Late August 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Very different things this time, from 1947 to 1961.

Ray Whitley & his Six Bar Cowboys

First, from June ’47, RAY WHITLEY & His Bar X Cowboss for « Wiihin This Broken Heart  » on Cowboy 307. Fiddle, accordion, guitar – a lovely swinging uptempo, and typical of the ’40s. Location unknown, very probablbly East coast. Whitley also released the first (?) version of « Juke Box Cannonball » (Cowboy 301), also done by Bill Haley in 1952, (Holiday) « Cousin » Ford Lewis in 1947 (Four Star) and Charlie Stone (Arcade) in 1954. Whitley was an actor in Westerns too, as well as recording (1934 onwards) on Decca, Perfect, Conqueror. What a rich career !

Change completely for Louisiana. ALDUS ROGER saw this record « Lifetime Waltz » issued by San Antonio, Texas T.N.T. label (# 106, 1956). Vivid Cajun vocal and marvelous accordian : earlier he was recorded by Jay D. Miller on his Feature label with the nice « Mardi Gras Dance » (Feature 2004):an aggressive steel and a good accordion, of course, from 1954.

Jerry Dove & his String Busters

Let’s stay in San Antonio on T.N.T. # 141 with a carbon copy (lyrics) of « Blue Suede Shoes » in « Pink Bow Tie ». JERRY DOVE was the leader (which instrument?) and Bill Massey the singer. Cool vocal, a really great and raucous, wild steel, an heavy bass. The flipside (« Foolish Heart » is similar, although less fast, a moderate swinging ballad, well done anyway. Value (B.J.’s) : $ 200-250.

Next cut on the Marlinda label (no clues on the label) # 1626. JIM RUSE delivers his « What Are You Tryin’ To Do » , mid-paced tempo, a good rhythm guitar (uninventive for the solo), a gay vocal very melodic. For Goodness’ sake, I don’t where I picked this one from..

Jack Fincher & Collin County Four

Another small Texas label was Skippy. I chose both sides of # 224 (1961) by JACK FINCHER & Collins Couny Four. « When I’m Stepping Out » is a good melodic hillbilly bop ballad. Nice steel, hillbilly vocal. The flipside, « Nickels Worth Of Pennies » do follow the same pattern : great steel and heavy ehythm guitar.

In a recent Fortnight, I’d publish EDDIE HAZELWOOD version of « Hound Dog » . Here is another goodie, « I’ve Gotta Lose My Blues » (Intro 6068), 1953. Written by Danny Dedmond, actually Danny Dedmon – see his story elsewhere in the site.

That’s it, folks.

Sources : 45 cat for labels, 78worlds (Ray Whitley). Internet for more thn one tune. My own archives. Ronald Keppner for some records (Ray Whitley). Viele Danke, Ronald!

“My Inlaws Made An Outlaw Out Of Me”: the LOU(IS) MILLET story on records (1949-1956)

Warning: this feature was first published in 2013, far from complete, and was revised during Summer 2019. I encountered many problems during the revision, and did waste a consequent time and work. The result is not up to the standard of bopping.org I confess. But lack of time prevent a further revision, and I decided to publish it as per se. I hope you understand my position, and that you will find however some interest there. Thanks for your following.

Louis Millet was born the 5th (or 19th) of April 1926 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At the age of sixteen he bought his first guitar, but he did not get serious about playing music until he was in the Army. Meanwhile he was finishing college at Louisiana State University on a four-year football grant. After college he joined the Army. When he quit the Army he started a band, the Melody Ramblers. They played for the local radio stations WLCS in Baton Rouge, and WLBR in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

His career as a professional musician had not started yet, although in 1949, backed by his Melody Ramblers, he cut his first two sides for the Rouge label in Baton Rouge, La. Both songs, « Yesterday’s Memories» and «I Saw Them Lay Mother Away» (duet with one Ray, besides unnamed) being insipid ballads (# 103). During this time he was also working at Standard Oil in the daytime.

Around 1950-51 Louis met Jay Miller, who was running a number of record labels. Lou did two or three recording sessions for him. From these recordings two singles were issued on the Feature label : # 1031 «I Was Only Teasing You »/ »A Broken Heart», and # 1035, the first version [later re-recorded during the ’60s for Scenic Records] of «That’s Me Without ou »/ » »Your Own Heart You Must Mend». All four songs are slowies or uptempo ballads, nothing is really interesting yet.

