Harmony vocals: some bopping Bluegrass duets

This first batch of duets will concentrate on bopping Bluegrass tunes. Indeed the choice of tunes is entirely mine, and I post the ones I like very much. The main instruments, as expected, are fiddle and banjo or mandolin, all pushing often an urgent vocal.

The DIXIE DRIFTERS were a small Bluegrass group from Houston, TX ; actually they were the first one to make Bluegrass music so far from Kentucky or Tennessee. Hank Wilson (guitar/vocal & composer) was the leader when they cut « Lies, lies and alibis », a fast ditty on the Minor label (# 112). Enjoy the dobro part! (According to ARLD, this record came out in October 1958). No label scan available, sorry: I’ve just got the music from a Tom Sims’ cassette. Earlier on the boys had another issue on Azalea 110, same style (« Gone forever »). Hank Wilson, as “Slim Wilson” recorded probably one more single for Minor (# 117)”The ring around your finger/Bring a wall around Texas“. And I really don’t know if Hank Wilson and Leon Russell are the same person.

azalea 110 dixie drifters - gone forever

Lies, lies and alibis

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Gone forever

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BB 22-6-59 dixie drifters

Billboard June 22, 1959

 

 

Way up north with the THOMAS BROTHERS (Melvin and Erwin) for an oustanding « Way high, way low » on the Hammond, IN. Mar-Vel’ label (# 355 from 1956). Each voice (3 actually) compete strongly : the highpitched, then the bass man, finally the medium singing « Right in the middle, that’s where I want to be ». A pity they never had another issue. March 22,2018. Actually I found a clip of their EP on Atwell 173, “Let The Light Shine Down“, below.

 

 

Way high, way low

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“Let The Light Shine Down”

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mar-vel 355a thomas brothers - way high, way low

 

 

Third we have a decisive ‘Vocal duet’ on the label : Rena 803 (sub-label to Cozy) from Ripley, WV by RALPH & RUTH. « Hard hearted girl», great rhythm guitar. It’s difficult to assume a date for the issue, maybe late ’50s, or even 1961, as suggested by HillbillyCountry45 (Youtube).

Hard hearted girl

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rena 103 ralph & ruth - hard hearted girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Pico, California on the Sundown label # 106 : TOMMY GUESS & BILL LOWE do give a lot of energy in their « My foolish heart ». Mandolin solo. They disappeared afterwards 1958. March 22,2018. I’ve added a clip of the flipside, “Unwanted and Alone“. Enjoy!

A beautiful harmony with the NASH BROTHERS, probably from Georgia on the Peach label (# 569) : « My prescription refilled » from March 1959.

My foolish heart”

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Unwanted and Alone“(clip)

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My prescription refilled

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sundown 106A Tommy Guess & bill love foolish heartpeach 569 nash brothers - my prescripton refilled

The Ana/Olo labels: ’60s Nashville rockabilly!

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 – [Tune added below in the podcasts on April 2nd, 2018]). 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) — uh uh: www.tommypedigo.com!

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.


A love affair gone wrong

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“It’s hard to smile

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Memphis Town Blues“(added April 2nd, 2018)

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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.

Please pay a visit to www.tommypedigo.com, where most of the information above do come from.