Billboard April 28, 1951
Very little is known about Bobby Soots, except what is contained in a Tampa newspaper snippet dated Nov. 2, 1950. He was born in Alabama during the ’20s, took up the guitar when he was twelve and had his first band, the Red Wagon Boys, entertaining a local radio show in 1938. He then moved to Chicago to sing Hillbilly in the clubs, when the famous jazz drummer and bandleader Gene Krupa noticed and hired him as featured vocalist. Soots had a strong baritone voice, and Krupa used him on New York sessions for C&W tunes like Pee Wee King‘s « Bonaparte’s retreat » (June 1950), « Panhandle rag », « At the jazz band ball » or « Walking with the blues », to name just a few classic Krupa jazz sides.
A year later, free from his contract with Gene Krupa, Bobby Soots went solo for two sessions for Mercury records, apparently cut in Chicago. Eight tracks were recorded circa February/March 1951, whose only four were released, leaving unissued a promising « Fiddle boogie ». Among the issued tunes were Amos Milburn’s « Bad, bad whiskey » (Mercury 6326), and most of all, the immortal « (Help me lose the) Boogie woogie blues » (great steel solo!), often reissued (Mercury 6331). B-sides are less interesting, « I’m crying » and «Have you forgotten my name ». Soots did not write his own material. After these two issues, one loses his trail, and he seems to have disappeared afterwards.
Gene Krupa (Bobby Soots, vocalist) « At the jazz band ball »
Gene Krupa (Bobby Soots, vocalist) « Walking with the blues » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Vicor-Bobby-Soots-Walking-with-the-blues.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Vicor-Bobby-Soots-Walking-with-the-blues.mp3″ target= »_blank »>download
Gene Krupa (Bobby Soots, vocalist), « Panhandle rag » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/RCA-bobby-soots-panhandle-rag.mp3download
Bobby Soots, « Bad, bad whiskey » (Mercury 6326) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6326-Bobby-Soots-Bad-bad-whiskey.mp3download
Bobby Soots, « (Help me lose the) Boogie woogie blues » (Mercury 6331) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/mercury-6331-bobby-soots-help-me-lose-the-boogie-woogie-blues.mp3download
Bobby Soots, « I’m crying » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6326-Bobby-Soots-Im-cryin.mp3download
Bobby Soots, « Have you forgotten my name » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/mercury-6331-bobby-soots-have-you-forgotten-my-name.mp3download
Bobby Soots solo discography:
(vo) with instrumental accompaniment: g, rh. g, p, steel, str.b.. Poss. Chicago, circa Feb. 1951
7208 Bad, bad whiskey Mercury 6326
7209 Fiddle boogie unissued
7210 I’m cryin’ Mercury 6326
7211 A thousand times too many unissued
(vo) with fiddle, piano, rh. gtr, g, steel, str.b. circa September/october 1951
7232 Help me lose the boogie boogie blues Mercuy 6331
7233 Goin’, goin’, gone unissued
7234 Lots of nothin’ -
7235 Have you forgotten my name Mercury 6331
Source: Internet for the Gene Krupa records, Bobby Soots photograph and Billboard snippets. Thanks to Ronald Keppner for scan/mp3 of Mercury 6326. Discographical details from Michel Ruppli’s « Mercury label » vol. 1.
Forest Rye’s trail from Detroit to the ‘Grand Ole Opry’
Forrest Rye, 1930s
By craig maki
A long line of men dressed in rugged suits filed past iron gates on Manchester Street in Highland Park, Michigan, as they did every morning, into the . One by one, they flashed their Ford badges at the guard stationed in a small shack. Ford Motor Company facility Outside the gate, a 15 year-old boy stood near the shack, hands in his trouser pockets, chatting with the uniformed man inside, who interrupted the conversation every so often to check someone’s identification.
“I brought ya some apples,” the young man said with a Tennessee drawl, and handed a paper sack to the guard, who gave one apple back. After sharing a snack together, the young man asked, “Say, what are my chances today? Like I said before, I’m ready to work at anything.”
The guard tolerated his daily appearances, eventually warming up to his friendly personality and persistence. It was obvious the young man, who showed up at the morning whistle every day, intended to stay in Detroit. “Well,” said the guard while keeping his eye on workers entering the property, “There’s a small opening in the fence about sixty feet east of here. It may be wide enough for you to slip through. I reckon I can’t stop you, if I don’t see you.” He took his eyes off the shuffling plant workers long enough to look the kid in the eyes and say, “I know you won’t cause me no trouble.”
“No, sir!” The wide-eyed young man continued chewing apple.
“I just happen to know a foreman who’s looking for a welder,” said the guard. “If you get in, look up Fred Walker.” The young man thanked the guard, who nodded, too preoccupied to look up. Then he strode east to the gap in the fence, slipped through, and secured a position at Ford.
Working man, day and night
Trained on the job as a welder, Forest Rye had grown up in Erin, Tennessee, west of Nashville. Born December 19, 1910, Rye learned to play fiddle and guitar before he left home in 1924. When Rye was a small boy, champion fiddler Walter Warden, from McEwen, Tennessee, and an early influence on Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith, schooled him in music. Warden lived up the road from the Rye household, and thought so highly of Rye that he gave him a fiddle. When Rye came to Detroit, he found a room in a boarding house, and doggedly spent about a week talking his way into Ford’s Highland Park facility.
A pioneer country music bandleader in Detroit, Rye entertained at house parties through the 1930s, eventually leading groups of musicians in local cafes and bars. In 1937 he married, and moved back to Erin, where he started a grocery with his savings. He visited friends in Detroit occasionally, and after divorcing in 1939, Rye returned to Detroit’s east side, near Chrysler facilities where he worked the day shift.
