Howdy ! This is the early February 2018 fortnight’s favorites selection.Let’s begin with a Western swing Houston scene veteran : DICKIE McBRIDE, here late in his career ( October 1951). Billed with his wife Laura Lee (who is absent here), he delivers a powerful and moving « I love you boogie » on M-G-M 11056. Fine steel and piano, and a lot of yells and whistles from apparently McBride himself.
Another veteran, out of the Gospel and Bluegrass field : MAC ODELL (rn Odell McLeod), who was born in 1916 in Roanake, Alabama. His career had a large stretch between New Orleans and Michigan, before he settled down in Nashville, as « Ole Country Boy » in the late ’40s. He recorded first at Mercury, then landed at King , but had poor sales as an artist. More as a songwriter for others : « The battle of Armageddon » for Hank Williams, or « The glorybound train » for Roy Acuff. At King, he was firmly Bluegrass, backed by Don Reno and Red Smiley. Here is his fast half-talked «Penicillin » from September 1953 on King 1251. O’Dell has deceased in 2003.
Red Barn was a regional Kansas City concern, important for example for the first Jimmie Skinner sides of the late ’40s. The name ELMO LINN may be an obscure one ; he had however two interesting issues on this label. « Lorita » (Red Barn 1188A) is a medium paced shuffler with steel. Vocal reminds a bit Ernest Tubb. The flipside « Line on the highway » is a fast guitar backed tune. « Heart full of love » (Red Barn 1195) comes next, with again that shuffling rhythm. Later on Linn went to Westport (pop country).
From Lorain, Ohio, VERN TERRY on the Athena label (a Starday custom) from 1959. « Miss you » is a good slowie, the instrumentation is minimal, echo is on the vocal, and steel is to the fore. (# 804). The flipside « Someone new » is an uptempo shuffler. Good steel and fiddle.
From Nashville, RAY BATTS in 1954 for two sides on the Excello label # 2028. The marvelous bopper « Stealin’ sugar » : complete with steel and piano. It has moreover nothing to do with the Merle Lindsay tune (MGM 10795) of the same name. The flipside, « Maybe it’s you, sweetheart » is a shuffler. Batts had also on Bullet 754 the great double-sided « Bear cat daddy/Wild man boogie », reviewed in « Bullet – always a smash it », published here in May 2012.
Howdy, folks. After being one long month away [for a thermal cure – everyone has to coddle himself, no?], finally I got back home. And I hope you are waiting for this early November bopping (and Rocking) fortnight’s favorites selection. Let’s not deceive any of you.
Up in Michigan, CAL DAVIS & his Tennessee Kings on the full of good music label Fortune (# 185) gives us a lovely uptempo (nimble lead guitar which has 2 soli ; good steel which has its solo too) « Partnership love affair » from 1956. I’d like to hear more by him..
« Don’t go back again » is the next song, and a shuffler from 1959 by GEORGE KENT, cut in Dallas, TX. issued on Maverick 1001. The duet vocals are a bit poppish at times, but are backed by two solos of steel and fiddle + loud drums. Flipside « Move on » is a fine uptempo too (hear it on YouTube). Kent went later to do mainstream country on Mercury in the ’70’s.
Really early (1948) let’s take care of JACK HOLDEN & the Georgia Boys on the famous Red Barn (associated to White Church for the sacred sides) label from Kansas City, which had also in its roster Jimmie Skinner (his first sides), Byron Parker and the Blackwood Bros. Holden made a serie of records containing all « Mama ». Here we hear to « Mama quit teasin’ me » (# 1151) and « Mama I’m sick » (# 1152). Fine shufflers, containing choruses in unison. The fiddle well to the fore is played by Wayne Midkiff. After that Holden also cut 6 discs for RCA (1951-52) then disappeared completely. During those years (1948-52) Holden had radio shows on WEAS (Decatur, Georgia), WATL (Atlanta, Georgia too); he was also associated to the Renfro Valley Barn Dance (in Kentucky or Ohio), and was heard on two Kansas radio stations: WIBW (Kansas Roundup) and WIBW (Topeka).
Back to bopping music with a Roswell, New Mexico Mystic label (# 5828) : RICKY McKINNEY do offer a sort of happy bluesy uptempo with « Washday blues », which reminds me other domestic affairs like « Super market day » by Jimmy Key (Hi Lite). Anyway McKinney may have some sort of connexion with Norman Petty, as his record is registered by Nor-Va-Jak music.
