston country musician/ »singer » Daniel James Mechura. The ambitious Mechura started out as the frontman of a local outfit, the Sun Valley Playboys, enjoying one release on the Starday label (which they paid for themselves) in 1955. By that time, Dan had discovered the seedy underworld of songwriter’s clubs and, sensing an opportunity ripe for exploitation, soon began doing business as president of « The Folk Writers Co-Operative Association, » generously offering « every songwriter the help which is necessary to succeed in this competitive field, » as stated in one sales pitch. A record label of their own was the logical outgrowth of this « co-op. »
Read the rest of this entry »
I got a rocket in my pocket Warning: I am trying a new way of setting the podcasts up, but encountering some problems. Sorry for inconvenience!
There were several country singers who cut rock’n'roll records pseudonymously in the mid-to-late ’50s. There was George Jones who barely disguised himself as ‘Thumper’ Jones, Webb Pierce who tried it on as ‘Shady Wall’ (« The new raunchy » on Decca 30539), Buck Owens who was ‘Corky Jones’ for a while on Pep…and a few more. It was a ploy that never really worked in a commercial sense, so no one had to figure out what they would do if they actually had a hit under the new name. The one who looked likeliest to score big under a pseudonym was Jimmie Logsdon, who recorded some wholly convincing rock’n'roll as ‘Jimmie Lloyd’. His rock’n'roll records were a better class because, like Elvis and Carl Perkins, he had a natural feel for the rhythm’n'blues that underpinned the music.It was although not a new tune for him, as he sounded good, as pretty good as earlier a hillbilly singer too. The son of a preacher man, Jimmie Logsdon was born on April 1, 1922, in Panther, Carroll County, Kentucky (he would be 91 today). Music, for the first fifteen years of Jimmie’s life, was gospel music. He and his sister sang in the choir. They put on shows and entered amateur contests. Then, when the family lived in southeastern Kentucky, Jimmie heard blues singers and secular country music at ice cream socials and weinie roasts. Later, he latched onto R&B, and especially remembered Erskine Hawkins’ « After hours » as a record that made a deep impression on him. Glen Miller, Gerschwin and the popular music of the day also had an impact, but not as much as blues and country. His record collection did range « from Mahalia Jackson to Jimmy Reed to Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee to Frank Sinatra to…whatever. »
Carroll Cty, Ky
In 1940, Jimmie graduated from high school in Ludlow, Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati, and in the fall of that year he married his first wife. He started working for Schuster & Schuster in Cincinnati installing public addresses, then selling appliances. In 1944 he went to war in the Air Corps, but never got further than technical training school in Madison, Wisconsin and an air base near San Antonio where he repaired the wiring on B-17s. Down in Texas, he heard Ernest Tubb and the other Texas honky tonk singers. Out of the service, Logsdon started a radio shop in La Grange, Kentucky, 25 miles northeast of Louisville on the Cincinnati highway. He picked up records to re-sell, and, after two years, decided tat he would take a stab at the music business. After borrowing other people’s guitars for a while, he finally bought one. He learned a few basic chords, then cut some demos on an old recording machine he had in the radio shop. « I went to WLOU in Louisville in 1950,» says Jimmie, « and I asked for the leader of the country band that performed on the station. He listened to my acetates and introduced me to the announcer, and they asked me to sing with the band. » The band was led by Howard Whited, a blind guitarist, who later led Jimmie’s band. After a year of no pay but plenty of exposure on WLOU, Jimmie switched to WINN, playing the honky tonks around Louisville. With the help of Art Rhoades, a furniture store owner in La Grange, and three hundred dollars, Jimmie cut his first record at the E.T. Herzog studio in Cincinnati (where Hank Williams had cut « Lovesick blues » a couple of years earlier) and issued 5 hundred copies of the Harvest label, mostly sent to D. J.s. class= »alignleft wp-image-9721″ alt= »harvest401B jimmie logsdon it’s all over now det » src= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/harvest401B-jimmie-logsdon-its-all-over-now-det.jpg » width= »256″ height= »256″ /> It’s all over (Harvest) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/harvest-Its-all-over1.mp3Download Hank Williams introduced Logsdon for an appearance at the Louisville Memorial Auditorium in 1951, and told him he’d talk to someone down in Nashville for him. It was also around this time that he hooked with songwriter Vic McAlpin, who secured him several months later a contract with Decca, which lasted a good one year and a half, from October 1952 to February 1954, and 5 sessions resulting in 17 songs, nearly all issued at the time. McAlpin became Jimmie’s agent. One must mention a point: when