Howdy folks, a happy and bopping New Year to everyone. As a seasonal gift, I will post no less than 15 selections, as on the Xmas fortnight.
First a mystery with GEORGE BOWE & the Travelers. It has proved impossible to find any detail on him neither even the location of the label, Eagle – a common label name during the ’50s/60s. A very small clue is to be detected in the deadwax, « Rimrock » – which leads one to Arkansas Wayne Raney‘s label of the ’60s. Anyway Bowe delivers a Rockabilly styled opus with « Big man » (Eagle 110A) – the whole thing is quiet and lazy. B-side (« Do you remember ») is a melodic ballad, a bit sentimental, over sympathetic backing.
Note: Alexander Petrauskas did advise me that the Eagle label was definitely associated with Rimrock, the latter pressing the Eagle products.
DON WHITNEY (incomplete bio statistics – he died in 1985) was a D.J. associated with Arkansas radio stations KLCN in Blytheville, then KOSE in Osceola (1957) ; he’s been too on WELO in Tupelo (MS), and cut a whole string of boppers for 4*. Where he cut them ? Probably Nashville. I chose from 1950 « Red hot boogie » (# 1471), call-and-response format (girl chorus). Steel and piano are barely audible, while the guitar player does a too short but wild solo. « Move on blues » (# 1588) from 1951 is a fine bluesy tune over a boogie guitar. Discreet steel and piano.
On Adco records (# 781), cut in Cincinnati, OH, next comes GLEN CANYON and a rocker from 1965, « I won’t be able to make it » : a shrilling guitar thoughout, and the disk is valued $ 50 to 100. I couldn’t locate the flipside « Still in love with you », reputedly a bopper. Canyon appeared also on Acorn and Boone (Kentucky).
The Sandy label out of Mobile,AL. is interesting for many records issued between 1957 and 1962 and highly revered by Rockabilly/Rock’n’roll buffs : do Ronny Keenan, Happy Wainwright, Jackie Morningstar (« Rockin’ in the graveyard »), Ray Sawyer (« Rockin’ satellite ») or Darryl Vincent (« Wild wild party ») ring each a bell to you ? Well, the label also had its hillbilly boppers, like Johnny Foster (more on him next fortnight, late January 2016) or WADE JERNIGAN. Both his sides (# 1010) are high quality boppers penned by label bossman Johnny Bozeman in 1958. « Road of love », medium paced, has a very « hillbilly » type vocal (high pitched at moments), over a prominent fiddle and good steel, while its flip « So tired » uses the same format, just a little bit slower. A good record for Hillbilly lovers.
Now on to Louisiana. The Khoury’s label began activities in 1951 to cease them in 1955 (last known is # 647, « Lu Lu boogie » by Nathan Abshire, which I owned moons ago before selling it – I am biting my fingers now..). We find here on # 700B (not in numerical order, this one is from 1954) a fabulous Cajun wildie « Louisiana stomp » by LEBLANC’S FRENCH BAND (an unidentified singer yells and encourages by his yells the whole fiddle led orchestra). Reverse is by Eddie Shuler, the founder of Goldband. Second La. selection : by GENE RODRIGUE, who had other releases on Folk-Star, Houma and Rod (the Cajun Rockabilly « Little cajun girl” from 1959). Here is his « Jole fille » (Meladee 101, cut in New Orleans), full of energy and « joie de vivre », Cajun style. Nice fiddle, steel and piano. This comes from the late ’50s apparently.
More from Louisiana with PAL THIBODEAUX (also known as Little Pal Hardy on Imperial) and « Port Arthur boogie » (Sky Line OP-154). Call-and-response, sung in French and English. Fiddle solo, sympathetic backing, two good guitar solos encouraged by the singer a la Bob Wills.
“Port Arthur boogie”
GEORGE GREEN & The Missouri Ranch Boys comes next with a good 2-sider on Zeylon . The medium paced « I don’t love you anymore » is backed by a welcome accordion, and sounds its late ’40s recording, although its prefix (J80W, an RCA pressing, dates from..1958). The flip « Be a little angel » is a jumping little thing, which grows on you at each playing. Good fiddle.
