The Mississipi legend LUKE McDANIEL (1952-56)

Born 3 February 1927, Ellisville, Mississippi. Died 27 June 1992, Mobile, Alabama.

luke mcdaniel pictureLuke McDaniel, like many a good singer was born in the good ole southern state of Mississippi, in Ellisville on February 3, 1927. He started in music as a mandolin player, and was influenced by hillbilly singers like The Bailes Brothers. He formed his own band and turned professional in 1945. He opened for Hank Williams in New Orleans in the late 40’s and appears to have become hooked on the lonesome sound of Hank. In 1952 he recorded “Whoa, Boy” for Trumpet Records (# 184) in Jackson, Mississippi. It’s a hillbilly boogie belter (call-and-response format) : strong steel guitar and sawing fiddle over an insistant fast rhythm. The flip side « No more » is a good uptempo hillbilly weeper, nicely done. He also cut as a tribute single, “A Tribute To Hank Williams, My Buddy“, a forgettable morbid slow weeper. The Trumpet records were all high quality hillbilly, but as with many at the time, showed him at this stage as little more than a Hank Williams clone.

trumpet mcdaniel whoa
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Whoa, boy!

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No more

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In 1953 he was introduced to King Records by fellow artist Jack Cardwell (The Death of Hank Williams/ Dear Joan). He joined King but failed to register any hits despite half a dozen fine singles. He cut them either in radio station KWAB in Mobile, AL ; either at KWKH in Shreveport, La.; either in Cincinnati King studio.

« The automobile song » (King 1336), a fast hillbilly bopper, is done in gaiety, “Money Bag Woman” (King 1380) was particularly strong, fusing his hillbilly with a rhumba beat.

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Billboard April 10, 1954

King mcdaniel automobile

The automobile song

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« I can’t go » (King 1276) is also a strong, although ordinary bopper. The mid-paced « One more heart » (King 1426) is less interesting as the slowie forgettable « Let me be a souvenir » (# 1356) and « Honey, won’t you please come home ». « Crying my heart out for you » (# 1356) renews with the « Money bag woman » rhumba beat with a welcome mandolin (maybe played by himself?). « Drive on » (# 1287) is a strong although ‘quiet’ bopper in the Hank Williams vein.

I can’t go

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It has been reported in a music paper circa 1954 that Luke was « spinning country records » at WLAU in Laurel, MS.

 

King mcdaniel goking mcdaniel cryingKing mcdaniel drive

 

Crying my heart out for you

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Drive on

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When the King contract expired, he went back to New Orleans where he recorded for the Meladee label in 1955/56 under the alias Jeff Daniels at the legendary Cosimo’s Studio with the pick of the city’s black musicians. Only one single was released, the great frantic “Daddy-O-Rock” coupled with the quieter “Hey Woman” (# 117)

Daddy-o-rock

downloadmeladee Daniels daddymeladee daniels woman

Hey woman

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In 54 he joined the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport and became a part of the touring Hayride show. It was no doubt here that he saw Elvis Presley and started to move towards a more rocking sound. Around this time, McDaniel wrote “Midnight Shift” [a song about prostitution] under the pseudonym of Earl Lee, which Buddy Holly would later record on Decca.

Buddy HollyMidnight shift

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In 1956 Elvis and Carl Perkins urged McDaniels to submit a demo to Sam Phillips. Sam was impressed and signed McDaniel to a contract with Sun Records. It’s unsure whether he cut two sessions or just one at Sun (either September 56 or/and January 57). Nothing was issued though, as Sam and Luke had a financial disagreement. The unissued Sun sides have now seen the light of day thanks to reissue labels like Charly Records (Ferrero/Barbat 600 serie reissues). “Uh Babe” (Sun 620) is seminal-Sun rockabilly with Jimmy Van Eaton on fine form behind the skinned boxes. “High high high” is more a good uptempo rocker and sounds like a cross between Hayden Thompson and Gene Simmons.

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Uh babe

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High high high

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Later McDaniel went to pure rock’n’roll on Venus, Astro, Big Howdy or Big B, but never achieved the big time.

Some songs he published : “Out of a Honky Tonk” and “Six Pallbearers” – co-written with Bob Gallion; “Blue Mississippi” and “You’re Still On My Mind”; and finally, “Mister Clock”, co-written with Jimmie Rogers. Another song credited to “Earl Lee” – “Seven or Eleven”, co-written with Jimmie Rogers and someone named Ainsworth, perhaps Arlene Ainsworth.

Biography taken on « Youzeek.com » and « hillbilly-music.com ». Additions from bopping’s editor. 

early August 2014 fortnight’s favorites: usual hillbillies and sad news

Hello, this is early August 2014 fortnight. Some new tunes, some already published a few years ago for newcomers, and finally sad news.

