Lattie Moore, Cincinnati hillbilly bop and Rockabilly (1952-1982)

Though highly revered within hillbilly and rockabilly circles, the name of Lattie Moore is practically unknown outside auction lists. Even there’s a tad mysterious, Eddie Bond’s « Juke Joint Johnnie », Jerry Reed’s « If The Good Lord’s Willing » and George Jones’ « Out Of Control » have been reissued on CD but they were probably more familiar than Lattie’s versions even before they were readily available. Yet, arguably, Lattie’s records are more rewarding. His experience-laced vocals have far more expression than Jerry Reed’s or the affectless Eddie Bond and the countrypolitan elements which often diluted George Jone’s 60’s music are almost entirely absent.

Lattie’s voice is absolutely perfect in a coarse, grainy, ragged sort of way and there’s the odd device like a half yodel when he sings about doleful effects of drink. Country traditionalists go for the light, twangy vocals on hillbilly songs like « Don’t Trade The Old For The New ». Rockabilly enthusiasts bid big bucks for Lattie’s very scarce records on Arc and Starday. Lattie, however, admits to singing about drink more than anything else.

Lattie Harrison Moore was born in Scottsville, Kentucky, on October 17, 1924. He was named after Lattie Graves, the family doctor who delivered him. He grew up learning to play guitar, mandolin and bass. Only 65 miles of Nashville, Lattie listened to the Grand Ole Opry. He was impressed by Roy Acuff, and later, Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams.
In 1944 Lattie hichhilked 200 miles North to Indianapolis, a city of greater opportunity for the professionnally-minded musician. A brief stint in the Navy interrupted his intentions but on discharge he worked nighclubs and some of Indiana’s large jamboree parks. In December 1944 he married. They raised 4 children, and recently (in 2000) they celebrated 55 years’ togetherness.

If ever a record disappeared into collector holy graildom, it was Lattie Moore’s first. No one has ever seen a copy ! It was called « Hideaway heart » c/w « Married Troubles » and cut in 1951 at the home-built studio of Tate Boland, the Arrow’s label owner. The same year Lattie joined the Mid-Western Jamboree held at Turner’s Hall and broadcast over WIBC, from the Indiana capital.

A copy of the 78rpm was sold $ 134 in January 2019.

In 1952 Moore travelled to Nashville with a view to recording for Bullet, the local grandaddy of independant labels. He discovered that Bullet wasn’t signing anyone new but was pointed by John Dunn, who handled Bullet’s pressing plant, in the direction of the Speed label, a smaller company in which Dunn also had interest. Story of Lattie Moore’s Nashville debut was given by Dunn’s partner : « In the summer of 1952, I met Lattie Moore as I walked out of the Ernest Tubb record shop on lower Broadway. He was a writer and guitarist who wanted to make a record and he sung right there in the busy sidewalk for me to listen.

The song was called « Juke Joint Johnny ». I thought it was so good I gave him a contract and cut it that very afternoon. We went to a makeshift studio on Union Street. No one in the band knew the song except Lattie and his lead player, so to fill up the sound I told the engineer to bring the drums in as loud as possible to fill ut the sound of the piano.

The song “Juke Joint Johnny” hit the jukeboxes fast and good. I think this was about the first rock’n’roll record out of Nashville, and in these early days we didn’t know it. »

Lattie Moore cut 25 tracks for King over two periods : 1953-1956 and 1959-1963. The musicians on earliest recordings, made at the label’s own studio on Brewster Avenue in Cincinnati, included Zeke Turner (electric lead guitar), Don Helms, veteran member of Hank Williams’ Drifting Cowboys (steel), Tommy Jackson (fiddle) and Zeb Turner (rhythm guitar). They had as firm a grasp on the essentials of the honky-tonk genre as any musicians in Texas.

King dropped Lattie after six singles. He cut a flat-out rock’n’roll version of « Juke Joint Johnny » (as « Juke Box Johnnie ») for Arc Records in December 1956. On stage, however, he mined the mother lode ; Elvis and Little Richard were as important to his repertoire as Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb.

In 1958 Lattie joined Starday which had moved its HQ from Beaumont,Texas to a suburb of Nashville the previous year. « Don Pierce looked me up in Indianapolis, said Lattie ; He really wanted me on Starday. We cut « Why Did You Lie To Me » in Nashville in a studio that Floyd Robinson had in part of his house. Floyd played electric guitar and Benny Martin wrote it and played the acoustic flat-top guitar on it. » « Too Hot To Handle », Lattie’s second and last Starday single, was his take on Eddie Noack’s enduring and much-loved song.