The next two tracks were cut in 1962 and RCA custom recordings. Until that, nothing is really interesting. But wait a bit: both sides are hillbilly gospel. And another teasing detail: side A has a Columbus, OH. location, while side B is out of Delberton, W. Va. It’s the kind of details which bring more appeal to a record, moreover very nice sacred harmony vocals (spare instrumentation, only guitar). Oh yes, the artist is called LLOYD FARLEY & His Revelators, on The Revelators label, no #. « How long » is the faster of both, although the mid-paced tempo « The Lord will make a way » is equally good.
From Texas (Houston area, I guess) comes PAUL WILSON who performs «The blues you gave me » on Picture 1001. This record is typical, although having been issued in ’59, of ’60s Nashville Country : good vocal (but nothing exceptional), steel as the driving force of the track, then drums and piano. Wilson had another later on the Country Town label (# 105) and «Hippie invasion”.
Final cut by HOUSTON [Bob] MILLS: the moving ballad « They turned the lights out down at Joe’s » from 1966 on the Tom Big Bee label # 101 (I remember this label is from Pontotoc, North of Mississipi.). It released also Robert Mills (obviously the same artist) on # 101 (reverse by Deborah Aycock – wonder if she is related to Earl, whose ground was rather Houston area, if one excepts his Dixie recordings – cut in Gallatin, TN.?). Another interesting figure on Tom Big Bee (# 102) was the Sun wild man Jimmy Wages (& Tune Masters), who does anyway very average Country music here (# Tom Big Bee 102). Lastly James Mask (Tom Big Bee 111) does a good version of Rocky Bill Ford “Beer drinking blues“.
That’s it, folks. As usual, comments, additions, corrections are welcome. Bopping.org is en route for a re-organization within the very next months : it would give more fun for you visitors to run through the 300++ articles. More on that in a near future.
Sources : Hillbilly Researcher (Red Barn and Jack Holden) + Praguefrank huge discography ; many YouTube shots, too numerous to recommend any of the generous uploaders. 45Cat was very useful. Then, many, many researches, mostly out of my own archives, to build something of interest around each artist mentioned. I hope you like the feature. In the meantime, bye-bye..
Some real rarities this time, several being medium-paced. The name JACK HOLDEN does ring a bell ? With his brother Fairley he had on the White Church (ca. 1946-48) label some issues. We find him in 1948 on the sister label RED BARN (# 1152), located in St. Louis, MO, whom he released three singles for. Red Barn « Mama I’m sick » is a fast, typical late ’40s sounding bopper. Call-and-response format, it includes a vocal backed only by a powerful rhythm guitar and a great fiddle (Wayne Miskiff?). Holden appeared on Cincinnati « Renfro Valley Barn Dance ». Love his style.
Then in Louisiana’s West Monroe. Jiffy was a short-lived affair, however important by the quality of its issues, and the celebrity of some names, Jimmy Pickard, Tommy Spurlin or Jimmy Simpson. Here is the least known ED RAYBORN & his Southern Hillbillies, and the good medium paced « I’ll go on hurting » (# 208). Nice fiddle/steel and sincere vocal.
Kustum appears to have been a subsidiary to Jiffy, yet had only one issue # 4000 (an ambitious numbering) by DAVID CRAIG and the medium uptempo « Just forget it » : nice vocal & steel. Craig was also on Imperial (“Replace my heart” # 8284): hear him on a future Fortnight.
ERNIE HUNTER next was a long-time fiddler for various Starday sessions. Here he’s the leader for the very first Houston Longhorn label ( 503) « At ease my friend » (1957). Uptempo medium paced, piano led with confident vocal and steel. Hunter also appeared on a Gold Star custom Rainbow issue (# 1203/1204).
On the Rose City label (unknown location, # 1004), there’s nothing particular with « At the drug store cowboy’s ball » by ROY JACKSON. With much accordion, this record surely dates from the late ’40s. Good hillbilly bop.
There were at least two SNUFFY SMITH : one on Star Talent and own Snuffy Smith label ; the other on Western. I don’t know. Or his record which is called « Johnny Acton » is actually titled « Snuffy Smith » ? Anyway it’s great fast Rockabilly, urgent vocal backed by steel and a very nice lead guitar. Oops, Kasko label # 1644.
