Lawton “Slim” Williams, “Tennessee Avenue” (1949-1960) to “Farewell Party” – from Hillbilly to commercial country

Despite a performing and recording career that spanned six decades, there’s no question that Lawton Williams is best known for writing songs, including classics like Fraulein and Farewell Party. This was true even at the height of his career as a performer and it remains true a dozen years after his death in 2007. He was reconcilied to this fact rather early on, and through he once claimed he wished he’s never recorded a single track, feeling that it had hindered his success as songwriter, he continued to perform and record into the new millenium. Any regret he felt about his recording career having restricted his opportunities as a writer was bittersweet, a double-edged sword. Writing may have been his bread and butter, but he clearly loved performing.
Williams wasn’t blessed with a particularly memorable or strong voice. It was plain, straightforward, and dynamics were not a strong suit, either. He usualy gave love ballads and good-time novelties the same earnest weight. Yet while his voice may arguably have lacked the distinction that mght have made him a star or the depth that might have attracted honky-tonk die-hards and critics, it had a certain something that continues to endear him to fans and collectors of country-music of the 1940s-60s. He also had the good sense to surround himself with fine msicians, including, for example, members of the Light Crust Doughboys – few would argue that one appeal of Williams’ recordigs are the spitrited backings.

Lawton Williams’ early recording career has been largely overlooked, and not because his early records are particularly obscure. They are fairy obscure, cut for independant labels like Fortune and Four Star or in rather low-profile setting for bigger labels like Coral. But that obscurity owes at last as much to the fact that they were issued under other names. Slim Williams in most instances, and Ed Lawton in one case. Those deeply into the country scene of the era, beyond the major and mid-level stars, will know that Lawton and Slim are the same, but the fact might be lost on the average fan, if they’ve heard of Slim Williams at all.

He was born into a musical family in Troy, Tennessee on July 24, 1922. His father was a fiddler, his mother played piano and sang. « They weren’t professionals, » he recalled, « but they sure sounded good on the hill. » While still a kid, he began secrety picking a brother’s guitar. From early on, he was listening to the Grand Ole Opry and the performers like the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. As he grew, he gravitated toward the emerging singing cowbys, particularly Gene Autry and Cowboy Slim Rinehart, from whom he borrowed his early stage name and he later befriended before the latter’s untimely death in a 1948 car wreck. Williams began his professional career not Tennessee, but north in Detroit, playing in the country music clubs that sprang in and around the city before WWII in response of the large concentration of southerners who had moved there to seek work in the flourishing auto industry. Drafted n 1942, he served in Texas and sat in with local bands in Houston and elsewhere, striking up a particularly close friendship with Floyd Tillman, who was also in the service. « He really taught me the fundamentals of songwritng, » Williams recalled, « I learned a lot from him. » Soon artists like Cliff Bruner and Laura Lee Owens were recording Williams’ songs.

1930 census for Williams’ family

Slim Williams and The Sons Of The Prairie

He remained in Texas after the war, though he’d had to adapt after losing several fingers on his picking hand in a service-related injury. He worked at KEYS in Corpus Christi, and at KTHT n Houston before heading back to Detroit in the spring of 1947, where he caught on at WJR. Following Rinehart’s death in Michigan the following year, Williams went back to Texas, working for another fine songwrier, announcer Babe Frisch, at KTRH in Houston. In March 1949, he returned north, to WKMH in Dearborn. He’d recorded previously for the Sultan label in Detroit (f any discs were released, they have never surfaced), and soon after arriving back north cut a session for the rising local Fortune that featured Kentucky guitarist Jeff Durham.

Billboard Sept. 10, 1949

After a year in Michigan, Williams returned to Texas for good in the spring of 1950. He first stopped in Ft. Worth, catching at KTNC. Round this time, Hank Locklin hit with Williams’ « Paper Face » and, through Locklin, Williams signed to Four Star, cutting a session in Houston with Locklin’s band that summer, the line-up including guitarist Hamp Stephens, steel man Bill Freeman and others. He briefly relocated to Houston that autumn, but in 1951 he returned to Ft. Worth area for good and was soon established as one of the top country deejays in the area.

