Howdy folks! Glad to meet you again. Just a note about the way I put in order those fortnight’s favorites selections. When a record out of my digital library appears to please me, be it Country boogie, Hillbilly hop or Rockabilly, I am hungry to find if the artist made another record in a similar style. Sometimes I am lucky, sometimes not: the disc was a one-off recording. Perhaps later, years later, I will put my hands on a second offering. At this stage the real research does begin: Internet is the main source for information on the record label, the artist, also books and magazines. Then I am doing the actual selection (7 to 10 records) and review every disc. This time you will be treated with 8 records.
From Indiana between July and October 1955. Denny Turner cut “Deep Down In My Heart” on the Okie label (# 300). It’s a good uptempo bopper: steel solo, fiddle; an assured vocal. The reverse side of this record has a sacred vocal.
From Shawnee, OK, in 1961 came Tommy Nelson on the Dixie label (main serie). “Dangling On A String” (# 919) is not his best record: it’s a slow rocker with rinky dink piano, and an uninventive guitar. His best sides can be found on Dixie 814: “Hobo Bop” and its flipside “Honey Moon Blues”are superior Rockabillies, valued at $ 800-1000, if you can afford a copy. “Dangling On A String” is even sold for $ 125-150.
“Please Believe Me” was issued on the Chambersburg, PA. Skyline label # 752 in 1959. Possibly another Starday custom. It’s slow bopper crossing Rockabilly. A bluesy fine guitar is embroidering the vocal. The flipped “Bingo Blues” was reviewed in late December 2017 fortnight’s favorites.
A great rendition of the old Jimmie Rodgers classic. Very nice guitar, an energetic vocal performance – even some yodels. And this one was released as late as 1973 in Cincinnati on the Rams label # 305129.
“I’ll Tear Your Playhouse Down” is a classic Hillbilly bopper (with a touch of Country rock: it dates from…1968!) by Billy Free on the Dianne label (# 407) out of Birmingham, AL. Great vocal, nice lead guitar (alas, a too short solo). This record is still affordable at $ 60-75.
The recording location in not known for this record, neither the date of release; however aural evidence does place “Eight Ball” in the mid-’50s. A good ‘little’ bopper with nasal voice, a risky-dink piano, and a fiddle solo.
Harold Smith with Slim Glisson & the Trail Riders & Danny Clark
A call-and-response format for this uptempo “Listen To Me Baby” to be found on the Rondo label, out of Savannah, Ga., a predictable Starday custom). It was issued in 1956 and does feature a romping piano (nice solo), plus fiddle and a good steel solo.
The last disc of this selection do come from Mobile, Al. on the Shane label (# 11050), a subsidiary to Sandy Records. It’s hard to date such a record, I’d say late ’50s. Lindburg Deavers releases a fine Rockabilly, “Miss Me Now”: a very nice piano and guitar. No one could give a price yet, that’s how this record is so rare.
Hi there, let’s begin this second fortnight for 2018 with a Louisiana platter, that « I blowed my top » by PAUL MIMS on the Shell label (# 121) ; nice call-and-response format shuffler, and the steel guitar is well to the fore. Barry K. John doesn’t ignore this record, but adds nothing else (location, date..) than its price : $ 50-60.
Two selections do follow on the Debute label (# 0500) by DENNIS GOODRICH & the Music City Boys. Both were cut in Lorain, OH. They are two Bluegrass styled tunes, one medium, « All alone » where banjo and steel are battling each other. Second side is slowier, although equally good : « My love for you » (with a mandolin to the fore). The vocal here does remember Andy McRae on Ranger 823, and his song « Me and my love », published here in a fortnight dated…June 2011 !
More of a double-sider, by TOMMY MOONEY with Bob Mooney & his Automobile Babies on the Floto label (# 78002). Both « Bingo boogie » and « That’s my baby » are Hillbilly boogies from 1953: good guitar, and a real ‘hillbilly’ styled vocal. Bob Mooney was an artist in his own right, e.g. his « A sucker born everyday » on Kentucky 575. The band’s name came from Bob’s record, « Aubomobile baby » [sic] in 1953 on Cozy 317.