The area surrounding East Jefferson Avenue near St. Jean included neighborhoods of white Southerners who had moved for work in local factories. In this environment, Rye formed Rye’s Red River Blue Yodlers, and gigged steadily at the Torch Club on East Jefferson. They may have performed on Detroit radio as well.
In early 1942, the band cut a record for the Mellow Record Company, based in the Mellow Music Shop a few blocks away from the Torch Club. “You Had Time Think It Over” backed with “On Down The Line” were pressed on the Hot Wax label (with Mellow catalog number 1616 – it was pressed on Mellow, too). Vocals on the Hot Wax label were attributed to “Conrad Brooks,” a fake name Rye used on the record – perhaps to avoid public association with the hot lyrics of “On Down The Line,” a risqué song made strictly for jukebox plays in bars. The band included Rye’s fiddle, Hawaiian (lap) steel, rhythm guitar, and bass. Side 1 (« You had time ») was uptempo while the B-side (« On down the line » was medium paced.
Rye’s Red River Blue Yodelers, « You had time to think it over » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Hot-Wax-1616-Ryes-Blue-Yodelers-You-had-time-to-think-it-over-nettoyé.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Hot-Wax-1616-Ryes-Blue-Yodelers-You-had-time-to-think-it-over-nettoyé.mp3″ target= »_blank »>downloaddownload
Rye’s Red River Blue Yodelers, « On down the line » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Hot-Wax-1616-Ryes-Blue-Yodelers-On-down-the-line-netoyé.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Hot-Wax-1616-Ryes-Blue-Yodelers-On-down-the-line-netoyé.mp3 » target= »_blank »>download
Rye’s stage show included humor, and as early as 1942 he was making appearances on the WSM Nashville radio’s “Grand Ole Opry” as comedian Little Willie Rye. This made him the first Detroiter to perform with the “Opry.” Many Detroit musicians would follow Rye’s path, beginning with the York Brothers after World War II. Not to mention a few musicians who moved to Detroit after first performing at the “Opry” (e.g., Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith, Okie Jones, and Chick Stripling).
Rye moved back to Tennessee in 1945 and married again. He returned to Detroit in 1947 as his family began to grow, remaining through 1955. Soon after this third move to Michigan, Rye secured a gig at WXYZ radio with his Sage Brush Ranch Boys, a band that included bassist Earl “Shorty Frog” Allen, who led his own band in Detroit several years later.
Around 1945/46 he cut with his group two sides for the Detroit based Universal company (the York Brothers also recorded for this label). Yet Rye still handles the vocals as disguised « Conrad Brooks« , and very assured. Steel guitar is wild, and Rye is even yodeling a bit. Both sides are very nice uptempos for the era. « Snake bite blues » and « Don’t come crying around me mama« , both written by Rye.
Rye’s Red River Blue Yodelers, « Snake bite blues » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Universal-1002-Ryes-Red-River-blue-yodelers-Snake-bite-blues-nettoyé.mp3download Rye’s Red River Blue Yodelers, « Don’t come crying around me mama » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Universal-1002-Ryes-Red-River-Blue-Yodelers-Dont-come-crying-around-me-mama-Conrad-Brooks-vo.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Universal-1002-Ryes-Red-River-Blue-Yodelers-Dont-come-crying-around-me-mama-Conrad-Brooks-vo.mp3 » target= »_blank »>download
For a couple of years during the late 1940s, Mountain Red appeared with Rye’s Sage Brush Ranch Boys in Pontiac area nightclubs as a featured singer. Red also appeared with Rye on WXYZ, when he wasn’t performing his solo programs at WCAR radio Pontiac.
Sage Brush Ranch Boys, late ’40s – Rye on fiddle
Rye often let other musicians sit in with his band in Detroit nightclubs. Joyce Songer recalled performing with the Sage Bruch Ranch Boys several times, when she and husband Earl started their musical career, around 1949.
Early 1951 Rye cut four sides in Detroit, apparently, for Mercury, two uptempos « Crying my eyes out » (# 6328) and « Won’t you give me a little loving » (# 6329), coupled with the great medium-paced « Midnight boogie blues » (great steel solo!) and « After all these tears ». These 4 sides have not been reissued, except « Midnight boogie blues » on some English compilation.
Forrest Rye, « Crying my eyes out » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6328-Forrest-Rye-Crying-my-eyes-out-nettoyé.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6328-Forrest-Rye-Crying-my-eyes-out-nettoyé.mp3″ target= »_blank »>download
Forrest Rye, « After all these tears » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6328-Forrest-Rye-After-all-these-years-nettoyé.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6328-Forrest-Rye-After-all-these-years-nettoyé.mp3″ target= »_blank »>download
Forrest Rye, « Midnight boogie blues » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6329-Forrest-Rye-Midnight-boogie-blues-nettoyé.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6329-Forrest-Rye-Midnight-boogie-blues-nettoyé.mp3″ target= »_blank »>download
Forrest Rye, « Won’t you give me a little loving » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6329-Forrest-Rye-Wont-you-give-me-a-little-loving-nettoyé.mp3<a href= »http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mercury-6329-Forrest-Rye-Wont-you-give-me-a-little-loving-nettoyé.mp3 » target= »_blank »>download
Rye maintained ties to Nashville, including relationships at WSM with announcer George D. Hay and many performers. Singer Pete Pyle, a 1940s recording artist (Bluebird label) and one-time member of the Bill Monroe and Pee Wee King bands, was a fast friend, eventually moving next door to Rye’s house in Taylor, Michigan. They appeared together in local nightclubs, such as the West Fort Tavern on West Fort Street in Southwest Detroit. In 1953, Rye and Pyle cut sessions for Fortune Records. Rye’s “Wild cat Boogie” and Pyle’s “Are You Making A Fool of Me?” were combined on a single record (Fortune 172). Al Allen (el. g) and Chuck Hatfield (steel) were present on Pete Pyle’s session.
