Early February 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Hi ! Everyone visiting this blog. You are going to be treated with ten rockabillies or country boogies from 1953 to 1959, allegedly the best era for bopping music.

Billy Smith or Rocky Davis ?

BILLY SMITH is a mystery. His lonely record on Red Hed (Indianapolis, Ind.) was published in 1957 {see below}, and easily attains the value of $ 300-400 (or $ 150-200 in the book of B. K. Johns- who surprisingly gives a Texas location) . Prefixes of J indicate an RCA-Victor pressing in 1958. Anyway « Tell Me Baby » is the side to look for: wild vocal, great guitar on bass chords played, energetic drums, all you Rockabilly/White Rock fans you could dream of. Flipside « Baby Please Come Home » (is this the Country standard?) is a quieter. lot of good steel, a strong bass. The singer is convincing.

And now the mystery goes on. Tom Lincoln & Dick Blackburn in their classic book (Guide to Rare Rockabilly And Rock’n’Roll 45’s) do secure that Billy Smith and the next artist, ROCKY DAVIS are the same man. At last, the drums sound the same, and an uninventive guitar is heard in the 6 tunes. Davis hailed from Florida, and cut for Blue Sky Records located in St Cloud or Orlando in 1958-59. Davis did give 3 strong rockers and a ballad with welcome choruses, not unlike Jerry Arnold (« Race For Time » issued on Texas Security or N.Y.C. Cameo) : « Your A Doll » (Blue Sky 101) is a fast rockabilly – urgent vocal, although largely uninventive guitar. The same goes for the flipside « Save A Little Love For Me ».

Texas ‘Red’ Rhodes

TEXAS ‘RED’ RHODES, next artist, released « Go Cats Go » with topical lyrics on the Echo label (# 1001) in 1958. This Echo label has apparently nothing to do with the same name concern out of N.Y.C. or the New Orleans R&B label of 1950, but hails also out of Florida. A joyful Rockabilly/White rocker : piano, good guitar, a solid rhythm. Barry K. John gives a $ 500-600 price.

Abe Heape

From Stillwater, Oklahoma in 1958 ABE HEAPE cut the great « Short Fellow Blues » on Rose 118 (valued by Lincoln/Blackburn at $ 150-200 ; John ignores this item). Is the singer male or female? The song anyway is a medium paced Rockabilly, well worth watching for.

And now on to Country boogie…

On the Tennessee label (# 791) in 1951, the one-record TINY BENNETT, backed by seemingly the related Blackie Bennett, did release the very fine « Boogie Woogie Plowboy », obviously a copy note-for-note of Red Foley’s « Chatanooga Shoe Shine Boy » : a boogie guitar all throughout the song, bass and rhythm do their job, while a welcome piano is giving a good rinky-dink solo.

Tiny Bennett with Blackie Bennett & his Band

Clyde Moody

Finally the medium-paced Hillbilly boogie « Whatta line » by CLYDE MOODY released on Decca 28785 in 1953. Moody generally excelled in waltzes, but now he gives this great minor-classic tune: nice embroidering guitar (solo), a piano is backing , a fine steel solo.

And now this fortnight is over. Rendezvous on February 16th for the next one. I hope you have found something of interest here. Comments are welcome !

Sources : YouTube (Texas Red Rhodes, Rocky Davis) ; « Country Hicks » series ; Rocky Davis’s picture from « Rocky52 » great, French site. My own archives.

Late December 2018 bopping fortnight’s favorites (1947 to 1966)

Howdy folks ! This is the last selection for the last December 2018 fortnight of bopping favorites. There is no actual link between the tracks, maybe a tenuous (banjo present) between two songs. Rest is otherwise very varied, from 1947 to 1966.

First artist is a duet of two siblings: the WOODWARD BROTHERS, from the Boston, MA area. They cut in 1954 the uptempo Hillbilly « Cuttin’ Paper Heart » on Sheraton 1001.

Their leader was Mick Woodward, whose « Hot Rod Race Navy Style » is very good styled Hot Rod song.

They were part of the W.C.O.P. Hayloft Jamboree, which also starred Jack Clement, future Sun’s A&R man and artist in his own right.