We remain in social games with « Bingo blues », which is a good medium Rockabilly by JIMMY WERT on the Skyline label (# 752), another Starday custom apparently cut in 1959 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
At last a rocking chick ! This is ROXIE WILLIAMS on the Flint, MI Lucky 11 label (# 1112) : « Fifteen seconds » is a good Rockabilly ; unobstrusive chorus, some echo, and a long guitar solo, cut in 1961, and valued $ 50-60. Roxie had another disc on Lucky 11. “Fifteen seconds”
Finally Thomas Johnson, aka The LONESOME DRIFTER. We finish with a Louisiana record, « Honey do you think of me » on Ram 1738. Great guitar by probably George Mercer, as on « Eager boy » on the ‘K’ label. Intense Rockabilly, lot of echo. Valued at $ 125-150.
Howdy folks, the first serie of the two selections for May.
The exuberant “It always happens to me” by RUFUS SHOFFNER & JOYCE SONGER (wife of Earl) cut in Detroit in 1962 seems stylistically go back to the mid to late ’50s. It’s a great fast bopper (piano, guitar and an energetic rhythm, and an exulting duet vocal), which was issued on Fortune’s label subsidiary Hi-Q 14, and can still be found on various recent compilations, as in Boppin’ Hillbilly vol. 5. Shoffner made several fine sides on Hi-Q or Fortune, or earlier on Kentucky’s Countryside label. More on him later in this site. “It always happens to me“
More famous from the West coast is TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD (1919-1991),who cut a fine string of Hillbilly boogies from the end of the ’40s (“Milk ’em in the morning blues“) to the mid-50s, when he crossed the marked with the top-seller “Sixteen tons” (written by Merle Travis). Here he delivers from July 1950 on Capitol 1295 the much acclaimed “The shot gun boogie” (which had many, many versions later by others, even during the R&R era, f.e. Jesse Lee Turner), backed by the Cliffie Stone crew, among them the excellent Speedy West (steel), Billy Liebert (piano) and Jimmy Bryant (ld guitar).
For the rest of the selections, we’re turning to obscure artists. From Pennsylvania in 1958 on the Skyline label (not to be confused with the Indianapolis label: the Blankenship Brothers) # 106 comes BOB ENGLAR and ” Always dreaming“, a very nice bopper (guitar/steel/fiddle solos). FRANK DARRIS had in 1963 the same energy as Englar for an honest Rockabilly, his personal version of Marty Robbins’ “Ruby Ann” on the Roy label. The wizardry is the same two-sided disc came on two other labels, Thunder and Advance. Another Rockabilly we find from Alabama, early ’60s, “Baby I don’t care” (not the Elvis’ song) by DAVID GREGG on the McDowell label.
Finally the same song, “Blue eyed baby” is a yodeling bopper first issued in 1956 on Esta 284 (untraced)and later recorded twice by DEMPSEY SIMS in 1957 on Huber (time 2’39”) and Sam (time 2’07”). The Sam version seems more polished. Dempsey later had “Blues tomorrow” in 1967 on the Nashville label.
I feel sorry for the light defaults of the scans: my sight is failing (too much reading microscopic master numbers on records!)
Indiana is not the first American state you’d associate wih primitive Rockabilly, but it was there, hidden away among the steelworks and the industrial areas. Indianapolis was seething with young, spotty hopefuls, all wanting to be Elvis and looking more like the greek next door. Eddie Smalling, Tommy Lam, Van Brothers, Tex Neighbors, Dennis Puckett…All true blue Indiana boppers.
The Blankenship Brothers certainly weren’t the next « Teenage sensation ». Hell, this small but tightly packed band didn’t even pretend to cut Rockabilly. Led by Floyd and Dennis Blankenship, this small outfit cut some of the best primitive rock north of Tennessee, but to them it was more like country and bluegrass music., blended with a little rough Johnny Cash edge. They played all the local honks and jukejoints, entertaining the masses of factory workers who were looking for entertainment after a hard week of being frazzled by the burning steel mills. Hell, maybe these guys worked there too…