Slim Williams

In 1951, Williams was signed to Decca’s Coral subsidiary and cut two sessions with local music legends the Light Crust Doughboys at Cliff Herring’s studio in Ft. Worth. The Doughboys included Carol Hubbard on fiddle, Paul Blunt on steel (he also overdubbed piano on the 2nd session), Lefty Perkins on lead guitar (his wicked solos are among his best), Marvin Montgomery on rhythm guitar and Red Kidwell on bass. Everything was written or co-written by Williams. The Coral recordings didn’t sell well and, though he continued to perform and deejay, he soon sought other employment.

When he signed to Imperial in 1952, he was working for a local car dealer, using the name Ed Lawton, and the first of his releases on Imperial bore that name. »Emergency Call » was often thought not to have been issued, but it was, erroneously being labelled on release as « Have Mercy On Me ». The latter got hs own proper release a few months later. The Imperial session included steel guitarist Charlie Owens and fiddler B. D. Owens, later a well-known Ft. Worth politician. Like its predecessors, the session did not sell well enough to warrant a follow-up and Williams did not record again until 1957, when Bobby Helms had a major hit with Williams’ « Fraulein » and Hank Locklin with his « Geisha Girl ».

Lawton Williams

LAWTON WILLIAMS ON RCA

LAWTON WILLIAMS:
Lawton Williams(vo) with Thomas “Tommy” Jackson(fiddle) Floyd Cramer(p) Thomas Grady Martin(lead g) Velma E. Williams Smith(rh g) Buddy Emmons(steel g) Roy M. “Junior” Huskey Jr.(b).
(RCA Victor Studio) Nashville,October 14,1957 (19:30-22:30)

H2WB-5676 Don’t burn the bridge behind you RCA Victor 20/47-7105
H2WB-5677 Foreign love –
H2WB-5678 Blue grass skirt
H2WB-5679 Train of thought

All titles issued on Bear Family(G)BFX 15178.

LAWTON WILLIAMS:
Lawton Williams(vo) with Floyd Cramer(p) Chet Atkins(el g) James “Jimmie” Selph(rh g) Jerry Byrd(b) Murray M. “Buddy” Harman(dm).
(RCA Victor Studio) Nashville,February 10,1958 (19:00-22:00)

J2WB-0387 Rhinelander waltz
J2WB-0388 The casino on the hill RCA Victor 20/47-7188
J2WB-0389 If you’re waiting on me –
J2WB-0390 I’ll still love you

All titles issued on Bear Family(G)BFX 15178.

LAWTON WILLIAMS:
Lawton Williams(vo) with ?
(Demo session) Fort Worth,Texas,           1959

K2WB-2803 Moon Joe RCA Victor 47-7580
K2WB-2804 Lightning Jones –

Both titles also issued on Bear Family(G)BFX 15178.

LAWTON WILLIAMS:
Lawton Williams(vo) with Floyd Cramer(p) Velma E. Williams Smith,Jerry G. Kennedy(g) Henry P. Strzelecki(b) Louis Dunn(dm) & The Jordanaires (Hugh Gordon Walker,Neal Matthews Jr.,Raymond C. Walker,Hoyt H. Hawkins) (chorus).
(RCA Victor Studio) Nashville,August 7,1962 (09:30-12:30)

N2WW-0840 Carpet baggers Groove 58-0011
Bear Family(G)BFX 15178
N2WW-0841 Don’t destroy me RCA Victor 47-8142
N2WW-0842 Mama pinch a penny Groove 58-0011
Bear Family(G)BFX 15178

LAWTON WILLIAMS:
Lawton Wiliams(vo with ?
(RCA Victor Studio) Nashville,November   ,1962

N2WW-5125 In love with you RCA Victor 47-8203
N2WW-5126 Mountain of a man –
N2WW-5127 It looks like you love me RCA Victor 47-8300
N2WW-5128 Rock of GIbraltar RCA Victor 47-8142

