Late January 2020 bopping fortnight’s favorites (10 records)

Hello everybody ! Here are ten more selections for this late January 2020 fortnight’s favorites. Very different ones, and they date from 1950 to early ’60s.

Texas Slim

TEXAS SLIM – I dare say we’ll never know who he actually was – cut in 1964 two superior sides for the Ark label (# 309) in Cincinnati. They do present a surprising and good combination of banjo and steel guitar : « Look What You Gone And Done To Me » and « When I’m Old And Gray » . This man has nothing to do with one Texas Guitar Slim (early ’60s La. blues) on Jin Records.

Chuck Manning and the Rhythm Ranch Boys

Now a late ’50’s (stylistically) Rockabilly out of Arcadia, California on the small Corby label (# 103 or 232) by CHUCK MANNING and the Rhythm Ranch Boys. « Let’s go », a train song, has a strong rhythm guitar, a cool vocal ; a good steel guitar all the track along, and a fabulous lead guitar : no less than 4 solos ! Excuse the somewhat ‘muddy’ sound, which was on original record. Value $ 200-250 for Tom Lincoln, $ 100-150 for Barry K. John.

CECIL CAMPBELL’s Tennessee Ramblers

The veteran CECIL CAMPBELL (backed by his Tennessee Ramblers), today unjustly neglected, cut his first records as vocalist, and most of all, as steel player, in 1934. Here is from December 1950 the « Spookie Boogie », as expected a ghost song. The story goes as to make rattling bones sounding, Cecil was looking for an “…unusual hollow type of rattling sound designed to send cold chills rushing down the spine.” He couldn’t find that sound on the musical instruments. But as fate would have it, one of the members of the Tennessee Ramblers had false teeth and that mysterious sound that appears on the tune “Spookie Boogie” was made by a pair of chattering false teeth. The tune has a nice steel, a loping bass and fiddle and a good piano (RCA-Victor 48-0409).

Later on, Campbell adapted well on new trends. He offered the instrumental « Go Man Go » in 1955, to be found on the Cactus comp’ « M-G-M Hillbilly » vol. 4 (not listed here, neither « Beaty Steel Boogie », issued on Super Disc 1004, reissued on YouTube). Here however I release his « Rock And Roll Fever » from 1957 issued on M-G-M 12482, a fine Rockabilly on its own.

DESSIE FAULKNER (1903-1993) cut at the tail end of the ’50s and early ’60s a nice string of Honky-tonk bopping songs, among them I chose her offering of « I Dare You Yo Love Me » on D 1159 (issued August 1960) : an assured vocal for a fast bopper with fiddle all along and a steel solo. The song was first reissued on U.K Cascade (1983) « 20 Country Great Recordings » that included George Jones and Joe Carson among others.
Second Dessie Faulkner selection is a good weeper on a stroller rhythm issued on Big 6 138 : « I Cried Again » is mid-paced and has a crying steel. Faulkner also had « You Can’t Stop A Heart From Lovin’ », a good Honky tonker from 1967 issued by Cincinnati’s Arvis (# 1) label (not selected.

The Bridge Brothers

More of late ’50s wih the BRIDGE BROTHERS and « Stick-A-By-You » on A-B-S 119 (which stands for « America’s Best Sellers ») : a good duet, nice bass chords played guitar, the whole is refreshing and ernergetic. Thanks CheeseBrew Wax Archive YouTube chain to unearth such fine songs.

Out of Shreveport, La. on the Ram label (# 101) and released in 1956, here’s CAROL WILLIAMS an her great, fast « Just For A While ». Has a fresh vocal, and a good guitar (solo).

Luke Gordon

Finally the superlative, and him also unjustly neglected (although he never did a bad record) LUKE GORDON on Blue Ridge 502. His usual style for « You May Be Someone (where You Come From) » – a great, great dobro (solo), fiddle and discreet mandolin + a good bass.

That’s all folks for this time. Research goes on many artists, such as Fairley Holden, Iry LeJeune, Johnny Foster, Bill Hutto, Jerry Irby, Cowboy Sam Nichols among others. Let’s keep plugged to bopping.org !

Sources : YouTube (Hillbilly Boogie1 for Carol Williams pic), 45cat and 78-worlds ; hillbilly-music.com for pic of Cecil Campbell and the story of the rattling bones ; an old Tom Sims’ cassette for Texas Slim Ark release (label scan from 45cat) ; my own archives.

Early January 2020 – regular bopping sides and seasonal greetings..

Rex Zario & Country All Stars

Howdy folks ! I sincerely wish you all a happy New Year full of good mood and bopping exciting music.