other people were slowing up the tempo and did ballads, Logsdon cut bluesy things, like « You ain’t nothing but the blues« , « These lonesome blues« , or later (Dot) « Midnight blues » and « Folsom prison blues » (Jimmie Logsdon Sings 1004). First Decca session featured acoustic guitar breaks, something of an anomaly on country records at that time, and probably an idea of Owen Bradley, who A&R’d Jimmie’s sessions. « I wanna be mama’d » was issued in early December 1952. http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/decca-28502-mamad.mp3Download Then Hank Williams died, and Jimmie decided to put his feelings into a song he wrote :mg Hank Williams sings the blues no more http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/decca-28584-HW-blues1.mp3Download The death of Hank Williams http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/decca-28584-death-HW.mp3Download « Hank Williams sings the blues no more », because most of all Logsdon idolized Williams and considered him the ultimate in country and a blues singer. The song was issued with a cover version of Jack Cardwell’s « The death of Hank Williams » ; Logsdon began to edge his sound a little closer to Hank’s. It was evident during the next session in August 1953, backed by the Drifting Cowboys themselves. Best songs were « Where the old Red River flows » (often sung by Williams on radio shows), an old Jimmie Davis song Paul Cohen, Decca A&R man, wanted Logsdon to record. Alas, Logsdon could not yodel like Hank. Where the old red river flows http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/decca-28864-river.mp3Download two pop hits tunes of the day he turned into very nice country boppers : « Papaya mama » and « In the mission of St. Augustine ». The last Decca session didn’t produce the breakthrough single and Cohen dropped Logsdon, who was still on radio and playing clubs around Louisville before getting a year later another contract on Dot. Pa-paya mama http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/decca-28913-pa-paya-mama.mp3Download Midnight boogie http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/decca-29075-midnight1.mp3Download Again Vic McAlpin landed the deal with a label less and less committed to country (and increasing with Pat Boone and the Hilltoppers). Jimmie brought his own band from Kentucky. « Midnight blues » (# 1274) showed he was still on his Hank Williams kick. « Cold, cold rain » had an hiccupy vocal that seemed to predate Buddy Holly. The single went nowhere. Jimmie got another one-off on Starday though, thanks to Jimmie Skinner. The songs « No longer do I cry » and « I can’t make up my mind » were recorded in April 1956 in the bedroom of Jimmie’s fiddle player Lonnie Peerce. Logsdon wanted a Johnny & Jack Latin percussive sound so Peerce filled up a baby bottle warmer with beans and shook it. Pappy Daily, whom Skinner introduced Logsdon to, issued 500 copies, which they sold off the bandstand and used to promote the band. Cold, cold rain http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/dot-1274-cold-rain.mp3Download Midnight blues http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/dot-1274-midnight-blues.mp3Download Can’t make up my mind http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Starday-286-can_t-make-up-my-mind.mp3Download In 1956, Jimmie left WKLO for health reasons. After recovering, he was back in business, and Vic McAlpin secured him a deal with Roulette and its short-lived country serie. Logsdon had got the idea for « Rio de Rosa » when he was down in San Antonio during the War. He gave a half-share of the song to McAlpin in exchange for the Roulette deal and working up the arrangement. He told « I wrote the song in 1951 with Moon Mullican in mind ». « « Where the Rio de Rosa flows » (7001) was a big hit in several markets, including Memphis where Carl Perkins obviously heard it because he covered it on his first Columbia album a few months later. Jimmie was brought down to appear on Wink Martindale’s TV show. « We went in, and Wink was on the air. He looked at me and turned white. He put a record on, shut down the microphone, and he said, ‘I thought you were black. I’ve got you a room at the black hotel here.‘ Broke me up. » Another promotional foray took Logsdon and McAlpin to the Louisiana Hayride. On the way back, they wrote « I got a rocket in my pocket » (Roulette 4068) . « It was just a nonsense thing », he says. It was a joint decision of Jimmie and McAlpin to issue the Roulette records under the pseudonym ‘Jimmie Lloyd’, because of the loyalty of country fans, and the way Jimmy sang so differently. Where the Rio da Rosa flows (Roulette 7001) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/roulette-7001-rio-.mp3Download Roulette dropped Jimmie after the second single. He realized that, at 35, he was too old to rock’n'roll. It took another five years before he went back into the recording studio, for King Records (one album, « Howdy neighbors » LP 843, and some singles). He was dee-jaying from 1962 to 1964 on 50,000 watt WCKY in Cincinnati, then for the next decade, as he