There are very few things known about Jimmie Dawson. He was born in 1924 in Haynesville, La ., and died in 1992. Real name Tommy Latham, legally changed to Jimmy Dawson in 1956. He never hit it big, although having written and cut great songs, which he « recycled », sometimes years after, on other labels or under different names. Even specialized press like Billboard did mention him very little. So nearly all I know do come from his records. His story may be a bit intricated, so let’s begin once by the end. (more…)
Hello folks. Yes I am back, having moved and from a trip in Prague. Beautiful city, yet no Hillbilly sounds over there! Anyway, let’s go back to our favorites. This time I’ve chosen 5 artists. Let’s begin with an interesting late ’40s/early ’50s one, ZEKE CLEMENTS. I know very little about him, except he had many records on Blazon, Liberty (not the L.A. pop concern), Gold Standard, even in 1960 on his own Janet label. He was a prolific songwriter, and should be noticed “Smoke On The Water” for Red Foley. Here he delivers a fine shuffling (piano and guitar led) ditty on Liberty 8, “Oklahoma Blues“.
Early 60s and on to Cincinnati area with the rather unknown SLIM FOSTER. I posted both sides of his K-Ark single (# 613), one side uptempo, the other medium, with a lovely steel-guitar for “Never Be Untrue” and “I Wish I’d known“. Good Country bop.
From Texas I’d assume comes now CURLEY SANDERS and a nice bopper on the Imperial label (# 8226), “Too Much Lovin’“, complete with piano, fiddle and guitar and that immediately recognizable Imperial sound. Sanders would later (1956) have a Starday issue, “Brand New Rock And Roll” in the famous custom serie (# 590): see elsewhere in the site for this side.
On to Louisana, early ’60s: BILL MATTE & the Five Classics for the presumably hard-to-understand for English speakers: “Parlez-vous l’francais” (Do you speak french) is sung in Cajun patois, and myself have trouble understanding all the lyrics!
Finally another inreresting artist from the Cincinnati area, AL RUNYON, on Kentucky for a revamp of Hank Snow‘s “I’m Moving On“. Not a bad version, as Runyon was covering others’ hits, as his labelmate Delbert Barker. He was also later on Starday for the famous Jimmie Skinner’s penned “Baby Please Come Home“. His story is a bit intricated, but I hope to have it posted in the future.
As a bonus. I just heard BILLY STRANGE passed away on Feb. 22th (aged 81). He cut many records and played on innumerable sessions from the late ’40s ‘way into the ’70s. Here is one of my favorite trucker songs, “Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves” on Capitol 2032 from 1952.
Noack who gained degrees in English and Journalism at the University of Houston made his radio debut in 1947 and made his first record for the Gold Star label in 1949, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. In 1951, he cut several songs for Four Star including “Too Hot To Handle“. Leased to the TNT label, it drew attention to his songwriting and was recorded by several artists (including Sonny Burns) , most recently by Deke Dickerson, who also included “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” on his new (excellent) CD, “Deke Dickerson In 3 Dimensions”.
Noack joined Starday in 1953 (beginning a long association with ‘Pappy’ Daily), where his immediate success came as a writer when several of his songs were recorded by top artists including Hank Snow who scored a # 5 Country hit with “These Hands” in 1956.
Noack moved with Daily to his D label where in 1958, after recording rockabilly tracks as Tommy Wood, he had a country hit with “Have Blues Will Travel” (# 14).
During the ’60s, Noack quit recording to concentrate on songwriting and publishing and had many of his songs including Flowers For Mama, Barbara Joy, The Poor Chinee, A Day In The Life Of A Fool and No Blues Is Good News successfully recorded by George Jones as album cuts.
This bizarre song, about a serial killer, was virtually unknown then since the original fifties version by its composer, Leon Payne (yes, the “I Love You Because” guy), had – understandably – never received any airplay. Since Eddie’s version it has become a cult favourite, covered by, among others, Elvis Costello.
Noack did make some further recordings in the ’70s, including arguably some of his best for his fine tribute album to Jimmie Rodgers. He moved to Nashville and in 1976, recorded an album that found release in the UK (where he had toured that year) on the Look label. He worked in publishing for Daily and Lefty Frizzell and in an executive role for the Nashville Song- writers Association until his death from cirrhosis in 1978. A fine honky tonk performer, somewhat in the style of Hank Williams, he is perhaps more appreciated today as a singer than he was in his own time.
Below is a reprint of a New Kommotion article from 1976, “Talk Back With Noack”, in which Noack tells his early story in his own words.
article revised on December 4th, 2011 (more…)