The first artist ends up the alphabet : REX ZARIO & the Country All Stars did release in 1968 for the Philly Arcade label (# 202) a very fine double-sider. « Blues Stay Away From Me » is sung in unison vocal, on a strong rhythm guitar and a discreet lead guitar (which has itus own solo). The flipside « I Saw You Cheatin’ Last Night », an uptempo is a good bopper, despite an electric bass. The lead plays its solo on the bass chords for good effect, and the vocal is relax. A good disc to begin the year.

Leon Payne

Then the veteran well-known blind singer/songwriter (also as « Pat Patterson » on early Starday releases) LEON PAYNE for an all-time classic (even Hank W. had his version) from October 1948 on the Nashville’s Bullet label (# 670). « Lost Highway » is a very fine bopper, done as a shuffler : great steel and a fiddle solo. Singer is convincing to say the least.

Ramblin’ Red Bailey

Next records by RAMBLIN’ RED BAILEY on a Starday Custom from April 1957, Peach 653. Side A offers a mid-paced, very melodic « The Hardest Fall » ; good piano and vocal, a too-short guitar solo. Side B in complete contrast, is really very fast. The guitar player does a real showcase of his dexterity on « You’ve Always Got A Frown », in my mind an inferior track to side A. Bailey had also an EP on Peach, then turned out on Heap Big and Bethlehem labels between 1957 and 62 (untraced).

Lee Bell

Cut in 1953, the already unknown LEE BELL releases « Beatin’ Out The Boogie (On The Mississipi Mud) » (RCA 20-5148). A fabulous gas ! What a romping piano ! A great boogie guitar (plus a fantastic solo) ; steel and fiddle have also their solos ! Bell also did « I Get The Biggest Thrill » (RCA 20-5024), also interesting, but less than the first side reviewed. He was also to have two issues on Imperial, 8000 serie (untraced).

Lonnie Smithson

« Quarter In The Juke Box » was sung on the Louisiana Hayride in 1958 by LONNIE SMITHSON. The original, a bit like Johnny Cash, was released earlier on Starday 359. The guitar player sounds consciensly like Luther Perkins !

Finally we get to Louisiana, with two latter tracks. In 1967 the BALFA BROTHERS (Dewey, lead vocal and fiddle) released on the « Earl Gibson Transport, Inc. » a good « Indian On A Stomp ». Good Cajun music (let’s get attention to the rhythm given by the ‘ti’fer’ (= small iron triangle).

Robert Bertrand

And now the rollicking « Mowater Blues » (sung of course in French) by the multi-instrumentist ROBERT BERTRAND from 1971-72 on the Goldband label # 1221 (Lake Charles, La.) : “Cajun style” steel guitar, fiddle, el. bass, accordion and solid, impeccable/implacable drums + great vocal and fiddle by Bertrand .

That’s it, folks.

Sources : Gripsweat for Lee Bell second issue ; YouTube for Lonnie Smithson, Leon Payne and Rex Zario ; Starday project for Ramblin’ Red Bailey ; 45cat and 78-worlds ; my own archives

Eddie Kirk, California Cityzed Hillbilly (1947-52)

Like many country artists of bygone years, Eddie Kirk is hardly known to contemporary audiences – in this case particularly surprising as he was among the first of the country music artists on Capitol Records to enjoy chart successes and one of the busiest musicians on the West coast scene in the post-war years. Yet, in the majority of the country music reference books, he doesn’t even warrant a footnote.
He was born Edward Merle Kirk on 21th March 1919 and, as his birthplace was a ranch near Greeley , Colorado, it was almost natural that the cowboy songs of the ranch hands, along with riding and roping, should have been part of his childhood. Such songs were inspirational and, by the age of 9, he was singing and tap-dancing to the accompaniment of a small local band in Greeley. Then, knowing many of the tunes by heart and accompanying himself on guitar, he won himself a daily 15 minutes show on a local radio station, earning $ 2.50 per week.
In spite of spending two years in college, majoring in civil engineering, music won out in his future ambitions. He joined the Beverly Hillbillies, a group led by Glen Rice, and touring the western states finally led him to Hollywood where he continued his radio performances. Returning to Colorado, he mixed singing with a bref period as a flyweight amateur boxer before joning Larry Sunbrook’s band in 1935. There, in addition to his fine voice and impressive guitar work, he showed off his yodeling skills and, for two consecutive years (1935-36), won the title of National Yodeling Champion.
Eddie Kirk’s career was suspended when he joined the US Navy and, after the ceasing of hostilities in 1945, he returned to Hollywood and quickly built up his reputation performing on Gene Autry’s radio show, playing guitar in Johnny Bond’s band, touring with the Andrews Sisters and making several movies, four with cowboy hero Charles Starrett for Columbia pictures.