had always done, moving from one to another station. He launched his own record label Jimmie Logsdon Sings in 1962, cutting no less than 23 songs, some religious, on 6-tracks EPs. In 1963 he went to Rem Records, for an EP of Hank Williams’ songs. Finally he cut a Jewel album (83021) in 1981 with old compere Rusty York (« Now and then, I think of the 50s ») comprising standards of his or others. Particularly good are his renditions of his unissued-in-the-’50s-Decca-recording of « One way ticket to nowhere » (really bluesy), Slim Harpo’s « Rainin’ in my heart« , and the traditional « Midnight special« . Less interesting were his versions of Bill Monroe’s « Rocky road blues » or the traditional « Match box blues« . Nevertheless a nicely backed (piano, harmonica) album. Already a collector’s item in Europe. Making believe (King 5827) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/King-5827B-jimmy-logsdon-Making-Believe.mp3Download Truck drivin’ daddy (King 5795) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/B3-Jimmy-Logsdon-Truck-Drivin-Daddy.mp3Download When God comes and gathers his jewels (JLS 1002B) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/jimmie-logsdon-When-God-comes1.mp3Download One way ticket to nowhere (Jewel LP) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/14-One-Way-Ticket-To-Nowhere1.mp3Download Trouble in mind (Clark Country 1031) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/clark-ctry-1031-jimmy-logsdon-trouble-in-mind.mp3Download
note « JimmY » on King
« Logsdon died Sunday October 7, 2001 at his daughter’s home in Louisville, Ky. », reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. He was 79. The cause of his death was not given. From the notes of Colin Escott to Bear Family CD « I got a rocket in my pocket » (1993). Label scans mostly from Anthony Biggs. Thanks Tony! Also Pierre Monnery for the loan of Rem sides scan.
Howdy folks! Well it’s been quite some time since I last posted. Lot of work this Summer, down in Marseille (south of France) where I’d set my younger daughter as student in her flat up. Last post (today): an important article on the JACOBY Brothers (TNT and Columbia recordings). Nearly all their output is posted in a new presentation. I hope it will please you. Let me know. By now, for this fortnight, we begin with the guitar player of the Miller Brothers, EDDIE MILLER. He lets his bass player Jim McGraw take the lead on this April 1956 4 Star 1693 issue, « Patty cake man« , a typical 4 Star pano led honky tonker.
Another important artist on the West coast was ROCKY BILL FORD, mostly known for his 1951 « Beer drinking blues », easily found on many compilations. Lesser known is his « Willie Dum Dee » on Gilt-Edge 9 from 1951: typical baritone voice for this fine shuffler.
Rocky Bill Ford: Willie Dum Dee http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/rocky-bill-ford-willie-dum-dee.mp3
From Joliet, Illinois, 1957, comes JIMMIE LAUDERDALE for a joyful, hopping « Right away, quick! quick! » country-rocker on the Jopz label. Nice guitar. Right away, quick quick http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Jimmie-Lauderdale-Right-Away-Quick-Quick-1957.mp3 Download Now BEN BAKER for two tracks on the Cool label from Harrison, NJ. Atmospheric hillbilly bop (one waltz tempo). Lots of echo on the steel and fiddle. Nice tunes: « Tomorrow your leaving« (sic) and « Too late now« . strong>Tommow you_re leaving/span> http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Tomorrow-Your-Leaving.mp3 Download
Too late now http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Too-Late-Now.mp3
Finally a R&B romper with CECIL GANT and « Nashville jumps« , one of the early sides on Bullet out of Nashville. Enjoy the selections! Bye. Nashville jumps http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Bullet-250-A-cecil-gant-nashville-jumps.mp3
Jacoby Brothers : They started early and just as quickly disappeared
San Antonio, Bexar Cty, Texas
Fallen into oblivion, the Jacoby Brothers enjoyed great popularity in the Texas of the 50′s , being one more example of how the music industry suffers in many cases of blindness as to promote artistic talent and it is also true that erroneous decisions made by the brothers led them to a dead end in your career leaving just 12 songs recorded listening today that is not understood as they had no continuity.
Gene ( born 1931) and Gilbert ( born 1927) Jacoby were born in San Antonio (Texas ) in a family eminently musical , embracing Gilbert (nicknamed » Boy » ) Mandolin ( after taking piano lessons, violin, bass and accordion ) and his brother Gene specializing in the guitar (an instrument used live soon to join the family band ) . The musical influences are brothers , emanating from legends like Jimmie Rodgers. Johnnie & Jack and Homer & Jethro decisively influenced young people who would soon be part of « The Jacoby Mountain Rhythm Band « led by the father of the clan, » Levy » and mother » Tommy » , in addition to supporting a young guitar Larry Nolen ( childhood friend of the brothers, later cutting records for Sarg and Starday ) .