In 1958 Lattie joined Starday which had moved its HQ from Beaumont,Texas to a suburb of Nashville the previous year. « Don Pierce looked me up in Indianapolis, said Lattie ; He really wanted me on Starday. We cut « Why Did You Lie To Me » in Nashville in a studio that Floyd Robinson had in part of his house. Floyd played electric guitar and Benny Martin wrote it and played the acoustic flat-top guitar on it. » « Too Hot To Handle », Lattie’s second and last Starday single, was his take on Eddie Noack’s enduring and much-loved song.

Derby Town LP (1982)

Leaving King for a second time, Lattie cut a good album and a single for Derbytown and a single for WPL. Eventually Lattie returned to Scottsville and worked in law enforcement for four years. He underwent laser surgery for throat cancer in 1986 and recovered from a quadruple heart bypass in 1999. Now, he says, he’s fine, and keeps fit walking 30 minutes every evening.

Sources: Bill Millar’s biography of Lattie Moore (Westside CD “I’m Not Broke, But I’m Badly Bent”, 2000); most labels from 45cat and 78worlds; music from various sources (e.g. YouTube or Gripsweat.com). Article originally published in September 2009, completely revised July 2019. The podcasts omitted second King period (1959-61), in my mind the poppiest-country sounding period of Lattie Moore.

Early December 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy, folks ! This is the latest batch of bopping goodies – and the penultimate 2019 selection. You will have to be comprehensive with label scans, that don’t match the usual bopping.org criteria : as a matter of fact I am experiencing the latest Photoshop version and not completely familiar with it. Anyway the music is still intact and ready for listening/downloading. So let’s go.

Ted Daffan’s Texans

TED DAFFAN (1912-1996) was a bandleader and prolific songwriter (and steel guitar player) since the mid-30s. Backed by his Texans, he wrote many hits and classics: just one among others, the abundantly revised later « Born To Lose » from 1941. Here he is with « Car Hop Blues », orginally published on Okeh 6452, then reissued in June 1947 on Columbia 37438 then 20165 : a fine shuffler, indeed adorned by Daffan’s steel, plus accordion and a bluesy guiar. The vocal is done by the disillusioned Chuck Keeshan. A short note : Daffan had his own label in ’55-’58, which released fine records by Jerry Irby « Clickety Clack »), Jerry Jericho (« These Hands »), Fidlo (« Triflin’ Heart ») or William Penix « Dig That Crazy Driver » .

Jimmie Ballard

As vocalist for Buffalo Johnson & His Herd on Kentucky 520 (1950, Cincinnati), JIMMIE BALLARD cut the two risqué « Tappin’ Boogie » and « T’ain’t Big Enough ». Great boppers, the fastest being the A-side – great walking bass for a combination of guitar and steel over a non-sense vocal. The B-side is slowier, although equally good.

Billboard Sept. 27th, 1952

Billboard, Dec. 20th, 1952

This time two years later on King, as JIMMY BALLARD, he once more had very fine records. The double-sided « I Want A Bow-Legged Woman » and « Shes Got Something » are both superior boppers, drums present – actually pre-rockabilly tunes. Nice steel and vocally fluent.(King 1118). His later amusing « The Creek’s Gone Muddy (And The Fish Won’t Bite ») (# 1143) is done in a similar style. The agile guitar player in these sides could be the great Al Myers, who adorned several days before a Bob Newman session (« Phht ! You Were Gone »).

Adam Colwell, Tex White & the Country Cousins

Less and less known are both next artists. ADAM COLWELL is delivering in 1962 (Cincinnati) the fast « Open the Door » (some chorus, but great steel) on Ark 219, while TEX WHITE — is doing a medium nice uptempo on Nayco 2526 (location and date unknown – do you have any clue, Drunken Hobo?) with « You’re Wasting Your Tears ».

“Little Willie” Littlefield

Finally we got fabulous piano walking basses and tremendous high-pitched notes by LITTLE WILLIE LITTLEFIELD : his first record from 1948 on Houston’s Eddie’s 1202, « Little Willie’s Boogie » is very reminiscent of Amos Milburn great Aladdin wildies like « My Baby’s boogeing » or « Amo’s Boogie » ; Littlefield’s « Jim Wilson Boogie » on Federal 12221 is done in the same style.

Sources : HBR « Kentucky label » ; Will Agenant « Columbia 20000 serie » for Ted Daffan ; King Hillbilly Project (Jimmy Ballard) ; Gripsweat (Tex White, Adam Colwell) ; my own archives.