Forest Rye, « Wild cat boogie » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/frtune-172-A-Forest-Rye-Wildcat-boogie.mp3download
In 1955 Rye and Pyle moved their families back to Tennessee. As Little Willie Rye, Rye worked on Nashville radio as a solo comedian, and with the band of Big Jeff Bess. He wrote songs, operated a song publishing company (Geraldine), produced and made his own recordings, and issued music on his own record label (Forest – 3 known records by other artists in a 5600 serie) , besides playing music in studios and on stages. He also booked acts for WSM radio and Nashville area venues. In 1967 Rye left behind his activities in country music to become a Christian preacher. He passed away April 24, 1988.
Little Willie Rye, « Road of happiness« , http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/PACE-1007.1-little-willie-Rye-road-of-happiness.mp3download
Little Willie Rye, « Make believe girl » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/PACE-1007.2-rye-make-believe-girl.mp3download
Reprinted from carcitycountry.com, the site of Craig Maki See http://carcitycountry.com/2013/forest-ryes-trail-from-detroit-to-the-grand-ole-opry/. Additions by Xavier (Mercury, Universal), bopping editor.
Thanks to Ronald Keppner of Frankfurt am/Main, Germany, for the loan of his rare Forrest Rye ’78s on Hot Wax, Universal and Mercury. Without him, this article would have proved impossible to write. Thanks also to Allan Turner, out of England, for getting me the mp3/scans of the rare Pace 45.
Howdy, folks! En route for the new cartload of bopping Hillbillies/Rockabillies and white rockers (this time), plus the usual R&B rocker. First two tunes are by WEBB FOLEY, from Fort Wayne, Indiana it seems. He had « Bee bop baby » on Emerald 2013 in 1957 (flip side is « You ought make records« , listed as « C&W », alas I didn’t trace it). Rockabilly and that’s all, topical lyrics, good rhythm. Next year he was to have a white rocker « Little bitty mama » (Emerald EP 750), a good one. BUT, beware of his sides on the M label (« Strange little girl/One by one » and « Little town Xmas »), they’re awful! More on Emerald next fortnight.
Webb Foley « Bee bop baby » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Webb-Foley-Bee-Bop-Baby.mp3download
Webb Foley « Little bitty mama » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Webb-Foley-Little-Bitty-Mama.mp3download
Next artist must have been a local one, as his label: Royal 100, for COUSIN KEITH LOYD (sic). He cut « Dangerous crossing » (1955?) certainly having in mind Billy Strange’s « Diesel smoke » from a pair of years earlier. Cousin Keith Loyd « Dangerous crossing » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Cousin-Keith-Loyd-Dangerous-Crossing-1955.mp3download
I return to MARVIN RAINWATER. I did celebrate his death last month with one of his most known tracks, « Mr. Blues« . Now I’ve chosen « So you think you’ve got troubles » (MGM 12420), cut a coupe of years later, and a fast good side of its own.
Marvin Rainwater « So you think you’ve got troubles » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Marvin-Rainwater-So-You-Think-Youve-Got-Trouble.mp3download
BILL LOWE was from West Coast, and cut for the interesting small label Sundown. There he had at least two issues, the one here (# 117), « You set my heart on fire« , a very nice late ’50s hillbilly. Lowe had a duet with TOMMY GUESS, also on Sundown, « Foolish heart » (# 106 – I include it in the podcasts, having copied it from an old Tom Sims’ cassette).
Bill Lowe « You set my heart on fire » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/sundown-117-Bill-Lowe-You-Set-My-Heart-On-Fire-1959.mp3download
Tommy Guess & Bill Lowe « Foolish heart » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/tommy-guess-foolish-heart3.mp3download
courtesy Udo Frank
inspired by John Burton
Finally a great R&B Rocker by FLASH TERRY, « She’s my baby » on the Southbay label (# 500), obviously a S.F. issue. Just take a look at the logo: Southbay must have been inspired by Starday (3 stars). Flash Terry « She’s my baby » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/southbay-500-Flash-Terry-Shes-My-Baby.mp3download
Enjoy the selections. Any comment or addition/correction welcome!
Endless part 1
1964. Four years since Eddie Cochran died at home, he has never been so popular than among his English fans . They repeatedly called , through their fan club, for the Liberty label to publish new titles of their favorite rocker. The leaders of the parent company in Los Angeles are bored . They gave satisfaction to requests by issuing three albums in four years, after screening their archives and demos acquired from the former Eddie Cochran manager / accomplice , Jerry Capehart. They announce when they release the latest album » My Way » in England, that they have nothing else , leaving the fans bitter and disappointed .
There are rumors in 1965. Cochran, at a very young age, has released two discs on a microscopic record label : Ekko Records, and collectors are fighting over to get them . We learn that he has also recorded a ballad, » Three Stars » , as homage to the three departed stars early in February 1959. All this helps to maintain the tension among his fans, who show some bitterness towards Liberty records : they think actually that the label’s leaders keep unreleased tracks they refuse to publish for a profit as insufficient compared to the investment required (research, creating artwork, advertising). Employees relate more money to the company that advertises the comic Jerry Lewis or crooner Johnny Burnette .
A new 45s is finally released in 1966 with » Three Stars » . Fans rejoice : they were right insisting and asking. For all that they want not to relent. This release demonstrates the existence of unreleased tracks in the archives .
Who then is the origin of a new rumor, this time concerning not a title , but … ten ? The only explanation , since Liberty refuses to grant access to its archives: someone at the parent company in Los Angeles (Ca.) knows the catalog and distills information to avid fans of novelty in England.