 

REDD STEWART was during long years the lead vocalist for PEE WEE KING. The latter (with the Golden West Cowboys) was allegedly under exclusive contract with RCA-Victor, but not Stewart: he was signed by King records and recorded several tunes in Cincinnati (February 1950), among them the very fine « Brother, drop dead (boogie) » King 843-AA). He is indeed backed by the Golden West Cowboys, disguised under the name of « His Kentucky Colonels » ! Great Hillbilly boogie, good steel and piano.

 

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Redd Stewart “Brother, drop dead (boogie)”

redd stewart (bebopcapitol)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another well-known artist (he has his own entry in bopping.org) from Mississipi is JIMMY SWAN, or « Colonel Jim » as he presented himself on a Baton Rouge, La. TV-station in 1952. He was signed on the Lilian McMurray Trumpet label in 1952, and recorded for her at WFOR Radio station in Hattiesburg, MS. I retain particularly, among many fine sides, « Juke joint mama » (Trumpet 176), with nice steel (a la Don Helms, Hank Williams’ steel player) and fiddle, and «Lonesome daddy blues «  (Trumpet 198). « Juke joint mama » was first cut by the veteran Denver Darling for Decca in 1946 ; Darling, active in Denver, IN, is the co-writer of, among others, « Choo choo ch’boogie », a hit for Louis Jordan as well as Bill Haley, and more recently for Clifton Chenier. « Lonesome daddy blues » is not the same track as Bill Johnson‘s on a Starday custom – which I will discuss about in another article.

 

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Jimmy Swan

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Denver Darling

Denver Darling “Juke joint mama

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Jimmy Swan “Juke joint mama

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Jimmy Swan “Lonesome daddy blues”

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Sonny Starns, “Baton Rouge, L.A.

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Let’s stay down south. The unknown SONNY STARNS delivers a romping, piano-led « Baton Rouge, L.A. » on the small Hammond, La. Silon label (# 202). 

 

Jimmy C. Newman “Lache pas la patate”

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Sad news now. The death (on June 21rst) of a giant of Country and Cajun music, Mr. JIMMY C. NEWMAN. Born 1927, he began his career vocally fronting the band of Papa Cairo on Modern sides – I think he sings « Kooche kooche », to be found on an old U.K. Ace compilation (« Swingbillies »), in 1949-50. Then he was cutting for Jay D. Miller in Crowley, La. and his first label Feature : songs like « Wondering » – later covered by Webb Pierce on Decca. He had records on Khoury’s too, before entering in Randy Wood’s stable on Gallatin, TN Dot label. A huge hit in 1956, « A fallen star » : then he was an established star. However he never denied his Cajun ancestry and roots and, in 1973, recorded on La Louisiane label the much acclaimed « Lâche pas la patate » in French, also known as « The potato song » (written by Clifford Joseph Trahan, better known as Pee Wee Trahan, or Johnny Rebel…). The song went n°1 in Quebec on the Deram label, and had not since then disappeared from his repertoire, always in demand by Cajun speaking folks until recent times. Newman died of cancer. I will have a survey later of his entire career. Let’s get his music ! 

 Lâche pas la patate (lyrics in French)(“Don’t drop the potato”)

 

Hey! Lâche pas la patate mon neg. Hey! Lâche pas la patate? Une chose qu’est claire, j’fais mon affaire mais j’lâche pas la patate??-?J’vas au bal tous les samedis, pour escouer mes vieilles pattes? J’danse avec toutes les belles filles… Mais j’lâche pas la patate – ?J’fais tous les clubs que je peux faire ent’Lafayette et la Ville Plate? Oublie-moi pas des fois ça chauffe… Mais j’lâche pas la patate?? Refrain😕 Hey! Lâche pas la patate mon neg  Hey! Lâche pas la patate? Une chose qu’est claire, j’fais mon affaire mais j’lâche pas la patate??-?Chu pas marié, j’ai pas personne pour m’tenir le fond d’culotte? Quand j’veux partir chu “gone vieux j’ton” Mais j’lâche pas la patate ?J’vas là tout seul la moitié du temps mais quand l’idée me frappe? J’appelle Marie la chère p’tite fille mais j’lâche pas la patate?? Refrain😕 Hey! Lâche pas la patate mon neg Hey! Lâche pas la patate? Une chose qu’est claire, j’fais mon affaire Mais j’lâche pas la patate??-Un soir au bal un tout p’tit boguet et un gros a pris à s’battre ?J’voulais que le petit gagne et j’criais “Lâche pas la patate”? Le gros bougre m’a r’gardé et dit: Espère que j’te rattrape ?J’mé viré de bord… J’ai couru fort… J’ai lâché la patate??  Refrain😕 Hey! J’ai lâché la patate mon neg Hey! J’ai lâché la patate? Une chose qu’est claire, j’fais mon affaire J’ai lâché la patate??Hey! Lâche pas la patate mon neg Hey! Lâche pas la patate? Une chose qu’est claire, j’ faist mon affaire Mais j’lâche pas la patate…?  [translation in English on personal request]