« Just because « is a classic Sun side, only issued on RCA, by ELVIS PRESLEY. We conclude this fortnight with his version (RCA 47-6640, early 1956) and the original by the SHELTON BROTHERS (in the ’30s). Great lyrics. Elvis does a very fine job on it.
Sources : Somelocaluser blogspot (George Bowe, Wade Jernigan, George Green), Youtube for several tunes (Don Whitney – scans from 78rpmworld) ; Robert Lunn on a 3-CD compilation of country music on Mercury, picture from “hillbilly-music.com”. Hope you enjoy this selection. Comments welcome. ‘Till then, bye.
Note: important addition on Khoury records by Louisiana tireless researcher and faithful friend Wade Falcon (Feb. 5th, 2016):
I read your latest article on Leblanc on Khoury. The musician is Floyd Leblanc. Fiddle player that originated with Bennie Hess and Virgil Bozman and the Oklahoma Tornadoes. Floyd had recorded the song Louisiana Stomp first with Virgil’s label O.T. Recording Company (#104-B)
After Virgil folded the label, Khoury who helped finance it, picked it up along with his artists and started Khoury and Lyric. Khoury re-released the song on his label. (700-B)
I actually know Floyd’s daughter. Very nice person.
Also, Khoury’s 600 series label ended with #652 in 1955. He started his 700 series again (which we’ll refer to as the “second 700 series”). There, you have the 700-B side you mention in your blog with Shuler on one side and Leblanc on the other. That lasted till about 1962. His last Cajun in the series was #720 Pee Wee Broussard.
Texas Bill Strength (Aug. 28, 1928 ~ Oct. 1, 1973): Although much better known for his career as a radio personality, Texas Bill Strength also cut a series of country and rockabilly efforts, including a session for the legendary Sun Records backed by former Elvis Presley guitarist Scotty Moore. Perhaps his biggest success came as a songwriter, having penned the blockbuster hit, « He’ll Have to Go » for Jim Reeves [actually written by J. Allison & A. Allison].
Born August 28, 1928 in Bessemer, Alabama, Strength was sixteen when he won an amateur contest at Houston’s Joy Theater. Local station KTHT was in the market for a cowboy act and soon he was working part-time on the air. In 1945 Strength began working as a DJ full-time for St. Joseph, Missouri station KFEQ, followed by a stint singing for Sioux Falls, South Dakota radio KSOO. After tenure with Denver’s KMYR, he returned to Houston, in quick succession appearing on KLEE, KATL and KNUZ. During that time, Strength also cut a serie of minor singles for the 4-Star label. Among them were « Who’s the lucky one » and « I’m doing a peach of a job ». By September of 1949 Bill was in Birmingham, Alabama doing daily radio programs at WRBC, which was a network of thirty-seven stations throughout the Southeast. In late 1949, Bill’s career had taken him back to Houston, Texas. Bill was one of the mainstays at a new venue in Houston along with others such as Floyd Tillman and Leon Payne. In early 1950 he was hired by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) to promote the organization via radio and convention.
Howdy folks ! I should have given myself a big kick, when I posted Ralph Pruett’s « Louise », last fortnight, and not having thought of the other record of the man, RALPH PRUITT, from Florida. He cut indeed the great haunting Rockabilly « Hey Mr. Porter », first on Lark 1506, later transferred on Meridian (same number # 1506).
Another well-known Hillbilly bop/rockabilly man whose I told the story a mere several years ago of was LOU MILLET. Until very recently I didn’t know his offering on Ekko 1024 from 1956 , which predates his solitary Republic 45 ‘ (« Shorty the barber/Slip, slippin’ in » (# 7130). So here are his « Chapel of my heart » and « When I harvest my love », both ballads ; the B-side is more solid.
The remaining selections are all by HUB SUTTER. He had a rich discographical career between 1946 and 57. Hubert Sutter, legally blind since childhood, was adept to both saxophone and clarinet and began his professionnal career in 1941. Later we found him as vocalist for the popular Jesse James in Austin (4* Records), before going solo on Lasso (a version of “NewFrankie & Johnny“), billed as Hub Sutter & his Galvestonians (actually Jesse James’ band in disguise). In 1950 he formed his Hub Cats and was signed with the upcoming Freedom Records in Houston. There he had two issues. « I don’t want my baby back » (# 5015) has an agile electric mandolin and possibly Herb Remington on steel. The rocking « Tellin’ my baby bye bye » (# 5030) was recorded with R. D. Hendon‘s Western Jamboree Cowboys, probably at the same session that produced Charlie Harris‘ « No shoes boogie » (# 5033).
