Hello again ! This time I will concentrate on a Wheeling, W. Va label by the mid-50s : ADMIRAL, and two artists from its roster, ABBIE NEAL and DUSTY OWENS. Actually the Admiral label had a short life and a very few artists, among them RAY ANDERSON (remember « Stalin Kicked The Bucket » on Kentucky, and « Sputnicks And Mutnicks » on Starday?)
DUSTY OWENS was the most well-known of both, originally from Detroit, MI. By the time he had relocated in W. Va. And had had a long stint with Columbia Records. He opens the serie (# 1000), duetting with a certain Donna Darlene and backed by the Rodeo Boys. « Once More » is a fine hillbilly shuffler, later revived by the Osborne Brothers on M-G-M, and in the ’90s by Chris Hillman and his Desert Rose Band. The flispide « It’s Goodbye And So Long » is a fast fiddle led hillbilly. On # 1004 Owens revives in 1957 the Wiley Barkdull « Hey, Honey », originally issued on Hickory 1074. A good version, with a lot of slap-bass on.
ABBIE NEAL is a Rockabilly chick, backed by her Ranch Girls. « Hillbilly Beat » (# 15000, unusual in the sequence) however has nothing to do with hillbilly music : it’s a fast Rock’n'Roll opus led by a hot saxophone ; some might call it « jump ». Flipside « I’ll Take Back That Heartache » is an urgent vocal rockabilly, excellent backing. « If Again » on # 1006 has Neal duetting on a fast, jumping hillbilly – strong guitar, fiddle all along.
I know nothing more than that I wrote, except Dusty Owens, whose long career is well documented. He even had a CD a few years ago on the German Bronco Buster label gathering some of his Columbia sides. Abbie Neal has a serie of very nice video clips on YouTube.
Let’s now hear the podcasts. Enjoy and comment !
Labels from Youtube or popsike. Admiral 15000 was supplied (sound and label) by Tony Biggs. Thanks!
Welcome for a new serie of honky tonk/bopping hillbilly recordings.
A certain Lyle recently asked me if I know Red Smith. Of course I know him. He was a D.J. On several stations, in New Orleans and Shreveport, then for KLLL in Lubbock, Tx, and even for WCKY in Cincinnati, Oh. He cut a very nice version of Luke McDaniels‘ « Whoa Boy » (issued on Trumpet out of Jackson, Ms) on Coral 61312 (1953). Snare drums, energetic fiddle and steel. I believe he never recorded anything else. But he wrote « All Because of You » for Rocking Martin (Starday 658). Could it be him?
Now in Indianapolis, In for the Nabor label (many rockabilly goodies, « Speed Limit » by Tommy Lam for example). Bob Hill and his Melody Boys had « This Old Train (Is Leaving My Blues Behind) » (# 105) : a fast fiddle led song, train effects done by the steel and a good guitar.
Then to Texas, and very probably out of Jim Beck’s studio in Dallas, a nice honky tonk, « Foolin’ Women » by Neal Jones. It’s shuffling, it’s solid. Columbia 21292.
From Franklin, Pa, a completely unknown Ralph Ryan and the Country Boys on the rare Process label # 132 does the very sincere ballad « Cry A Million Tears ». Intimate guitar.
1959 on the Georgia Country Jubilee label # 541, Richard Morris & the Morrisettes (!) has « Rosetta », apparently an Indian love song – strumming drums and fiddle. An haunting side.
Finally Ken Marvin on Mercury 6391(1954) has an husky voice for a good honky tonk « I’ve Got My Love » over fiddle and steel backing.
