Howdy, folks. Sometimes it is easy to assemble a “fortnight” feature, sometimes not. This time it has not been that easy, I don’t know why. I tried to vary tempos, origin, labels, and I am not sure I did succeed. Only your visits and interest could say I was O.K.
First in this new serie, CECIL CAMPBELL, backed by the Tennessee Ramblers. He was steel player (born 1911) in the Virginia/North Carolina region, and found moderate but constant success with his records on RCA-Victor. Here I’ve chosen his 1951 “Spookie Boogie“; he explains in his own words what he wanted to do with this tune:
He was looking for an “…unusual hollow type of rattling sound designed to send cold chills rushing down the spine.” He couldn’t find that sound on the musical instruments. But as fate would have it, one of the members of the Tennessee Ramblers had false teeth and that mysterious sound that appears on the tune “Spooky Boogie” was made by a pair of chattering false teeth.” Later on, he was to have a minor Rockabilly classic in 1957 on M-G-M (12487) called “Rock and Roll Fever“.
From Kentucky comes now JIMMIE OSBORNE, the “Kentucky Folk Singer”. He had a string of releases on KING, with strong success, among them the amusing “Automobile baby“. Osborne played the Louisiana Hayride, as well as the Opry, until his suicide in 1957, at the early age of 35.
On to Texas. FRED CRAWFORD is a relatively well-known artist, whose 9 Starday singles were of constantly highest musical level. “Cornfed Fred”, as he liked to be called, was a long-time D.J. on KERB radio station of Kermit, and considered himself more a radio man than an artist. Here below is “You Gotta Wait“, a very nice 1954 Bopper. He later went to D, and committed a pop song, “By The Mission Walls”, whose main claim to fame is the backing by no one but Buddy Holly.
Then TEXAS BILL STRENGTH, who had on Coral Records “Paper Boy Boogie“. Another version does exist by Tommy Trent on Checker 761 from 1952. I don’t know which one came first. The song was even revived by Hank Williams as a demo. Strength (1928-1973) had a long carreer, beginning on radio KTHT, Houston, in 1944, and recording for 4 Star, Capitol, Sun and Nashville. He re-recorded “Paper Boy Boogie” on Bangar as late as 1965.
During the Sixties, ARK records from Cincinnati did issue many a fine disc, mainly in Bluegrass or Sacred. In a past fortnight I included a Jimmy Murphy song, which I consider one of his best, “I Long To Hear Hank Sing The Blues“. Here we have a pseudonym, and there is not any chance, I’m afraid, to discover who really was TEXAS SLIM. A very superior double-sided “When I’m old And Gray” and “Look What You Gone And Done To Me” (ARK # 309). Stunning association of banjo and steel. Hear it!
Finally a classic R&B rocker: “Flat Foot Sam” by T.V. SLIM & His Heartbreakers. Hope you enjoy the selections! Bye.
Howdy folks. Maybe you’re still on Holydays? Bopping (and the editor) didn’t take any spare day to rest, and kept busy all Summer long, and were preparing a new hot slice of Hillbilly goodies. This time it spans from 1947 to…1966. Lotta good music, for your own pleasure, all of you Cherished visitors/listeners/downloaders all over the World! Some strong numbers, one could say hard-core Rock’n’Roll influenced Rockabilly, just to make a change from the previous post devoted to the gentle, sometimes smooth music by JACK BRADSHAW. I like Jack anyway, be sure to check this post! And another tune, in particular, very near to Western swing (even a very risqué song for the time being).
Jimmy Murphy, 1950’s
So, OK for embarking? We begin with JIMMY MURPHY (see elsewhere in this site with help of the search engine at upper right). His commercial days at Columbia (1955-1956) were largely over when he entered (after an unreleased Starday session – now available on Ace records) again in the Bill Lanham studio and recorded one of his best tunes ever, very sensitive and sincere, in 1962, for the Ark label, “I Long To Hear Hank Sing The Blues“. Unclassifiable music: between Hillbilly, Folk music and Bluegrass.