Especially it is not an isolated song, but a far more important matter. Liberty had had made ready a couple of years earlier to publish an entire album, which was was even assigned a catalog number , and yet the label had all stopped at the last moment. No ‘test pressing’, no ‘advance copy’ to disk jockeys . However, the anonymous informer described the cover ( already printed ) of the album, his stated number : F 3358 Liberty and its title, « Endless « . Confident nod to the supposed endless amount of new songs? Or logical sequence to the last album released in the United States, » Never to be forgotten « ?
Endless Part 2
In his motel room in San Fernando , GD (let’s name him by his initials only) is waiting for a phone call . The girl he had met the previous week was not a price of beauty , but it mattered little to him. He had met her by idleness in a cafe on Sunset Boulevard , she was sensitive to the difference with this french lover : not blonde, not skinny tanned, not come to California for surf, not to see the stars either. He was attentive and talkative , his accent was funny , they had got out arm in arm and had walked around the mole along the beach. Joggers crossed them and sometimes they were down on the beach to avoid when they were in two or three abreast . Her little pastel pink dress , her demure look of small secretary amused him. It was her day off and she loved wandering aimlessly.
What do you do in your life, she took the initiative.
Clerk in a insurance office. I check the contracts reported by inspectors, and calculate insurance premiums . An exciting job …
Oh , ‘she said , with a hint of pity , I understand. It was the work of my father, I ought to hear him when he came home , every day was a mountain trouble to climb.
You talk about him in the past …
He died four years ago of a heart attack. I am alone, my mother left us when I was three years old, I have never seen her again . We lived, my father and I, in a small apartment in San Bernardino, I went to the Hernandez High School, in the Chicano neighborhood. My father earned a little, we conducted a small secluded life, and my only entertainment was the movies, or to go with my father fishing. But tell me a little about yourself, in your turn .
It’s funny, my fate is like yours. I grew up with my mother, my father had left us too when I was four. We lived a housing estate near Paris. Few money, but with the movies , I loved the music. Rock’n'roll. At that time , I dreamed of California as a wonderful and inaccessible country. And see, now I spend my holidays today with you.
It was quite easy , in fact, to work my way into Liberty . Maria- Helena worked there as a librarian , and was working in archives annex on Lennox Avenue. That’s what she told me later in the afternoon , while we sipped a milkshake from a street vendor on the Sunset Strip pier . She seemed to take pride with her job , while having a bit of shame of it as a lackluster job. I was glad, of course, without showing anything yet. In fact , I sized her up . Would she rather , not to trust me, but be proud working in an area resembling the Pentagon archives – at his level – for me to get there ? It required careful handling. The afternoon went by. We stopped to admire the feats of surfers , the sky was tinged with pink. We chatted about odds and ends : gulls, the curious form of a dune , the silhouette of a passing guy on neon signs waterfront. Later, in a Chinese restaurant where I invited her . She nibbled his shrimp fritters when I resumed :
Is it possible to show me your archives ?
Why , she retorted ? You know, it has nothing interesting : shelves up to ceiling stocked with tapes. And then , without being a secret deposit of U . S. Army, it’s still a sensitive spot . The firm that I work for keeps there all records in its possession. And we do not enter into it without a good reason …
I whispered , more and more calmly:
And what your job is, in a place as protected as Fort Knox ?
Well , nothing really exciting. I update the maintenance registry. When the production studio on Sunset needs a recording, I research and make a copy . In fact, it is rather an engineer who comes on site, and I help him find what he seeks .
And you always manage to give him satisfaction?
It is not always easy: despite the care taken in the standing collections, and that of recording sessions , sometimes we seek long for a tape. A few weeks ago, we spent two full days to find a recording of Bob Wilson, you know, the leader of the Beach Boys. It was on a small tape listed under the name of his early band, The Frogmen, which was recorded at Liberty before he’d sign with Capitol . Fortunately, residual , we put our hands on it, especially because Stan, the engineer, remembered the name. He had assisted the one who had formed him, Bob Levine, during the recording session, now 7 or 8 years ago …
So you must be the only person able to find the record of someone there?
Well, not yet . There is the file system. But it is true that sometimes, without me, it would be virtually impossible. But why do you ask me that?
Well, imagine that over there, in Europe, we are confident that Liberty still holds unpublished tapes of Eddie Cochran, a rocker who died in 1960. It was thought that his record label did not want to publish, but from what you say, it is quite possible that they are lost. You could look for?
Well, I don’t have any order of the production. And I do not know the artist. I would, of course, easily find what bears his name , but if it’s under a different name … Listen , come to the store, I’ll call you when I have some spare time. I’d love to find something in a field that I believe to be the only one to know .
We talked about something else wielding rods for fried rice . We laughed in finding common emotions mentioning movies and actors forgotten, Wallace Berry and Jane Hawken . She knew a little Brigitte Bardot and Jean- Paul Belmondo .
We go to movie ? I suggested .
OK , they give a John Ford at the Hall in Venice, near here, on Park Heights .
Well, the movie. I tried to take interest into it, to hold my desire to put my hand on my neighbor’s shoulder. I looked at her profile stealthily, changing place on my chair: wide-eyed , alternately smiling or anxious depending on the scenes, she seemed absorbed by the ordinary western theme, although signed by a master. I was dying to seduce her: she alone could take me to the Liberty archives. ‘ Do nothing sudden,’ I repeated to myself, let her dream along with a french lover. It seems it pleases her. If you are turtle doving too openly, she will escape. She appreciates your thoughtfulness, well she strikes herself … ‘ At the end of the movie, I escorted her to her car parked a few blocks away. Few words. She smiled silently, I was wondering ‘Am I so much like Gregory Peck ?’ I tossed on the ticket cinema the phone number of my motel, gave him the standard formulas , ‘ It was a great pleasure … I hope to see you soon … ‘ she was always smiling, ‘bye , Frenchie boy , ‘see you later, do not worry, I’ll call you.’ I spotted a taxi that brought me back to my room in San Fernando.
