Howdy folks ! This is the mid-summer fortnight’s selection. All the tunes were recorded between 1956 and 1961. With the last one we begin : 1961, in London, OH on the Karl label (property of Clay Eager) # 3022. LACY KIRK does a very fine job on « This is saturday night », fast tempo, nice steel and fiddle. Value $ 100-200. The flipside « What happened to our love » is a great sincere ballad.
Next from Chicago: BILLY PRAGER & his Caravans and a wild double-sider from December 1958 on the (R&B) Crystal label (# 106) . The steel guitar is particularly effective and does very strange sounds for « Do it bop », while « Everybody’s rockin’ » is a bit more conventional Rockabilly/rocker. $ 300-400. This Crystal label has nothing to do with the Memphis one of the same name : serie 500 (Jimmy Knight and « Hula bop » or Jimmy Pritchett « That’s the way I feel » – with great swooping piano by some player who sounds very, very much like Jerry Lee Lewis !/Nothing on my mind »).
ONIE WHEELER was a Great. Born in 1927 in Senath, MO. he pursued his career during nearly 50 years, just ending it on the stage of the Friday Night Opry one day of 1984. Here are two sides aimed by collectors, and for good reasons : they are among his best tunes of the ’50s, cut in Dallas in June 1956 for Columbia : « Onie’s bop » and « I wanna hold my baby » (Columbia 21523) are good examples of the commercial Rockabilly a massive major had to offer, the B-side being in my mind the better one.
CLYDE BEAVERS next, on the Georgia (Starday custom) label # 532 from Tennga, Ga. « I won’t always love you » is a bluesy tune over a drivin’ medium rhythm, in all cases a primitive bopper from 1955. Later Beavers specialized himself (’60s) in drinking or smoking songs, like Lattie Moore‘s « Here I am drunk again » or Webb Pierce‘s « Cigarettes and whiskey (and wild, wild women) ».
« Sal’s house » was declined back-to-back of another Dixie (# 121) by CARSON WILLIS from Greer, South Carolina. This « Sal’s house # 1» seems to be a real mess ! Date : 1959.”
Howdy folks ! Very different things this time, and the recordings do go from 1936 until 1960.
Let’s begin with the unknown (surely a one-offer) GLENN KIRBY and his good, gentle shuffler « I love blue eyes » issued in Texas on TNT 138 in July 1956. A steel and piano solo plus throughout fiddle, although nothing exceptionnal.
SHORTY ASHBURN, our second artist, was equally unknown despite his 3 records issued on Nashville labels at the turn of 1950-51. Without doubt he only cut 4 songs at the same session for the Bullet label, which were issued upon # 749 « Triflin’ heart », a nice shuffler with piano and steel solos. The guitar player is rather uninspired (or too badly paid trying to shine). Ashburn went the same way with « More & more » (# 752) ; all his sides were written (or co-written) with Jimmy Rule, a mathematics teacher mostly famous for ghostwriting Hank Williams‘ booklet, « How to write folk and western music to sell ». The 3rd Ashburn record was written by Autry inman, who found himself in the position he had prophetically shown up, when he was arrested by the FBI in 1972 for bootlegging records : « You’re under arrest » was given to Ashburn and issued on the small Jamboree label (# 514).
PETE PIKE is a rather well-known figure in Hillbilly and Bluegrass circles. His incomplete story was given in this site in January 2011, and many facts have been thrown to light since then. I’ve chosen the fabulous slice of Hillbilly bop from 1960, « Cold gray dawn », issued on Rebel (Maryland) # 228 : great steel and expressive vocal.
As a change, we move to March 1936 for a New Orleans session by MILTON BROWN& His Musical Brownies. The song may be vaudeville or poppish, the backing is splendid : nice fiddle by Cliff Bruner, and a fabulous lap-steel solo (40 seconds!) by the late Bob Dunn. The song is « Ida ! sweet as apple cider », originally on Decca 5325, and reissued on 46002 in 1946.
From Metter, south of Georgia came Wallace and Charlie, the MERCER BROTHERS. They were young farmers and bought their first Sears & Roebuck guitar in 1939 with the money from picking cotton. They had soon after the WWII a show on WMAZ, then entered the Louisiana Hayride in April 1948, as The Blue Ridge Boys. Columbia signed them and recorded the duet, augmented by the harmonica of Wayne Raney, in August 1951. After seemingly sufficient sales, they had a second session in May 1954, backed by Doyle Strickland on fiddle. They sounded like the Delmore Brothers. Here is their « What’s he got that I ain’t got » (Columbia # 20978), you can judge by yourself. After their departure from Columbia, they went to WIBB in Macon where they did alternate country and sacred radio shows.