Let’s go on with HOMER “Zeke” CLEMONS. He hailed from Texas during the mid to late forties with his outfit, the Swingbillies. As soon as 1947, they were recording their “Operation Blues” (lyrics below), an early risqué song which actually met such enormous success on the first label, Bluebonnet, that Modern out of Los Angeles leased the tune, as “Operation Blues # 2“, next year, and re-released it even 16 years later, under the name “Hank Brown” (Royalty label)
OPERATION BLUES (Homer Clemons) ?Now won’t you climb up on the table,?Pull up that gown?Raise up that left leg, ?Let that right leg down?Pull off them stockin’s,?That silk underwear?’Cos the doctor’s got to cut you, mama, ?Don’t know where??The doctor knows his business?The doctor knows just what to do??Too much of (?), ?One old ( ?)?Two pair of step-ins?That’s all I can say (save)?Your ribs are all loosened,?Your carburettor’s stalled?I’ll duck into your hood, ?And clean your spark plugs all??The doctor knows his business?The doctor knows just what to do… Is it a car (spark plugs), or anything (-one) else that the doctor is visiting?
On to 1966. Dayton, Ohio. WIBBY LEE is a real unknown – no information has ever surfaced about him, at least to my knowledge. He cut 3 disks for the small Jalyn label, all good Boppers, Rockabilly borderline, a real anachronism for the time. Just vocal and electric guitar (Is there any bass?) on “I’m Lost Without Your Love” .
Just WHO was Ted DIXON, or Walter DIXON, or even MASON DIXON? Once in the now-long-ago defunct “Roll Street Journal” magazine, the handsome Phillip J. Tricker promised the readers the story of Mr. Dixon, which never saw the light…First, it seems the three were the same person. Second, they had numerous records on labels as small and elusive as Reed (Alabama), Erwin (Tennessee), the most approaching to a major (everything is relative) being Meteor, out of Memphis (the Los Angeles’ Modern label outfit). Here I have chosen by MASON DIXON the superlative “Don’t Worry About Nuthin‘”, complete encouragement to leave troubles behind, and take the good side of life. Swirling fiddle, great happy vocal, thudding bass: the optimal crossing between Hillbilly and Rockabilly, being cut 1955.
Then on to Texas. Ted Daffan’s label, ably named Daffan (its story is on the line). A great 1957 offering by a guy by the strange name of FIDLO. “Trifling Heart” has a solid Country-rock guitar, the singer’s voice is firm and confident; great steel-guitar throughout (solo interplay between lead and steel), all loped by a thudding bass. Finally we have a minor classic in “We’re Bugging Out” (Murco 1014) by another unknown, TOMMY BOYLES (1959). I think the tune could easily fall in the category of Country-rock. Never-the-less, a fine romper in its own right. Boyles had another record on the N.J. based Granite label in 1960. A good country-rocker too.
Tommy Boyles, late 90’s
As a bonus, a great Rocking Blues in the hand of FENTON ROBINSON on the Duke label (# 191), “Crazy Crazy Loving“, from Texas, 1958. I LOVE Blues too!
And as usual, I hope you all will appreciate the selections. I do my damn best to give you pleasure (pics and music). Bye!
Biography by Bruce Eder
Jimmy Murphy is one of the more enigmatic figures to come out of the country/rockabilly scene of the early to mid-’50s. A virtuoso guitar player and a gifted and inspired songwriter, he had a knack for composing and performing quirky, clever songs that hooked into unusual thematic angles — his first song, “Electricity,” equated rural electrification with religious salvation, while the closest he ever got to a real hit, “Sixteen Tons Rock n’ Roll,” was a satire of the 1956 Tennessee Ernie Ford hit of the Merle Travis song. His music was also strangely archaic in both its form and content, elements that may have doomed his chance for a successful recording career. ??Murphy’s music drew from a multitude of influences, most notably the blues. His father was an admirer of numerous bluesmen, including Blind Boy Fuller and Leadbelly. He joined his father in the bricklaying trade and always split his time between construction and music. (more…)