Two days later, on a Tuesday, when he returned from a day trip in the moyave desert, the old keeper of Black Admiral motel where he had his room gave him a yellow memo . « A young lady called for you . She asks you call her back , « she added . He read » Maria Helena – 2748 6173 09 . » From the small cabin hall, after three rings , he heard her voice. » Hi! Gilles , she uttered Guil , are you okay ? Come see me tomorrow 26 at 11 A.M. at the archives – this is 3720 Lennox Avenue , five blocks east of Sunset Avenue, near Filby ‘s store – you turn right onto McGovern to the industrial area. Behind a small building with three floors, enter right into the courtyard, looking for ‘Liberty United’ and ask the janitor for me . Bye «
He spent the evening in the excitement, trying to calm him down by the sea. Pacific rolls, slightly phosphorescent, made him deaf . They really did not extinguish his thoughts. They ran even more wild . The next day he would get into the Liberty archives, and who knows, discover , with any luck , what millions of people imagined without daring to hope to hear: ten unreleased songs by Eddie Cochran, famous as lost … He had difficulty controlling the current of his thoughts . What would he do if he found these songs out ? Obviously, Liberty did not intend to publish them or tomorrow or ever. And if he’d steal them ? But how ? And what to do with them? Provided they actually exist already . Bah ! he would see the next day. Multicolored neon lights blinked out of sight on the waterfront , signalling insurance firms, banking , or scrolling ads. Spotlighted restaurants . Cars succeeded without making haste . Gilles returned to the motel. Restless sleep .
The next day he took his rental car, consulted the map of LA and spotted McGovern . He let in the clutch and slipped in the thick traffic. 9:00 A.M. Parked in the area that Maria- Helena had told him , he’d go for a breakfast . Then he hung in the streets windows shopping until 11:00. He found a place in front of the building that was described to him and did the rest on foot. Lennox Avenue , 3720 : a large courtyard lined with warehouses and loading docks, and in the background , a kind of front surmounted by a sign reading » Liberty United Records . » He push the door. Long corridor in front of him . On the right, a small glass room , a guy sitting reading the newspaper. Before him on the desk, a register and a telephone. He looks up , » Hi! » Gilles told him that Maria- Helena is waiting for him. He push a button and hangs up, » Maria , someone for you at the reception desk. » The hallway is lined with posters: artists , concerts, double pages of Billboard , the ceiling, large neon signs , along the wall , two metal waggons. The set is outdated, gray baseboards, it looks like the entrance to a clinic for poor people. Maria- Helena appears, smiling . Dead leaf sweater , jeans , heels . She holds his hand, » Hi! Gilles how’da do ? » She turned to the guard : » Gilles is French , vacationing here – he is interested in my job , I make him visit the archives . » The guy just smiled , nodded , » Have fun, lovers ! » and revisits his paper.
- Come, Gilles , do not lose me , you would end up not out , she shoots me with a sneer .
- This is so great? From the outside , you would not think .
- Wait till you see …
We pass the door, I ‘m speechless . Face to face with vertical gray metal beams that rise , rise to heights of three men to the ceiling. They support shelves full of flat items, also arranged vertically , of all colors. A narrow passage between shelves, metal ladders shrinking more. I quickly identify brown 30×30 parcels, such as those containing the albums that I get from the United States, other slimmer boxes, for conservation tapes (format Ø 26 cm) and other smaller boxes . On the edge of all that I see , abbreviations and numerical codes properly drawn with black pen. Strong neon lights violently illuminate everything. A heavy silence reigns here , only deafened by the noise of the fan , and I can make the back wall at least thirty feet from where I stand out, stunned , overwhelmed . Maria- Helena is already at the other end and calls me , » C’mon over there , Gilles, » his voice reaches me, with echo, as through a speaker. I am looking for where it can come from: the corner of a lighted window, a narrow corridor between the shelves lets me separate the glow. I rejoin her slowly, nodding to view objects up to my eyes. As I enter, she is standing in front of a green metal filing cabinet that occupies the entire wall of the office, the drawers are already drawn on the front of the labels that I recognize the kind of shorthand for the large room. Maria quickly flips the finger index cards and told me : « I am looking for sheets of recording sessions, you told me ? Eddie Cochran ? » Nervous , I agree with a nod , trying to get an eye at the sheets over his shoulder, but she goes too fast … On my left, through the window, the room archives, thick and overwhelming: a forest of shelves. I see colored edging above the top of some boxes: probably albums. I return to the big desk. On a table behind me, two trained professional tape readers, a mixer and other devices with VU meters, cables run to two speakers. Right at the bottom, two desks which are piled with boxes of archives, on one of them, which looks like a microfilm reader. Maria- Helena continued his research, opened other drawers, consulted sheets. She turns to me: » Sorry , Gilles, everything that we have on the artist you are interested in is the rating ERC – 001-017 – probably the recording sessions listed with the AFM , the union musicians, but maybe … » A wall phone rings, she joins him in three strides, « Yes … – Who? – … – OK you can take the item at 1 this noon , bye . – Work , she apologizes with outstretched arms , I look for a tape, they need it on Sunset. Yes, I said, when the phone rang , I noticed from the records reviewed, that one included an unusual reference, if it amuses you to look for, it’s JWC 008 , but I wonder what it can match … «
And they are back in the archive room. Maria- Helena noses already about somewhere in rows, a metal ladder slips squealing on a tube, it squeaks every climbing level.
And about him, where to start? It takes a driveway, decrypts the odds, nothing in apparent order. If he is going to ask her for help, she tells him to cope , she did not have spare time … So, let’s come, and if a ratings plan were in the office? In the background, behind a hinged door, the sound of voices, a telephone, the muted music.