From Cincinnati, OH, a female Rockabilly, LAUNA GUNTER with Queen City Ramblers: they do « He’s My Man » (Excellent 807, from 1958) : a sugary voice over a solid backing (guitar and romping/hopping piano).

LYNN CRAYMER & Blue Sky Ramblers, from Florida, do come next with a dramatic, atmosheric Rockabilly, »Wild She Devil » : fiddle to the fore, Blue Sky 109, located in St.Clair, Florida.

« Banjo Boogie » (Modern 534) was an unusual instrumental tune in the repertoire of the LONE STAR PLAYBOYS, cut in 1947 by this legendary combo.

Based in Waco, Texas, Lone Star Playboys were a popular country touring band in Central Texas from 1937 to the 1950s. Members of the group included vocalist Hamlet Booker and his brother Morris Booker on mandolin,

Vince Incardona on banjo, fiddler Cotton Collins, bassist Pee Wee Truehitt. They were long associated to Bob Wills.

From Louisiana, young DOUG STANFORD released, after his famous two-sider « Sadie/Won’t you tell me » on D (1957, issued in Fortnight August 2016, or February 2014), a very nice another double-sider on Carma Records (# 514) « Can You Explain/The Way You Used To Be » :

jumping Country-rocker and a Rockaballad issued circa 1960. Two pleasant songs. Another 45 by Stanford has until now escaped my researches : on the Bofuz 1108 label, «Same Old Crazy Me ».

Second artist to border Bluegrass is the veteran banjo player BILL CLIFTON, backed by his Mountain Boys, for « Lonely Heart Blues » (Mercury 71200, September 1957).

WHITEY KNIGHT (1920-1977), already posted in a past Fortnight’s favorites (November 2017). Here he claims to the fine, heartbroken song

« Another Brew, Bartender » released on Sage & Sand 205 in California. Good fiddle.

Here is JIM BOYD & His Men Of The West, for a romping « Boogie Woogie Square Dance ».( RCA 20-4263, released September 1951). Boyd had previously cut the very first version of « Dear John ». See the story behind this song in the article devoted to Aubrey Gass. Note this « Boogie Woogie » was penned by the prolific Billy Hughes, an artist in his own right.

On the Evana label (# 0001) in 1966 one can finally hear WAYNE SATKAMP & the Five Aces and the minimalist backing (fiddle to the fore) «Barber Hair Blues». A good bopper for this era.

Sources : more than one YouTube posts ; 45-world for Jim Boyd and Lone Star Playboys label scans; Gripsweat for Doug Stanford on Carma, among others ; Rocky-52 for the Lone Star Playboys info ; Aradillo Killer for Bill Clifton music and label scan ; 45 Ohio River for Launa Gunter; thanks Dean C. Morris for two corrections.

late August 2010 fortnight

Howdy, folks! Here we go with 6 “new” Hillbilly Bop goodies from various sources, spanning nearly 20 years from 1949 to 1967. Let’s begin with Indiana’s BLANKENSHIP Brothers. They were a group doing Bluegrass and Rockabilly, as late as 1960. I’ve chosen “I Just Got One heart“, the B-side to their most famous and best tune “That’s Why I’m Blue” (Skyline 106). Way up North in the Detroit, Michigan area. Hillbilly was concentrated on Fortune Records (Jack & Devorah Brown), and the label saw many, many fine releases by Southerners who did entertain the Ford car workers. Many good Fortune sides are to be found in the excellent NL Collector serie “Boppin’ Hillbilly“(“Detroit in the 50’s“, 3 volumes), and here we have one of the earliest sides (Fortune 141, 1949) by EARL SONGER, “Mother-In-Law Boogie“. Songer himself was from West Va. and came to Detroit in the late 30’s; being a fan of Bill Cox, he was a one-man band (vocal/guitar/harmonica), before teaming with Joyce (born in Tennessee). Together they recorded many songs on Fortune: 7 disks within 2 years. Immense success.Earl Songer

Next we have TOMMY JACKSON and “Flat Top Box” from Lexington, KY (Sun-Ray 131) as late as…1967. Great guitar, very modern in style, altho’ the Hillbilly spirit remains untouched. Back to Indiana with the prolific Hodges Brothers Band, fronted by RALPH HODGES for a little classic on Whispering Pines 201, “HONEY TALK” with the buzzing guitar and swirling fiddle. That’s a crossover between Hillbilly and Rock’n’Roll, what they call sometimes Hillbilly Rock.Whispering honey They had a good amount of albums recorded by Chris Strachwitz for Arhoolie in the 1970’s.

