There was NO early October entry: too much work on other things.
Clay & Christine The Kentcky Sweethearts: « These Tears » Sun-Ray 118. Very good mid-paced ballad (main male vocal) duet, nice steel.
B-side : « They say », same formula. A good « provincial country record » from Lexington, Ky., 1967.
Tony Douglas « Baby, When The Sun Goes Down » issued on D 1005 (Houston, Tx). Energetic bopper. Nice vocal and interplay between steel and fiddle, plus piano – really a Starday “feel” (1958), the first of a long career.
Gene Snowden on Hi-Fidelity OP-121/122 « Quit Your Triflin’ On Me » : good guitar. A favorite song for Ray Campi. B-side « Angel Darling » less fast, a good honky tonker in its style.OP- serie was a 4 Star outlet for “Other People”.
Arizona hillbilly Jimmy Spellman « Give Me Some Of Yours » released on Viv 3000 : a fast bopper with steel solo (1955). On Viv Spellman also released “It’s You, You,You” (1002) and the great rockabilly “(She Wants A) Lover Man” (# 1005) with Al Casey on lead guitar. Later he went on Dot, Vik and Redstart, all teen rockers.
Out of Knoxville, Tn. label Valley mostly known for Darrell Glenn (pop country) and Reese Shipley (« Catfish boogie » #106) or Shorty Long. (# 108, « I Got Nine Little Kisses »). Here’s the first record of the label : # 101 Joe Stuart « Shoot Again, Mr. Cupid « : a fast, average hillbilly – strong fiddle.
A short note from Ronald Keppner mnentioned a Valley 100 by Archie Campbell (unheard). Yhanks Ron!
Arlie Duff : Decca 29987 « Alligator Come Across » recorded May 15, 1956.
The best open space between hillbilly and rockabilly. Both styles present, great although short rockabilly solo (certainly Grady Martin). Duff was on the birth of Starday too (1953).
Vancie Flowers on Pike 5921 (1959) with « Six Days In Waiting » – does remind of « Six Days On The Road ».Tough guitar, weird instrumentation.
Joe Franklin (1929-2001) & the Mimosa Boys – « Hillbilly boy » b/w « Hitch-hikin’ blues » MGM 11612 (1953). North Carolina artist. Here’s the ultimate in Hillbilly piano bop (Darryl Petty). Urgent vocal, and strong, way too short fiddle too. Joe Franklin’s story is to be found in this site.
The Four Star custom series were, as did Starday from Beaumont or Houston, known to include many Rock’ & Roll sides played by Hillbilly bands and it was a music that most artists would easily relate to, including the older musicians who had been playing boogie and blues for years anyway. Countless bands were active and the only way they could relate to was release their records on Four Star OP (Other People) custom records.
The tapes would then be sent in and the widely advertised custom service would handle, for a fee, the manufacture of the records and distribution of a number of copies to selected radio stations. Otherwise than this, promotion and distribution was a left up to the the artist or his agent. The number going to the radio stations was probably a percentage of the total number pressed, which varied considerably. Some were produced in relatively large quantities while other artists ordered as few as 99 copies. The rarity of these records varies widely as, of course, does the quality of the music (but not in the same condition). The artist coud choose his own label name, which hopefully often also gives a location. They could also have the record issued under the company’s own logo (as in the case of « Texas » Bill Strength), perhaps at extra cost. Several record labels started as custom pressings before becoming actual independant companies later. Example : Erwin and Rural Rhythm (not represented in this selection). All are generally uptempo sides, with prominent fiddle and walking bass. It must also be noted that many artists were one-off, i.e. they had only one record issued by Four Star OP- service, and never had the chance to cut another one.
HBR did issue two volumes of Four Star OP- custom records. I deliberatly chose to issue unknown sides from 1950 to 1958, and various Western regions (Oklahoma to Oregon), not to exclude Eastern areas like even Florida. Eddie Snell (on the aptly named Promotional # 242 label) has more of a West coast sound to him, with a « Rockin’ rhythm » similar to Sammy Masters‘ early sides. Alden Holloway had also famous releases on Dixie and Starday (« Blast off » or « Swinging the rock »). Here is what he recorded in 1956 seemingly on the West coast for Northwest # 263 : « Woodpecker love ». He had previously issued on # 214 «Beaumont blues » as Shorty Holloway. Veteran Dick Bills, also later on Crest (« Rockin’ and rollin’ » in 1961 with nephew Glen Campbell on lead guiar ) had on Vicki « Beggars can’t be choosers » (# 198, 1954-55). Went also on Morgan (with vocalist Buz Burnam).
A favorite of Ray Campi, « Quit your triflin’ (on me) » (Hi-fidelity 211), from 1954-55 by Gene Snowden, is a good uptempo probably of West coast origin, while Hank Crow and his Raven River Ramblers do come surely from California: the fine « Baby, baby me » on Southwest 204 from 1954. Gene Snowden “Quit your triflin'(on me”
Hank Crow (real forname: Dorsey) apparently came from Arizona, who cut two records on the Southwest label. OP-204 coupled the very fine “Baby, baby me” and “Crazy ’bout you“, both uptempo and full of fantastic steel-guitar. From 1954 or 55. His second issue (OP-207) with Jeanne Black is untraced. Any follower to provide it to bopping.org ?
From Texas, Doc Bryant & National Jamboree Gang on his own Doc Bryant label (# 155) for « Cotton pickin’ boogie », from 1952-53. In 1958, an « old » Texas artist – he first recorded in the late ’40s for Macy’s, i.e. « Cornbread boogie » -, Art Gunn had on his own (?) Arga (# 288) label the fine relaxed « Pickin’ ‘n singing ». He had also previously cut for Revel and V & G Records. The mysterious Phantom Rider Trio does « Peekin’ thru your window » on the K-Pep label # 264 from San Angelo.
From Florida, Candy Rowell on the Du Ro #254 label with « Ain’t gonna say hello ».
Oklahoma is represented by Al Sweatt and « Fo-Mo-Co » on Keen 262, from 1956. Indeed he was to have the two rockers later « I hate myself/Let’s paint the town red » (Keen 288). Al Sweatt “Little Fo-mo-co“
Four Star OP- serie continued well over until the late ’50s with the odd Hillbilly bop issued : Sonny LeBarron and « Jack and Jill» (Mecca # 252), Paul McGhee (« You are my sunshine » Flame 305) or 267 Sonny Thibodeaux (Pacific 267), Leo Gosnell from 1959 on Mountain 298/299, (“Juke Joint Honey“) to name just a very few.