First return to the metal cabinet of the office. He examines the multiple drawers: their labels seem to defy research. Then marks sealed in the following , he recognizes a sort of alphabetical order. A workbook marked J , he pulls it out , glances at sheets . Almost at the bottom he pulls out a sheet JWC 008 , his heart jumps , appears the name » Eddie Cochran » and the indication of an album » Endless » .. a word » WITHDRAWN » drawn to the line card in diagonal : the album publication was interrupted. Follow twelve tracks that he decrypts feverishly . Only two are familiar to him: an instrumental ( Eddie’s Blues ), the first ever published on the French album with which he had some years earlier discovered the music of Cochran, and » Hurry up « , her friend Sharon Sheeley had proposed as a demo to Ritchie Valens . Other songs he knows them by their original versions , those of Elvis Presley ( Trouble, Blue moon of Kentucky), Ricky Nelson (Poor little fool , also composed by Sheeley) , Chuck Willis (From the bottom of my heart ) but he had never heard that they were in the repertoire of Cochran .
He remains stunned, his hands are sweaty and his knees tremble with excitement. Thus, Liberty claimed to have unearthed all its archives, fans refused to believe , and he has discovered that their faith was justified. Better! These twelve new tracks, the album lost and never published, this Grail is THERE, on the other side of the glass in a niche among colossal shelves of this kind of archives cathedral. How to get his hands on this album or the tape, again without the help of Maria – Helena , who said also earlier not to know this number?
The viewer ! He’ll sit ; in a cabinet, a drawer. First : good pick. A plan of archives, combinations of letters and a thick stack of sheets, marks, each coupled with a transparent envelope containing a sheet of microfilm. Flipping the workbook, he identifies the rating JWC – 008 therein – extract microfilm and place it in the viewer. Contact ON, the display shows the place of the archives room. He adjusts the microscope and notes pins (5 ° span left , 6 shelf , 3 niche) , puts the microfilm in place in the workbook back and turns off the viewer. His hands are still moist , he does not force rushing on what he wants . Back in the hall .
Maria- Helena , laden with equipment , tapes and record hardly spills him into the hallway and calls out : « How are you doing, Gilles ? You found ? I wear the equipment in the control copying and will be back again in half an hour , bye … «
It’s my turn me to play . Span F: he pushes the scale and strength to slowly climb the ladder . At the height of his nose piled vertically tight surveys earlier objects: boxboard savvy height , holsters tape , envelopes, thick plastic : there he guesses photographs and album covers .
He manages the 6th level, snore yellowish ceiling fans . At five meters above the concrete floor , the smell of dust and mold is much stronger : all cardboard beneath him . Neon lights above his head create shadows .
He looks a little while, locate the mark: a strong chipboard box , 30×30 dimension , 10 cm thick , which bears the number he wants. Before him is perhaps what remains of the lost album of Eddie Cochran, « Endless » …
My heart is pounding , my hands are shaking.
Along the beam hangs a plastic folder containing headlines, bands laminated cardboard for identifying objects out : I write the mark, and slides instead of cardboard I pull carefully . it is not so heavy – pinning an arm against my chest, with the other hand , I cling to each bar to go down . Once on the ground , I joined the office , make a place for me , untie the ribbons and cardboard.
Endless part III
Chesterfield County Hurts , England. Saturday, July 27, 1970 . Howard McCullough sorts its courrier. On his desk , three dozen letters from around the world : Australia, Japan, Germany, United States , and even Argentina , Holland, Sweden . He is a collector and dealer in records, mainly American rock’n'roll of the 50s. He puts aside the letters of his buyers, looking for a rare piece to complement their collection; he makes ??another pile with these of his touts, his scouts, that throughout the United States, rummage flea markets, charity sales, garage sales , and they sen him the discs they found. He then put them on sale in huge catalogs of auctioning that he sends his correspondents worldwide. His office is in a indescribable mess, shelves all around the room support thousands of albums, there on the stools, others leaning against the walls. In a corner , a huge stack of brown cardboard, which he uses to ship the discs to the winners of his sales.
McCullough knows with great precision the music of the ’50s, and it is not uncommon that he gets his hands on rare pieces, limited pressings , acetates (first pressings) .
A letter draws his attention . Posted in France , it comes from a correspondent, also casual buyer looking for rare pieces. The envelop opened , McCollough skims throughout the letter, and whispers, » My Goodness, so it exists… » sitting on the desk. Then, in three strides, he passes into the adjoining room, also full of catalogs, books, magazines ; he digs a moment, unearths the catalog of the Liberty label, leafing quickly and staying with eyes vaguely looking. By mistake, the catalog mentions a 3558 album LRP on behalf of Leon Bibb, a singer of folk songs . And in this letter , Gilles tells him that he’s got in hand an album of Eddie Cochran and model number . Single copy , of course. McCullough reads the letter , details of securities , the description of the package: no error, everything corresponds with the rumor that survives for several years. He concedes defeat : he found him with a better scent . It must be said that the album in question was never marketed , and someone had to find it out directly from the archives of Liberty. It is still an achievement. What is the price of such a piece ? McCullough has no idea that the price could reach , it is also not for sale yet. Certainly not the provenance , and its owner can not do anything with it…
Los Angeles, Lennox Avenue. The cardboard Gilles discovered contained a tape , photos, comp model indicating the twelve tracks on the album « Endless « . Since that time the rumor ran, he managed alone to get his hands on this legendary album. He trembles with excitement, read and read again the sheet recording session that accompanies the initial tape. The JWC marks are clear : the producer is none other than Jerry W. Capehart, friend, mentor, artistic director of Cochran. But , dammit, why this album was never released ?