From these recordings two singles were issued on the Feature label: # 1031 «I Was Only Teasing You», »A Broken Heart, and # 1035, the first version [later re-recorded during the ’60s for Scenic Records] of «That’s Me Without ou »/ » »Your Own Heart You Must Mend». All four songs are slowies or uptempo ballads, nothing is really interesting yet.

Sonny James and Pee Wee King had their version too. It must be noted that the co-writer (along J. D. Miller) was “J. Wyatt”, probably Jack Wyatt, a Hillbilly singer from New Orleans, who cut records for Meladee, Lyric (in Lake Charles) and Kuntry: see late October 2018 bopping favorites selection.

In the meantime , «That’s Me Without You» had also been a hit for Webb Pierce (Decca 28351). J. D. Miller did suceed placing to Randy Wood’s Dot (Gallatin, Tennessee) # 203 one more Millet song, yet they went nowhere (lack of distribution?) : «Heart Of Stone» and «That’s Me Without You»[second version]. A snippet of a split session (set in July 1952) subsists of a time when Louis was closely associated wit Lefty Frizzell, so much so that Millet was opening Lefty’s shows at that time. I’m Honky Tonkin’ With You is a superb shuffling bopper, too long forgotten in the J. D. Miller archives. The backing of this song is even provided by the musicians involved in he Frizzell’s songs, among them a version of Lou’s «That’s Me Without You”

Aided by Lefty Frizzell, Lou (meanwhile shortening his forname) signed with Columbia on the 15th of May 1952. The contract was for one year, with an option for another year. The first session was done some days later, on May 20. Four songs were recorded at Jim Beck’s Studio in Dallas, Texas. Two months later his first Columbia record was issued, both on 78 and 45 rpm. The songs were “Just Me, My Heart, and You”, and “Weary, Worried, and Blue” (Columbia 20979). The second single was issued on October 24, 1952 (Columbia 21029), and featured “Worried, Lonesome, And In Love” and “Your Own Heart You Must Mend”[second version]. The style they were playing was honky tonk, resembling the Ernest Tubb and Vin Bruce recordings of the same period, all four tracks being slow ballads, with the exception of «Worried, Lonesome And In Love» more Honky tonking uptempo.

While Lou Millet was at Columbia, Lefty Frizzell left his manager Jack Starnes. Because Lefty’s band was still under contract with Starnes, he was left without a band. He hired Jay Miller as a manager, who formed a backup band for Lefty. During this time Lou was assigned as the band leader. From the next sessions four songs were issued on two singles: Columbia 21086, featuring “Bayou Pigeon” and “Get A Grip On Your Heart”, and Columbia 21143, with “Memories from Cheddar Chest” and “God Only Knows”. Except for “Bayou Pigeon”, a cheerful Cajun song, they were comparable to the honky tonk style of the first recordings.

When Lefty went to California to perform at the Town Hall Party at KTTV, his band fell apart due to the distance. Lefty’s last recordings with Lou as a band leader were done between February 7 and March 9, 1953 (at the «California Blues» session).

When Lefty finished his four songs, Lou also recorded four songs. This was remarkable, since Lou’s contract with Columbia had ended on May 15. Two of the songs he recorded, “Since the Devil Moved In” and “That’s How I Need You”, were issued on Columbia 21225, both good boppers. The other two were never issued by Columbia.
Lefty penned several songs for Lou; a certain S. Burton wrote for him no less than 4 songs at Columbia.

After his Columbia contract Lou left for California to attempt a solo career. This apparently failed, since he went home in 1955. Here he signed with the Ace label, owned by Johnny Vincent from Jackson, Mississippi. Although based in Jackson, the Ace label was to become a key player in the New Orleans R&B scene, but before that Vincent had briefly explored the sales potential oh Hillbilly music.