LAWTON WILLIAMS:
Lawton Williams(vo) with Floyd Cramer(p) Charlie McCoy(hca) Jerry Glenn Kennedy, Ray Edenton(g) Henry P.Strzelecki(b) Murray M. “Buddy” Harman(dm) The Jordanaires (Hugh Gordon Stoker,Neal Matthews Jr.,Raymond C. Walker,Hoyt H. Hawkins) & Mildred Kirkham(chorus).
(RCA Victor Studio) Nashville,October 16,1963 (19:00-22:00)

PWA4-0510 Stay on the ball RCA Victor 47-8359
Bear Family(G)BFX 15178
PWA4-0511 I’m not here RCA Victor 47-8359,74-0109
PWA4-0512 Squawlein RCA Victor 47-8300
Bear Family(G)BFX 15178

LAWTON WILLIAMS:
Lawton Williams(vo) with Hargus “Pig” Robbins(p) Harold Ray Bradley,Ray Edenton(g) Pete Drake(steel g) Bob L. Moore(b) Murray M. “Buddy” Harman Jr.(dm) Anita Kerr,Dorothy Ann Dillard,Louis Dean Nunley, William Guifford Wright Jr. (chorus).
(RCA Victor Studio) Nashville,June 22,1964 (09:00-12:00)

RWA4-1281 Everything’s O.K. on the L.B.J. RCA Victor 47-8407
Bear Family(G)BFX 15178
RWA4-1282 Don’t look down RCA Victor 47-8407
RWA4-1283 Big Jim unissued

LAWTON WILLIAMS:
Lawton Williams(vo) with ?
(RCA Victor Studio) Nashville,December   ,1964 (Prod.Bob Ferguson)

RWA4-1651 War on poverty RCA Victor 47-8514
RWA4-1652 Big Jim unissued
RWA4-1653 The power of love RCA Victor 47-8514

LAWTON WILLIAMS:
Lawton Williams(vo) overdubbed on RWA4-1281 original playback.
(RCA Victor Studio) Nashville,January 8,1969 (10:00-13:00)

XWA4-1208 Everything’s O.K. on the L.B.J.,pt.2 RCA Victor 74-0109
Bear Family(G)BFX 15178

No longer using the nickname Slim, he signed to Locklin’s label RCA. Stints with Decca, Mercury and RCA again would follow over the next half dozen years.

Casino On The Hill (1958) (Big D Jamboree)

by Lawton Williams

Some of Williams’ major label singles were Texas recordings he produced himself. During autumn and winter of 1959-60, he had become one of the stalwarts of the Big D Jamboree , where he would remain until this show’s demise in 1988. He then cut for Pappy Daily’s D label out of Houston (it had probably under Daily’s guidance that Williams had cut one Four Star session in 1950) and Major Bill Smith’s Le Bill label. This last single was soon picked up on Dan Mechura’s All-Star label, seeing the first release of « Farewell Party », which would be a hit for Jimmy Dickens the following year, then for Gene Watson.

Billboard July 4, 1960

He had given up full-time music making to become a bailiff for Ft Worth Tarrat County, where he lived for the last few decades of his life. Despite the demands of that job, he remained active as both a performer and writer, increasing these activities following his retirement. He died aged 85 in 2007.
Kevin Coffey

Sources: mainly from Ronald Keppner 78rpm; labels from 45cat/78world; music from various sources, among them Gripsweat (some rare 78rpm); RCA recording files courtesy from Michel Ruppli, the indefatigable discographer; personal pictures from Google.
Small note: no RCA recording neither some later Decca discs were included, as not pertaining to “bopping” standards. “Farewell Party” was the sole exception, although being a commercial country record.

Early November 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Hello everyone ! This is the selection for early November 2019 fortnight’s favorites. Every track will be within the 1954-57 period, except the odd item from early ’60s or even later.

Riley Crabtree

RILEY CRABTREE was born in Mount Pleasant, TX in 1921, and followed first the steps of Jimmie Rodgers on his Talent sides from 1949. Later he adopted the Hank’s pattern, and was an affiliate of the Dallas’ Big Jamboree. Here on the very small Ekko label, he’s backed by the young Cochran Brothers Eddie and Hank for the bluesy strong « Meet Me At Joe’s » (# 1019) from late 1955. Nice piano, and of course fine guitar.

