First two selections for this late February 2017 fortnight do come from Florida. Absolutely nothing is known from the vocalist/bandleader JOE ASHER. Apparently unknown on the Net, and not associated to another of the same name, he was a one-off record man. His record was first issued at Rockin’ # 515 in 1953, then reissued by DeLuxe ( # 2001) for a perfect Bopper, « Photograph of you », a fast, fantastic tune : very assured vocal, great solos – fiddle, guitar and steel. The flipside, « Daddy dear », a mid-paced opus, is just as good (steel is prominent). I wonder why this guy never recorded more, at least under his name.
Then to early ’60s in Birmingham, AL. with OTHELL SULLIVAN& the Southern All-Stars (are they the house band of the label?) on Reed 1053. The song is written by Leon Bowman, a prolific songster and singer in is own right. « There’s sure to be goodbyes » is a jumping tune, sympathetic backing (steel and discreet drums) over a good vocal : a nice tune for 1961. Sullivan had had already « Call me, baby » on Wonder (unheard) in 1958 ; later he joined the Longhorn stable (# 513).
JIMMIE STONE (acc. by Coy McDaniel guitarist) had on the New Jersey Cross Country label 45-22 a great Country rocker, « Found » in April ’56. Strong lead guitar and good backing over an assured vocal (lot of echo). The disc must have had a certain impact under chart-angle, because the big N.Y. concern Gone reissued it next year as it was on Gone # 5001. The flipside « Mine » is an insipid slowie, largely forgettable.
From Indiana on a rather devoted to Blues/R&B label, Falcon, here’s to be found the Hillbilly bopper/Rockabilly of CURLEY SHELTON (# 609) « with Doug Oldham & his Dixie 6 ». « Have you seen my baby » is a medium bluesy tune, assured vocal and an embroidering very good guitar.
Finally a song, « Hillbilly wolf », wrongly attributed to Dave Dudley on a low-bdget album cover, is actually sung and played by LINK WRAY. A medium uptempo, good vocal but rather uninspired guitar. This tune may come from the late ’50s or even the early ’60s.
[two_fifth_last][/two_fifth_last]Howdy folks ! It’s never been done before : this fortnight will begin with two R&B Rockers. HARMONICA FATS (rn. Harvey Blackstone) appears to have cut a good amount of records in Los Angeles during the early to late ’60s. His output vanished in obscurity, except for those die hard Blues buffs, and he’s mostly remembered today for his best well-known song « Tore up ». Brawny R&B, heavy harmonica over solid backing of guitar and saxes on Skylark 602, reissued on the more affordable Darcey 5000 label. The original song had been issued in 1956 on Federal 12270 by the Midnighters (lead and writer : Hank Ballard) in a typical vocal group style. Sometime later Sleepy LaBeef covered « Tore up » as Tommy LaBeff on Wayside as a solid rocker – watch out his harsh vocal ! Finally Harmonica Fats had also his wild version of J. B. Lenoir’s « Mama mama talk to your daughter for me » on Darcey 5003, a song he credited to himself and seen on Youtube…He covered Hank Williams‘ “Mind your own business” on Kris.
Second R&B artist is even more obscure : AL SIMMONSwith Slim Green & the Cats from Fresno cut in 1957 on the (I believe) Johnny Otis‘ Dig label a great « Old folks boogie » (# 138). An half screaming/half spoken vocal over an hypnotic lead guitar and a nice sax solo for a Little Junior Parker’s/ John Lee Hooker “Feeling good” type song..
We turn now to usual Country records in this site. EVERETT SPEARS has his own version of the Terry Fell‘s classic «Truck driving man » on the Epto (no °) label. A cool vocal , lot of echo and heavy drums do combine a very nice mid-60’s country rocker, although of unknown area.
RAYMOND WEBB now is an unknown artist from the Kentucky or Tennessee. He had only two records. On Rich-R’-Tone 1063 issued in 1953, he gives us a very bluesy track, « Hot water blues » : wailing vocal and a great piano backing. The flipside, « Bucket special » noted on labeI « Instrumental boogie woogie », is a good side too. I ought not be surprised if the piano player was a Black one.
He can also be heard 5 years later on the microscopic label Kyva [KentuckY–VirginiA] (the only other record known on this is Luke Gordon‘s) and « Wherever you are ». On a waltz tempo with a prominent steel, it’s a good record for 1958.
GEORGE STOGNER cut in Miami, FL ca. June 1953 on the Rockin’ label # 522 the great double-sider « Hard top race/Big yellow moon », arguably the best ever and the fastest hot rod type song. Label’s owners Henry Stone and Andy Razaf sold it to King’s Sid Nathan in August of the same year. The latter reissued part of the Rockin’ masters on his own DeLuxe label, hence Stogner had the honour of opening the new Deluxe 2000 serie. Back to « Hard top race », with its urgent vocal, fabulous piano and steel, it’s really a berserk wildie taken at an ultra-fast tempo, while the flip « Big yellow moon » is an uptempo ballad with sentimental words, written by Rod Morris : a good song anyway.
Finally here is the unknown HAROLD MORRISON, who seemingly never got to issue any commercial record ; only remains an acetate of the fabulous « I gotta have her », a supercharged Rockabilly : great vocal, very fine guitar. I wonder if someone ever took notice at the time of such a talented guy.
Note: the indefatigable visitor Phil Watson sent about Harold Morrison (March 27):”Not sure if it’s the same man, but Harold Morrison was a respected singer/comedian who recorded for several labels including Starday. I have two LPs by him. He started out with Red Foley on the Ozark Jamboree, then worked for the Wilburn Bros for seven years, followed by six years with George Jones & Tammy Wynette, up to 1975 when a now-single Tammy fired him.” also, “Yes, according to Praguefrank, this acetate is by “the” Harold Morrison, and was his first recording in 1956. He recorded for RCA and Decca but not Starday. He died in 1993.”. Thanks Phil!
Sources : Raymond Webb material provided by Allan Turner – thanks to him ! Other selections from my collection (Harmonica Fats and Tommy LaBeff, George Stogner reissues). Label scans as usual from 78rpm-world or YouTube.