He began his recording career in 1947 on Capitol Records, the label that had already secured country success with other western singers like Tex Ritter, Tex Williams, Jack Guthrie and Jimmy Wakely. Kirk soon added to the company’s success story with The Gods Were Angry With Me in 1948 and, the following year, with a cover of George Morgan’s Candy Kisses.. He continued recording for Capitol for another three years and, although he never achieved another chart entry, he did met his wife Barbara while signed to the label. She was the secretary of Lee Gillette, Capitol’s A&R chief and his record producer, and the two were married n 1949. After almost two dozen singles on Capitol, his recording career continued on King, RCA Victor and Volt.
In 1951 one of radio’s foremost first country music shows, Town Hall Party, was launched and, besides attracting crowds of almost 3,000 twice weekly, the Friday night shows soon gained a massive audience, thanks to transmissions on Pasadena’s KXLA, and the NBC network broadcasting the Saturday shows. Eddie Kirk became one of its regular performers, joining an impressive « who’s who » of West Coast country music talent that included Tex Ritter, Eddie Dean, Rose Lee and Joe Maphis, Tex Williams, Wesley and Marilyn Tuttle, Freddie Hart, the Collins Kids and Johnny Bond, with the show making even greater impact when segments starting being seen on television via Los Angeles’ KKTV channel.

Keeping up an almost full time schedule, Kirk was also being heard daily on a KXLA morning disc jockey show, Harmony Hoedown as well as being a member of the Hometown Jamboree group, one of the offshots of Clffie Stone’s highly successful West Coast operations. The group, which ncluded Kirk playing rhythm guitar and singing, had over 300 members and guests during its ten years duration and was a serious rival to Spade Cooley’s Hoffman Hayride broadcasting at the same time until its station, KTLA, enticed Stone’s show into its weely schedules with a substantial financial offer. The Hometown band additionnally doubled as Capitol Record’s country studio band.
Eddie Kirk was also a proficient songwriter, his biggest success being So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed, a number one record for Merle Travis, and co-penned with Travis and Stone. The same partnership also created Blue Bonnet Blues. Bright Lights And Blonde Haired Women proved a popular title for Tennessee Ernie Ford, while Kirk’s other originals included Sugar Baby, Please Don’t Cry Over Me, How Do You Mend A Broken Heart and Remember That I Love You.
In his later years, he became less engaged with the entertainment industry, devoting time to his family and a new-found love of flying. He died on 27 June 1997, aged 78 years.
Biography written by Tony Byworth

Eddie Kirk’s best bopping sides

(according to bopping Editor)

« Saturday Night Time Blues » (Capitol 974) : a boogie lead-guitar (Jimmy Bryant?) on a shuffle rhythm, certainly given by Cliffie Stone’s bass, a good steel (probably Speedy West) and a someway forceful vocal make this a very nice bopper cut in March 1950.

Blue Bonnet Blues

« Blue Bonnet Blues » (Capitol 1287) from April 1950 is one of the very best Kirk’s songs. Speedy West shines on a discreet steel as soon as the first christal notes of the song. He’s joined by Billy Liebert on accordion. There’s even an harmonica player for good on this shuffle beat superlative bopper.

The third selection is another shuffler, well suited to Kirk’s voice, who yodels gently during « Drifting Texas Sand » (Capitol 1591, from May 1951) : the usual batch of guitars, bass and harmonica (solo) comes up. From the same session I chose « Freight Train Breakdown » (Capitol 1790), a very fast song with drums and a very agile lead guitar by Jimmy Bryant (train effects by Speedy West on steel).

Cash Box July 7, 1951

Freight Train Breakdown

Cash Box September 29, 1951

In 1952 Kirk signed with RCA-Victor and cut two sessions. The first one provided a super bopper (fiddle) « Country Way » (RCA 47-5247), while he supplied us with a strange banjo led country-bopper, « Wanderin’ Eyes » (RCA 47-5287). And that was it.

Below is a partial selection of Capitol tunes Eddie Kirk played rhythm-guitar on.