As usual, have a listen and send comments, please…
Billboard Jan. 1948
Western singer-songwriter Jack Guthrie first made popular the song « Oklahoma Hills« . He was born Leon Jerry Guthrie on November 13, 1915, in Olive, Oklahoma. His father, an early day blacksmith, was a younger brother of Charley Guthrie, the father of Woody Guthrie. Jack Guthrie grew up around horses and grew to love them and the cowboy image. As with others in the Guthrie family, he learned to play the fiddle, guitar, bass fiddle, and other instruments from family members. The family moved often, and since Guthrie did not enjoy the discipline of public school life, he would go in the front door of a school and straight out the back door. It is doubtful that he ever completed the sixth grade. By the mid-1930s the family had settled in California. As he believed that the names Leon and Jerry were not good cowboy image names, he became known as « Jack, » « Oklahoma, » and « Oke. »
He developed a style of singing and yodeling influenced by his idol, Jimmie Rodgers (hence his Capitol transcriptions, like Rodgers’ « Any Old Time« , or the premonitary 1946 « T. B. Blues« , taught from the 1932 Rodgers’ song, just two years before the latter’s death, and Guthrie’s own death early in 1948). In the mid-1930s Guthrie competed in rodeo as a bucking-horse rider. Later he adapted his music to fit the cowboy image. In 1937 his cousin and good friend Woody Guthrie traveled to the Los Angeles area, and they became a musical team, landing the Oke & Woody Show on KFVD radio in Hollywood. During the fall of 1937 Woody wrote « Oklahoma Hills« , which they performed during their shows. However, each cousin had different ambitions and quickly went separate ways.
Jack Guthrie also was a stage performer who entertained audiences with a whip act. His wife participated in it until their marriage became rocky and Guthrie started missing the items she held, accidentally hitting her with the whip. His friend Ruth Crissman then joined the act, and when he was injured in a fall from a bucking horse and had no other career, in 1944 she provided funds to buy him a demo recording session at Capitol Records’s studio. Capitol offered him a contract, and « Oklahoma Hills » was the first song he recorded. Released in 1945, it quickly became a number one country-western hit. When Woody Guthrie heard it on a jukebox, he called Capitol and claimed it as his song. Because Jack had recorded it and made it popular and had made a few changes to improve it, he and his cousin decided to share the copyright.
the page to Jack Guthrie, according to Tony Biggs
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Guy Logsdon, « Jack Guthrie: A Star That Almost Was, » The Journal of Country Music 15 (1993).
Here it is the presentation of Jack Guthrie (the man and his music) by the indefatigable Tony Biggs:
Jack Guthrie was in the U.S. Army and stationed in the Pacific when « Oklahoma Hills » was released. When discharged, he started playing Western-swing dances along the West Coast, making personal appearances, and writing songs such as « Oklahoma’s Calling. » He also recorded more hit songs for Capitol, including « Oakie Boogie. » (original cut by Johnny Tyler for Stanchel in mid-1946). Guthrie was diagnosed with tuberculosis, but he was determined to take full advantage of his popularity. He avoided medical treatment or hospitalization until it was too late. In July 1947 he was admitted to Livermore Veterans Tubercular Hospital near Sacramento, California, where he was told that there was no hope. He then moved in with his sister, Wava Blake. In October he recorded a few more songs, but he was so sick that he had to lie on a cot between songs. Jack Guthrie died on January 15, 1948, two months after his thirty-second birthday, and was buried in Memorial Cemetery, Sacramento, California.
Billboard March 1, 1947
201 Oklahoma Hills / I’m Brandin’ My Darlin’ Within My Heart – 06-45
246 When The Cactus Is In Bloom / I Loved You Once But I Can’ Trust You Now – 02-46
309 I’m Tellin’ You / Chained To A Memory – 10-46
341 The Clouds Rained Trouble Down / Oakie Boogie – 01-47
406 You Laughed And I Cried / It’s Too Late To Change Your Mind – 04-47
40012 I’m Building A Stairway To Heaven / This Troubled Mind Of Mine – 08-47 (released on Capitol Americana)
40032 Please, Oh Please / Oklahoma’s Calling – 10-47 (released on Capitol Americana)
40075 Next To The Soil / Ida Red – 01-48
40118 Bow Down Brother / You’re Gonna Be Sorry – 05-48
15251 In The Shadows Of My Heart / Answer To Moonlights And Skies – 09-48
15266 Oklahoma Hills / Oakie Boogie – ca. 10-48 (reissue)
57-40131 Look Out For The Crossing / No Need To Knock On My Door – 04-49
57-40222 Welcome Home Stranger / Colorado Blues – 08-49
F2128 Oklahoma Hills / Oakie Boogie – 06-52 (reissue)
6085 Oklahoma Hills / Oakie Boogie – 66 (reissue)
from Praguefrank site
A survey on Jack Guthrie’s retained recordings in podcasts:
Hello folks. The link between the 8 songs this time would be either the BREWSTER Brothers, either the WEBSTER Bros, either Knoxville, TN, and would last from 1954 to 1962/63.
