Howdy, folks! We do embark for a new musical journey into Bluegrass, old-time Hillbilly, and border Rockabilly Hillbilly bop.
First from North Wilkesboro, Western North Carolina, do come the CHURCH BROTHERS. Three brothers, Ralph, Bill and Edwin (each’s instrument unknown) and a fourth partner, Ward Eller, provided on the Jim Stanton’s Rich-R-Tone label, later on Drusilla Adams’ Blue Ridge label, a nice serie of enthusiastic tunes between 1951 and 1953, before they were disbanded by the mid-’50s. The elder Bill was playing (certainly guitar) with Roy Hall & his Blue Ridge Entertainers before the WWII, and was joined later by younger brothers. Alas, they were reluctant to travel very far, and, being modest and straightforward country boys, they were less and less involved in music – and more and more tied in their farms and families. Here you can hear the fabulous banjo-led “I Don’t Know What To Do“, which I don’t even know the original issue number of, having picked it from an old Tom Sims’ cassette. This track escaped to Rounder LP 1020, a shame because in my mind it’s by far their best track ever. Final note: the Church Brothers backed Jim Eanes on his regional hit “Missing In Action” (1952).
GRANDPA JONES (Born Louis Jones, 1913 – died 1998) was a banjo player, comedian, and long-time associate with Grand Ole Opry. He had adopted the name ‘Grandpa’ at 22,because he sounded old on the radio. He recorded with Merle Travis and the Delmore Brothers as Brown’s Ferry Four for King (religious sides). Here you can hear his hilarious and stomping “Grandpa’s Boogie” (King 822) from 1948.
CHARLIE MONROE along with famous brother Bill was at the very beginnig of Bluegrass music, but he deliver also some very good Hillbilly, as here with “Down In Caroline” from the ’40s (RCA 48-0391B ). Note the boogie guitar for a song much covered afterwards, e.g. the Church Brothers.
From Texas and a bit later. The first issue on the Gainesville Lin label (Buck Griffin…) by a rather unknown WAYNE JETTON and “A Crazy Mind Plus A Foolish Heart” (Lin 1000). A good average uptempo ballad. Then, on the San Antonio TNT label, a bordering Hillbilly bop/Rockabilly bop, “Be Bopping Baby” (TNT 9009) by RANDY KING, from 1956. Good topical lyrics, and fine backing.
Finally a belter from 1956 by a R&B lady (unusual on Bopping!), “Alabama Rock’n’Roll” by MABEL KING on the Rama (# 200) New York label. Enjoy the selections! ’till then, bye-bye!
Republic records started when Tennessee left. Bill Beasley had law troubles with Decca Records, who wanted Del Wood masters, and Decca won (but Del Wood went later to RCA). So Beasley started Republic. Billboard (March 1953) announced that “Republic company had to legally acquire the master recordings from the formerly Tennessee label”. By July 1953, there were well over 50 singles on the new label.
Significantly, Republic was launched in August 1952 with a pop singer, Snooky Lanson. This trend continued with Del Wood, Jimmy Sweeney and Pat Boone, but half the Republic catalog remained Country. Beasley transferred such Tennessee stalwarts J.T. Adams, Allen Flatt, Lee Bonds and Sonny Sims to his new label. There were a few new names on Republic like Ted West and Jimmy Simpson. Beasley also continued to record R&B and gospel: Edna Gallmon Cooke, Christine Kittrell, who had hits on their own. Bernard Hardison cut “Too Much”, a hit for Elvis in ’57. Apparently Beasley wrote most of the songs, published by a New York group, under the names of Norris/Beasley/Richards, or Rosenberg, the latter being Lee Rosenberg, Beasley’s secretary.
In June 1953, Alan Bubis connection came to an end. Bubis went to construction, coin machines and liquor stores, far more predictable thanrecord business.
In 1955, Beasley moved Republic to 714 Allison Street, and concluded with Murray Nash (ex-Acuff-Rose and Mercury staffer). Nash engineered most of the Republic sides.
The Republic name and logo was bought in 1957 by Ray Scrivener, and along with Gene Auytry, launched Californian Republic label..
After Republic folded, Dot bought Pat Boone’s contract. Other labels (Chess, Vee-Jay) bought Republic masters. (more…)
Howdy folks! For this late July 2010 fortnight, I begin with JIMMY DALLAS on the K.C. Shome label (“Crooked Cards“). Good steel and rinky dink piano (common for the era). He was later to have two discs on the Westport label (seel elsewhere in the site for the label’s survey). Nice hillbilly bop from ca. 1952-53.
On to Texas with the very first (?) record by GLEN REEVES, “I’m Johnny On The Spot” on the T.N.T. label from 1955. Reeves would later appear on Republic and Decca, turning into R-a-B and R&R. Here he is in fine form, supported by a tight backing combo, providing uptempo rhythm. Good fiddle.
COYE WILCOX hailed from Dallas, Texas. Here it is his solitary issue on Azalea label, “Zippy, Hippy, Dippy“. Fine steel and strong lead guitar. Flipside was “You gotta quit cheatin‘” (for another fortnight). He had earlier cut a record for Freedom in 1951, fronting Jack Rhodes‘ band. Rhodes is famous for his song writing abilities during the second part of the ’50s, i.e. Jimmy Johnson/Gene Vincent song “Woman Love”, or Ronnie Dawson.