In 1957, he emerges on the Dallas’ Country Picnic label (# 602) with the fast « Tattle Tattle Tale ». Great ‘bar room’ piano, a good steel, and a Scotty Moore styled solo. Crabtree was confined on a wheel chair, and died in 1984 from a fire caused by an electric blanket.

Cash Box Oct. 12, 1957

In 1970 SHORTY BACON released his version of the Billy Barton small classic « A Day Late And A Dollar Short » on the Chart label # 5104. Despite the late period, it’s a nice country-rocker : great fiddle and steel are battling.

Walter Scott

Way up North on the Ruby label (first issue, # 100 out of Hamilton, OH) then WALTER SCOTT and the really fine bopper « I’m Walking Out » : a lovely swirling fiddle and a surprisingly good banjo. Scott had also « Somebody’s Girl » on an Audio Lab EP 35 (untraced).

Red Hays

‘RED’ HAYS (also sometimes named Joe ‘Red’ Hayes) was a fiddler as early as 1950 in the Jack Rhodes’ band in Mineola, TX. He offers here a nice and fast « Doggone Woman » on Starday 164 from October 1954. Good vocal for this jumping call-and-response bopper ; of course a fiddle solo, and all the way through a bass chords played guitar. The flipside « A Satisfied Mind » (a very sincere ballad) was covered first by Porter Wagoner, then had nearly 100 versions, among them Jean Shepard Capitol 3118), even Joan Baez’s or David Allan Coe’s. Hayes – according him being the same artist – went later on Capitol in 1956 for a ballad more (« I’ll Be So Good To You », # 3382 and an uptempo « Every Little Bit », # 3550).

DeLuxe was apparently a short-lived, small sublabel to the giant King, which issued some fine music. I’ve selected « Strange Feeling » by JIMMY THORPE (# 2006, from December 1953), who was seemingly more at ease with lowdown and medium-paced items (DeLuxe 2016 and 2018). Here is a solid bopper, although not a fast one. Good assured vocal and guitar, and a nice fiddle solo.

Bobby Lile

On the West coast, on the Sage label in 1956, BOBBY LILE « with music by Bob and Laverne » (who are they?) delivers « Don’t You Believe It » (# 222), a fine fast tune. The guitar player reminds me a bit at times of the great Joe Maphis – although it’s definitely not him there.

He was on the C&W serie of the big New Jersey concern Savoy, and bopping.org featured RAY GODFREY and his « Overall Song » (Savoy 3021) in the March 2013 fortnight’s favorites. Not a great singer, he had a good uptempo (« Wait Weep And Wonder ») on Peach 757, then the pop-country « If The Good Lord’s Willing » on Tollie 9030. Here he releases on the Yonah label # 2002 (March 1961) the passable « The Postman Brought The Blues » (good early 60s styled steel and fiddle).

Danny Reeves

Finally a very good double-sided country-rocker by Houstonian DANNY REEVES on ‘D’ 1206 (between July and September 1961). A nice baritone voice for the fast « I’m A Hobo » (great although too short guitar solo, very sounding 1956) and a fine guitar for « Bell Hop Blues ». This record was recently auctioned at $ 760 ! Reeves had also in 1975 his own version (untraced) of « My Bucket’s Got A Whole In It ». Before that he released in 1962 the double-sided rocker “Spunky Monkey/Love Grows” (San 1509) and, at an unknown date, the Countryish “Little Red Coat” on the obscure label L. G.Gregg 1001.

Sources : « Armadillo Killer » for Ray Godfrey ; Google images and the Starday project for Red Hays. Jimmy Thorpe from HBR # 50  Walter Scott and Shorty Bacon found on YouTube and Ohio River 45s site  Riley Crabtree from an HMC compilation; Gripsweat for Danny Reeves San issue.