The band soon acquired great notoriety in the city of San Antonio and throughout Texas through its Radio Shows issued by the KONO spreading their sound across the state and getting to share the stage with the legendary Ernest Tubb (the group would never step into a recording studio ) .
Gilbert participation ( Boy ) in World War enlisted in the U.S. Army will mark a before and after in the musical family , not being until 1945 when he was demobilized reunited with his brother starting immediately to act both as the Jacoby Brothers on the local scene in San Antonio .
In 1949 he won a talent contest at the Texas Theatre led by the legendary actor and singer Tex Ritter, luminaire impressed by the talent of the brothers proposes to move to California where under his tutelage and influence in the music industry could be a promising career.
Incredibly the brothers rejected the offer and returned home with the check for $ 10,000 that were awarded as competition winners mentioned above.
Until 1955 they became regulars of the best Clubs of Texas , acting in local and Jowdy ‘s, The Round Up or Circle B.
Stations of the lone star state as WOAI KMAC or spread their sound as well as participating in the popular television program » Red River Dance » issued by the WOAI -TV ( participated between 1952 and 1954 ) .
The small TNT Records label given the opportunity to record a total of 8 songs that will be distributed to local stations in San Antonio , getting their issues heard in the entire United States through the KMAC (which broadcast on nationwide chain ). The best TNT songs were « Cannonball » (indeed a train song), « Food plan boogie » and the furious « Bicycle wreck ». Also worth a listen are: « There’s no use to go wrong » and « I gave my love a cherry »..
Food plan boogie (TNT 1001) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/11-jacoby-bros.-food-plan-boogie.mp3Download
There_s no use to go wrong (TNT 1002) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/TNT-1002-Theres-No-Use-To-Go-Wrong.mp3Download
Cannonball (TNT 1004) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/tnt-1004-Jacoby-Brothers-Cannonball-1953.mp3Download
Warmed over love (TNT 1004) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/TNT-1003-Jacoby-Brothers-Warmed-over-love-.mp3Download
Bicycle wreck (TNT 1009) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/jacoby-brothers-bicycle-wreck.mp3Download
The national broadcast will not fall on deaf ears and will not be long until they receive Decca recording deal , and Columbia , the Brothers opting for the latter in early 1954: a six-months contract against 2% with four options against 3% of royalties.
In the recording studio in Dallas , the Jacoby Brothers recorded 4 songs (Laredo , Kiss Me Once More, Who’Ye Primpin ‘Fer ? , And One Man’s Opinion) .
Strangely , producer Don Law told them his displeasure with the outcome of the issues, informing them that they would have to re-record all the songs because they had not been hired to lose money .
Laredo (Columbia 21309) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/columbia-21309-Jacoby-Brothers-Laredo-1953.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/columbia-21309-Jacoby-Brothers-Laredo-1953.mp3 » target= »_blank »>Download
Kiss me once again (Columbia 21309) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/columbia-21309-jacoby-kiss-me-one-again.mp3Download
Who ye primpin_ fer (Columbia 21359) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/columbia-21359-Jacoby-Brothers-Who-Ye-Primpin-Fer.mp3Download
One man_s opinion (Columbia 21359) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Columbia-21359-Jacoby-Brothers-One-Mans-Opinion.mp3Download
On March 29, 1955 they had their second Columbia session. After two songs Don Law told the brothers he was not happy. An argument followed and the brothers walked out of the studio. The two recorded songs were not issued by Columbia. The harshness with which the brothers had treated its corresponding answer Gene ‘s hand that he told Jacoby Don Law that » They had come to Dallas with his own money and with their own money could leave. »
The relationship between musicians and record breaking froze and finally end in 1955 when the daughter of 2 years old Gilbert ( Boy ) Jacoby dies, sinking into a deep depression that he will abandon the music dedicated to the regency of a construction company of his own creation until his death in 1992 at 66 years of age.
In contrast , his brother Gene militating continue in music in various bands in San Antonio and getting to spin like electric bassist Charlie Pride Band in Europe , never ceasing to compose and perform until his death in 1997 at age 65 old.
With the perspective that gives us the time , maybe if they had accepted the offer of Tex Ritter juicy his career would come to fruition, or if not so abruptly would have broken relations with Columbia Records … Anyway the quality is evident in his small recorded legacy for posterity.
a rare Australian issue!