Sources : Internet, and the notes to CD « Heading back to Houston » (Krazy Kat). With help from Drunken Hobo. Of interest also was the Hillbily Researcher blogspot and the entry to « Columbus Records » or Terry Gordon’s invaluable Rockin’ Country Style.
Note (Jan. 13th, 2016). A ‘new’ Hub Sutter record has been found on 4* 1359 by THOMMY THOMPSON: “Dinner with Jole Blon”: written and sung (waltz tempo) by Hub Sutter, the song follows the “Jole Blon” rage, initiated in 1946 by Harry Choates.
WADE HOLMES to begin comes from the East coast and was managed by Ben Adelman from Wahington, D.C. He is particular having records released only on (leased masters) Four Star, and budget Spin-O-Rama, Mount Vernon Music and Crown labels LPs, before during the Sixties on several issues on Adelman’s other labels : Sutton and Empire. I’ve chosen first his great rendition of Carl Smith‘s « Go boy go » from 1954 on Blue Ribbon 35-49. It’s pure Hillbilly rock, near Rockabilly. Second we have, from February 1954, the fast honky-tonker « You’re too tired (for me) » (4 * 1656), when Holmes had his own show on WPGC (Washington?). Finally here he comes once more with the superior (a great , great crisp lead guitar) « I’ll just pretend » from 1960 on the Almanac label (# 809), also backed by a fine fiddle (solo), and billed as « The singing truck driver ». No evidence at all he’s had converted himself as such with more truckers’ songs.
From Kansas City , 1950 or 1951 on the copious Red Barn label (# RH 1166)(see Allan Turner’s Hillbilly Researcher‘s blogsite for more info on this label), BOBBY COOK & BUDDY NELSON, « The Texas Saddle Pals » have a brisk duet, with fine fiddle, a guitar solo and even a mandolin in « Big daddy blues ». A very lively track.
From West coast in California in 1954/55, a well-known band leader on the Salinas area (radio stations KDON and KSBW), BASHFUL BOBBY WOOTEN on the Four Star (special serie) P 102, with one high-voiced MARTHA LOU GACHES for « Peeping Tom ». Gaches had also one issue on Pep (Bakersfield) and was at one time associated as vocalist with Big Jim DeNoone.Wooten had also one famous rocker « Goin’ deer huntin’ » in 1960 on the G.R.C. label and had two other issues on this 4* P serie.
From Santa Claus, Indiana, in 1965 or 66, a great country rocker « Snuffy Smith » by JOHNNY ACTON on the Kasko label (# 1644). It has a weird steel solo (too short), good guitar and indeed drums. Acton was also, with the Acton Sisters, on his own (?) label in 1968 (# 703), for a solitary issue (« Just between you and I », a country record), from Indianapolis.
Here is the new selection of this end of January 2015.
First, two records by BILL LANCASTER, on the Birmingham, AL. G.G. label . The first one « Too young to get married » (# 516) is credited to Bill Lancester. The second is « It’s saturday night now » (# 519). Both are fine Bopping billies, fast loping rhythm (fine fiddle and piano + steel).
From Middletown, OH comes DON JOHNSON and his « Feeling low ». I can’t believe this is the same artist as Don Johnston on Mercury (« Born to love one woman »). Fine fiddle throughout.
Don Johnson “Feeling low”
FERLIN HUSKEY, also Simon Crum, also Terry Preston (on 4*) is too well known. He delivered several good Hillbilly boppers ; I chose his best-known track, the rockabilly « Slow down, brother » (Capitol 3316).
WALT McCOY is a West coast veteran, whom nothing is virtually known about, although he had a long recording career. Here he is represented with « U.S.A. » on the late ’40s Chrystal label # 292.
Finally the very elusive too T.J. SKERO and his fine « Gold diggin’ mama » from 1950 on 4* 1468.