In Manchester, KY, circa 1957-59, there were the BREWSTER Brothers. Originally from Tennessee, the elder Willie G. (mandolin and vocal) had begun late ’40s as sideman for the Bailey Bros. He even replaced Dan Bailey when the latter was gone to service duties. In 1953, the Brewster Bros. and the Smokey Mountain Hillbillies found much success on Scottsboro, AL. WROS radio. Not so long after that, joined by younger Franklin « Bud » Brewster (guitar and banjo, plus vocal), the brothers backed in 1957/58 Carl Story for recording sessions on Mercury, Starday, or small companies like Wayne Raney’s Rimrock label. Willie estimates they cut three hundred songs with Story! Around the same time, they went to perform on a regular basis for the Cas Walker radio & T.V. show in Knoxville, TN. They backed Red Rector among others. That’s when they recorded for Acme Records 1776, out of Manchester, KY. two sacred songs in bluegrass style, among them « I’ll Be Happy In My Home« . They were joined by the FOUR BROTHERS QUARTET, which was composed of Audie (mandolin and tenor voice) and Earl (guitar and lead vocal) WEBSTER. More on them below.
The BREWSTER Brothers, as the Jaguar’s (sic), went on to record Rock’n'roll in 1959 on Janet, in Manchester, KY, too, which was simply Acme revived after being sold. Bud Brewster had the fine « I Coud If I Would (But I Ain’t) », on Janet 201, along with the vocalist Harold Harper on the average White rock (insistant guitar riff) flipside « The Big Noise ». After that I lost their trail.
The WEBSTER Brothers, Earl and Audie, started in Philadelphia, TN., playing in schools and churches. They joined WNOX in Knoxville, TN and made 6 sides for Columbia/Okeh in 1954, all great boppers. Let’s begin with the earliest « Till The End Of The World Rolls ‘Round » and « It’s All Left Up To You », issued in January 1954 on Okeh 18056. Fast, fiddle-led (a short steel solo), with Earl on guitar and lead vocal being joined by Audie on harmony duetting chorus.
In October 1954, they joined in Nashville Carl Butler for a long Columbia recording session, and that’s when they cut their best tune ever, the great « Road Of Broken Hearts » – urgent vocal, fine fiddle by Dale Potter, a barely audible Don Helms on steel (Columbia 21421). The same session saw them cut the fine flipside « Seven Year Blues ». Later on (November 1955) they joined Carl Butler (leader) for two religious sides, « Looking Through The Windows Of Heaven » and « Walkin’ In God’s Sunshine » (Columbia 21473). Very nice fast sacred hillbilly.
We found them much, much later (1962/63) on the Nashville Do-Ra-Me label for a far less interesting « My Heart Won’t Let Me Forget », almost pop-country (# 1439).
As usual, comments welcome. You know, these sides are thrown as the best I know today. Indeed they can be rare (they come from my collection or from the net), but it’s the quality that matters !
From the notes to Old Timey LP 126 « Classic Country Duets » and « Early Days Of Bluegrass, vol. 2 » (Rounder 1014, 1976).
Indiana is not the first American state you’d associate wih primitive Rockabilly, but it was there, hidden away among the steelworks and the industrial areas. Indianapolis was seething with young, spotty hopefuls, all wanting to be Elvis and looking more like the greek next door. Eddie Smalling, Tommy Lam, Van Brothers, Tex Neighbors, Dennis Puckett…All true blue Indiana boppers.