Jimmy Logsdon, the later years (1962-1982)

In 1962, Logsdon launched his own label (Jimmie Logsdon Sings) – 6 tracks EPs – and issued three of them, prominently religious songs, but also some Hank Williams classics, lesser known songs. He was backed by unknown musicians, probably Cincinnati session men : rhythm, steel, bass, and his songs are on a par with the tunes he had already cut some years before.

The Jewel album

He recorded a rockabilly album for Jewel Records in Cincinnati in 1981, and it was released worldwide in 1983. This album “Now and Then I Think of the 50’s” (Jewel 83021) had 15 sides and featured his friend Rusty York playing guitar and harmonica in addition to producing the L.P. The album sold well in Europe and is a collectors item there even today. Alas, it suffered a lack of feeling and spontaneity, although it brought back several older songs and no doubt, those he had liked from other artists during his own career. He has been a prolific song writer during his career and has had many stars record his songs including Johnny Horton, Kenny Price, Woody Herman, Carl Perkins and others.

That's All Right Mama

by Jimmie Logsdon | Now & Then

Rocky Road Blues

by Jimmie Logsdon | Now & Then

Rainin" In My Heart

by Jimmie Logsdon | Now & Then

I'll Sail My Ship Alone

by Jimmie Logsdon | Now & Then

Sources : my own archives  45-cat and Ohio River 45s for label scans (especially “Jimmie Logsdon sings”). Special thanks to Armadillo Killer for Clark and King sides.Thanks to Pierre Monnery for copying the King sides. Biography from the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame. Information from various YouTube posts.

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discography here:https://countrydiscoghraphy2.blogspot.com/2016/12/jimmie-logsdon.html

Early March 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy folks ! This is the 5th bopping fortningt’s favorites selection of the 2019 year, that of early March. Mostly made of late ’40s and very early ’50s recordings in very various styles.

Blue Ridge Playboys (Moon Mullican)

Let’s begin with a San Antonio recording from November 1936 : « Swing Baby Swing » is a Blue Ridge Playboys tune, described on the label (Vocalion 034160) as « Hot String Band And Singing » : Moon Mullican (vocal and piano) is driving the Blue Ridge Playboys with this lively tune, only a pretext for piano, fiddle (Leon Selph) and guitar solos.

Moon Mullican

Further on with two later sides by MOON MULLICAN on the King label (recorded in Cincinnati on March 6th, 1953), : « Grandpa Stole My Baby »(written by a R&B giant, Roy Brown) and « I Done It » are obvious attempts to sound R&B (a lovely saxophone and drums, played by Boyd Bennett) and predate vintage Rock’n’roll by 3 years. Lazy rhythm, haunting tracks at every listen, of course the piano is great.

Billy Hughes’ Pecos Pals

Next artist is a legendary songwriter, with classic songs from the 1946-48 era like « I’m Tellin’ You », « It’s Too Late To Change Your Mind », « Tennessee Saturday Night » or « Stealin’ The Blues ». Bopping.org devoted him an article (in October 2014), and here’s a tune that escaped to the post, BILLY HUGHES’ PECOS PALS and « Out Of Town Boogie » (4* 1202 from 1947) : it’s an uptempo mid-paced, vocally halfspoken.

Walt McCoy

WALT McCOY was a West Coast artist : he was backed by his Western Wonders, and had records on Cristal and Broadway among others. Here he delivers first a « Cowboy Boogie », a solid rhythm over a boogie guitar pattern, taken over by an uninspired steel solo, and piano, issued on the rare O and W label (# 237). Then on a 4* custom OP- record (on Pacific 145), « I’m Gonna Get A Honky Tonk Angel » is a slow thing, a bit crooning and disillusioned vocal over a good steel.

Eddie Marshall

Then on a major label (RCA-Victor # 21-0357 cut –), a cheerful, although on a bluesy type tempo, « Tom Cat Blues » by an unknown but prolific artist : EDDIE MARSHALL & His Trail Dusters. The steel-guitar goes throughout the song, and the vocal is yodeling at times.The dude had several other good records, namely « Mobilin’ Baby Of Mine » (also by Gene O’Quinn on Capitol 2075), « Honky Tonk Blues » (not the Hank Williams song), a version of « Coffee, Cigarettes & Tears » (also by Charlie ‘Peanuts ‘ Faircloth on Decca 46271) . Eddie Mashall really deserves a complete research and a publication.

Al Brumley

Later on Ohio’s Acme 1230 (1950’s, it’s difficult to date this particular issue), AL BRUMLEY & The Brumley Brothers do release « You’ve Been Tellin’ Me Lies », a good uptempo with steel present (+ solo), over a vocal well suited to this rural type of song.