Finally on the Covina, CA. Toppa label (# 1014), let’s get late ’50s Hillbilly. Very intricating : piano, bass figure lead guitar, steel (solo) and..claphands and screams. It’s « I’m a country boy » by WALLY BLACK. He had already cut for Fable « Rock and roll mama » and apparently knew how to rock.
Source: main is Youtube (my favorite chains), also own researches on the Net.
WADE HOLMES to begin comes from the East coast and was managed by Ben Adelman from Wahington, D.C. He is particular having records released only on (leased masters) Four Star, and budget Spin-O-Rama, Mount Vernon Music and Crown labels LPs, before during the Sixties on several issues on Adelman’s other labels : Sutton and Empire. I’ve chosen first his great rendition of Carl Smith‘s « Go boy go » from 1954 on Blue Ribbon 35-49. It’s pure Hillbilly rock, near Rockabilly. Second we have, from February 1954, the fast honky-tonker « You’re too tired (for me) » (4 * 1656), when Holmes had his own show on WPGC (Washington?). Finally here he comes once more with the superior (a great , great crisp lead guitar) « I’ll just pretend » from 1960 on the Almanac label (# 809), also backed by a fine fiddle (solo), and billed as « The singing truck driver ». No evidence at all he’s had converted himself as such with more truckers’ songs.
From Kansas City , 1950 or 1951 on the copious Red Barn label (# RH 1166)(see Allan Turner’s Hillbilly Researcher‘s blogsite for more info on this label), BOBBY COOK & BUDDY NELSON, « The Texas Saddle Pals » have a brisk duet, with fine fiddle, a guitar solo and even a mandolin in « Big daddy blues ». A very lively track.
From West coast in California in 1954/55, a well-known band leader on the Salinas area (radio stations KDON and KSBW), BASHFUL BOBBY WOOTEN on the Four Star (special serie) P 102, with one high-voiced MARTHA LOU GACHES for « Peeping Tom ». Gaches had also one issue on Pep (Bakersfield) and was at one time associated as vocalist with Big Jim DeNoone.Wooten had also one famous rocker « Goin’ deer huntin’ » in 1960 on the G.R.C. label and had two other issues on this 4* P serie.
From Santa Claus, Indiana, in 1965 or 66, a great country rocker « Snuffy Smith » by JOHNNY ACTON on the Kasko label (# 1644). It has a weird steel solo (too short), good guitar and indeed drums. Acton was also, with the Acton Sisters, on his own (?) label in 1968 (# 703), for a solitary issue (« Just between you and I », a country record), from Indianapolis.
Howdy folks! Here is my new selection. First GEORGE KENT from Texas. He must have cut “Don’t Go Back Again” circa 1961-62: heavy bass, weeping steel and fiddle solo, on the Maverick label (# 1001). The whole has been influenced by Wynn Stewart and reminds me of the Bakersfield sound. Now from Kansas City and a real hillbilly boogie on the Red Barn label, “Bad Daddy Blues” by BOBBY COOK & BUDDY NELSON with the Texas Saddle Pals. Chorus on a guitar/fiddle/mandolin backing.
A pleasant hillbilly on the Ohio Esta label from 1956, “Within These Four Walls” by one SYBIL GIANI. 2 guitar solos, but nothing spectacular though. Esta from Hamilton was better known for its Rockabilly sides.
Then from Nashville, a veteran from the Bullet label, RAY BATTS. It’s on the Ernie Young’s R&B Excello label, a rare opportunity to hear bop music on a “black” label” (the other notable in this case being “I’m The Man” by Al Ferrier). Anyway, “Stealin’ Sugar” (# 2028) is a fast number, with nice guitar soloes on a solid piano backing.
On the big Carl Burkardt concern of low-budget labels, here Big 4 Hits, we find PRESTON WARD and “New Green Light“. I don’t know who cut the original version, anyway here is top class backing over a fine vocal.
Finally two Rocking blues wildies by GAR BACON. On Okeh first, he does the rasping Bo-Diddley-beat “Marshall, Marshall”. On the Baton label, “There’s Gonna Be Rockin’ Tonight” strangely sounds like a white singer. You’ve got to hear both to compare.
I will be out of town circa May 15, so next fortnight on June 1rst, ok?