Nothing at all is known about MACK HAMILTON, (not even a picture), except he came probably from the Gulf, between Port Arthur, a mere 90 miles East of Houston, TX, and nearby Louisiana. And that is asserted only by the location of the two record labels he got to wax on between 1953 and 1954.
His first ever record was cut in Port Arthur for the Diamond Recording Company in 1953. To add much more confusion, a Diamond diskery was active during this period, which emanated from Beaumont, TX (on the Gulf too) and issued Country records, for example one by Morris Mills (Diamond # 101, “Jumbalaya answer“), a rather prolific regional artist (also 4* and Macy’s). Although you may say it’s the same company with two locations, which has nothing to do with two other Diamond Co. in New York. This « Diamond Recording Company » was also a short-lived concern with only two issues, one therefore by Mack Hamilton (vocal and guitar): (Diamond CW-1001/1002) : the lugubrious mid-tempo « Moaning in the morning » (fiddle and steel prominent) and the self-conscious very Hank Williams styled « Sweet little Rosebud », a solid bopper, with even a short accordion solo, but steel and fiddle are once more well present.
The second issue of the label was cut by Roland (R.A.) Faulk, as « Roland and his Rythm Boys » (sic). Sides CW 1003/1004 : « Send
me someone/I’d own the world ». are pleasant waltz tempo hillbillies. Nothing special, except a heay bass, a steel and a good piano and guitar. The singer is firm and confident : he was active on the Port Arthur area, and was to record in October 1956 the great Rockabilly « My baby’ gone » on Big State 592, a Starday custom, out of Port Acres, TX.(valued $ 700). But I am wandering from Mack Hamilton.
His next offerings were commited to wax in late 1953 for the Feature label, which was located in Crowley, La. and run by J.(Jay) D. Miller. Hamilton’s sides however were recorded at radio KTRM in Beaumont, TX. seemingly as a 4-tracks session. Backing Hamilton were Rusty (guitar) and his brother Doug Kershaw on fiddle, plus Louis Fourneret on steel. The tracks included two great Boppers : « I’m a honky-tonk daddy », completely Hank Williams styled with thudding bass and hot steel (Feature 1087A), and in the same pattern, « Will you will or will you won’t ?» (Feature 1095A).
Less fast were the flipsides, although very good on their part : the weepers mid-tempo « In a world without you » and « A girl with too many sweethearts ». And that was it. J. D. Miller wrote every Feature song, and must have had faith in « I’m a honky-tonk daddy », because he offered it to Wink Lewis on the very following number (# 1088). Lewis did a great version too. Later on he cut the great piano led Rockabilly « Zzztt, zzztt, zzztt » on the Texas Tone label (with Buzz Busby & his Band). I am wandering once more from Mack Hamilton, but there’s no more to relate about him : he disappeared completely from the music scene.
It has proved difficult to find something on Happy Fats Leroy LeBlanc, although he has been a very popular figure in Louisiana during an half-century.Below is a biography published on the net by All Music (Jason Ankeny).Little did Gilbert and Carrie LeBlanc know, when their baby boy was born on January 30, 1915, that their cheerfully named child would become one of Louisiana’s most recognized Cajun musicians. The music of Happy Fats remains instrumental in both of the preservation and celebration of his native Cajun culture, despite the damage inflicted by a series of race-baiting protest records cut at the peak of the civil rights movement. Born Leroy LeBlanc in Rayne, Acadia Parish, LA, on January 30, 1915, Fats was a self-taught musician who began his professional career at 17 when he began playing accordion in Cajun hillbilly bands led by Amédé Breaux and Joe Falcon. In 1935, he formed his own group, the Rayne-Bo Ramblers, which starred the talents of Eric Arceneaux among others. And regularly headlined the local OST Club. Fats signed to RCA Victor in 1936. In 1937, he played alongside Doc Guidry, and Uncle Ambrose Thibodeaux. Other associates were Luderin Darbonne, Pee Wee Broussard, Doc Guidry, “Papa Cairo” Lamperez, Rex Champagne, and Crawford J. Vincent. He was invited and spoke on many radio stations including: KANE, KEUN, KUOH, KROF, and others.In 1940 he scored his first significant hit, “La Veuve de la Coulee” which featured then-unknown fiddler Harry Choates. The Rayne-Bo Ramblers also served as a springboard for Cajun accordion legend Nathan Abshirein 1935 (“La valse de Riceville“). Other popular Fats recordings include the traditional “Allons danceColinda,” “La Vieux de Accordion,” and “Mon Bon Vieux Mari.” Few of his efforts earned national attention, but within south Louisiana he was a superstar, and in the early ’50s even hosted a weekday morning radio show on Lafayette station KVOL. In 1966, however, Fats was the subject of national controversy when he signed to producer Jay D. Miller’s segregationist Reb Rebel label to record the underground smash “Dear Mr. President,” a spoken word condemnation of Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights policies that sold over 200,000 copies despite its appalling racism. “We didn’t have any problems with that, not at all,” Fats maintained in an interview. “There wasn’t anything violent about it — it was just a joke. I had a car of black people run me down on the highway one time coming in Lafayette, and they said, ‘Are you the fellow that made ” Dear Mr. President”?’ I said I was, and they said, ‘We’d like to buy some records.’ They bought about 15 records. There was a big van full of black people and they loved it . . . Either side at that time, they didn’t want integration very much. They wanted to go each their own way.” The commercial success of “Dear Mr. President” launched a series of similarly poisonous Fats efforts including “Birthday Thank You (Tommy from Viet Nam),” “A Victim of the Big Mess (Called the Great Society),” “The Story of the Po’ Folks and the New Dealers,” and “Vote Wallace » in ’72.” After a long battle with diabetes, Fats died on February 23, 1988.(more…)
This time we focus on 3 artists only. First DARNELL MILLER, who has enjoyed a comfortable Country music career for 5 decades in W. Va (a long-time affiliate to the famous WVA Jamboree), is present here with three of his early records. On the Dale label (a Starday custom) # 630 from Bluefield, W.Va, in May 1957, he released a very honest medium-paced hillbilly (fiddle present) with “Gettin’ out of the woods“. Two years later, he was to have two nice Country-rockers on the main Starday serie (in the meantime, he had been presented to Don Pierce, boss of the label, in Nashville). He delivers the energetic “Royal flush” (Starday 422) as well, several months later, the equally nice (where he seems to double his voice over) “Back to you” (Starday 459). Later on, he cut many, many records until his retirement early in the 2000s.
The second artist presented here has no biographical data. BILL DUDLEY had cut in Nashville a good amount of records from 1953 to 1972 (in Canada) then disappeared from Dick Grant’s antennas. I’ve chosen the nice hillbilly released in November 1953 by Capitol (# 2662) “If I cry“. All in all, he recorded between 1953 and 1954 thirteen tracks for this label, which issued 4 singles. The next track by him is the fine Country-rocker “Oh please Mr. Conductor” on the Todd label (# 1046) from 1959. This tiny label issued several good disks during this period by Lee Bonds, Jimmie Fletcher or Jericho Jones, to name the most well-known in the Hillbilly bop/Country-rock field.[March 25, 2018. Added: “Wailin’ Wall” (Capitol 2531] Bill Dudley “If I cry”
Howdy folks! After a week of inconvenience (the site could not be opened) and a few ajustments, we are back for a new batch of goodies.
First from California, the unknwon (to me, at least) FREDDIE BYRD, backed by California Playboys, lays down the fine “Somebody Stole My Love” on the microscopic Ka Hi label. Even not an issue number! This is the same label as the one Jess Willard had his great “I’m Telling You” in 1957 on (see his story with the reasearch button). Fine Hillbilly ditty.
From Tennessee, the HOWINGTON Brothers for a good (unusual in bopping) instrumental “Haymaker’s Shuffle” on the Loop label (# 903B). The title says it all.
Then a certain TOM JAMES on the Nashville KLIX label, from 1957. I’d assume this is the same guy that had some very good boppers on RCA several years before (“I’m A Pig About Your Lovin” or “Don’t Lead Me On“). Here we have a real knack of Rockabilly with “Track Down Baby” (Klix 0001). Great guitar.
From California again: DOUG AMERSON offers the very solid “Bop, Man, Bop” on the Intrastate label (# 15-25), from 1955. This is how Hillbillies went to wilder things.
From Mississipi, MACK HAMILTON. Indeed he had other records, namely on Feature from Jackson (“Will You Will Or Will You Won’t” has already been posted a couple of years ago). Backed by his Drifting Texans, he does a nice shuffling “Moaning In The Morning” on Diamond 1001 (reviewed October 1953 by Billboard). This was a brother label to Trumpet I’ve discussed before in this site.
Finally, a berserk wildie from 1963 on the NYC based Mala label: “Red Ridin’ Hood And The Wolf” by BUNKER HILL (# 457). They don’t go any wilder like this today.
Enjoy the selections. Constructive comments welcome.
Douglas James « Doug » Kershaw was born on January 24 of 1936 on a houseboat near Tiel Ridge, Louisiana – a tiny island off the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Russell Lee « Rusty » Kershaw was born on 2 February 1938. Their childhood was difficult, and their father committed suicide when Doug was seven, soon after the family moved to Crowley. Their older brother Nelson « Pee Wee » Kershaw formed a band called the Continental Playboys, which the younger boys would later join. Rusty played rhythm guitar, while Doug began to excel on fiddle (he eventually claimed to have mastered 29 instruments). The band became popular and was appearing on KLPC-TV in 1953, alongside Jimmy Newman and Wiley Barkdull.(more…)