Merle Travis

Kentucky Means Paradise
Cincinnati Lou
Crazy Boogie

Gene O’Quin

The Pinball Millionaire
Bustane Blues
Boogie Woogie Fever
No Parking Here
Texas Boogie

Jess Willard

Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor
Boogie Woogie Preachin’ Man

Skeets McDonald

Scoot, Git And Begone
Big Family Trouble

Tennessee Ernie Ford

I’ve Got The Milk ’em In The Morning Blues
Smokey Mountain Boogie
Mule Train
I’ll Never Be Free

Ramblin’ Jimmie Dolan

Hot Rod Race
Juke Box Boogie
Hot Rod Mama

Speedy West/Jimmy Bryant

Railroadin’
Crackerjack

Images and soundfiles from various sources.

Early October 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy, folks. Here is the early October 2019 fortnight’s favorites selection. There will be a unusual amount of records on major labels, all cut between 1955 and 57.

He had first appeared in the late August 2016 fortnight’s selection for « Big Money » (1956) and the original of « Six Days On The Road » (1961). Here is the return of PAUL DAVIS for his second release on M-G-M (# 12209). « I’m On The Loose » is also a solid bopper, cut in July 1955.

A nice combination of bass, mandolin (probably) and fiddle is backing « I’ll Be Broken Hearted » by HYLO BROWN on Capitol 3448 – a medium uptempo weeper from June 1956.

Cash Box sept. 9, 1956

Buddy Shaw

Now on a Starday Custom (# 643, from June 1957) by BUDDY SHAW and the minor classic « Don’t Sweep That Dirt On Me ». A fast rockabilly, typical in Starday sound (guitar and piano are battling). Shaw had aslo Starday 609 (« No More ») and 618, similar style.

Bill Dudley

An intimate vocal on an uptempo rhythm, with prominent fiddle and an insistant rhythm guitar for BILL DUDLEY and « Wailing Wall » released on Capitol 2531.

On RCA-Victor 47-6147 now, BUDDY THOMPSON does offer « Don’t Kindle Up The Flame » : a mad fiddle (solo), a good steel solo, a fast bopping piano – a nice tune (June 1955). Thompson went later on Atco for Rock’n’Roll sides.

Cash Box 18 June, 1955

Stan Hardin

Two sides by STAN HARDIN from June 1957, and the surprisingly Hank Williams styled « Hungry Heart » : an uptempo shuffler with fiddle and steel. « Give Me All Your Lovin’, Baby », the flpside, is a fast bopper with energetic vocal. Decca 30302, obviousy backed by the Nashville cream of musicians.

Alvadean Coker

Finally a female bopper, ALVADEAN COKER and her « We’re Gonna Bop » (1955). A call-and-response format for a jumping bopper. A nice one. To be found on Abbott 173.

Sources: mainly Internet.

Early September 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

I don’t know where DON WINTERS hailed from, probably Nashville. He has during the mid-’50s several good discs.

On RCA-Victor 47-6154 first he asked his Lady « Forgive My Mistakes » : a nice shuffler – piano, steel solo and an extrovert, really sincere vocal.
A later side (RCA 6348) « One Way Is Bound To Be Right » finds him, in a faster rhythm. A pleasant side.

Finally he embarked Rockabilly bandwagon with a release on Coin # 102 : « Be My Baby, Baby » is still Hillbilly Bop, but almost Rockabilly. The collectors couldn’t be mistaken. The Coin issue is valued at $ 150-200. Flipside « Pretty Moon » is pure heaven Rockabilly with its urgent vocal.

A typical Honky tonker from 1956 comes next with BILL WIMBERLY and his Country Rhythm Boys : « You Can’t Lean On Me » has a good steel (solo) and fiddle. A pretty nice record for the era. Mercury 70900. Just a few months earlier (February) Wimbery had released (Mercury 70815) « Ole Mister Cottontail » and on the flipside a lively instrumental « Country Rhythm ». Later on he was on Starday (« Back Street »).

Is it useful to develop on AL TERRY ? He’s already known since 1953 for his first sides on Feature and Champion. Here he is in July 1956 on the Hickory (# 1056) label out of Nashville for a typical mid-tempo Honky tonk bordering Rockabilly, « Roughneck Blues ». A lazy vocal and the lead guitar played by none other than Grady Martin.

Casho Box, Nov. 10, 1956

We jump back in May 1954 for a real ‘tour-de-force’ by the Father of Bluegrass, BILL MONROE : here it’s his « Whitehouse Blues » (Decca 29141). It’s the FASTEST Bluegrass tune ever.

Finally from Texas in 1956 a jumping little Rockabilly bopper with “Dig Them Squeaky Shoes » by FRANK STARR on the Lin label # 1009.

Sources : my own archives ; YouTube ; various compilations.