Article taken from « country.lacoctelera.net » blogsite (in Spanish). Label scans come from Allan Turner (TNT 78s + rare mp3) and Willem Agenant (Columbia 45s). Thanks a lot to them. Important addition from faithful visitor Drunken Hobo. Gene Jacoby sang « Duck tail cat » with Dan Virva & the Flying « D » Ramblers in May 1956 on the Marathon label (# 5002) out of San Antonio. Larry Nolen, who got taught the rhythm guitar by Gene Jacoby, is categoric about it: Dan Virva stole the show to Jacoby. Indeed Larry Nolen had his own version on Starday later this year (« King of the duck tail cats »). Thanks Dean!
Dan Virva: (Gene Jacoby): Duck tail cat http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/marathon-5002-dan-virva-duck-tail-cat.mp3Download
Jacoby Brothers discography:
TNT studio, San Antonio, Texas, 1953
Gene Jacoby (vo, mandolin), Gilbert (vocal, mandolin), Larry Nolen (rh-g), others unknown.
TNT-1 Food plan boogie (Dave McEnery) TNT 1001, Cactus (Rockin’ Hillbilly) 1
TNT-2 There_s no use to go wrong (Gene Jacoby) 1002
TNT-3 I gave my love a cherry (unknown) 1001
TNT-5 Cannonball (Dave McEnery) 1004
TNT-6 Doubtful heart (Gene Jacoby) 1009
TNT-7 Warmed over love (Carnes) 1004
TNT-9 ? Bicycle wreck (Boy Jacoby/Scrivner) 1009, Bell 108
Note1: Willem Agenant writes that the Jacoby Brothers cut in all 16 titles for TNT.
Note 2: Dave McEnery was actually Red River Dave, who had the T.V. show which the Brothers appeared on.
Dallas, Jim Beck Studio, July 29, 1954
same or similar
ZSP 32822 Laredo (E. Jacoby) Columbia 21309
32823 Kiss me once again (E. Jacoby) -
32823 Who ye primpin_ fer (B. Moore) 21359
32824 One man_s opinion (E. Jacoby) -
Dallas, Jim Beck Studio, March 29, 1955
unknown title Columbia unissued
San Antonio, May 1956
Dan Virva & the Flying « D » Ramblers. Gene Jacoby (vo), g, b. No audible d.
MR-5002- Duck tail cat (Jacoby/McEnery) Marathon 5002, Buffalo Bop 55177 (Step out)
Note: According to Larry Nolen, Gene Jacoby did the vocal, not Dan Virva.
Note: all other issues are listed on RCS site under « Dan Virva ».
Note: 5002+ (B-side) has not Gene Jacoby in it. -
Born Bobby Musgrove in 1932. No biographical data have been gathered except those skin-deep, D.J.s only biographical facts on the « not for sale » King issues.
His career began under his real name on the Kentucky label with with « Dollar sign heart » (#584) in 1954, when he returned from U.S. Army. It’s a very nice hillbilly bopper, pushed by a fine guitar. A very rare issue on the Audio Lab label, seemingly a part of the Carl Burkhardt’s empire of Kentucky/Gateway/4 Big hits cheap labels: Grove had an EP (thanks to Allan Turner to have unearthed and shared this scarce issue) of 4 tracks, one being penned by Walter Scott of « I’m walking out » (Ruby 100) fame. In 1956, he dropped his name to « Grove » on the King label, where he cut 4 records, all of whom are good hillbillies, the best are « No parking here » (# 4946), and the echoey (fast, almost rockabilly) « Whistle of the gravy train » (# 5007). Also worth of hearing: « I saw here first » (# 5027). He’d redone his Kentucky tune as « Dollar sign« . During the latter part of 1957 he had his last single on the Cincinnati new label Lucky, # 003 « Jealous dreams/Be still, my heart« . Again two fine bopping sides.
Bobby Grove reappeared later in 1962 as minister and cut many religious albums with much success (several shots on YouTube). That’s all I know about him.
1963 issue of a 1956 track
With thanks to Allan Turner and John Burton for the loan of rare label scans and mp3, the others taken from the web.
George & Earl
They were two very different singers who teamed for a brief two years to make some of he most interesting duet recordings of the 1950s. Normally vocal duos were kinfolks who had sung together since the cradle but George McCormick from Tennessee and Earl Aycock from Mississipi did not meet until they were in their early twenties.
George McCormick was born on June 16 1933 and spent his early life near Carthage, the hilly area north of Nashville. The life was tough in rural Tennesseee ; George took an interest in music and formed a string band with two friends, the Thomas Brothers, playing in the local area. They left to Nashville, hoping they could find work with Carl Tipton – what they did, in 1947, but he wouldn’t geting much work and they couldn’t make no money. So the partnership ceased. Next step was a meeting with Big Bess (Jeff), and it paid $ 45 a week. The Thomasses worked four, five or six different shows every morning between 5:30 and 8:30 with any WLAC artist from Bob Jennings to Andy Wilson or Mac O’Dell.