Late April 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Hello, folks ! Hello to past visitors ; hi ! to new ones. This is the late April 2019 fortnight’s selection.

Henry McPeak

Let’s begin with a Starday custom record issued mid-1959 by HENRY McPEAK on the HG label (# 771). McPeak was born 1929 in Snowville, Va. « I Feel Like Yelling » is a fast bopper : lots of guitar ( a great solo picking), an assured vocal (which reminds me of The Lonesome Drifter, alias Tommy Johnson). McPeak had another disc the next year on HG # 851 with « When You Kissed Me »: very different, more melodic. Again that good guitar, even a Rockabilly solo. The record goes on sale from $ 280 to 380.

Bob Burton

BOB BURTON next (aided by Rex Jennings and Shorty Ashford) delivers on Harry Glenn’s owned Mar-Vel 952 (issued 1954 in Hammond, IN) the good « Forty Acres Of My Heart » : a fast fiddle solo and a short steel solo. The three musicians join unison in the chorus. Of course, Burton had other good records on Mar-Vel as « Boogie Woogie Baby Of Mine » (Mar-Vel 951) or « Tired Of Rockin’ » (Mar-Vel 953, 1956).

Johnny Dollar

Next was issued in 1961 on the D label # 1185. Good bopper is « Crawling Back To You » by JOHNNY DOLLAR, great steel led on a fast number. Dollar (his real name), despite many a good record, never got it big, and remained a minor artist. He had several occupations : truck driver, life insurance salesman, lumber yard man among others when he could. He was also dee-jaying (thanks Merle Kilgore) on Shreveport’s KZAE, and finally cut for D, aided by Shelby Singleton.

Johnny Bond

An oldie (1950) on Columbia 20704 now : JOHNNY BOND was a constant Bopper in the early ’50s with things like this « Mean Mama Boogie », cut on the West coast. Great harmonica by Jerry Adler, a little guitar by Jerry Scoggins ; Bond is in particularly good voice.

Jim Oertling

On the Hammond label and as late as 1965, here’s JIM OERTLING & the Bayou Boys for two selections. « Old Moss Back » (# 267) has a terrific guitar intro, an urgent vocal and a fine guitar solo. « Back Forty » (# 268) is a mid-tempo with nice vocal and a Rockabilly guitar solo.

Tommy Elliott

Finally back in the early 50s with TOMMY ELLIOTT and the Line Riders. « Same Dog Bit Me » was released on Texas Time label (# 130) and is a hillbilly bopper, fast fiddle-led with a nice upright bass.

Sources : YouTube ; Notes to D Singles vol. 1 (BF) ; the autobiography of Johnny Bond (a JEMF book) ; «Ohio river » for Bob Burton details ; 78-worlds for Tommy Elliott.

A bopping New Year’s 2019! Early January fortnight’s favorites selection

My best wishes to anyone reading this blog. May this New Year 2019 bring you Happiness, good Health and the Boppinest music. I will try to give you the last gift possible all along the year.

We begin with a Texan, very probably Houstonian minor artist, JOHNNIE FORRER. To the best of my knowledge, he only had three records ever cut. First in 1958 on the D label (# 1021) : « Fool’s Paradise » and « Understand » are two uptempo Rockaballads, good steel solo (even with strange effects, when it plays like a « musical saw » on « Paradise » side). Publishing house is « Starrite », which denotes a Starday imply, in any row, in the record. His second one « My Blues/The Real Thing », issued in 1959/60 on D 1074, goes on with the same formula (not posted).
Then his third known 45 was released in 1963 on the Bow & Arrow ( 1003) label. « Long Gone » is a good shuffler, piano to the fore (nice solo) and fair vocal.

Ray Pridie

From Bellingham, Wash. came RAY PRIDIE on the Car (# 102) label who’d sing the very good « Lonesome Broken Hearted Me ». Good steel, an electric guitar played on the bass strings on an uptempo rhythm. Barytone voice of the singer.

Cook Brothers

« Juke Box Play For Me » was cut in 1958 and released on a (no #) Island EP dedicated to the COOK BROTHERS in Wheeling, W.Va. A cross between fast Hillbilly Bop and Rock’n’roll, this vocal duet is a jumping (nice guitar) and moving little tune.