To return to Lou Millet, his self penned «Just You And Me” (# 506 )(mid-1955) is a superb example of the Rock & Roll/Rockabilly sound, reminiscent in part of his later Rockabilly masterpiece «Shorty The Barber» (Republic 7131).(Value: $ 300-400) Millet continued to move towards Rock & Roll with another self-penned offering in the same vein: «My Inlaws Made An Outlaw Out Of Me» (# 510) (value $ 200-300) which, as you will detect, is much more polished than i<«Just You And Me». Whilst there is no question as to Millet’s Rockin’ credentials, he was first and foremost a Hillbilly singer, which is abundantly evident when listening to the mid tempo opus «Whisper Of Doubt»(# 506), and «Humming bird» is a strange, dramatic ballad. During this time, he also started working as a DJ for WLCS. Later on he would add a weekly TV show.

In the following year (January to March 1956) he recorded a single for the Republic label, and also one for Ekko Records. And these two records are the ones Millet is best remembered by Collectors and Rockabilly aficionados for. Shorty The Barbe» is a Rockabilly classic, as the flipside «Slip, Slip, Slippin’ In»(Republic 7131) and we all would like to know who’s the lead guitar player on both tracks. Anyway, the Republic single is attaining $ 1000-1500 when it changes of hands (to B.J.’s, the single is only worth $ 600-750). Note that an entirely different «Shorty The Barber» had been recorded in mid-1950 by Charlie Burse, a Blues artist, for Sam Phillips in Memphis, who didn’t release it then.

Lou Millet and his band, 1956

The Ekko sides, from early 1956, are more in Hillbilly bop style; the good uptempo «When I Harvest My Love» (nice guitar)(# 1024) is backed by the fine, sincere, fiddle-led «Chapel Of My Heart».(value $ 100-200, according to Lincoln & Blackburn; B.J.’s only credits it of $ 30-40)). A bizarre detail: on Republic and Ekko, the Lou Millet records do exactly follow the preceding Lloyd McCollough records (Ekko 1023 and Republic 7130). Is that only an accident?

SHORTY THE BARBER
(Millet)
LOU MILLET (Republic 7130, 1956)
Have you ever passed by Shorty’s barber shop
Hey, Shorty bops the boogie on the razor’s strop
He snaps the scissors and he blows the comb
It sounds just like a saxophone
He nods his head and he bats his eye
He shuffles his feet and twitches his thighs
Everybody gets hep to the bop
But shorty bops the boogie on the razor’s strop
Oh, a snap from the scissors, jig-a-shoo, jig-a-shoo
And a blow from his comb, olee-aye olee-aye
Sounds just like a saxophone
People passing by, never fail to stop
When Shorty bops the boogie on the razor’s strop
Well, he charges me a dollar just to cut my hair
Enjoyed all the while I’m in his chair
take it easy is all I have to do
I feel like a million when gets through
He hand in my collar, he hand in my tie
He looks at me with a gleam in his eye
He brushes me off and before he’s through
Says to me, man, what else can I do
Oh yeah, he bounced to me as he opened the door
Says, thank you sir, come back some more
That’s Shorty the barber, now he’s the top
When he bops the boogie on the razor’s strop
Oh, a snap from the scissors, jig-a-shoo, jig-a-shoo
And a blow from his comb, olee-aye olee-aye
Sounds just like a saxophone
People passing by, never fail to stop
When Shorty bops the boogie on the razor’s strop

Courtesy Rockabilly Europe http://www.rockabillyeurope.com

SLIP, SLIP, SLIPPIN’ IN
(Bob Belyeu – Charles Wright)
LOU MILLET (REPUBLIC 7130, 1956)
Well, I went out last evening
Left my little woman at home
Thought that I would have some fun
The night was all my own
I stopped a-down the road and I bopped a while
I made every spot in town
But now I gotta tip-toe through the hall
Or I’ll be trouble-bound
I slipped up to the front door
I eased it open wide
I made sure the coast was clear
And then I slipped inside
Slipping through the doorway
Quiet as I could be
When on came the light and there she stood
Staring straight at me
I’m a-slip, slip, slip, slip, slipping in
Slip, slip, slip, slip, slipping in
Slip, slip, slip, slip, slipping in
I’m a-sneaking, slipping in, sneaking in
I slipped up to the front door
I eased it open wide
I made sure the coast was clear
And then I slipped inside
Slipping through the doorway
Quiet as I could be
When on came the light and there she stood
Staring straight at me
And the moral of this story is plain as it can be
Slipping around goes a-hand in hand with woe and misery
There stand my little woman, asking where I’ve been
Slipping out is a lots of fun, but oh that slipping in
Lord, a-slip, slip, slip, slip, slipping in
Slip, slip, slip, slip, slipping in
Slip, slip, slip, slip, slipping in
I’m a-sneaking, slipping in, slipping in
Slipping in, slipping in

Cactus CD (bootleg)

Lou Millet recorded more during the ’60s as “Colonel Lou” (for Louisiana Governor Earl K. Long), “with the Swingers”, but the music was close to era’s trend.