Big Jeff Bess
For several years George played guitar and bass alongside a number of up and coming musicians who passed through Big Jeff’s Playboys band, until too the lead in some shows and was even allowed to make his first recordings as a vocalist : as George Mack on one of Jeff’s Dot Records discs in 1952, he played and sang « I courted an angel » and « I don’t talk to strangers » (Dot 1096). He left in 1953 to play in Martha Carson’s band on WSM radio and the Grand Ole Opry and got a contract with M-G-M Records, for whom he cut 12 tracks within less than one year between August 1953 and July 1954. His first two singles were « Fifty-fifty honky tonkin’ » (MGM 11598) and « Hi there sweet thing » (MGM 11656). « Fifty-fifty » was a song Fred Rose had apparently written especially for Hank Williams, a tale of relationships and nightlife brimming with homespun insights.
McCormick really does sound like Hank on this, without being a ‘soundalike’ : he had the spirit and the style and a hard edge to his voice but a degree of originality too. Musicians Jerry Byrd and Tommy Jackson did their best to recreate the trademark Drifting Cowboys licks and the rhythm section of Chet Atkins, Ray Edenton and Lightning Chance takes the performance along at an appropriately jaunty pace. This first song bas backed by « Don’t add an ex to your name » a clever song written by Knoxville’s Arthur Q. Smith. The disc was a good territorial seller and it could have easily been a major hit. « Hi there sweet thing » was another catchy Hank-ish song and it also gained good reviews.
Four days after Christmas in 1953 George McCormick was back in the studio with the same band. Almost a year after Hank Williams had died the featured song was « The sundown train », with McCormick perfecting the keen edge to his voice until he sounded almost more like Hank than Hank. The flipside was « Flutter bug », a Fred Rose song that still recalled the honky tonkin’ Williams sound and rambling cowboy themes but which had some smoother edges and more crafted lyrics than many of his contemporaries.
George was called for his third six-monthly MGM session on 1 July 1954. This time the musicians took their sound from Hank’s band : in fact they were Hank’s band, the Drifting Cowboys. Sammy Pruett on guitar, Don Helms on steel, Jerry Rivers on fiddle and Cedric Rainwater on bass. The session saw issued the rollicking « Don’t fix up the dog house » (written by Don Helms), and recalling some of Hank’s earliest songs where the dog house had been the indicator of wife troubles. Perhaps the best recording was held back from release and didn’t see the light of day for three years. It was « I’ll keep your name on file ». By the summer of 1954 George had three singles on MGM and had been gone some months from the Jeff Bess show. He had started regularly with Martha Carson, when they arrived in Alabama and did take a new bass player, name Earl Aycock.
Sidney Earl Aycock was born in Meridian, Mississipi in 1930. He took an interest in hillbilly music at a young age and played guitar/bass with local bands of east Mississipi, even joining Bill Nettles’ Dixie Blues Boys and playing bass on « Hadacol Boogie ». After a stint in USAF he worked as a DJ before auditioning for Martha Carson. Towards the end of 1954 he teamed up with George McCormick to sing duets as part of the Martha Carson Show. According to the latter, « Earl liked Carl Smith. My favorite was Hank Williams. That’s one reason Earl and I sounded so good together ; our styles had a nice blend. Generally Earl sang the lead and I sang tenor harmonies. »
Before long the new duo started to think about making records. They heard Mercury’s A&R man Dee Kilpatrick was looking to sign a duet act. The deal was made in January 1955, and in next February George and Earl were in the studio for their first Mercury release. All in all, the duet recorded twelve songs ; Mercury issued them over a period of a year and a half. From the opening few seconds of the first session it was clear that the legacy of Hank Williams was not going to frame the sound of a George and Earl record. Earl had a clearer diction ; Chet Atkins, at home with raunchier stuff, had brought another lead guitarist, Joe Edwards, who had a more driving style. This was echoed by the attacking approach of fiddler Benny Martin. Rhythm section (Bob Moore and Ray Edenton) was augmented by drummer Buddy Harmon and Floyd Cramer on piano. This was an altogether ‘bigger’ sound with something of the new rockabilly styling McCormick had heard when playing with Elvis Presley on package shows.
