Early May 2018 bopping fortnight’s favorites

Hi ! This is the selection (ten tunes) of bopping favorites for early May 2018.

The first artist in discussion is HANK SWATLEY. He cut two records on the very small Aaron label, out of West Memphis, Arkansas : just across the Mssissipi River. Now the man is only remembered for is energetic version of Johnny Tyler’s « Oakie Boogie », and it surely is : cool vocal, harsh guitar, a fabulous record for 1959. But the man had to record three more sides, which are plainly hillbilly. « It Takes A Long Time To Forget » (Aaron 100) is a nice ballad with a sparse instrumentation : only one rhythm guitar and discreet drums. The flipside « Ways Of A Woman In Love » keeps the same format, with some heavier drums (song penned by Charlie Rich). Swatley’s high-pitched voice reminds me that of Jimmy Work.

aaron hank swatley it take a long time to forgetaaron hank swatley ways of a woman in love

Hank Swatley

On Google, picture tied with Aaron 101 “Oakie Boogie”

It Takes A Long Time To Forget”

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Ways Of A Woman In Love

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The second platter (# 101) has of course « Oakie Boogie », originally a Jack Guthrie hit of 1946 ; but the flipside is once more a bluesy ballad ; « I Can’t Help It » is of course a rendition of the Hank Williams’ song.

Oakie Boogieaaron hank swatley oakie boogie

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I Can’t Help it
aaron hank swatley I can't help it

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Next selection is done by a specialized-in-covers, I mean PRESTON WARD. He’d cut many hit tunes of other artists on Carl Burkhardt labels : Gateway, Worthmore, Big Four Hits. Here he’s backed by the Echo Valley Boys (no, not the guys on Island of « Wash Machine Boogie » or « Ramblin’ Man » fame) and their disc was issued in 1961 under the Echo label (# 284B). « Old Man In The Moon » is raw, unpolished Honk-tonker, a very fine steel, a rolling piano. A real surprise !

Old Man In The Moonecho preston ward  old man i the moon

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Life Without You

downloadnashville leon nash life without you

« Life Without You » is a good Country-rocker sung by LEON NAIL. A prominent steel, well in the Nashille fashion, and a piano player. The song itself is well sung, a sort of fast Rockaballad on Nashville # 5172, and it was released ca. 1961. Nail had at least another on the small Tennessee label (# 10002) from 1964, for two numbers in the same style.

Then the HODGES BROTHERS BAND for « Searching My Dreams On You »(1959) on the Whispering Pines label (# 200) : (Ralph Hodges, vocal) a hodges brothers bandgreat bouncing song with guitar, old fiddle and lead guitar. Vocal is urgent and smells all the flavor of the Appalachian Mountains, a real Hillbilly bop treat. The Brothers had indeed records issued on Trumpet, Mississipi and Starday and even later on California’s Arhoolie. They are so good that they deserve well a feature.

“Searching My Dreams For youwhispering pines hodges brothers band searching my draams for you

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luling rexas sarg recordsWe are going to Texas, more precisely in Luling, home of one intriguing label : Charlie Fitch’s Sarg Records. On May 4, 1956, Fitch recorded Adolph Hofner and the Pearl Wranglers, who comprised on steel BASH HOFNER and on vocal (for this session) Eddie Bowers. The thema chosen this day was « Rockin’ And A-Boppin’ », a real slice of Hillbilly Bop/Rockabilly, well fed up with Western swing overtones. This Sarg 138 is valued at $ 100-125.

bash hofner

Bash Hofner

“Rockin’ And A-Boppin'”

downloadsaeg bash hofner rockin and a boppin'

To sum up, both sides of Shreveport, La. Clif label 101 by ROY WAYNE : he delivers « Honey Won’t You Listen », a good shuffler from 1957. Sparse instrumentation, but quite effective for the lazy vocal of Wayne. Flipside « Anyway You Do » is in the same vein. The 45 attains $ 400 to 500 if you can locate it.

