Bashful Vic Thomas: “Rock and roll tonight”- hillbilly-rock 1952-1961

Very little is known about this Texas artist, except the information on labels and two comments after his solitary 1952-53 issue as published by Andrew Brown’s “wired-for-sound.blogspot” site.

Ramblin’ Fool” is a Gold Star pressing, dating from around 1952-53. Glen Barber, whose band provides the music here, was probably still a student at Pasadena High School when he cut this. The steel guitarist is “Dusty” Carroll, and the fiddler is Charlie Frost. Musically, this is far from great, but hey, it’s a group of teen-agers. Cut them some slack. Flipside “Let me show us how” is an uptempo weeper. Young Glen Barber is invited to do his (very tame) solo.

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“Ramblin’ Fool” (Premium):

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“Rock And Roll Tonight”

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In 1956 for a label of the same name (Premium 344), Bashful Vic Thomas (note his entire name) had “Rock and roll tonight“, a prime example of a country band thinking that they could jump on the rock and roll bandwagon by simply writing a song that had the words “rock and roll” in the lyrics — leaving the steel and fiddle intact. I suspect that teenagers at the time weren’t impressed, but the honky-tonkers probably thought they were being “hip” by dancing to it. Flipside is Hank Williams‘ “You’re gonna change (or I’m gonna leave”), well done and very fast in the Thomas manner – copyrights go to Thomas. Actually “You’re gonna change” sound like an entirely new song and I wonder if Thomas only got the tune’s title from Hank.

Bashful Vic lived up to his name — I’ve never heard anyone on the Houston ’50s scene mention him at all. After re-cutting “Ramblin’ Fool” for Applause, an Omaha, Nebraska label in 1960, he disappears from the vinyl map completely except for the Memory 45. Flipside of the Applause 45 was a modern and energetic (for the times being) revamp of his 1956 “You’re gonna change“.

“You’re Gonna Change” (Applause):

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The Memory 45 is from 1961, and originate from Chula Vista, California, a fact which indicate Vic Thomas was a well traveled artist. It’s a Starday custom double sider of lovely but forgettable country ballads, “A fool in love” and “I wonder“. Thanks to Allan Turner to have provided the label scans as well as sound files. Vic Thomas later in his life moved to Florida and eventually was committed to an asylum for his depression. Originally from New York City, Vic was attracted to the sweet sounds of West Texas troubadors and aspired to be one himself.

It is almost certain that the Vic Thomas of “Marianne” fame, a white doo-wop song from 1963-64 on Philips, is a completely different artist.

Notes and sources: Boppin’ hillbilly Vol. 2002 and 2022 for short snippets on Vic Thomas. Comments on Premium 101 “Ramblin’ fool” on Andrew Brown’s “Wired-for-sound” bloodspot. Thanks to Allan Turner for providing rare scans and sound files. Music and scans of Applause from somelocalloser bloodspot (2013).philips thomas marianne

late December 2010 fortnight favourites

Howdy folks. This time we are mostly staying in Texas. First with the legendary bandleader CLIFF BRUNER and “San Antonio Blues“, a late ’40s tune. He saw among his band members Moon Mullican or Link Davis.

Then GENE HENSLEE, aimed at Hillbilly bop/Rockabilly circles for his “Rockin’ Baby” on Imperial. He also had this jumping “Dig’n’And Datin‘” with fiddle, piano and steel. Henslee was a resident D.J. at KIHN from Hugo, Oklahoma.

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BASHFUL VIC THOMAS was one of these Country outfits jumping on the Rock’n’Roll bandwagon in 1956. He delivers here the fine romping “Rock and Roll Tonight” on the Premium label. premium vic thomas

From the Sage label out of California comes now BOB NEWMAN (see elsewhere his story in this site), disguised under the family name “GEORGIA CRACKERS” and a remake of “Hangover Boogie” in 1957. He had already cut the song for King during the early ’50s.

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Bob Newman

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Jack Tucker

The tune “Big Door” was published twice by 4 Star in 1958. One version, as a Rocker, was sung by GENE BROWN (with a possible Eddie Cochran connection). Here I offer the other version by JACK TUCKER, more Country.   4 star 1719 tucker

Finally, way up North (Richùond, Indiana), here is JIMMY WALLS and the amusing title “What A Little Kiss Can Do” (from 1965!) for the Walton label, which also had Van Brothers‘ issues.

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A merry Xmas to you all. Enjoy the music!