Lyle Keefer

Another Dixie issue, # 877, 1959), « Hand Full Of Love » (his only known record) by LYLE KEEFER is a nice uptempo bopper: barytone voice, steel annd piano present. Whole song moves !

Johnny Rector

A renegade from Blacky Crawford’s Western Cheroekes (backing the first Starday records in 1953), JOHNNY RECTOR had already cut in 1950 for Imperial, then had a long string of releases on his own on Coral Records. His « Have You Ever Been Kissed » (# 64168) is fast steel led goodie ; each (steel, piano and lead guitar) taking its solo. Rector’s voice is smooth running and very agreeable.

Jim Dickinson

A R&B rocker for a change. The producer being a « Bill Justis », one can indeed speculate on a Memphis, TN recording issued by Soutthtown # 28006. « Shake ‘Em On Down » hold its promises : vocal belter by JIM DICKINSON, a nice harmonica, and a long, GREAT guitar solo.

Carl Tilton

In 1957 on the Morris, OK Stardale label you’re stumbling now on CARL TILTON for two issues. First is a rollicking « Bearcat mama ». Guitar and piano are doing their best here, while Tilton is aided by one Dale Davis on vocal (latter having himsef releases on Stardale)(# 500). The flipside « Little Cabin » is a great shuffler : good guitar, a steel solo and nice piano. Exuberant vocal.

Hal Smith

Finally HAL SMITH releases his record « Hard Hard Times » on the Yucca label # 116 (late ’50s). A fine Country-rocker, guitar led played on the bass chords and a very fine vocal. Smith also had (# 108), « Make My Livin’ With My Guitar ».

Sources :Sources : mainly YouTube ; some tracks from HBR serie ; 45-cat.

“Cornfed Fred”: the story of boppin’ FRED CRAWFORD (1953-1960)

Every region of the country had their local star- that person that teetered on the brink of stardom. Radio deejay. Recording artist. Performer. Promoter. Talent scout. Music Publisher. Maybe they ran their own label. Sometimes a studio.

They ALWAYS seemed to be one step away from finally making it…. just one step away.

Our local guy was Fred Crawford.

Billboard June 2, 1956

Like many I was first ushered to Fred through the 1956 Starday release “Rock Candy Rock” (# 243), a steady little piano/guitar jiver that has unfortunately overshadowed his stronger country/hillbilly efforts. On the same disc, the B-side “Secret of my heart” is back to Crawford’s hillbilly roots: it is a solid medium paced very strong opus.

Rock Candy Rock” (Starday 243)

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Secret of my heart” (Starday 243)
Fred Crawford "Secret of my heart"

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I’m not sure when Fred first began his professional career. His obituary mentioned that as an 11 year old he had “You Are My Shine“‘d his way to a talent show victory on Shreveport’s KWKH. Also mentioned in the same obituary is that by age 25 his recording career was underway. Would assume this would have included his incredibly rare 4-Star custom press, « My inky Dinky baby/Empty feeling in my heart » (Promotional OP-163, from 1953) – it may even appear this record was never issued, as no one has ever seen a copy.

Not mentioned is that Fred had a decent string of excellent releases on the infamous Starday label, all of which are WELL worth tracking down. The rockabilly of “Rock Candy Rock” stands in contrast to his other releases for the label. As does the pop effort “By The Mission Wall“, notable for being recorded in Clovis with Norman Petty producing, Buddy Holly playing guitar, and the Bowman Brothers providing back-up vocals.

Fred Crawford "By the mission wall"By the mission wall”(St 314)Fred Crawford "By the mission walls"

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. Obviously he had great hopes in “By the Mission Wall” as it was recorded again for AOK. While a song « Hey little waitress » (AOK 1034) was an inspiring song which was cut once more on Westex in 1966. His swan song, full of emotion, came in 1974 with « The life of an old DJ » released on Tic Toc, probably when Fred hung up deejaying. 

