Late March 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Late March 2019 fortnight’s favorites : the 6th of this year, and once more 9 goodies in Hillbilly bop style, from 1952 to 1965.

Wade Ray

He was a fiddler (1913-1998) and leader of a Western swing orchestra during the early ’50s, between Indiana and Illinois. Here a delivers an energetic (no fiddle, but drums) trucker song, « Idaho Red » from early 1954, on the RCA-Victor label (# 20-5624).

Burrie Manso & the Bonnivilles

On the Town-Crier label (# 200) from an unknown location (no clue from the record label), BURRIE MANSO and the Bonnivilles delivers a Rockabilly rocker with the $ 600-700 tag, « My Woman ». Very fine guitar, reminiscent of Scotty Moore, on this disc from 1960.

Bill Hicks & the Southerneers

From Detroit, although backed by the Southerneers (no doubt in order to attract real South expatriates in Michigan), BILL HICKS did cut in 1957 two fine songs for Fortune records # 188 : first a slow one, « She’s Done Gone », with a good guitar throughout ; second an uptempo and over a boogie guitar, with an almost surreal sound to them. Hicks had also records on Hi-Q and Happy Hearts.

Honey & Sonny (he Davis Twins)

In 1963, and in Charleston, W. Va. was published the great rural sounding duet (male/female) of « I’m Rough Stuff » (a Bill Carlisle song) by the Davis Twins – as they were called – also named HONEY & SONNY on their own H&S label (# 7069). Great lead guitar and infectious bass rhythm.

Charlie Huff (& Bobby Kent)

In Oklahoma City CHARLIE HUFF (and Bobby Kent) did cut in 1959 or early ’60s an uptempo, mid-paced « Can’t Tame Wild Women » : a joyful song over good guitar and electric bass (# 726). Huff had a long string of releases, from 1957 , on his own Huff label.

In Oklahoma City CHARLIE HUFF (and Bobby Kent) did cut in 1959 or early ’60s an uptempo, mid-paced « Can’t Tame Wild Women » : a joyful song over good guitar and electric bass (# 726). Huff had a long string of releases, from 1957 , on his own Huff label.

Bennie Hess

Even more prolific than Huff was Texan BENNIE HESS. Was chosen from his abundant production a 1965 record, « Trucker’s Blues » : fine backing (guitar and steel) and infectious rhythm issued on Musicode 5691. Other Hess labels which he issued on were Opera, Jet, Space/Spade, Popularity, Showland among others, that is without mentioning aliases and pseudonyms. Maybe Hess will have his story on in boppin.org someday.

Frank Hunter & the Black Mountain Boys

Finally in Tennessee by the Sarasota, Fl. originating FRANK HUNTER & His Back Mountain Boys, both sides (# 1049) of a Rich-R’-Tone label do « Tennessee Boy », a really fine and fast Bluegrass bopper (banjo and fiddle led), and « Little Boy Blue », a mid-paced bopper.

Sources : 78worlds (45-cat) for many a scan, YouTube (Honey & Sonny)(Bill Hicks)(Wade Ray), HBR-28 for Frank Hunter.

Early March 2019 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Howdy folks ! This is the 5th bopping fortningt’s favorites selection of the 2019 year, that of early March. Mostly made of late ’40s and very early ’50s recordings in very various styles.

Blue Ridge Playboys (Moon Mullican)

Let’s begin with a San Antonio recording from November 1936 : « Swing Baby Swing » is a Blue Ridge Playboys tune, described on the label (Vocalion 034160) as « Hot String Band And Singing » : Moon Mullican (vocal and piano) is driving the Blue Ridge Playboys with this lively tune, only a pretext for piano, fiddle (Leon Selph) and guitar solos.

Moon Mullican

Further on with two later sides by MOON MULLICAN on the King label (recorded in Cincinnati on March 6th, 1953), : « Grandpa Stole My Baby »(written by a R&B giant, Roy Brown) and « I Done It » are obvious attempts to sound R&B (a lovely saxophone and drums, played by Boyd Bennett) and predate vintage Rock’n’roll by 3 years. Lazy rhythm, haunting tracks at every listen, of course the piano is great.