[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz-kwsR-G4E”]

jimmy C.Newman pic

early June 2013 fortnight favorites

Howdy folks! Ready for a new musical trip? This time, very various things. First, the famous SHAGMAR BULLNASTY in 1963 on the Trash label doing “Tapping That Thing“. It’s a risqué lyrics song they say, I don’t know why. The same song with a slightly different tempo came out as BOLIVER SHAGNASTY on Quartercash (Tennessee label). It is rumoured that these names disguise rockabilly Mack Banks, and that the original version came from J. C. Cale (Youtube carries the story to the tune). Anyhow I offer the original version cut during the 40s by YANK RACHELL on the Bluebird label.

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Tapping That Thing

Shagmar Bullnasty

 

Well listen little kids I’m going to sing a little song

It goes like this and it won’t take long

 

I’m tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

I’m tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

Everybody’s doing it everybody’s tapping that thing

 

Well Ma and Pa was laying in the bed

Ma turned to Pa and then she said

 

Start tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

Everybody’s doing it everybody’s tapping that thing

 

It’s a little old thing all covered with fuzz

The best damn pussy there ever was

 

Start tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

Everybody’s doing it everybody’s tapping that thing

 

Lets tap!

(solo)

 

Well I touched her up high and I touched here down low

I touched her in the middle and she didn’t let go.

 

Say tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

Everybody’s doing it everybody’s tapping that thing

 

Well I got it in the kitchen and I got it in the hall

I got it on my finger and I swing it on the wall

 

Say tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

Everybody’s doing it everybody’s tapping that thing

 

Well I took here in and I laid here on the floor

The wind from her ass blew the cat out the door

 

Said tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

Everybody’s doing it everybody’s tapping that thing

 

Let’s tap a little now

(another solo)

 

Mama’s in the kitchen and Papa’s in the jail

Sister’s on the corner hollerin’ pussy for sale

 

Sayin’ tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

Everybody’s doing it everybody’s tapping that thing

 

Well I cut it once and I cut it twice

The last time I cut it cut it deep and nice.

 

Sayin’ tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

Everybody’s doing it everybody’s tapping that thing

 

Now six times six makes thirty six

I’m only going to hit it about six more licks

 

Yeah tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

tapping that thing (tapping that thing)

Everybody’s doing it everybody’s tapping that thing

 

Yeah everybody’s doing it everybody’s tapping that thing

(thanks to Mark Freese, who transcribed the lyrics)

 

 

From Alabama too came OTHELL SULLIVAN. He cut hillbilly on the Southern label in 1952, then in 1960 this fine uptempo “There’s Sure To Be Goodbyes” on the Reed label.

Another Hillbilly turning up to Rockabilly: BILL BLEVINS. During February 1953, he cut at the Holford Studio in Houston a session for Trumpet’s owner, Lilian McMurray. She issued “A Day Late And A Dollar Short”, typical Hillbilly bop of Mississipi, backed by Jimmy Swan’s band. This is the forerunner to Billy Barton’s song. Blevins resurfaced in 1957 on the very small National label for two rockabillies “Crazy Blues” and “Baby I Won’t Keep Waitin‘”, both threatening medium tempos.

Finally NORMAN SULLIVAN. He’s best known for a 1960 version of “Folsom Prison Blues” on the Roto label. Here is the flip side “She Called Me Baby”.

 

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late October 2012 fortnight’s favourites

Let’s visit the “contact me” page: I am selling albums and CDs – some 45s too – at very reasonable prices!

This time I will focus on an unknown Hillbilly/Rockabilly singer, who cut only 4 sides between 1953 and 1957. His story was covered in depth on the Rockabilly all of Fame site. So all I have to do is to let Shane Hughes speak. The singer is BILL BLEVINS. So here we go:

Biographical facts on Bill Blevins are pretty well scant. The meager details that have surfaced indicate that Bill was born in 1932, but exactly where is not known. His influences and inspirations are open to conjecture. Aurally, he draws an uncanny similarity to Jimmy Swan and, from a broader perspective, Hank Williams. This is borne out in Bill’s first recordings made for Lillian McMurray’s Jackson, Mississippi based Trumpet label in 1953. McMurray had arranged a series of sessions at Bill Holford’s ACA studio in Houston during the first week of February 1953. She had recorded a handful of masters by Werly Fairburn (sub-credited as The Delta Balladeer on what would be his debut recordings), Jimmy Swan, R. B. Mitchell (Jimmy Swan’s guitarist) and ‘Lucky’ Joe Almond on February 3. The following day, Bill Blevins was brought into the studio to record four sides, followed by brief sessions by Tex Dean and Glen West. Exactly how Bill came to the attention of McMurray is not known, but he was teamed with an aggregation of studio musicians, most of whom were well known Houston players. Indiana born steel guitarist Herb Remington, who had arrived in Houston three years earlier, led this group of top flight musicians, that included guitarist Bill Buckner, fiddle player Douglas Myers and seasoned bass player ‘Buck’ Henson, who had earlier worked with Dickie McBride, Deacon ‘Rag Mop’ Anderson, Richard Prine and Cliff Bruner. Of the four sides cut, McMurray chose to release only two numbers on Trumpet 200. ‘An Hour Late And A Dollar Short’ is reminiscent of Jimmy Swan’s lightly swinging ‘Juke Joint Mama’ (recorded for Trumpet the previous year) and is an interesting precursor to Billy Barton’s ‘Day Late And A Dollar Short’ (Billy Barton 1007).

After one release on Trumpet in 1953, Bill was not heard of again until ’57 when he surfaced on the one off Houston based National label. According to Andrew Brown, two titles were cut during the early months of ’57 in a garage somewhere in Houston. The backing on both tunes is fairly sparse, indicating only lead guitar and bass accompaniment. Brown continued, “Bill was drunk at this session, hence the excessively abused phrase ‘drunken southern rockabilly’ actually is applicable for once”. After listening to the National disc, particularly « Baby I Won’t Keep Waitin’ », it’s easy to hear in Bill’s slurred pronunciation that he had more than just a tipple before kicking off the session. Both tunes, however, are premium examples of lazy Lone Star rockabilly. ‘Baby I Won’t Keep Waitin” is as salacious as the title suggests and the second cut from the session, the self-penned ‘Crazy Blues’, is a slow burning moody piece that draws from the rich musical melting pot of Texas. In ‘Crazy Blues’, a well cultured listener will detect hints of early country blues, like those hollered by Texas Alexander, Blind Lemon Jefferson or Ramblin’ Thomas during the nineteen twenties. Indeed, ’30’s steel guitar wizard and one time Jimmie Davis sideman, Oscar Woods, could have laid down a version of ‘Crazy Blues’ that would not have been unlike Bill’s. Both titles were mastered at Bill Holford’s ACA studio on April 8 and released shortly after on the short lived National label. National may have been a vanity label that Bill established solely for the release of this disc, as no other releases on this label have been traced. Subsequent discs by Bill are unconfirmed, although rumor suggests one further release appeared sometime during the nineteen sixties or seventies. If this disc does exist, discographical data is unknown. Bill is now believed to be deceased, but his National sides are still very much cherished by collectors of the Big Beat, who have been treated to the occasional reissue of ‘Crazy Blues’ and ‘Baby I Won’t Keep Waitin”.

I’ve included in the podcasts all that is available by BILL BLEVINS.

trumpet blevins hour

national blevins babynational blevins crazyNot more known is RICHARD MORRIS on the Country Jubilee label (# 541) with “Rosetta“. Insistent fiddle and guitar, heavy Indian style drumming make this a gem.

Finally Texan J.B. BRINKLEY, whose career goes back to the ’30s, when he was guitar player for the Crystal Spring Ramblers, or the ’40s for the Light Trust Doughboys. Here he delivers the fine, powerful  “Buttermilk Blues” , piano-led, scintillating guitar on the Majestic label (# 7581). Indeed he had also “Guitar Smoke”, instrumental on Lin. It is believed however that this J.B. Brinkley was Jr. to the ’30’s artist.

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 majestic brinkley buttermilk

Jimmy Swan, “Honky Tonkin’ in Mississipi”

Jimmy Swan was born November 18, 1912 in Alabama. After his father left the family, his mother moved to Birmingham, where young Jimmy helped support his mother by shining shoes and selling newspapers. His most famous shoeshine customer was Jimmie Rodgers, known as the Singing Brakeman, and the Father of Country Music. He won a talent contest sponsored by a local radio station at the age of 15, and decided he might have a career in music. At 17 he married Alabama beauty queen Grace Armour, and they had three children, Charles, Wanda, and Randy. Jimmy ended up riding the rails to Mississippi and working for awhile to support his family during the Great Depression. The 1940’s found Jimmy in Mobile, Alabama, where he formed the only live Country nightclub band playing in the area. Jimmy’s first lead guitar player was Hank Locklin, who would become famous in his own right with such hits as Send Me the Pillow that You Dream On, Please Help Me I’m Falling, and Country Hall of Fame.jimmy swan picture
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