The prime song was « Got anything good », a gloriously tight recording that fit right between uptempo honky tonk and rockabilly. The song was written by Detroit-based country singer Rufus Shoffner (« Mother-in-law boogie » on Fortune). The flipside, « Can I » was about a woman leaving her man. Again there is a good balance between country and rockabilly with a take-off guitar solo from Chet Atkins and fiddle runs setting the pace as much as the drums. « Billboard » review of April 1955 was good and before long Mercury issued the other two tracks of the session. « Sweet little miss blue eyes » is introduced by a fiddle riff and develops onto a fast-flowing love song where the singers take substantial solo parts as well as their duet sections. The song was something of a hit and has become a minor standard as recorded by Carl Smith, Bill Monroe, Ray Price, Vince Gill. The song was given to them by Don Helms and Merle ‘Red’ Taylor (the man who cut in 1955 « Don’t worry about nuthing » in Memphis on Meteor records, as Mason Dixon). In contrast, « Going steady with the blues » has a more modern stop-time sound and features Joe Edwards on guitar behind an exclusively harmony vocal.
Sometime in the summer of 1955 the hot new vocal duo was back in a Nashville studio for Mercury although the details and the musicians are not known. The instrumentation is similar to the first session ; just add Shot Jackson on steel guitar and almost certainly Del Wood on piano. « Heartaches » opens with a full-throated duet that gives way to a solo lead by Aycock and a modern-sounding take on the fiddle and the steel solo duet. It was backed on the third George and Earl single by « Don’t don’t don’t », provided by Louisiana-based record producer J. D. Mller. A fourth single coupled Autry Inman’s « Take a look at my darlin’ » with « Cry baby cry », a song written by Gene Davis (later Bo Davis on Crest) and inspired by « Why baby why ». It is kicked off in trademark style by fiddler Benny Martin and the duo sing strongly over a tinkling piano until the piano and fiddle take solos. Earl has a more ‘country’ voice, while George has moved further away from Hank’s style.
Early weeks of 1956, that was the third Mercury session. Musicians unknown, but could be largely the same again. « Remember and regret » is a plaintive love song written by Wayne Walker, one of in-house songwriters employed by Nashville publishers. This is a country-sounding record with fiddle solos and embellishments well to the fore but it retains the tinkling piano and the drum-augmented beat.
The next song was different entirely : out of nowhere comes a pop vocal leading to a cheerful and impossibly catchy lyric about « Eleven roses ». Originally a song poem and cut by a NY doo-wop group : quite how the song made its way into a hillbilly session in Nashville is a mystery.
The two last songs were in fact issued first : « Done gone » and « Better stop look and listen ». « Done gone », written by Don Helms was intended to be a hit. McCormick remembers : « It had a rocking style and Joe Edwards really played up that rockabilly guitar ». The Mercury label had equally high hopes on the other side, provided by J. D. Miller (and also recorded by Johnny Jano , although unissued at the time). It opens with a hurrying duet leading into an Elvis Presley-styled lyric from Earl and a ringing and rocky guitar solo probably by Joe Edwards. Just at the time Earl Aycock moved to Texas (the origin state of his wife, who wanted him to stop touring around) to become again a disc-jockey, so the duet ended overnight. The story of Earl Aycock will come separately.
George McCormick carried on for a while with the Martha Carson Show, but she wanted to go to New York and work up there. He said : « She had a big following including a lot of Christian people and she was a big star in country gospel music. » He told Martha Carson : « I’m not going to the city, I’m staying right here in the country ».
When he finally severed his connection with Martha Carson’s show, George needed new work and a new record label. He then worked for two years with the Louvin Brothers, whom he had backed up on the Opry show for a couple of years in 1952-1953. He played rhythm and sang (baritone) wih them, touring all around the country.
The new record label was MGM and his session took place on January 12 1957 at the RCAVictor studio in Nashville. Fiddle and steel sounds of earlier MGM sessions are long gone ; it seems to be Joe Edwards on guitar and Buddy Harman on drums. Pianist, bass player and chorus are unidentified. The session produced four songs, although George’s final single, « Doubt », was backed by « I’ll keep your name on file » from three years ago. The first single coupled the Joe Gibson’s moody « The blues moved in this morning » with the Bryants’ « After all we’ve been through ». « Blues » has a fine guitar solo but is marred by an irritating, repetitive piano figure while « After all » moves close to a pop ballad sound. Last track « Ain’t got nothing but the blues » is lost.