Sources: Uncle Gil for the Cactus CD ; Jean-Guy Meunier for the Dot and Scenic sides ; Willem Agenant for a nice portion of the biography as well as Columbia sides ; Feature sides from HBR virtual CDs ; Black Cat Rockabilly Europ.nu site (blackcat@rockabilly.nl) for the Republic lyrics ; notes by Allan Turner on the Jasmine CD « Rock me » ; my own archives and researches ; hillbilly-music.com for a picture of Lou.

MACK HAMILTON & his Drifting Texans: “I’m a honky tonk daddy” (1953-54)

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): diamnd hamilton moaningdiamond Hamilton rosebud"(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.

billboard 31-10-53 hamilton

Billboard, 31 October 1953

Moaning in the morning

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“Sweet little Rosebud”

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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

roland R.A. Faulk pictureme 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.

Send me someone

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I’d own the world

Roland (R.A.) Faulk, “My baby’s gone

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diamond (Faulk) someonediamond (Faulk) worldbig state Faulk gone

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).

“I’m a honky-tonk daddy

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Will you will or will you won’t?”

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In a world without you”

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A girl with too many sweethearts”

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feature Hamilton daddy

feature Hamilton worldfeature Hamilton sweethearts

feature Hamilton Will

 

 

 

 

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.

Wink Lewis,I’m a honky-tonk daddyfeature Lewis daddywink lewis picture

billboard 8-9-56 lewis

Billboard Sept. 8, 1956

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Wink Lewis, “Zzztt, zzztt, zzzttttone Lewis Zzzzt

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Notes : with great help from Ronald Keppner (Diamond recordings); notes by Bruce Bastin for Flyright vol. 19 (557) « Bayou boogie » ; my own archives.

HAPPY FATS (Leroy LeBlanc) & his Rayne-Bo Ramblers: (1935-1952) and Oran “Doc” Guidry, Louisiana extraordinaires

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).happy fats pic 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 doc guidry & happy fats1936. 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 Abshire in 1935 (“La valse de Riceville“). Other popular Fats recordings include the traditional “Allons dance Colinda,” “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…)

late May 2014 fortnight favorites

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.

DarnellMillerPicture1

Darnell Miller, ’90s

dale miller woods

starday miller royal

starday  miller back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darnell MillerGettin’ out of the woods

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Darnell MillerRoyal flush

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Darnell MillerBack to you

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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]capitol dudley cry
Bill DudleyIf I cry

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capitol dudley wall

Bill Dudley, “Wailin’ Wall”

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Bill DudleyOh please Mr. Conductor

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Down in Louisiana, I will dwell on JOEY GILLS upon. A protégé of Jay D. Miller, and né Joseph Guillot, he hailed from Thibodeaux vicinity, La. where he was born on a farm in 1929 (died 2013).A relative to Cajun superstar Johnnie Allan, during the early ’50s, he often gigged with Rusty & Doug, and he sounded so much as Hank Williams that J. D. Miller often used him to test new songs. Here it is his first record from 1953-54 “Hey Meon” (Feature 2002), cut in Crowley, La (J. D. Miller studio): Gills is backed by Lonnie Jones (later known as “Lazy Lester“) on washboard, Johnny on steel (Miller can’t remember his full name) and Wiley Barkdull on piano for a very good waltz-paced ditty, partly sung in French. In February or March 1956, he cut 4 tracks for Mercury, either in Crowley, or in Nashville, which included the great medium boppers “(I am) Like a dog without a bone”, “My name is Joe” and “Consolation prize“. From then on, Gills had his own radio show in Thibodeaux on KTIB, but recorded only this song (found on Youtube).
Joey Gills: “Hey Meon

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Joey Gills “Like a dog without a bone”

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Joey GillsMy name is Joe

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Joey GillsConsolation prize

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Joey GillsBaby, leave your troubles at home

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feature 2002 joey gills hey meon