Fred’s debut. Feb. 2, 1954

Fred Crawford "Hey little waitress"Hey little waitress

KERB radio station in Kermit, TX

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Life of an old DJ”

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Not included in the podcasts (altho’ fully downloadable) upon request)  are the following Starday tunes: Time will take you off my mind  (St. 124), “Empty feeling in my heart” (124)[also done six months before on the elusive Promotional label OP-163,] “I’ve learned something from you” (St 272),”You’re not the same sweet girl” (# 314) Then A- side of ‘D’ label #1158 “Im all alone”, easily available elsewhere this site.   As other tracks on AOK being less interesting. Being so much a country boy, Fred Crawford has not been reissued until now (except for the odd tune on compilations), which is a shame, as his music, specially that cut for Starday, is of very high standard.

Fred was born F. Benjamin Crawford on January 24, 1928, and died on January 13, 1998. He’s buried in the veteran’s corner (because of his activities during WWII) in the Colorado City cemetery out of Mitchell County, Texas.

Largely inspired by the posts of two blogs, Lone Star Stomp and Westex, both from Texas and done in the 2007/2010 period (same Summer period).

My most sincere thanks go to Armadillo Killer for sending many a side. Without his help, the article couldn’t be done – at least this way.

(Fred Crawford: a personal appreciation (bopping’s editor)

You Gotta Wait” (# 170) is just an outstanding uptempo hillbilly call to action, while the flipside « I just need some lovin’ » (written by labelmate Jimmy Walton) is just equally good.

You gotta wait”

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I just need some lovin'”

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Fred Crawford "Can't live with 'em"Fred Crawford "What's on your mind"Fred Crawford "You gotta wait"

Fred Crawford "I just need some lovin'"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t live with ’em” (St 199)

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What’s on your mind”(St 199

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But I feel that Fred’s crowning achievement is “Can’t Live With ‘Em” (# 199) : never has a white boy had such a bad case of the blues. Note that the songwriter is Mineoloa ‘local guy’ Jack Rhodes. Classy backing : a bluesy lead-guitar, a rinky-dink piano, a strong bass.

Billboard July 2, 1954

Other notable records from this era include : the very solid and macho inspired « Never gonna get married again » (# 156), the great Fred Crawford "Never gonna get married again"Fred Crawford "First on your list"uptempo « First on your list » (# 145 : here’s a wild steel guitar over a Hank Williams‘ typical uttering), also cut by Jack Tucker (released on « X » 0193) – no one can say for sure who came first, and the composer of this small classic, Tom Lancaster, doesn’t give any clue.

Never gonna get married again“(St 156)

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First on your list”(St 145)

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Eddie Noack‘s written « Me and my new baby » (# 218), and « Lucky in cards » (# 272) are other winners. And there’s no filler or weak track : every B-side is of high standard too, as the fast « Each passing day » (# 156), « Just another broken heart » (# 218) and the great ‘Starday swan song‘, his last on the label : « You’re not the same sweet girl » (# 314)

Billboard December 10, 1956

Eddie Noack: “Me and my new baby“(demo)

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Fred Crawford: “Me and my new baby”
(St 218)

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Lucky in cards”(St 272)

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Each passing day”(St 156)

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“Just another broken heart”(St 218)

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downloadFred Crawford "Lucky in cards"Fred Crawford "Each passing day"

There was also at least one waxing for the D label : fine 1960 honky tonkers (# 1058) « I’m all alone » and « Charlies gone ». After that Fred was strictly local, recording for Tommy Allsup/Max Gorman’s Westex/AOK stable, Spiral (which was housed in the former AOK studios), Tic-Toc, Lobo, and a label or two more. Among those efforts are a couple of records supporting his beloved Monahans High School football team and an odd little tribute to coin collecting [untraced].

Charlies gone”

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Fred was a songwriter for others too : I found once a song he gave to Smilin’ Jerry Jericho in 1954, the fine uptempo «I Can’t Give You Anything But Me » (Starday 133). Surely there may have been other Fred compos for others. If a visitor finds one, please do advise me of the find with the « contact me » button!

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