Early November 2016 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy folks ! Hi ! to returning visitors. Here is my choice of bopping billies (and a classic rocking blues) for this fortnight, mainly from the late ’40s.

We begin with JIMMIE SAUL on his own Redskin label out of Detroit, in 1947. His singer Jimmy Franklin, out of West Liberty, KY. (maybe artist with the same name, much later on Drifter, Acorn and M-G-M labels) fronted Saul’s Prairie Drifters for three sides (the 4th being instrumental) cut in Dayton, OH. Redskin 500 revealed « My long tall gal from Tenn. », a fast ditty, very-much over the top jazz tinged opus, comprising either James ‘Chick’ Stripling or Doug Dalton on crazy fiddle, and Jimmie Saul on bass, plus Marvin « Whitey » Franklin on steel. It has been suggested the guitar virtuoso may be Roy Lanham, who had at that time his band the Whippoorwills in Dayton. The second fast song was « Firecracker stomp » (# 501), an instrumental with guitar and bass solos as explosive as its title. Through an arrangement with Bill McCall, owner of 4 * Records in Pasadena, CA., « Firecracker stomp » was reissued twice on 4*. Meanwhile Jimmie Saul had become Jimmie Lane.

redskin-500-jimmie-saul-my-long-tall-gal

« My long tall gal from Tenn. »4-1630-jimmie-lane-firecracker-stompredskin-501-jimmie-saul-firecracker-stomp

bb-8-5-48-jimmie-saul

billboard May 8, 1948

 

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« Firecracker stomp »

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I really don’t know if this is the same man who came on a Waldorf/Top Hit Tunes 11-artists EP (TN 17) in 1958 with covers of respectively Elvis Presley, « I beg of you », and Ricky Nelson, « Waitin’ in school ». It is very doubtful, as his involvement in « Little lover », a teen rocker on Vestal 1906 from 1961 (Birmingham, AL). There was even a Jimmie Lane on Time from Philly. I include Top Hit Tunes and Vestal sides by tame comparison to his earlier sides.

« I beg of you« top-hit-17-jimmy-lane-waitin-in-school

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« Waitin’ in school« 

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« Little lover« 
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We move to Kentucky with EDDIE GAINES, a famous rocker for « Be-bop battlin’ ball » on Summit 101 (1958): the
eddie-gaines-pic-nbflipside « She captured this heart of mine » is a fine country rocker with eddie-gainesprominent mandolin backing, and was reissued the following year on Summit 109. Later on he had a ’45 on Tri-Tone (# 3000/3001 : « Out of gas/I never had it so good ») which was a teener, before becoming a minister.

« She captured this heart of mine« summit-109-eddie-gaines-she-captured

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From the East coast went BILLY STRICKLAND & his Hillbilly Kings for two tracks, the great « Hillbilly wolf » on Sylvan 354, an elusive label which I suspect had something to do with Ben Adelman, from Washington, D.C. Second tune is released on the Hill & Country label (# 103) a sublabel to Apollo : « Baby doll, please come home » has a dynamite steel all along, over a well-assured vocal. Both records were released early in 1949. Strickland also had records on King among others.

sylvan-354-billy-strickland-hillbiilly-wolfhc-103-billy-strickland-baby-doll-please-come-home

« Hillbilly wolf »

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« Baby doll, please come home« 

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We now come to the lone girl of the selection, COUNTRY GIRL KAY, who may be from Arkansas, hence her « Arkansas boogie » (Whitkay 1001) : a very agile and fine acoustic guitar is the sole instrumentation, and the girl is in good voice ! She also had « Life is not a bed of roses », same style, same label.

« Arkansas boogie« whitkay-1001-ctry-girl-kay-ark-boogie

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And to sum this fortnight’s up, a classic bluesy R&B which deserves no introduction : « Drinkin’ wine spo-dee-o-dee » by its creator « STICK » McGHEE on the Harlem label 1018 (1947). Spare instrumentation (only two guitars), and a lot of fun ! « Drinkin’ wine spo-dee-o-dee« harlem-1018-stick-mcghee-drinkin-wine

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Sources : as usual, many finds on YouTube ; carcitycountry site for the Jimmie Saul/Jimmy Franklin details ; John E. Burton tube for « Stick » McGhee disc ; Cactus, « High on the hop » vol. 3 for Eddie Gaines track.

Eddie Hill, lot of Hillbilly novelties (1947-1959): Steamboat stomp and other shufflers

Tennessean Eddie Hill (James Edward Hill) was born on July 21, 1921, in either McMinn County or Polk County. Being from a family with a rich musical tradition, Eddie already started singing and playing the guitar at very young age and he formed his first band while still in his teens. His first experience with radio work came while living in Knoxville, Tennessee, where his family had moved because of Eddie’s father’s work. Eddie first started working for local radio station WROL but in the early 1940s, he and his band moved to WNOX to work at the “Mid-Day-Merry-Go-Round” show, as “Smilin’ Eddie Hill and the Mountain Boys”. Some time later, Eddie moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where he joined WKRC, but in 1943 Johnny Wright convinced him to return to Knoxville to join the Tennessee Hillbillies, a group build around Johnny & Jack and Kitty Wells. In 1945, Eddie quit the Tennessee Hillbillies to try his luck in Hollywood’s movie business, but he soon moved back to Knoxville to return to WNOX, together with his Mountain Boys that now consisted of Leonard Dabney (guitar), Johnny Gallagher (bass), Billy Bowman (electric guitar) and Bob Sumner (fiddle). It was around this time that Eddie got married to his wife Jacqueline Adkins. (suite…)