And then we have a woman – and God knows they were THAT uncommon in Hillbilly! JEANIE CHRISTIE on the Blue Sky label out of St. Cloud, FLA from 1958: “Flying High“. Great and firm vocal, a solid steel-guitar throughout. A nice record!blue-sky christie

Finally in Virginia for the tiny Liberty label (no connection with the California concern), HENDER SAUL, “I Ain’t Gonna Rock-Tonite“, one of my all-time faves in Hillbilly Rock. Forceful vocal, nice lyrics, great interplay between guitar and fiddle.liberty  saul rock

I really  hope you will enjoy the selections, and you will comment after a listen or two. You can download everything, of course!

Lâche pas la patate” (Don’t loosen the potatoe) to quote Cajun Jimmy C. Newman, and keep on Bopping!

Sources: various CDs. Pictures as usual from the excellent Terry Gordon’s site “Rocking Country Style”. Take a look at it!

late August 2010 fortnight

Howdy, folks! Here we go with 6 “new” Hillbilly Bop goodies from various sources, spanning nearly 20 years from 1949 to 1967. Let’s begin with Indiana’s BLANKENSHIP Brothers. They were a group doing Bluegrass and Rockabilly, as late as 1960. I’ve chosen “I Just Got One heart“, the B-side to their most famous and best tune “That’s Why I’m Blue” (Skyline 106). Way up North in the Detroit, Michigan area. Hillbilly was concentrated on Fortune Records (Jack & Devorah Brown), and the label saw many, many fine releases by Southerners who did entertain the Ford car workers. Many good Fortune sides are to be found in the excellent NL Collector serie “Boppin’ Hillbilly“(“Detroit in the 50’s“, 3 volumes), and here we have one of the earliest sides (Fortune 141, 1949) by EARL SONGER, “Mother-In-Law Boogie“. Songer himself was from West Va. and came to Detroit in the late 30’s; being a fan of Bill Cox, he was a one-man band (vocal/guitar/harmonica), before teaming with Joyce (born in Tennessee). Together they recorded many songs on Fortune: 7 disks within 2 years. Immense success.Earl Songer

Next we have TOMMY JACKSON and “Flat Top Box” from Lexington, KY (Sun-Ray 131) as late as…1967. Great guitar, very modern in style, altho’ the Hillbilly spirit remains untouched. Back to Indiana with the prolific Hodges Brothers Band, fronted by RALPH HODGES for a little classic on Whispering Pines 201, “HONEY TALK” with the buzzing guitar and swirling fiddle. That’s a crossover between Hillbilly and Rock’n’Roll, what they call sometimes Hillbilly Rock.Whispering pines 201 They had a good amount of albums recorded by Chris Strachwitz for Arhoolie in the 1970’s.

And then we have a woman – and God knows they were THAT uncommon in Hillbilly! JEANIE CHRISTIE on the Blue Sky label out of St. Cloud, FLA from 1958: “Flying High“. Great and firm vocal, a solid steel-guitar throughout. A nice record!jeanie christie blue sky

Finally in Virginia for the tiny Liberty label (no connection with the California concern), HENDER SAUL, “I Ain’t Gonna Rock-Tonite“, one of my all-time faves in Hillbilly Rock. Forceful vocal, nice lyrics, great interplay between guitar and fiddle.hender saul liberty 104

I really  hope you will enjoy the selections, and you will comment after a listen or two. You can download everything, of course!

Lâche pas la patate” (Don’t loosen the potatoe) to quote Cajun Jimmy C. Newman, and keep on Bopping!

Sources: various CDs. Pictures as usual from the excellent Terry Gordon’s site “Rocking Country Style”. Take a look at it!