The last artist was very young, only 18 and still in high school when he entered WRJW radio station in Picayune, MS. to record his double-sider for D Records in September 1958. Pappy Daily had a contact in Picayune, Fred Henley (the local Colonel Parker) who sent up for DOUG STANFORD. His record « Sady/Won’t you tell me » (D 1034) had a gifted guitar player, Billy Fred Stockstill, even younger than Stanford : « He could do that Chet Atkins stuff good as Chet », he said.
Sources : « A shot in the dark » boxset, notes by Martin Hawkins ; « The complete D singles…collection, volume 1 », notes by Colin Escott. « Columbia 20000 », the site of Willem Agenant. My own archives. YouTube and 45rpm-cat.
First selection, « Afraid to love again » on the Rhythm Kings label (location unknown) # 1207 by WAYNE CROSS with Porter Fender (on guitar?) is a jumping little thing with fine guitar throughout. A short and uninspired solo – as my current notes of course ! Cross cut another very Cash-styled effort on Rhythm Kings 1208 “Put another dime in the juke box“.
“Afraid to love again”
download BOBBY HODGE second. Born 1932 in N.C. He was active during the ’50s and ’60s in Wisconsin. Here he delivers « Gonna take my guitar » on Rebel 819, it’s difficult to give a date of issue. Urgent vocal, hard lead guitar (2 soli) and a steel solo. In a very different manner, in 1964, he had on Golden Ring 3040 a new version of Jimmy C. Newman‘s « Alligator man ». Same guitar as on previous record. Add Hodge re-cut “..guitar” as “Carolina bound” on Nashville 5014 (1960), perhaps in a next fortnight.
“Gonna take my guitar”
Finally Red (vocal, guitar) & Lige (vocal and mandolin), the TURNER BROS. Sometimes called the Kentucky Boys as their other competitors of the same name (Zeb & Zeke, on Bullet). They do here « When harvest days are over » (Radio Artist 235) and « Honky tonk mama » (243), both from 1947. Delmore Bros . Or York Bros. style. They also appeared on Imperial 8071 (« Boog-boog-boogie », from Radio Artist 234) and a half a dozen of singles on Mercury in 1949-50.
Howdy folks, here’s the new batch of Bopping goodies early this month.
From Arkansas, a state not already known for its music. Nevertheless one can find with Internet some very nice records. I knew HERSHEL PARKER for years (through a Tom Sims’ cassette) and his “Hey-Pa” on the Fort Smith, Arkansas, Pla-an-tak (# 510-25) label. Very solid Country bop from the early ’60s. He also had on the Fort Smith UBC label (# 1023) the fine double-sided (one side uptempo, the other a great ballad) “Can’t go home tonight” (very sensitive ballad with fiddle and steel solos) backed with the upt. “I can’t forget“. I couldn’t find a picture n the net but the music only. All sides from early ’60s. UBC also issued Bob Calloway‘s fine Rocker “Wake up, little boy blue” in 1960. See arkansas45s.blogspot.com for information on Arkansas labels.
Seemingly a Tennessean, HOMER MONROE cut in Chattanooga, TN, the nice “Headin’ on down the line” on the Spann label (#1764). We find him once more – same piano to the fore, so he’s presumably playing it – on an Alabama Silvia label from Silvania for “It’s many a mile from me to you” (# 1161), Country Drifters backing him. Judging by the sound, I’d assume both records being from the late ’50s.
On the Linda label – there has been a few by the same name: “Country Music From Midway USA” – REBEL WRIGHT offers “I’m a long gone daddy” (not the Hank Williams’ song) (# 002B) and finally from “the heart of Dixie” on the Bama label (# 00001B) (not THE Bama label for Hardrock Gunter‘s “Birmingham Bounce” from 1951) by LEFTY PRITCHETT and the Country Kats, “Just an ole has been“. Enjoy the selections, bye! Next fortnight early January 2014. Have a Boppin’ Xmas and a happy Hillbilly New Year! Rebel Wright “I’m a long gone daddy”
(March 31rst, 2018. I add a short snippet (1’04”) to Rebel Wright’s “Back To Love again” on the Central label 314012.)