Honey Won’t You Listen”

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Anyway You Do”

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clif roy wayne honey won't you listenclif roy wayne any way ou do

Sources: as usual, mainly YouTube; also my own archives

late August 2010 fortnight

Howdy, folks! Here we go with 6 “new” Hillbilly Bop goodies from various sources, spanning nearly 20 years from 1949 to 1967. Let’s begin with Indiana’s BLANKENSHIP Brothers. They were a group doing Bluegrass and Rockabilly, as late as 1960. I’ve chosen “I Just Got One heart“, the B-side to their most famous and best tune “That’s Why I’m Blue” (Skyline 106). Way up North in the Detroit, Michigan area. Hillbilly was concentrated on Fortune Records (Jack & Devorah Brown), and the label saw many, many fine releases by Southerners who did entertain the Ford car workers. Many good Fortune sides are to be found in the excellent NL Collector serie “Boppin’ Hillbilly“(“Detroit in the 50’s“, 3 volumes), and here we have one of the earliest sides (Fortune 141, 1949) by EARL SONGER, “Mother-In-Law Boogie“. Songer himself was from West Va. and came to Detroit in the late 30’s; being a fan of Bill Cox, he was a one-man band (vocal/guitar/harmonica), before teaming with Joyce (born in Tennessee). Together they recorded many songs on Fortune: 7 disks within 2 years. Immense success.Earl Songer

Next we have TOMMY JACKSON and “Flat Top Box” from Lexington, KY (Sun-Ray 131) as late as…1967. Great guitar, very modern in style, altho’ the Hillbilly spirit remains untouched. Back to Indiana with the prolific Hodges Brothers Band, fronted by RALPH HODGES for a little classic on Whispering Pines 201, “HONEY TALK” with the buzzing guitar and swirling fiddle. That’s a crossover between Hillbilly and Rock’n’Roll, what they call sometimes Hillbilly Rock.Whispering honey They had a good amount of albums recorded by Chris Strachwitz for Arhoolie in the 1970’s.

And then we have a woman – and God knows they were THAT uncommon in Hillbilly! JEANIE CHRISTIE on the Blue Sky label out of St. Cloud, FLA from 1958: “Flying High“. Great and firm vocal, a solid steel-guitar throughout. A nice record!blue-sky christie

Finally in Virginia for the tiny Liberty label (no connection with the California concern), HENDER SAUL, “I Ain’t Gonna Rock-Tonite“, one of my all-time faves in Hillbilly Rock. Forceful vocal, nice lyrics, great interplay between guitar and fiddle.liberty  saul rock

I really  hope you will enjoy the selections, and you will comment after a listen or two. You can download everything, of course!

Lâche pas la patate” (Don’t loosen the potatoe) to quote Cajun Jimmy C. Newman, and keep on Bopping!

Sources: various CDs. Pictures as usual from the excellent Terry Gordon’s site “Rocking Country Style”. Take a look at it!

late August 2010 fortnight

Howdy, folks! Here we go with 6 “new” Hillbilly Bop goodies from various sources, spanning nearly 20 years from 1949 to 1967. Let’s begin with Indiana’s BLANKENSHIP Brothers. They were a group doing Bluegrass and Rockabilly, as late as 1960. I’ve chosen “I Just Got One heart“, the B-side to their most famous and best tune “That’s Why I’m Blue” (Skyline 106). Way up North in the Detroit, Michigan area. Hillbilly was concentrated on Fortune Records (Jack & Devorah Brown), and the label saw many, many fine releases by Southerners who did entertain the Ford car workers. Many good Fortune sides are to be found in the excellent NL Collector serie “Boppin’ Hillbilly“(“Detroit in the 50’s“, 3 volumes), and here we have one of the earliest sides (Fortune 141, 1949) by EARL SONGER, “Mother-In-Law Boogie“. Songer himself was from West Va. and came to Detroit in the late 30’s; being a fan of Bill Cox, he was a one-man band (vocal/guitar/harmonica), before teaming with Joyce (born in Tennessee). Together they recorded many songs on Fortune: 7 disks within 2 years. Immense success.Earl Songer