Billy Hughes’ Pecos Pals

Next artist is a legendary songwriter, with classic songs from the 1946-48 era like « I’m Tellin’ You », « It’s Too Late To Change Your Mind », « Tennessee Saturday Night » or « Stealin’ The Blues ». Bopping.org devoted him an article (in October 2014), and here’s a tune that escaped to the post, BILLY HUGHES’ PECOS PALS and « Out Of Town Boogie » (4* 1202 from 1947) : it’s an uptempo mid-paced, vocally halfspoken.

Walt McCoy

WALT McCOY was a West Coast artist : he was backed by his Western Wonders, and had records on Cristal and Broadway among others. Here he delivers first a « Cowboy Boogie », a solid rhythm over a boogie guitar pattern, taken over by an uninspired steel solo, and piano, issued on the rare O and W label (# 237). Then on a 4* custom OP- record (on Pacific 145), « I’m Gonna Get A Honky Tonk Angel » is a slow thing, a bit crooning and disillusioned vocal over a good steel.

Eddie Marshall

Then on a major label (RCA-Victor # 21-0357 cut –), a cheerful, although on a bluesy type tempo, « Tom Cat Blues » by an unknown but prolific artist : EDDIE MARSHALL & His Trail Dusters. The steel-guitar goes throughout the song, and the vocal is yodeling at times.The dude had several other good records, namely « Mobilin’ Baby Of Mine » (also by Gene O’Quinn on Capitol 2075), « Honky Tonk Blues » (not the Hank Williams song), a version of « Coffee, Cigarettes & Tears » (also by Charlie ‘Peanuts ‘ Faircloth on Decca 46271) . Eddie Mashall really deserves a complete research and a publication.

Al Brumley

Later on Ohio’s Acme 1230 (1950’s, it’s difficult to date this particular issue), AL BRUMLEY & The Brumley Brothers do release « You’ve Been Tellin’ Me Lies », a good uptempo with steel present (+ solo), over a vocal well suited to this rural type of song.

Snake River Outlaws

Finally a great fiddle and mandolin led bopper from a very unusual place : Missoula, Montana. The Snake River Outlaws do « I Won’t Go Huntin’ Jake (But I’ill Go Chasin’ Women)[vocal Orville Fochtman] with good fiddle and mandolin (solo), I’d assume a ’50s disc, but may also be a ’60s one ! On their own label, Snake River Outlaw 101.

Sources : 78-world for most label scans, google for several pictures, sounds from various origins (HBR # 45 for Walt McCoy, for example)

End of January 2019: bopping fortnight’s favorites (nearly all 78rpm)

Howdy folks, hi ! to previous visitors, welcome to new ones

. This is the second selection of bopping tunes for the end of January 2019. Hope you will enjoy any of the tracks, nearly all taken at 78rpm speed from the ’47-’51 era.

First « Dog Bite Yo’ Hide », a minor Country classic : Jimmy Vernon cut his own version on the King label (# 1367) ca. 1953, and Jimmy Martin released his interpretation on Decca 30281 (1957). The apparently original song was done in November 1951 by SMOKEY WARD on the Barrel Head Gang label, # 1001-A. It’s an energetic Bluegrass tune, full of fiddle and mandolin.

Joe Rumore

Second selection is done by JOE RUMORE with Happy Wilson, on the Vulcan 5001B label, located in Birmingham, ALA. « I Butted In » is a Western swing flavored bopper : an happy uptempo disc with a lot of accordion, the main instrument, and the release date is March 1948. Hardrock Gunter is the lead guitar player on this one. Happy Wilson also had another issue on Vulcan [for a future Fortnight selection] plus a great version (MGM 10877, 1951) of the evergreen « Haunted House Boogie ».

Happy Wilson & band (who is he?)

Happy Wilson (L) – a young Hardrock Gunter (R)

Next artist is HARMIE SMITH & the Southern Swingsters, whose « Knocking at your door » (RCA-Victor 20-1869) goes back to May 1946: it’s an uptempo good bopper – a fine voice and an agile lead guitar. His second one, « Weary Trouble In My Mind » # 20-1996, from November 1946, is done in the same joyful style. (Sorry, low-quality of the song uploaded from Youtube).

