Howdy folks, Hope you’re all well and ready to visit some more boppers and rockabillies. The name JAMES MASK isn’t that familiar (he had not big hits), although he appeared on Bandera (Illinois), Arbet (Tennessee, « I miss my teen angel », a teen rocker), and later (1972) on MGM-Sound of Memphis (the country rocker « Humpin’ to please »). Here we find him on the Pontotoc, MS (where he was born in 1932 – Tupelo area) Tom Big Bee label (# ) with a fine early ’60s version of the Rocky Bill Ford‘s classic, « Beer drinkin’ blues ». Honest country rocker. He had some tunes (unissued in the ’50s) on an old White label LP 2305 “Mississipi R’n’R”. The Dutchman wrote there that Mask was backed by his two brothers Charles and Willie.[March 24,2018. I add the reissue of Bandera 1319 “Hootchie Coochie Gal“, a good rocker from 1959 – unissued at the time]
Let’s stay in Mississipi with an otherwise very well known artist, at least in Europe (he drives, latest news, a taxi at Chicago Int’l Airport), Mr. HAYDEN THOMPSON. I offer his first record, on the Booneville, MS, label, Von [which issued Lloyd McCollough and Johnny Burnette’s first records,] “Act like you love me” b/w « I feel the blues coming on“. (original in 1951 by Elton Britt, although not credited on the label) Great slow Hillbillies, whispering vocal over confident backing. Same last tune was done (but it’s a different song) by Loy Clingman on the Arizona Elko label in 1956. Penned by Lee Hazlewood, it’s a soft Country-rock effort. The third Thompson track is taken from his sessions at Sun in Memphis, and he retains the same feeling with « Blues, blues, blues » (U.K. Charly 605B) – although more echo, as usual from Sam Phillips’ manner.
Let’s get up north in Lancaster, KY, and with HAROLD MONTGOMERY. His fine sides on Sun-Ray were documented in the site (see « Sun-Ray » label). Here he comes once more with a good side, similar style, on Wolf-Tex 103, « How much do you miss me », from the ’60s. Great mumbling vocal, similar to early Elvis!
Way north a little further. Muncie, Indiana on the Poor Boy label. A small one, but important artists, the best known being its owner Wayne Raney (« We need a whole lot more of Jesus (and a lot less of Rock’n’Roll »!) ; others are the Van Brothers (« Servant of love », to name only one) and Les & Helen Tussey (already recently posted in fortnight’s favorites). Harold Montgomery, “How much do you miss me“
The artist was named DANNY BROCKMAN & the Golden Hill Boys, on Poor Boy 107. First side is Hillbilly bop, « Stick around » from 1959, when Brockman was D.J. at WTMT in Louisville, KY. Great Starday sound, a powerful rhythm guitar, great interplay between lead guitar and steel during the solo, fabulous (altho’ too short) fiddle solo. A ‘must ‘ record for Starday sound lovers. The flipside is sung in unisson duet with a certain Carl Jones. Nothing exceptional with « Don’t you know it’s true », a real Everly Bros. -alike. With fine steel and fiddle solos. Brockman also appeared on Dixie 859 (« Big big man »), more on him in a future fortnight. Danny Brockman, “Stick around“
Danny Brockman & Carl Jones, “Don’t you know it’s true”
Finally in Omaha, Nebraska (frontier to Canada). 1958, with the wild double-sider « The itch/Baby doll » by CARL CHERRY on the Tene label. « Baby doll » is a typical White doo-wop rocker, good although average. THE side is the garage Rockabilly « The itch » (Tene 1023), prettily sensual. Cherry has got the feel and itch, and the drummer and lead guitar player (RaB HOF says the guy was legally blind!) too ! Fantastic garage sound…They don’t play this way anymore, even with the wilder neo-rockabilly European bands.
I found the story on RaB-HOF site. It’s not that often a relative to an artist offers such a complete and accurate story. It even goes back to the beginning of 20th century! So I decided to let its author speak by herself. Here it is:
LLOYD ARNOLD McCOLLOUGH STORY
by: Annette Wondergem (Lloyd’s niece)
with additions from Dave Travis, Al Turner, Terry Gordon & Bo Berglind
A raw December wind sent an icy chill through the tall, lean young man who stared longingly at the mandolin in the display window of the music store. Just a few more dollars saved from odd jobs and sacrificed lunches and that fine instrument would be his. He pulled his collar closer about his throat and turned wistfully homeward. The year was 1950, the place was Memphis, Tennessee and the young man was Lloyd Arnold McCollough. At this point Lloyd had a lifetime ahead of him and he could imagine the possibilities that a mandolin could bring. Twenty years later the pressure of a touring musician had begun to take it’s toll. But, let’s not go ahead of time, the story of Lloyd Arnold, who became a pioneer of early Memphis music, began many years earlier.
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.