From Booneville, MS, comes HAYDEN THOMPSON, billed as “The South’s Most Versatile Singer”, backed by the Southern Melody Boys, for “I Feel The Blues Coming On” on the small Von label from 1954. Plaintive fiddle, steel guitar and string-bass behind almost murmuring vocal make a very atmospheric Hillbilly Bop record. Von label had also Johnny Burnette Trio and Lloyd McCullough (the latter’s story is intended in Bopping). Thompson would later cut for Sam Phillips, hence the classic “Love My Baby”, then he ended up in Chicago (Profile and Kapp labels) in the late ’50s, and a successful Country career.
HANK MILLS, whose real name was Samuel Garrett, waxed during the late Fifties in San Antonio (Blaze label) the very attractive “Just A Mean Mean Mamma“, with a prominent mandolin, which reminds me of the mid-Forties sound. Mills would later become a highly-prized songwriter, reaching a N°1 in 1965 with Del Reeves.
We come to an end in Houston with a great R&B Rocker from 1956 on the Peacock label: “Pack, Fair And Square” by BIG WALTER PRICE.
Big Walter Price
Enjoy the selections, and happy bopping Summer!
The story of Frank Rice and Ernest W. Stokes goes back to 1933, when they were known as “Mustard and Gravy“. They came from Virginia, and discovered by Smiley Burnette, doing minstrel-shows. In 1950, they cut for Gotham the fine “Be Bop Boogie“, accompanied by a trombone! The song found its way several years later in a Calypso style by Don Hager on the Oak label.
Nothing is known on Les Willard, surely a Nashville singer, here backed by Hank Williams’ Drifting Cowboys, for the romper “Double Up And Catch Up” in 1955.
Red Mansel was from Texas, and had a contract with Dan Mechura‘s Allstar label ca. 1958 for the equally fine “ Johnny On The Spot“. He had already cut for Starday Custom (# 523) in 1955, the piano-led medium tempo “Broken Fickle Heart” (see elsewehere in this site for “Starday Custom serie (# 500-525).
From Texas came also on the T.N.T. (“Tanner’n’Texas”) label the duet The Jacoby Brothers (George, the uncle and Boy, the nephew), respectively on mandolin and guitar. They offer here the very fast “Bicycle Wreck“, with a fantastic mandolin solo.
Red Woodward and his Red Hawks were familiar in the period 1945-1950 on WBAP radio from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I’ve chosen his “Cowboy Boogie” from 1947, on Signature label. Relaxed vocal, fine backing, and a guitar solo which seems being acoustic one!
Finally a R&B Rocker from 1954 by the great Lightning Hopkins. Hope you enjoy the selections. Don’t forget to have a look at my “contact Me” section, for records and books for sale from my collection. You could be amazed! Bye
Born De Armand Noack, Jnr., 29 April 1930, Houston, Texas/ Died 5 February 1978, Houston, Texas A.k.a. Tommy Wood.
Eddie Noack, 1950
Noack who gained degrees in English and Journalism at the University of Houston made his radio debut in 1947 and made his first record for the Gold Star label in 1949, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. In 1951, he cut several songs for Four Star including “Too Hot To Handle“. Leased to the TNT label, it drew attention to his songwriting and was recorded by several artists (including Sonny Burns) , most recently by Deke Dickerson, who also included “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” on his new (excellent) CD, “Deke Dickerson In 3 Dimensions”.
Noack joined Starday in 1953 (beginning a long association with ‘Pappy’ Daily), where his immediate success came as a writer when several of his songs were recorded by top artists including Hank Snow who scored a # 5 Country hit with “These Hands” in 1956.
Noack moved with Daily to his D label where in 1958, after recording rockabilly tracks as Tommy Wood, he had a country hit with “Have Blues Will Travel” (# 14).
During the ’60s, Noack quit recording to concentrate on songwriting and publishing and had many of his songs including Flowers For Mama, Barbara Joy, The Poor Chinee, A Day In The Life Of A Fool and No Blues Is Good News successfully recorded by George Jones as album cuts.
In 1968, Eddie recorded “Psycho” for the K-Ark label.
This bizarre song, about a serial killer, was virtually unknown then since the original fifties version by its composer, Leon Payne (yes, the “I Love You Because” guy), had – understandably – never received any airplay. Since Eddie’s version it has become a cult favourite, covered by, among others, Elvis Costello.
Noack did make some further recordings in the ’70s, including arguably some of his best for his fine tribute album to Jimmie Rodgers. He moved to Nashville and in 1976, recorded an album that found release in the UK (where he had toured that year) on the Look label. He worked in publishing for Daily and Lefty Frizzell and in an executive role for the Nashville Song- writers Association until his death from cirrhosis in 1978. A fine honky tonk performer, somewhat in the style of Hank Williams, he is perhaps more appreciated today as a singer than he was in his own time.
Biography taken from Black Cat Rockabilly (Dik De Heer)
Below is a reprint of a New Kommotion article from 1976, “Talk Back With Noack”, in which Noack tells his early story in his own words.
A scarce ’60s issue
article revised on December 4th, 2011 (more…)