Howdy ! This is the early February 2018 fortnight’s favorites selection.Let’s begin with a Western swing Houston scene veteran : DICKIE McBRIDE, here late in his career ( October 1951). Billed with his wife Laura Lee (who is absent here), he delivers a powerful and moving « I love you boogie » on M-G-M 11056. Fine steel and piano, and a lot of yells and whistles from apparently McBride himself.
Another veteran, out of the Gospel and Bluegrass field : MAC ODELL (rn Odell McLeod), who was born in 1916 in Roanake, Alabama. His career had a large stretch between New Orleans and Michigan, before he settled down in Nashville, as « Ole Country Boy » in the late ’40s. He recorded first at Mercury, then landed at King , but had poor sales as an artist. More as a songwriter for others : « The battle of Armageddon » for Hank Williams, or « The glorybound train » for Roy Acuff. At King, he was firmly Bluegrass, backed by Don Reno and Red Smiley. Here is his fast half-talked «Penicillin » from September 1953 on King 1251. O’Dell has deceased in 2003.
Red Barn was a regional Kansas City concern, important for example for the first Jimmie Skinner sides of the late ’40s. The name ELMO LINN may be an obscure one ; he had however two interesting issues on this label. « Lorita » (Red Barn 1188A) is a medium paced shuffler with steel. Vocal reminds a bit Ernest Tubb. The flipside « Line on the highway » is a fast guitar backed tune. « Heart full of love » (Red Barn 1195) comes next, with again that shuffling rhythm. Later on Linn went to Westport (pop country).
From Lorain, Ohio, VERN TERRY on the Athena label (a Starday custom) from 1959. « Miss you » is a good slowie, the instrumentation is minimal, echo is on the vocal, and steel is to the fore. (# 804). The flipside « Someone new » is an uptempo shuffler. Good steel and fiddle.
From Nashville, RAY BATTS in 1954 for two sides on the Excello label # 2028. The marvelous bopper « Stealin’ sugar » : complete with steel and piano. It has moreover nothing to do with the Merle Lindsay tune (MGM 10795) of the same name. The flipside, « Maybe it’s you, sweetheart » is a shuffler. Batts had also on Bullet 754 the great double-sided « Bear cat daddy/Wild man boogie », reviewed in « Bullet – always a smash it », published here in May 2012.
WANDA BALLMAN is no unknown. She had more than one issue, e.g. on Starday custom serie # 528 (August 1955) for « Think it over », which bears on label a collective personnel. Very solid mid-paced vocal, a short steel guitar solo over basic instrumentation.
SALLY MASSEY obviously on her own Sa-Ma label (no #). Two well sung hillbilly weepers : « « Ole Michigan moon » and « Saving all my kisses ».
On the Arkansas Vaden label (# 101), one JERRI PATTERSON tells « That’s why I think of you » in a lovely bopping style.
Howdy folks ! With just an exception, only 78rpm this time.
Let’s begin with the legendary JIM EANES in one of his earliest efforts on the Blue Ridge (#301) label. It’s happy hillbilly bordering to bluegrass (sometimes difficult to distinguish, but who cares?) : « A sweeter love than yours I’ll never know ». Fine solos : banjo, mandolin over chorus vocals.
Smilin’ Jim Eanes “A sweeter love than yours I’ll never know“
Let’s begin this new favorites selection with the first (?) record by an artist who would have much, much later fame as Boxcar Willie. Here he’s named MARTY MARTIN on the Honeycomb label and he sings a good “Mobile, Alabama blues”.
Finally, thanks to a Mr. Noel T, I put my hands on two rare JESS WILLARD disks. First the completely unknown G&G 107 double-sider “I’m branding my darling with my heart” (earlier cut by Jack Guthrie) and “Hillbilly heaven” (this is apparently not Eddie Dean’s song). Both sides are gentle hillbilly boppers from 1957. G&G was a parent label to Ka-Hi which Willard had “I’m telling you” on. Second is the Sundown 126 “Cops and robbers/Night time is cry time” from 1959, posthumously issued. Alas, both sides are completely pop.
Jess Willard “I’m branding my darling with my heart”
Howdy, folks! En route for the new cartload of bopping Hillbillies/Rockabillies and white rockers (this time), plus the usual R&B rocker. First two tunes are by WEBB FOLEY, from Fort Wayne, Indiana it seems. He had “Bee bop baby” on Emerald 2013 in 1957 (flip side is “You ought make records“, listed as “C&W”, alas I didn’t track it down). Rockabilly and that’s all, topical lyrics, good rhythm. Next year he was to have a white rocker “Little bitty mama” (Emerald EP 750), a good one. BUT, beware of his sides on the M label (“Strange little girl/One by one” and “Little town Xmas”), they’re awful! More on Emerald next fortnight.
Next artist must have been a local one, as his label: Royal 100, for COUSIN KEITH LOYD (sic). He cut “Dangerous crossing” (1955?) certainly having in mind Billy Strange’s “Diesel smoke” from a pair of years earlier. Cousin Keith Loyd “Dangerous crossing“
I return to MARVIN RAINWATER. I did celebrate his death last month with one of his most known tracks, “Mr. Blues“. Now I’ve chosen “So you think you’ve got troubles” (MGM 12420), cut a coupe of years later, and a fast good side of its own.
Marvin Rainwater “So you think you’ve got troubles”
BILL LOWE was from West Coast, and cut for the interesting small label Sundown. There he had at least two issues, the one here (# 117), “You set my heart on fire“, a very nice late ’50s hillbilly. Lowe had a duet with TOMMY GUESS, also on Sundown, “Foolish heart” (# 106 – I include it in the podcasts, having copied it from an old Tom Sims’ cassette).
Finally a great R&B Rocker by FLASH TERRY, “ She’s my baby” on the Southbay label (# 500), obviously a S.F. issue. Just take a look at the logo: Southbay must have been inspired by Starday (3 stars). Flash Terry “She’s my baby”
Note (Nov. 30th, 2015) from Steve Gronda: “The Flash Terry on Southbay was bootlegged from my original 45 on Suncoast, a Tampa label run by Doc Castellanos, a local bar owner. Southbay, was based in South Pasadena Florida, about 30 miles from Doc’s bar in Tampa and released this record around 1979.. About 1,000 copies were pressed. The original owner of Suncoast records had no memory of Flash Terry, nor any records or tapes when approached in the early ’70’s by collector Lynn Burnette.”
Enjoy the selections. Any comment or addition/correction welcome!