Harmie Smith, KWKH studio

Again a good backing (steel to the fore) for a record seemingly related with Jimmy Rhodes, the famous producer out of Mineola, TX – he wrote « Party Girl », a nice mid-paced uptempo track for an extrovert vocal by DANNY BROWN. He was at a time related to Blackie Crawford’s Western Cherokees. At last, he was part of the former band when published by he HBR team.(# 45, Coral Records volume 1).

BOB WELLER & Will Coffman’s Night Riders released at an unknown date « Heartaches And Gloom », a medium-paced bopper, with a good vocal and guitar solo on another Dixie label # 850. No clue this time neither date nor location on the label, and one can assume only by the general sound an early ’50s (or late 40s) recording.The flip side “Devil’s Heart” was published in the August 2013 “fortnight”.

Sources: Indeed of great help was the « 78rpm » site, also YouTube + my own archives.

Late December 2018 bopping fortnight’s favorites (1947 to 1966)

Howdy folks ! This is the last selection for the last December 2018 fortnight of bopping favorites. There is no actual link between the tracks, maybe a tenuous (banjo present) between two songs. Rest is otherwise very varied, from 1947 to 1966.

First artist is a duet of two siblings: the WOODWARD BROTHERS, from the Boston, MA area. They cut in 1954 the uptempo Hillbilly « Cuttin’ Paper Heart » on Sheraton 1001.

Their leader was Mick Woodward, whose « Hot Rod Race Navy Style » is very good styled Hot Rod song.

They were part of the W.C.O.P. Hayloft Jamboree, which also starred Jack Clement, future Sun’s A&R man and artist in his own right.

From Cincinnati, OH, a female Rockabilly, LAUNA GUNTER with Queen City Ramblers: they do « He’s My Man » (Excellent 807, from 1958) : a sugary voice over a solid backing (guitar and romping/hopping piano).

LYNN CRAYMER & Blue Sky Ramblers, from Florida, do come next with a dramatic, atmosheric Rockabilly, »Wild She Devil » : fiddle to the fore, Blue Sky 109, located in St.Clair, Florida.

« Banjo Boogie » (Modern 534) was an unusual instrumental tune in the repertoire of the LONE STAR PLAYBOYS, cut in 1947 by this legendary combo.

Based in Waco, Texas, Lone Star Playboys were a popular country touring band in Central Texas from 1937 to the 1950s. Members of the group included vocalist Hamlet Booker and his brother Morris Booker on mandolin,

Vince Incardona on banjo, fiddler Cotton Collins, bassist Pee Wee Truehitt. They were long associated to Bob Wills.

From Louisiana, young DOUG STANFORD released, after his famous two-sider « Sadie/Won’t you tell me » on D (1957, issued in Fortnight August 2016, or February 2014), a very nice another double-sider on Carma Records (# 514) « Can You Explain/The Way You Used To Be » :

jumping Country-rocker and a Rockaballad issued circa 1960. Two pleasant songs. Another 45 by Stanford has until now escaped my researches : on the Bofuz 1108 label, «Same Old Crazy Me ».

Second artist to border Bluegrass is the veteran banjo player BILL CLIFTON, backed by his Mountain Boys, for « Lonely Heart Blues » (Mercury 71200, September 1957).

WHITEY KNIGHT (1920-1977), already posted in a past Fortnight’s favorites (November 2017). Here he claims to the fine, heartbroken song

« Another Brew, Bartender » released on Sage & Sand 205 in California. Good fiddle.

Here is JIM BOYD & His Men Of The West, for a romping « Boogie Woogie Square Dance ».( RCA 20-4263, released September 1951). Boyd had previously cut the very first version of « Dear John ». See the story behind this song in the article devoted to Aubrey Gass. Note this « Boogie Woogie » was penned by the prolific Billy Hughes, an artist in his own right.

On the Evana label (# 0001) in 1966 one can finally hear WAYNE SATKAMP & the Five Aces and the minimalist backing (fiddle to the fore) «Barber Hair Blues». A good bopper for this era.