Next we have TOMMY JACKSON and “Flat Top Box” from Lexington, KY (Sun-Ray 131) as late as…1967. Great guitar, very modern in style, altho’ the Hillbilly spirit remains untouched. Back to Indiana with the prolific Hodges Brothers Band, fronted by RALPH HODGES for a little classic on Whispering Pines 201, “HONEY TALK” with the buzzing guitar and swirling fiddle. That’s a crossover between Hillbilly and Rock’n’Roll, what they call sometimes Hillbilly Rock.Whispering pines 201 They had a good amount of albums recorded by Chris Strachwitz for Arhoolie in the 1970’s.

And then we have a woman – and God knows they were THAT uncommon in Hillbilly! JEANIE CHRISTIE on the Blue Sky label out of St. Cloud, FLA from 1958: “Flying High“. Great and firm vocal, a solid steel-guitar throughout. A nice record!jeanie christie blue sky

Finally in Virginia for the tiny Liberty label (no connection with the California concern), HENDER SAUL, “I Ain’t Gonna Rock-Tonite“, one of my all-time faves in Hillbilly Rock. Forceful vocal, nice lyrics, great interplay between guitar and fiddle.hender saul liberty 104

I really  hope you will enjoy the selections, and you will comment after a listen or two. You can download everything, of course!

Lâche pas la patate” (Don’t loosen the potatoe) to quote Cajun Jimmy C. Newman, and keep on Bopping!

Sources: various CDs. Pictures as usual from the excellent Terry Gordon’s site “Rocking Country Style”. Take a look at it!

Late September 2009 fortnight

Howdy folks! Back from holidays in Rocking Italy, here I am again, this time more piano to the fore. Let’s begin with the now famous CURTIS GORDON and the classic Hillbilly Boogie from 1953, “ROMPIN’ AND STOMPIN’ – fine walking basses (Floyd Cramer, really??), a relaxed vocal, call & response type, steel and bass, everything is perfect here. From a 78 rpm.

rca gordon rompin'

 

 

Then we go West Coast with DICK LEWIS and his uptempo “BEALE STREET BOOGIE”. Good left hand, while a nice sax takes the first row for a good solo. 1947, Imperial 8004

The HODGES BROTHERS are well known – I really don’t know if this is the same outlet as on Arhoolie (Watermelon Man). Nevertheless their “HONEY TALK” is already a classic. Rockabilly indeed. Urgent rural vocal, nice interplay during the solo between guitar and fiddle. A great one! Whispering Pines 200 label, from Indiana. They also appeared on Starday custom serie (see elsewhere in the site)whispering-pines hodges honey

Then a mistery. Famous French collector Henri laffont (R.I.P.) told me he thought it was Red Smith (same guy who cut “Whoa Boy” on Coral) but was unsure. Anyway “RED HOT BOOGIE” is a very solid slice of Hillbilly Bop, almost Rockabilly (because the hiccups of Smith); 3 solos (fiddle, guitar, bass, again fiddle). Which was the original label? This track is one on my all-times favorites! Please take a listen and let me know how you feel it. MYSTERY SOLVED on June 22nd, 2012 (thanks to a faithful visitor, Drunkenhobo from U.K.). The artist is Scotty Stevenson & the Edmonton Eskimos, a Canadian issue on RCA 55-3309-A, from 1950. I’d never thought a Canadian outlet could sound so  “Southern hillbilly bop”!

rca stevenson red

Way down South. LAWRENCE WALKER and Cajun “Allon Rock and Roll” (sung in English); Lot of cliches, a corny sound: I would have assumed the tune was recorded in late 40s, however it goes back to …1962!

la-louisiane walker allon

Finally ROD MORRIS and “Weary Blues” (Deadwood). When a Hillbilly got the Blues…WHO the hell may be the SUPERB guitar player ? He obviously heard much Magic Sam and T. Bone Walker, and he’s very aggressive during the solo.

Enjoy, and comments welcome!