The Blankenship Brothers certainly weren’t the next « Teenage sensation ». Hell, this small but tightly packed band didn’t even pretend to cut Rockabilly. Led by Floyd and Dennis Blankenship, this small outfit cut some of the best primitive rock north of Tennessee, but to them it was more like country and bluegrass music., blended with a little rough Johnny Cash edge. They played all the local honks and jukejoints, entertaining the masses of factory workers who were looking for entertainment after a hard week of being frazzled by the burning steel mills. Hell, maybe these guys worked there too…
Read the rest of this entry »
Not much is known about Rudy Hansen, except that he was raised on a farm in New York (unknown date of birth). Later on, he was one of the stars appearing on the WLA’s Midwestern Jamboree, aired every saturday from Cincinati, Oh. Inspired by the Shreveport-based Louisiana Hayride, the show was originally called Boone County Jamboree (named for nearby Boone County in Northern Kentucky). Midwestern Hayride was first broadcast before 1937 and was carried live on the radio each Saturday evening through the early 1970s.
WLW television came on the air in 1948, sharing larger quarters with WLW-AM in the former Elks Building, re-christened Crosley Square. It eventually became the originating studio for the regional network Avco Broadcasting Corporation, which included WLW-A in Atlanta, WLW-D in Dayton, WLW-C in Columbus and later WLW-I in Indianapolis (after WLW-A was sold) when the program moved to television in the early 1950s. Then originating from WLW-TV, Midwestern Hayride was simulcast on WLW-AM until the early 1960s, then was revived in the mid-60s. At the show’s peak there was a one-year waiting list for tickets to be in the audience (100 people was the limit for each weekly show).
Hansen had much success in New Jersey, and got help from Smokey Warren.
In 1954 he cut his first two sides for RCA-Victor « X » sub-label (# 102). Neither « I Walked Away » (ballad) nor « The Mambo Queen » were spectacular songs, the only outstanding being the B side, Country mover, almost pop song.
Then we found him circa July 1956 (according to the Rite matrix system) with two songs on his own label, Rudy Hansen # 1226, cut or issued in Springfield, Oh. « Cry Baby Baby » is an average Country ballad, while « Saturday Jump » is THE side. Fast Rockabilly, urgent vocal, nice steel throughout, wild slapping bass, it’s got everything a ’50s lover could look for. I don’t know if the record itself is rare, although I always seen it labelled « advance copy », so Hansen seemingly sent it only to D.J.s. Note that the song was co-written with an interesting artist in his own right, Clay Eager, whom I will discuss one day upon.
In 1957, Hanson got a contract with Decca and recorded in Nashville 6 songs during 3 sessions, all pop : chorus (Anita Kerr), and I cannot really recommend any song, except « Puttin’ On The Style » or « Just As Long » from his last, early 1958, session.
After that Hansen disappeared. Maybe, like many others, he went disillusioned and hung up music.
(C. Eager – R. Hansen)? RUDY HANSEN (Springfield Oh, 1956)
Boppin’ the blues and blue suede shoes?
Baby, lots of fun?
Down on the farm on Saturday night?
That’s were it all begun?
Everyone was waltzin’ in the ol’ red barn?
And they’re jumpin’ to the caller’s call?
When all of a sudden they got real wild?
This is what I saw?
Uncle Ben got his fiddle down off the wall?
Uncle Judy got his ol’ banjo?
And Sarah jumped up, kicked out her shoes?
Screamed out, Go Ben Go!?
Fiddler was a pickin’ like you never did hear?
You oughta hear the rooster crow?
That Saturday night down on the farm?
When uncle Ben started rock ‘n’ roll
What do hardcore collectors expect from a GOOD Rockabilly or vintage Rock’n'Roll record ? Wild vocals ? A driving beat ? Numerous and extended guitar/piano breaks ? Yes, and the whole lot will be even closer to the mark ! However, one can also dig laid back vocals, a more relaxed beat, unobtrusive choruses and sax or steel guitar soli.
Now, in the two TOMMY PEDIGO singles, the main feature is the presence of THREE guitar breaks in three songs out of four (‘Memphis Town Blues‘ – alas, untraced, containing only two breaks). Thus, those highly distinctive latter-day Country Rockers find their place in any Rockabilly collection. They’re also definitely distinctive because of Tommy’s very nasal and laid back vocals (certainly Bob Dylan’s influence can be felt there) and thanks to the lead guitarist’s clear, treble and slightly echoey sound (I bet he used a Fender Telecaster). The songs, four Pedigo originals very similar in sound and structure, might have been cut at one same session but they were issued on two different labels, OLO and ANA (three letters each!), both based at the same address (Box 7831 – Nashville, Tennessee) and distributed by Sound Of Nashville. Olo 103 sees Tommy backed up by The Ridge Runners whereas Ana 106 credits The Barren River Boys as backing band ; they’re obviously the same outfit. Unless Tommy plays one of the instruments, the band is comprised of an electric lead guitar, an acoustic rhythm guitar, an electric bass and a snare drum (beaten with brushes).