Sources : more than one YouTube posts ; 45-world for Jim Boyd and Lone Star Playboys label scans; Gripsweat for Doug Stanford on Carma, among others ; Rocky-52 for the Lone Star Playboys info ; Aradillo Killer for Bill Clifton music and label scan ; 45 Ohio River for Launa Gunter; thanks Dean C. Morris for two corrections.

Cliff Carlisle, Blues yodeler and steel guitar wizard – some selections

Cliff Carlisle (1904-83)

A blues with a yodel : it may not sound much now, but in the 1920s a lot of careers were carved out of that curious amalgam. Jimmie Rodgers started it, and after him went Gene Autry, or Jimmie Davis, or Cliff Carlisle. The latter yodeled the longest and the best.

Raised in the countryside outside Louisville, Kentucky, Carlisle would say later : « My music is a cross between hillbilly and blues – even Hawaïan music has a sort of blues to it. » Teaming first in the early Thirties with the singer-guitarist Wilbur Ball, he went on the vaudeville tent show circuit, and afterwards he told they had actually been the first yodeling duet.

Then in 1930 he recorded in a Jimmie Rodgers vein (« Memphis yodel »), but with a distinctive touch on the Dobo resonator steel guitar. At this point he was also making a name on Louisville stations (WHAS and WLAP), billing himself and Ball as the « Lullaby Larkers ». That’s how his career took off.

In 31 or 32, he was in New York, extending his own port-folio, and recalling Jimmie Rogers singing a number about a rooster : « What makes a Shanghai crow at the break of day ? To let the Dominicker hen know the head man’s on his way.. » Ralph Peer wouldn’t let him record that, because it was kind of a risqué tune at that time, but finally he let Carlisle go. Hence « Shanghaï rooster yodel n°2 ».

Carlisle Cliff "Shanghai rooster blues"

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In 1932 Carlisle was working solo, but in the years that followed he was often partnered by his younger brother Bill. On one of their records they even staged a fight over who would do what. « Hold it, buddy, » says Cliff indignantly as Bill starts to yodel. « This is my « Mouse’s ear blues », and I’ll do the yodeling. » It isn’t the only unusual feature. « Moose’s ear blues » is, probably uniquely in the corpus of recorded hillbilly music, a song about defloration. « My little mama, she’s got a mouse’s ear, but she gonna lose it when I shift my gear. »

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By the mid-’30s, when he was working on WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina, and recording for Bluebird and Decca, Cliff was making a fair bid to corner the hillbilly disc market in sniggery songs about roosters and ashcans (there was an occasional double entendre loitering in this vicinity), and humorously violent tales of marital discord like « Hen pecked man », « Pay day fight » or « A wild cat woman and a tom cat man », where Cliff’s boisterous flights of fancy are powered by the twin engines of his Dobro and Bill’s inventive flat-picked guitar. By the end of the decade he had been on four record labels and made almost 200 sides. He and Bill had a cross-section of country music just prior to WWII. So it was hardly surprising that their family group, the Carlisles, with various sons and dauhters, was popular on the Grand Ole Opry and had hits in the ’50s with « Too old to cut the mustard » and « No help wanted ».

Carlisle Cliff "A wild cat woman and a tom cat man"

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In the mid-’50s Cliff retired to a quiet life of painting, fishing and church work. He did the occasional comeback on not very memorable albums for small labels, even reuniting with Wilbur Ball and playing for college audience or folk festivals.

(Freely adapted from the chapter devoted to Cliff Carlisle in Tony Russell’s « Country music originals – The legends and the lost »)

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Here are some selections of Carlisle’s work in very different styles.

From 1932, backed by a wild slapping-bass, for the evergreen « Goin’ down the road feelin’ bad ».

downloadCarlisle Cliff "Goin' down the road feelin' bad"

Accompanied by two guitars (Bill Carlisle) and a string-bass for « That nasty swing » from 1936.
Carlisle Cliff "That nasty swing"

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In January 1947, from one of his last recording sessions, with his Buckeye Boys and for a song very close to Bill Monroe‘s « Rocky road blues » (February 1945), «A mean mama don’t worry me ».

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Carlisle Cliff "A mean mama don't worry me"Recommended listening, if you can find them: Cliff Carlisle volume 1 & 2 on Old Timey 103 & 104.