Maria- Helena reappears , still smiling , and deposits on the table supporting the viewer the cardboard she relates. « You found it, Gilles ? This is fantastic! How did you do ? » He said to him , she laughed, admiring . « Will you listen to this tape ? » He flushed with emotion. She got to the console with tape readers , puts the reel on its axis and positions the tape on the empty spool . Amp on, the tape is running, It’s great Eddie Cochran, the same level as « Summertime Blues » and » Somethin’ else ». He revisits « Trouble » of Elvis with the same grunts as in « Milkcow Blues » , his version of « Blue Moon of Kentucky » is Country as « Cut across Shorty ». The rest of the album is in the same vein, as good . The pleasure of hearing these new songs is huge, of course, but how do someone listen to and, who knows, take them ? When she returned half an hour later, he asked the question. « No, Gilles , this tape belongs to Liberty , and I am its depositary . If my boss ever saw the tape is lost , I’d lose my job. » He’s setting out again, argues . This album has been deposited there over five years , its mark is lost – even she has not recovered it. He feels her reluctant
OK , Gilles, I’ll make you a copy, but it will be stuffed . Regular noise , like a champagne cork that pops in to prevent commercial exploitation. Are you going with that? I will leave the package outside the front entrance, you can get tonight after 6 P.M. when the store is closed. And now I’m going to get you back , I still have to work before the break. «
Chatenay -Malabry , Paris area, France, in September 1969 .
Someone gets home at night in his small apartment , and carefully loop his door and windows. In his room, he approaches his stereo setup, it has a big tape recorder . One reel is installed on its axes. He turns his amp, adjust the volume, press a key on the recorder. Red light . A click, the tape turns … Guitar intro immediately recognizable : Eddie Cochran, this is « Trouble ». Just for him . He tastes the bitter with this unique pleasure. Being the only one in the world to listen to twelve unreleased tracks from Eddie Cochran, and not being able to share this pleasure with anyone …
Howdy folks! Many thanks to the 80.852+ visitors of this site since February 2009. May anyone find what he/she searches here in Hillbilly bop and Rockabilly music!
First, a minor classic on the 4 * label (# 1647) from 1955, by the prolific FRANK SIMON, « The West Virginia Country Boy ». Here he does his most famous song, « Sugar plum boogie« , fine boogie guitar, lotsa energy. This is almost Rockabilly in spirit. Without doubt a guy to look for. He even had an LP (late 50s) on Audio-Lab.
Frank Simon, « Sugar plum boogie » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/4-Frank-Simon-Sugar-plum-boogie-repris.mp3download
Then, again on 4*, two 1957 sides by an otherwise unknown artist to me, JAY T. STARR (# 1708). First, « Wa-na-chee« , an ethnic Indian Bopper, very solid. The flipside does slow things a bit, but nearly not with « Darker clouds ahead« . A good record.
Jay. T. Starr, « Wa-na-chee » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/4-STAR-1708-x-45-Jay-T.-Star-Wa-Na-Chee-57-Indian-Bop-KILLER-Hillbilly-style.mp3download
Jay T. Starr, « Darker clouds ahead » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/4-Jay-T-Starr-Darker-Clouds-Ahead-stereo.mp3download
Way up north (Indianapolis) on the Nabor label. BOB HILL does « This old train« , a very enjoyable variation (with train effects) on this inexhaustible theme of trains. (# 105, 1956)
Bob Hill, « This old train » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/nabor-105-Bob-Hill-This-Old-Train.mp3download
From Tennessee, as his name implies, ERNIE LEE and the Southerners, for the fine and idiosyncratic Tennesseee song: »You’re next door to heaven when you’re in Tennessee » on RCA-Victor 21-0158.
Ernie Lee « You’re next door to heaven when you’re in Tennessee » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/rca-21-0158-Ernie-Lee-and-his-Southerners-Youre-next-Door-To-Heaven-When-Youre-In-Tennessee-1.mp3download
Later in the ’50s, HOUSTON BARKS belts out his Country-rocker « She’s gone » on the Buck & Sunny label (101).
Houston Barks, « She’s gone » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/buck-sunny-101-Houston-Barks-Shes-Gone1.mp3download
Finally, from 1961, a fine country-roker in its own right: « You’re for me » by BUCK OWENS on Capitol (here it’s a reissue, # 6038). Nice steel (Ralph Mooney) and backing (Don Rich on fiddle, George French at the piano).
Buck Owens, « You’re for me » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Buck-Owens-Youre-For-Me-repris.mp3download
Here is a download link for 3 tracks. In the future, there will be a complete link. Still got some technical problems. They are there to be solved. Bye bye!
Brytheville , Nebraska. Between Scottsbluff and Columbus . A town out of nowhere , on U.S. 127. Rolling hills , wood trusses , green fields and copses . Monotonous , when you are driving miles for three days with the same horizon. Sparse traffic, nearly no trucks, pick- ups, some old Oldsmobile or Chevy tired .
From San Francisco, I went through Utah and joining Chicago. I’ve got all my spare time. Heartland , almost a dream . On the radio, muted, some Country music, interspersed with commercials for convenience stores or vendors of secondhand cars of the area. The radio in my lease Honda reports : KBOJ , 101.7 . The disc jockey , male and reassuring voice , not pounding posts , announces the titles without the usual fake excitement. He also takes his time .5 PM or so. Panels pub, the colors a little tired and screaming drawings succeed slowly. I am in the town itself before even entering into . At the traffic lights , the classic pattern : main street off the secondary . When I look back , I saw on the left the local church. Few people with the old canvas stetson , good women in shorts. Everyone is running toward his destiny .
After the fire, I park right in front of the local bar. Same old faded cars, and battered pick- ups . Neon barely visible, I have the sun setting in the back . Lighting showcase : Budweiser, stop-and -go , chicken- and-chips , 8AM to 12PM . I am hungry, thirsty, and want to attend people.