Snake River Outlaws

Finally a great fiddle and mandolin led bopper from a very unusual place : Missoula, Montana. The Snake River Outlaws do « I Won’t Go Huntin’ Jake (But I’ill Go Chasin’ Women)[vocal Orville Fochtman] with good fiddle and mandolin (solo), I’d assume a ’50s disc, but may also be a ’60s one ! On their own label, Snake River Outlaw 101.

Sources : 78-world for most label scans, google for several pictures, sounds from various origins (HBR # 45 for Walt McCoy, for example)

Early December 2018 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy folks, welcome to new visitors. This is the early December 2018 fortnight’s favorites selection, and, as usual, it will be very various in styles from late 1947 to 1964.

Bennie Hess

BENNIE HESS was a Country singer born February 10, 1914 at Chriesman (Texas). He formed his first band The Rhythm Wranglers in 1940 and a show on the local radio KFYO Lubbock (Texas). First hit in 1945 for the Black And White Records.

Bennie spent at the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport (Louisiana), the Big D Jamboree in Dallas (Texas) and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville (Tennessee). Died November 22, 1984 in Houston (Texas) Here he is with a B-side of Jet 1920 («You Can’t Catch A Fish Where Is No Water»): You Are In My Heart To Stay» is a nice uptempo ballad, with a fine rhythm section (piano and steel solos) (circa 1955), without doubt recorded in Houston.
He had an abundant stack of records on Pearl, Major, Musicode, Space and Spade during the ’50s. Maybe one day bopping.org will search about him.

He got her up to an hundred and ten
But he met Number Four comin’ around the bend
He told his fireman it’s now too late
’Cause they saved this space for the Pearly Gates
He passed Number Four with a great big sigh
The set’n on a Switch to let him by
He boogied and he boogied on down the line
With a big relief and a day to live on
Whooo whooo hear that whistle
Ding dong hear that bell
He stated down on a mighty hill

Richard Prine

(Slim Watts vocal)

RICHARD PRINE was a band leader (and drummer) during the early ’50s in Houston. Here he has Slim Watts (several discs on 4*) as a front man for «Highball Boogie» on Ayo 111. It’s a train song : rollicking piano, whistle effects (steel?) and a very agile guitar player. The band has even a Western swing touch with a nice fiddle and a saxophone (Link Davis?).

Prine also used Deacon Anderson as singer/steel player. As to regards to Slim Watts, he had half a dozen issues on 4 * or “Tu-La-Lu” on Starday 286.

The following 4 records were issued on Dixie, being a very frequent label name. So various places (when given on labels) of the U.S.

GUY GARDNER & His Country Four

On Dixie 1068 (1961) by GUY GARDNER & his Country Four, here’s «High Society», an uptempo ballad : jumping vocal and instrumentation (piano and steel). Madison, TN label (sublabel to Starday).

ART BUCHANAN

On Dixie 1002, ART BUCHANAN and «Hi Yo Silver» from January 1963. Energetic vocal, call-and-response format. He had also «Queen From Bowling Green» on Dixie 823, and under the name of Art Ontario, he had cut «It Must Be Me/Last Goodbye» in 1959 on the PD Starday sublabel Dixie from Madison, TN (# 2019) (valued at $ 300-400). Finally his rarest from 1958: «Wiggle walkin’ boogie» on Illinois 725 ($ 700-800).

JESSIE FLOYD

Third artist in this short Dixie serie is JESSIE FLOYD in 1964, for «Hangover Blues»(# 1063). A fine vocal, and a demented piano. This record could have been cut as well in 1958.(valued at $ 350-450). Ashboro, N. Carolina label.

JAKE THOMAS

Finally JAKE THOMAS (« with Bluegrass Band ») is releasing «What’ll I Do, a really fine bluesy tune: an ideal voice, a bit husky at times, for this type of song.

A dobro is the main instrument, and a slap-bass is going well its way. A fiddle also present. Value 300-400. Thomas had also released « Meanest Blues » on Dixie 1112.

PEE WEE KING (Redd Stewart vocal)

Something really dfferent with the swinging, bluesy Redd Stewart vocal for «Juke Box Blues» of PEE WEE KING (RCA-Victor 20-2841) from December 1947. A bluesy uptempo, a fine guitar ; indeed King’s accordion fighting with the steel, and even a fiddle solo. A great disc.

AL URBAN

To sump up, a short cut of the AL URBAN story (in this site) with his better known song, «Lookin’ For Money» (Sarg 148, from Spring 1956) – down to earth fast hillbilly bop, lot of echo.

Sources : mainly YouTube and 45cat (for label scans) ; Pee Wee King from my personal library ; C. Klop Dixie serie (Dixie 3333) ; various compilations (issued during the late ’90s.).

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