late November 2011 fortnight’s favorites

Howdy, folks! We do embark for a new musical journey into Bluegrass, old-time Hillbilly, and border Rockabilly Hillbilly bop.

First from North Wilkesboro, Western North Carolina, do come the CHURCH BROTHERS. Three brothers, Ralph, Bill and Edwin (each’s instrument unknown) and a fourth partner, Ward Eller, provided on the Jim Stanton’s Rich-R-Tone label, later on Drusilla Adams’ Blue Ridge label, a nice serie of ¬†enthusiastic tunes between 1951 and 1953, before they were disbanded by the mid-’50s. The elder Bill was playing (certainly guitar) with Roy Hall & his Blue Ridge Entertainers before the WWII, and was joined later by younger brothers. Alas, they were reluctant to travel very far, and, being modest and straightforward country boys, they were less and less involved in music – and more and more tied in their farms and families. Here you can hear the fabulous banjo-led “I Don’t Know What To Do“, which I don’t even know the original issue number of, having picked it from an old Tom Sims’ cassette. This track escaped to Rounder LP 1020, a shame because in my mind it’s by far their best track ever. Final note: the Church Brothers backed Jim Eanes on his regional hit “Missing In Action” (1952).

church brothers

GRANDPA JONES (Born Louis Jones, 1913 – died 1998) was a banjo player, comedian, and long-time associate with Grand Ole Opry. He had adopted the name ‘Grandpa’ at 22,because he sounded old on the radio. He recorded with Merle Travis and the Delmore Brothers as Brown’s Ferry Four for King (religious sides). Here you can hear his hilarious and stomping “Grandpa’s Boogie” (King 822) from 1948.

folio grandpa jonesking 812aa grandpa jones grandpa boogieLouis_'Grandpa'_Jones (1913-1998)

CHARLIE MONROE along with famous brother Bill was at the very beginnig of Bluegrass music, but he deliver also some very good Hillbilly, as here with “Down In Caroline” from the ’40s (RCA 48-0391B ). Note the boogie guitar for a song much covered afterwards, e.g. the Church Brothers.

charlie monroe (1903-1975)rca 21-0391 charlie monroe down in caroline From Texas and a bit later. The first issue on the Gainesville Lin label (Buck Griffin…) by a rather unknown WAYNE JETTON and “A Crazy Mind Plus A Foolish Heart” (Lin 1000). A good average uptempo ballad. Then, on the San Antonio TNT label, a bordering Hillbilly bop/Rockabilly bop, “Be Bopping Baby” (TNT 9009) by RANDY KING, from 1956. Good topical lyrics, and fine backing.

lin 1000 wayne jetton a foolish mindtnt 9009 randy king be bopping baby

Finally a belter from 1956 by a R&B lady (unusual on Bopping!), “Alabama Rock’n’Roll” by MABEL KING on the Rama (# 200) New York label. Enjoy the selections! ’till then, bye-bye!

rama 200 mabel

A.C. “Buck” Griffin, classic Texas Hillbilly bop and Rockabilly (1954-1956) on Lin and M-G-M

One of the first articles I ever wrote was about rockabilly/honky tonk singer Buck Griffin, which in turn led me to my proud association with Joe Leonard. Griffin was a great artist who unfortunately struck out before making the major leagues, despite going to bat for Lin, MGM and Holiday Inn between 1954 and 1962. He tried his hand at both country and the newly emerging rockabilly style but was destined to remain relatively unknown.

pub 1956

Born Albert Clyde Griffin in Corsicana, Texas on 23rd February 1923, his formative years were spent moving throughout Oklahoma and Kansas. Whilst still in his teens, A.C., as he was known, formed and fronted a country band with three schoolmates. After leaving school and holding down jobs on pipelines and oil fields, he started to play the local honky tonks and eventually got a gig on radio station WKY.

Throughout the forties and fifties radio had bred many stars who once they were groomed and polished, moved on to better things, leaving the station manager to find a replacement. WKY probably had this in mind when they copyrighted the name Chuck Wyman and had our Mr. Griffin use it for all his broadcasts. Once he left the station, singers like Paul Brawner and Pronger Suggs took over the role and the sponsors continued backing the shows. The public must surely have noticed whenever a new Chuck arrived, but after a hard days toil in the cotton fields or rounding up cattle, I don’t suppose they cared. (more…)