Howdy folks, I am back from Corsica isle (“l’île de Beauté”) where I visited my girl friend and did help her to set up her fairytales’ exhibition in front of children. While I was there I couldn’t get access to my files, thus not allowing to myself to set up early June fortnight’s favorites.
Let’s begin in Texas with GLENN REEVES, born 1932 in Shamrock, TX. He had his first two records on the T.N.T. Label (owned by Bob Tanner, who billed proudly his labels records as « Tanner’n’Texas »!). « I’m Johnny on the spot » (TNT 120) is already a proto-rockabilly classic. But its reverse, the plaintive hillbilly « The blues are out tonight », is not so well known, although a very good ballad. Listen to the real hillbilly pronunciation of Reeves, over a nice fiddle and steel. I love such a record like this.
The third compere was TOMMY DURDEN. He had a long story as steel player for Tex Ritter, and later for Johnny Cash, and composer (e.g. « Honey bop » for Wanda Jackson). In 1951 on the Sahul Kahal’s Freedom label out of Houston, Texas, he cut the great « Hula boogie » (# 5025). Later on, he had his own version of « Heartbreak hotel » (« Moods » LP, religious songs), before relocating in Michigan. He retired in the early ’90s.
On the next artist, GEORGE HEFFINGTON, I know litterally nothing, except he was one of the first to record on the growing Toppa label (owned by Jack Morris, out of Covina, Ca.), and is backed for the fast « Ghost of love » (# 1007, 1958) by, among others, Ralph Mooney on steel. Good piano too.
Real name to next artist was Wilcoxson, but he’s known now as JIMMIE DALE. And there were in the ’50s two different men with the same name. The first to jump on my mind is an Indiana artist, who cut two Starday custom records in 1958. First on Jeffersonville, IN Saber label (# 707), he cut the fabulous two-sider « Baby doll » (great slap bass, energetic drums and lead guitar) and « Darlin’ » (very nice piano, à la Teddy Reddell over a mambo rhythm). In Louisville, KY, he had in 1958 too on the Farrall label (# 687) « Man made moon », more of a country record. Nice vocal, and again a rinky-dink piano and good steel. I couldn’t locate the flipside « For a day ».
The second JIMMIE DALE was a Nashvillian, who cut « Tennessee ghost train » in 1953 on the Original label # 501. The credits don’t give any clue. Lot of echo on the steel, a train song of course.
Very few things are actually known of this very minor artist from New Jersey. All I learnt came from Billboard short snippets, and the records themselves. Indeed no personal data. Edmond seems (according to his 5 or 6 records over a period of 12 years) not to have moved from the New Jersey area, except in 1955: in the near West Va.
My first exposure to Edmond’s music came through a Tom Sims’ cassette. Then over the years I have been lucky enough to find the rare copy, and I think that, apart his solitary Lerac issue, here is below his entire output.
It seems that his first record came out on Original 107, a very small label from Little Ferry, NJ, in March 1955. Billboard refers is as running fine in the Wheeling, W. Va. area, where Edmond and (apparently) his wife Terry were appearing. A side («I’ll Take The Blame ») is ordinary male/female duet, with mandolin and steel backing. Nothing spectacular. Flipside (« Your Wedding Day ») has Terry singing alone, over Lee speaking a monolog.
Then leaping towards late fifties/early sixties (impossible to ascertain), we find on the Norm label the great solid and melodic « When I’m Alone » (# 1000). It has a good guitar and steel solo, and is adorned by «Lee Edmond – Bob Raymond » « and the Country Stringers », first appellation of the backing band, later re-used. Both sides credited to Lee Edmond, who seems the boss and producer. Flipside is « My Heart Tells Me So » : a nice, although average, Country-rocker duet. There are discreet drums for the first time.
Same outfit goes then on Belt 1001, without « Country Stringers » though, for « Treasure Of My Throne », a mediocre medium weeper. Just added is a dobro. Flipside is better, « Crying Party » : a medium drinking song, as an adress to a bartender.
We find another ordinary double sider on Rowe 007, from 1962. A just above average « Born With The Blues » – complete with chorus for the first time, more dobro and a guitar solo. It’s not bad either but ordinary Country-rock, as its flipside « My Heart Tells Me So », a lower standard revamp of the Norm side. The “Country Stringers” have become “The Swinging Travelers”.
Billboard June 2, 1962
Then 1965 two issues on the Solar label from Union Beach, New Jersey. Back to « Country Stringers », and Edmond is the producer. First the fast « Secretly (We’ll Have To Share Our Love)» (#1007). Good sharp guitar, dobro and steel solos. An excellent track. Alas, I din’t hear the flipside « Darling I’ll Let You Go », rumoured to be a weeper. Finally in 1967 on Solar 1011, « With Her On My Mind » (Good Evening Bartender), an O.K. fast song, well sung over guitar and steel backing. « Take My Heart » is a weeper, under average standard.
That leaves me with Lee Edmond’s last known 45 on the Lerac label (# 101) : « Woman/Woman With The Cold Hands », which I cannot comment at all on. I did order it, but it’s got lost over Atlantic Ocean…
All in all, a reasonable output over 12 years for a very minor artist of the East Coast. Few of his tracks are really worth looking for, like both Solars, or the Norm one. In the podcasts I have not included B-sides and weepers.
Addition (an. 27th, 2017). The always faithful and undefatigable Drunken Hobo has once more done it! He found the YouTube link to both Lerac sides, and they are surprising: a sort of Johnny Cash style for “Woman with the cold hands“, a hard to define style for the flipside “Woman“. Unlike other discs, a very agreeable record by Edmond.