Inside, tired furniture, brown banquettes and tables. Few customers : a chubby guy perched on a stool , his eyes in the vague. Two old guys in overalls guffawing , probably at their memories as recruits in a Kansas U.S. Army fort . Ruddy bartender , good faced. Country music muted.
« Hi », it is simple to greet . « Hi » I launched him. » One Bud, please , » » ‘kay . » What is this station? That of the area , he replied . Does he know the DJ ? – ‘course, everyone knows that old Jim , from the time he’s jabbering into the mike and spreads that damn music out. I sip my Bud. Is it cool , at least ; It is rather for the rite of beer that I enjoy , next to good guys who have finished their day’s work and scour the dust of their language ; I share with them the time they take , flowing though slowly and it is just the value of life .
The bartender wipes his glasses, working behind the counter and polishes the taps. He takes a jaded look at the customers, his sales will be poor tonight. And always in the background this soothing calm voiced strong accent , announcing song titles and putting advertisements. I recognize along the way George Jones , Marty Brown, BR5 -49 , among other less famous, this DJ has a preference for the honky -tonk square and chooses very few ballads, in any case no soap . Myself being radio d.j., I want to meet him.
Bopping editor. Maryland, July 1998
» Where is the station ? » I asked the bartender. . » Just throw Lassalle Street Right after the fire, you can not miss it , it is written on the front , but what do you want him to Jim – . ? Nothing special, I answer . His music I like , and I like the radio , too, here in Europe, I want to meet a colleague. » Old folks laugh again, but have ears perked up , looking at me with their faded blue eyes. Their jaw keep the crease of laughter, their eyes are asking , I thought they had booze since they stopped their pick -up at the bar , and that they drank anything other than Budweiser . The VRP raised his head and gave me a sideways look , nothing aggressive . « Well , someone is interested in us and our area , moreover a guy out off Europe? It is true that his accent felt the school. What can the well stop here ? » I smiled , and try to feel close to them, then go outside the bar. Read the rest of this entry »
Howdy folks! Ready for a new batch of boppin’ hillbillies? Here we go:
First, from Arkansas, the otherwise unknown KIRMET PHILLIPS, certainly a local guy who did only this fine 1957 medium paced hillbilly, « Walking alone tonite » (2841) on the small DUB label. The latter was self-conscious of its ambition, because it surnamed itself « International »! Indeed in its relatively short time of existence, it issued other good records by Jimmy Williams (« Always late » fame), Don Head, Buddy Childress or Chuck Brooks, all fine rockabllies/rockers.
Kirmet Phillips, « Walking alone tonite » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/dub-2841-Kirmet-Philips-Im-walkin-alone.mp3download
Second artist, from Mississipi this time, on the also very small VON label which had in its roster important artists as Lloyd McCullough, Hayden Thompson or Johnny Burnette Rock’n'Roll Trio (their first ever record). The disc is by SHORTY SULLIVAN, « Tell me, tell me » (# 1004), again a fast hillbilly recently reviewed by « the hillbillyresearcher.blogspot » of Allan Turner. I included the flip side, « Gotta have your love tonight« , to be found on a Cactus (High on the hog, vol. 2) compilation. Both tunes were issued in November 1955.
Shorty Sullivan, « Tell me, tell me » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/VON-1004_A.mp3download
Shorty Sullivan, « Gotta have your love tonight » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/von-1004B-shorty-sullvan-gotta-have-your-love-tonight.mp3download
Then a Nashvillian, as the name of his backing band, His Lone Star Boys, doesn’t imply: BOB EATON, who cut several 78 rpm on Decca during 1950. Here I offer both sides of Decca 46276, a Mattie O’Neal/Salty Holmes written song, « Virginia on a saturday night« , good fast hillbilly, as the flip side « My dreamboat struck a snag« . Eaton was also a regular on Louisiana Hayride and KWKH as well as Nashville’s WSM. His steel player sounds very much like Jerry Byrd, which can be heard I’m told, for best effects, on Eaton’s « Somebody’s steelin’ my baby’s sugar » (Decca 46219).
Bob Eaton, « Virginia on a saturday night » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Bob-Eaton-Virginia-on-a-saturday-night.mp3download
Bob Eaton, « My dreamboat struck a snag » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/decca-46276-My-Dreamboat-Struck-A-Snag-Bob-Eaton.mp3download
Another find from Allan Turner’s site is CARL LOTTS and the Kentucky Kernels, « Wandering lonesome blues » on the LOT label (# 76). Its F80W prefix (RCA mastering system) gives an issue in 1955. Lotts was nicknamed on the label « The wandering blues boy« , and he surely sings a good bluesy hillbilly tune.
Carl Lotts, « Wandering lonesome blues » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Lot-76-carl-LOTTS.mp3download
The fifth artist chosen is GENE McKOWN. Important artist of (originally) Kansas City, who moved to West coast before returning home in the late ’50s. He had records on Fable, Brass, Sims, Totem (60s), even a blues cut on a Hometown Jamboree LP in 1958. Here he delivers a rockabilly/rocker, « Little Mary » on the West coast AGGIE label(# 1003), 1958. It’s less wild than « Rockabilly rhythm » (# 1001), once revived by Ronnie Weiser on his Rollin’ Rock label; nevertheless it’s a good song too.
Gene McKown, « Little Mary » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/aggie-1003A-Gene-McKown-Little-Mary-1958-.mp3download
Finally, a great dame of R&B, Miss HELEN HUMES in 1946. Backed by the Bill Doggett (of « Honky tonk » fame) Octet, she belts her pain in this « Unlucky woman » on the Philo label # 107, later renamed Aladdin. Enjoy the 78 rpm sound!
Helen Humes « Unlucky woman » http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Helen-Humes-Bill-Doggett-Octet-Unlucky-Woman-Philo-Records-78.mp3download
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) http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/vocalion-03634-shake-it-and-take-it.mp3download
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. »
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