Howdy Folks ! This is the early May 2017 bopping fortnight’s favorites selection.
First rank for a mid-tempo Western swing bopper : « Alone by the telephone » from 1947 by RALPH REYNOLDS & his Dude Ranch Wranglers (vocal Curley Burns). From California, it has a lazy vocal, a bit, as you say, disillusioned. Long guitar solo and piano, fiddle parts. The record was first (?) issued on Red Bird 102, then appeared on Globe 127. A very good example of bopping Swing of the ’40s.
Then again in NYC on the Choice label (# 6504) [so, not the revered by Collectors Kansas City label] for a strong rocker: « You don’t love me like you used to do » from 1959. Loud drums, and a good duet between piano and guitar. Still a good side. Finally « Big train » (Choice 6508) from 1960, with a more folky approach (use of a prominent banjo in the backing). And again, a great record. Tommy Faile seemingly never failed ! He was reported as having worked with Arthur Smith too (« Bye bye black smoke choo choo » on M-G-M) and was having records as early as 1948 (Capitol, 40 000 serie) !
Back on the West coast on the Nielsen label (# 57-1-2) and WHITEY KNIGHT and « From an angel to a devil ». A very nice uptempo ballad, with steel to the fore. A touch of the Bakersfield sound.
PHIL BEASLEY on the Dayton, OH Jalyn label (# 349A) cut in as late as 1970 the fine « The restless wind » : the song is a bit folkish, and a fast ditty. Good guitar and vocal.
Finally in Hollywood, TOMMY SARGENT’s Range Boys do come with three tunes. First a good revamp of the old traditional « Frankie and Johnnie », a good jumping version, fiddle-led, on the Corax 1328B label from 1947-48 (vocal Gabe Hemingway). The steel guitar is played by Sargent , as noted on the next track sticker « featuring Tommy Sargent and his Steel Guitar » : « Steel guitar boogie » (# 1328A) is a quite good instrumental, a serious contender in this category. The third and final track by Sargent is also cut on Corax # 1084B (non consecutive serie, but same period!). It’s a prettily different affair : « Night train to Memphis » (vocal Gabe Hemingway) is a very fast call-and-response romper. The accordion imitates a train, we even have a solo of a seemingly welcome clarinet (or is a flute?). A fabulous Western bopper !
Howdy folks. If you are there, you’re in for a musical journey in Hillblly bop music. Here we go for more obscure or lesser known names, who one cannot know anything about, except what it’s in the grooves, or what I gathered – and most of the time the harvest is a meager one. Talking about harvests, let’s not forget the “contact me” section: here are for sale excellent CDs or vinyl records (very nice condition) for sale from my collection. Don’t overpass this occasion!
Chuck Bowers did hail from Arkansas, where he was born in 1921. He was a regular of the St. Louis, MO. Ozark Jubilee and had a spot on KWTO. His acclaimed shuffler “Pig Pen Boogie” on the Kansas City Choice label (# 845) is one of the serie he did for radio or TV appearances. Actually you can find 3 songs by him that contain “boogie” in the title on Youtube! Later Bowers was on Decca for two Nashville produced pop rockers, the better being “Blabber Mouth Sidewalk Stroll” (# 30578) from 1957. I don’t know anything on Bowers afterwards.
Way up North and Michigan, on the Bart label. One Billy Martin has the really fine Hillbilly bop ballad “Tears I Couldn’t Hide” on the Bart label (# 7G28). Prominent steel over a very sincere vocal. The same Billy Martin had also « Angel »/ « If It’s Lovin’ That You Want » (Lucky 0009, 1960) and « I’m Home Again » (Fortune 198). . There were also issues on Happy Hearts, D, Cannon and Misty in the 70’s.
The very small – Kentucky based, as said in an old Hillbilly Reserarcher issue – Dixiana label was launched in 1953, and do seem to have only lasted six months or so. From his 7 issues I chose The Renfro Brothers‘ “Just Over A Girl“, a fast romper led by a boogie pianist and showcased by an accordion (# 103). On the same label was issued Odis Blanton & his Blue Star Rangers, who I will post later the great “Steppin’ High Wide And Handsome“. On Dixiana 105, there is still a Cliff Gross to be found yet (both titles sound interesting).
Walter Scott‘s great “I’m Walking Out” (see Ruby # 240, elsewhere in this site) was cut in 1968 by a L. C. Angel with Coye Farmer on the microscopic Baron label (no # number) out of Trenton, OH. The record gives full personal (steel-guitar-bass); so which instrument was played by Farmer or Angel? Incidentally the very same record was reissued twelve years later on the A & A label (still no #) out of Hamilton, OH. A fine version nevertheless, but the artist is completely out of sight!
Ben Hall has the fine “Moo Mama” Rockabilly on the Cord label (# 101). Very rare one; even rarer is the unissued at the time “Be Bop Ball“, saved from oblivion by the Dutchman!
Finally from a February 1932 session do come the very sexual “Red Nightgown Blues“, cut by Jimmie Davis for RCA-Victor (with sublime slide guitar by Oscar Woods) and issued in the Bluebird serie (# 5699). A tune that suits exactly to Jerry Lee Lewis‘ way of life, and one may wonder how he has not recorded this song (remember “Long Legged Woman” cut for Sun?)
Flash (January 23rd, 2012). I received a mail from JIMMY RENFRO. His Dad Jim had not heard their songs within a very long time, so he was stunned and happy. His uncle Raymond did the same. Thanks Jimmy! I include in the posts the flipside of their Dixiana 103, “Ever Ready“. Alas, I don’t know any other record by them.