‘Redheaded Woman‘ (Olo 103) is probably the pick of the bunch among Rockabilly lovers but the flip, ‘Memphis Town Blues‘, grows on you with each new spin. ‘Trouble‘ (Ana 106) is my own favorite (by a hair, really) ; the other side, ‘Whiskey, Women & Wild Living‘, is the most ‘Countryfied’ of the four. There’s a date written in the dead wax of Olo 103 : ’4/27/66′, proving to the most rabid collectors that the Sixties did not ring the knell of Rockabilly. Hear « Trouble », too : fine fast Rockabilly, nothing to do with Presley’s classic.
Tommy Pedigo had his own start in 1959 on wax : Atwell 100, a fine rural rockabilly, « She’s Gone », from Lafayette, TN. and under the name of the Pedigo Bros. They have another 45 on Atwell 101.
A survey of Ana/Olo label (taken from I forgot where)
OLO Records (Record No. 100) “ONLY IN MY DREAMS” and “LOVE IS BLIND” (Tommy W. Pedigo) REBECCA MAY & TOMMY with The Cumberland Coasters. The Cumberland Coasters were Rebecca & Tommy Pedigo playing guitars, Leonard Perry Whiteaker on bass fiddle, Melvin (Hezzie) McCormick on banjo and Rayburn Simmons, fiddle.
ANA Records (Record No. 101-a) “LOVE IS BLIND” (Tommy W. Pedigo) CHARLES REED and Rebecca Pedigo with The Cane River Boys. The band members were Delmus Neal on electric guitar/singer, Rayburn Simmons playing fiddle, and Mac Simmons on the bass fiddle. (Record No. 101-b) “GOODBYE OLD SAINT LOUIS” (Tommy W. Pedigo) CHARLES REED & DELMUS NEAL with The Cane River Boys.
ANA Records (Record No. 102-a) “I LOVE YOU” (Tommy W. Pedigo) Rebecca Pedigo & Delmus Neal with The Cane River Boys. (Record No. 102-b) “YOU HAVE WON MY LOVE” Rebecca Pedigo & Charles Reed with The Cane River Boys.
OLO Records (Record No. 103-a) “Red Headed Woman » and No. 103-b) “Memphis Town Blues” (Tommy W. Pedigo) Tommy Pedigo with The Ridge Runners. Band members were Delmus Neal on electric guitar, Robert Reed on bass and Billy Hillis on drums.
ANA Records (Record No. 104-a) “ONLY IN MY DREAMS” and (Record No. 104-b) “GREYHOUND BLUES” (Tommy W. Pedigo) REBECCA ROGERS with The Country Classics. The band members were Billy Yearwood on steel guitar, Johnny Sutton on electric guitar, Clint Walden on drums and Hank Rowland playing bass.
ANA Records (Record No. 105-A) “LITTLE BITTY DEVIL » and (Record No. 105-B) “SINGING THE BLUES AGAIN” (Tony Williams) TONY WILLIAMS with The Nashville Nighthawks.
ANA Records (Record No. 106-A) “WHISKEY WOMEN AND WILD LIVING” (Tommy W. Pedigo) and (Record No. 106-B) “TROUBLE” TOMMY PEDIGO with The Barren River Boys. Band members were Delmus Neal on electric guitar, Robert Reed on bass and Billy Hillis on drums.
ARTISTS REVUE Records (Record 1A) “MEMPHIS TOWN BLUES” (T. Pedigo) and (Record 1B) “SLAP HAPPY JAIL” (J. Austin) DEXTER, artist.