George’s vocals on this session are self-consciously less country than in former years and it is clear he was capable of many different vocal performances. MGM although did not exercise their option for another session, and George probably didn’t know it would be several years before he recorded again as a solo vocalist : actually Hank Williams tribute sessions in 1963 for two low-budget labels. He toured extensively in the East with Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper until 1965, when Porter Wagoner hired him in his Wagonmasters. He appeared in many of the 686 episodes of the Porter Wagoner TV show. Then his last three singles were in 1968-69 on the Stop label : best seller being « Big Wind ». Then he went to work with Billy Grammer and along the way for controversial Alabama Governor George Wallace, before he left after an incident, and went with Grandpa Jones. He stayed with Jones twenty-two years and retired in 1996.
Porter Wagoner TV show
Article based on notes of Martin Hawkins for the BF George & Earl CD « Better stop look and listen ». Some label scans do come from John Burton, Udo Frank or Dean C. Morris : thanks to them. Music from various sources, including a Tom Sims’ cassette. Pictures from the records or from the web.
Billboard Aug. 19 1957 "Blues moved in this morning"
Geore & Earl's worst record
Bear Family LP 15173 (1985)
Howdy folks! Hot, hot summer over there (south of France). Lot of hot music one more time for this fortnight.
First not really a newcomer, although not so well known. RED GARRETT on Decca 29742 seems to use Hank Williams’ Drifting Cowboys for this fine fast hillbilly, « Papa Joe’s place« , which reminds me a lot of Hank’s « Jambalaya« . Strange guitar sound.
Three tracks then by VERNON CLAUD. I don’t know where he came from, but his records were issued between 1957 and 1958 on Decca. First a medium bopper « Jungle of cement and stone« , an average hillbilly altho’. Then let’s embark for a Johnny Horton type (whom Claud wrote for) country song, « Daylight angel« . Last one is a minor classic, « Baby’s gone« , full-blooded rockabilly all along.
Michigan’s JIMMY WILLIAMS on the Drifter label for two issues (1955-56), I like the rural sounding voice of Williams on « Can you face yourself » and « If you could love me« .
Finally from Cincinnati on the Acorn label (not the Savoy blues sub-label) for another JIMMIE WILLIAMS and the fine uptempo « Hey, hey, little dreamboat« . Sawing fiddle and a nice guitar.
Very little is known about this Texas artist, except the information on labels and two comments after his solitary 1952-53 issue as published by Andrew Brown’s « wired-for-sound.blogspot » site.
« Ramblin’ Fool » is a Gold Star pressing, dating from around 1952-53. Glen Barber, whose band provides the music here, was probably still a student at Pasadena High School when he cut this. The steel guitarist is « Dusty » Carroll, and the fiddler is Charlie Frost. Musically, this is far from great, but hey, it’s a group of teen-agers. Cut them some slack. Flipside « Let me show us how » is an uptempo weeper. Young Glen Barber is invited to do his (very tame) solo.
In 1956 for a label of the same name (Premium 344), Bashful Vic Thomas (note his entire name) had « Rock and roll tonight« , a prime example of a country band thinking that they could jump on the rock and roll bandwagon by simply writing a song that had the words « rock and roll » in the lyrics — leaving the steel and fiddle intact. I suspect that teenagers at the time weren’t impressed, but the honky-tonkers probably thought they were being « hip » by dancing to it. Flipside is Hank Williams‘ « You’re gonna change (or I’m gonna leave », well done and very fast in the Thomas manner – copyrights go to Thomas. Actually « You’re gonna change » sound like an entirely new song and I wonder if Thomas only got the tune’s title from Hank.
Bashful Vic lived up to his name — I’ve never heard anyone on the Houston ’50s scene mention him at all. After re-cutting « Ramblin’ Fool » for Applause, an Omaha, Nebraska label in 1960, he disappears from the vinyl map completely except for the Memory 45. Flipside of the Applause 45 was a modern and energetic (for the times being) revamp of his 1956 « You’re gonna change« .
The Memory 45 is from 1961, and originate from Chula Vista, California, a fact which indicate Vic Thomas was a well traveled artist. It’s a Starday custom double sider of lovely but forgettable country ballads, « A fool in love » and « I wonder« . Thanks to Allan Turner to have provided the label scans as well as sound files. Vic Thomas later in his life moved to Florida and eventually was committed to an asylum for his depression. Originally from New York City, Vic was attracted to the sweet sounds of West Texas troubadors and aspired to be one himself.
It is almost certain that the Vic Thomas of « Marianne » fame, a white doo-wop song from 1963-64 on Philips, is a completely different artist.
Notes and sources: Boppin’ hillbilly Vol. 2002 and 2022 for short snippets on Vic Thomas. Comments on Premium 101 « Ramblin’ fool » on Andrew Brown’s « Wired-for-sound » bloodspot. Thanks to Allan Turner for providing rare scans and sound files. Music and scans of Applause from somelocalloser bloodspot (2013).