ANA Records (Record 108-A) “NASHVILLE BLUES” (Tommy W. Pedigo) COUNTRY CLASSIC ESQUIRE. Band members were William (BILL) Hardin singer and on sax, Rebecca Rogers on keyboard and backup singer, Mike Johnson on electric guitar, Jimmy Payne on bass and Jerry Cole on drums. (Record No. 108-B) “I LOVE YOU” (Tommy W. Pedigo) COUNTRY CLASSIC ESQUIRE. Band members were Rebecca Rogers on keyboard and singer, Mike Johnson on electric guitar and singer, William (BILL) Hardin on sax, Tommy Pedigo on bass and Jerry Drums on drums.
J&P CO. “SLAP HAPPY JAIL” and DON’T BOTHER ME, JIM” (J. Austin – P. Capshaw) Sung by Former Jailer DIAMOND JIM AUSTIN
ANA Records, “LITTLE BITTY DEVIL” (Tony Williams) JAMES & PATSY AUSTIN. Band members were Rebecca Rogers on keyboard, William (BILL) Hardin on sax, Mike Johnson on electric guitar, Tommy Pedigo on bass and Jerry Cole on drums. “START ALL OVER” (James Austin) JAMES AUSTIN, artist. Band members were Rebecca Rogers on keyboard, Mike Johnson on electric guitar, Tommy Pedigo on bass and Jerry Cole on drums.
Reprint of Paul Vidal’s BigVJamboree site for most of the information. The idea of the article come from when I visited Paul during the ’80s, and he made me familiar with Tommy Pedigo.
Robert D Blum
June 1, 1934 – February 2, 2012
Robert David Blum, 77, of Puyallup, WA, died February 2, 2012, at Life Care Center of Puyallup.
Mr. Blum was born June 1, 1934, in Gilliam, MO, to Freddy David Blum and Marguerete Katherine Narron.
He attended high school at NE High School in Kansas City, MO. Robert is a veteran of the United States Air Force.
Although Robert held many jobs, Robert’s life was his music. Robert traveled the United States playing country music with some of the biggest stars in the industry; everybody called him ‘Cowboy Bob’/'Bob the Guitar Man’. Many have compared his guitar playing to the legendary Chet Atkins. His prized guitar is a Chet Atkins Gretch, the only guitar he played throughout his entire career. Merle Haggard and George Jones were two of many of his favorite musicians. He was inducted into Sioux Falls, SD Legends of Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011. He sang and played his guitar up until he became seriously ill.
Hi! to everyone visiting this blog early new year. If you are looking for bopping music, this is the site for you! Latest story (published on Christmas day!): Autry Inman. Let’s take a look and a listen. Great hillbilly/rockabilly music.
First, one of those Rockabilly acetates flourishing over the web. Never heard of the artist, HAROLD MORRISON, but his « I Gotta Have Her » has got everything to enjoy your ears.
Then on for bit pop flavoured « Baby, Baby, Baby » on RCA 47-6188 (1955) by FLOYD WILSON. Male chorus, and the whole sounds New York but still enjoyable.
Return to JAY T. STARR, recently covered in a previous fortnight. This time for a serious Hillbilly boogie: » Rattle Snake Boogie« , on Coast 9017, complete with fiddle and boogie guitar.
Also I did announce the DALTON BOYS (Shorty Long and Bob Newman). Both had begun their recording career on King (1951) with a split session. 1955 sees them reunited under a disguise for the fine train song « Roll, Rattler, Roll » on X 0045. Great boogie guitar, and harmony vocals all the way. Flip is slower « Just Like Me » (not podcasted).
From Waco, Texas, for a superb « Shorts Crazy » by MACK McCRAY on the Ford label (#1 or # 1074-A, the sequence in unclear on the label). All in all, piano, fiddle and steel do provide an almost Starday sound.
Finally from New Jersey, Jersey City on the Cevetone label (# 1866), a fine hybrid Hillbilly/Bluegrass « Mountain Boy » by VERLIN SPEEKS. Very fast, fiddle and banjo all along, and an energetic rhythm guitar. Just take a listen! In the meantime, have a nice Bopping New Year!
Robert Autry Inman was born in Florence, Alabama, on January 6, 1929. He passed away at 59, on September 6, 1988. Read the rest of this entry »