EARL PETERSON, the Michigan’s Singing Cowboy (1950-1955)

earl pic1Despite a long career that spanned almost 45 years, comparatively little is known about Earl Peterson. He was born in Paxton, Illinois, on February 24, 1927 and moved to Michigan when he was 18 months old. He apparently became proficient on both guitar and drums and formed his own band, the Sons of the Golden West, when he was still in high school. The group secured a regular spot on WOAP, Owosso, then moved to WMYC in Alma, Michigan, before settling at WCEN, Mount Pleasant. WCEN gave Earl and his group a regular show, Earl’s Melody Trails, and made him the talent director, staff announcer and farming news editor. Earl was to study Law after high school but he switched to a musical career instead.

Earl made his debut in the record business when he formed a record label, Nugget Records, with his mother, in January 1950.

nugget 1B earl peterson - take me back to michigan

Take me back to Michigan download

Peterson also undertook road trips to publicise his record and, at the same time, worked guest dee-jay spots at various stations. It seems as though his mother, Pearle Lewis, was the driving force behind Peterson. Sam Phillips recalled that the pair arrived on his doorstep early in 1954 pitching « The Boogie blues ». Phillips located some country session musicians to work with Peterson and the result of the session was released in the Spring of 1954.
Boogie blues“(Sun 197)download
In the dark“(Sun 197)
sun 197 earl peterson - boogie bluessun 197 earl peterson - in the dark

The story becomes more convoluted from that point. In October of that year Peterson, with a healthy disregard for contracts and AFM regulations, re-recorded the same song for Columbia. The song was re-copyrighted and probably sold more than the 2500 copies that Phillips had shipped.

columbia 21364 earl peterson - boogie blues

columbia 21364 earl peterson - believe me




Boogie blues“(Columbia 21364)download
Believe me” (Columbia 21364)

Peterson’s half-brother, Bob Lewis, recalls that Peterson was desperately unhappy with the quality of the Sun recording and that may account for his lack of reserve when Don Law approached him to re-record the tune. In any event, Peterson had a few singles released on Columbia but they were shipped into changing market conditions (released between February 1955 and July 1956) and Peterson may have tired of the constant touring necessary to support his releases. His mother ran a resort club, the Bass Lake Pavillion, and Earl formed a band that included twin steel guitars, two lead guitars, two fiddles and his half-brother on drums and he played here on a regular basis supporting all the acts that worked the area as singles. In this way, Earl and the boys backed Marty Robbins, Moon Mullican and many more. The ’53 Buick which Earl had driven all those miles was increasingly confined to short trips.


I’m not buying, baby“(Columbia 21406)download>

Be careful of the heart you’re going to break” (Columbia 21406)download

columbia 21406 earl peterson - I'm not buying, baby

columbia 21467 earl peterson 78 I ain't gonna fall in love

columbia 21467 earl peterson - I'll live my life alone

In 1960 Peterson and his family established radio station WPLB in Greenville, Michigan. In columbia 21406 earl peterson - be careful of the heart1962, they switched to the FM frequency and the following year saw Earl’s retirement from the performing side of the music business. By that point there was an undeniable quotient of rock and roll in country music and, in Bob Lewis’ words, « Earl wasn’t crazy about that stuff ». In 1965 Earl learned that he had cancer but he continued to work at the station until his death in May 1971.earl peterson2

“I ain’t gonna fall in love” (Columbia 21467) download

I’ll live my life alone” (Columbia 21467) download
Earl Peterson’s music, a survey by bopping’s editor

  • any Columbia issue coupled an uptempo and a slowie. The vocal is firm and assured, and the backing is on a par with the best what Nashville did offer at the time. Although unknown musicians, there was a steel, a fiddle and on « Boogie blues » (remake of the Sun version) a welcome rinky-dink piano. I posted the tracks side-by-side to let yourself judge.
  • « Boogie blues » on Sun 197 has sewing fiddle, steel and drums. Peterson’s voice is very reminiscent to that of Jimmie Rodgers, and the song itself derives from pre-war country songs, like Gene Autry’s ‘blues’ songs. Its flipside « In the dark » is a strong shuffler.
  • « Alimony blues », although in the past (N.L. Redita LP) credited to Peterson, is in fact done by Gene Steele.
  • « You just can’t be trusted », found on Youtube (Mr. Honky tonk chain), is evidently a ’60s recording, nice done, although I don’t know the original label neither the flipside.

You gotta be my baby“(Columbia 21540)download

World of make believe“(Columbia 21540)download

Sources : « The country years » (1987) by Colin Escott ; page on Earl Peterson – also music from « Columbia 20000 » (Willem Agenant) ; scans from 78rpm-world ; « The Hillbilly researcher » for scan and music to Nugget 78rpm.

“You just can’t be trusted” (’60’s)download

columbia 21540 earl peterson - you gotta be my baby

Jacoby Brothers from San Antonio: “Bicycle wreck” (1953-1955)

Jacoby Brothers : They started early and just as quickly disappeared    

Map_of_Texas_highlighting_Bexar_County copie

San Antonio, Bexar Cty, Texas

jacoby picFallen into oblivion, the Jacoby Brothers enjoyed great popularity in the Texas of the 50’s , being one more example of how the music industry suffers in many cases of blindness as to promote artistic talent and it is also true that erroneous decisions made by the brothers led them to a dead end in your career leaving just 12 songs recorded listening today that is not understood as they had no continuity.


Gene ( born 1931) and Gilbert ( born 1927) Jacoby  were born in San Antonio (Texas ) in a family eminently musical , embracing Gilbert (nicknamed ” Boy” ) Mandolin ( after taking piano lessons, violin, bass and accordion ) and his brother Gene specializing in the guitar (an instrument used live soon to join the family band ) . The musical influences are brothers , emanating from legends like Jimmie Rodgers. Johnnie & Jack and Homer & Jethro decisively influenced young people who would soon be part of “The Jacoby Mountain Rhythm Band “  led by the father of the clan, ” Levy ” and mother ” Tommy ” , in addition to supporting a young guitar Larry Nolen ( childhood friend of the brothers, later cutting records for Sarg and Starday ) .

The band soon acquired great notoriety in the city of San Antonio and throughout Texas through its Radio Shows issued by the KONO spreading their sound across the state and getting to share the stage with the legendary Ernest Tubb (the group would never step into a recording studio ) .

Gilbert participation ( Boy ) in World War enlisted in the U.S. Army will mark a before and after in the musical family , not being until 1945 when he was demobilized reunited with his brother starting immediately to act both as the Jacoby Brothers on the local scene in San Antonio .

In 1949 he won a talent contest at the Texas Theatre led by the legendary actor and singer Tex Ritter, luminaire impressed by the talent of the brothers proposes to move to California where under his tutelage and influence in the music industry could be a promising career.

Incredibly the brothers rejected the offer and returned home with the check for $ 10,000 that were awarded as competition winners mentioned above.

Until 1955 they became regulars of the best Clubs of Texas , acting in local and Jowdy ‘s, The Round Up or Circle B.

Stations of the lone star state as WOAI KMAC or spread their sound as well as participating in the popular television program ” Red River Dance” issued by the WOAI -TV ( participated between 1952 and 1954 ) .

The small TNT Records label given the opportunity to record a total of 8 songs that will be distributed to local stations in San Antonio , getting their issues heard in the entire United States through the KMAC (which broadcast on nationwide chain ). The best TNT songs were “Cannonball” (indeed a train song), “Food plan boogie” and the furious “Bicycle wreck”. Also worth a listen are: “There’s no use to go wrong” and “I gave my love a cherry”..

Food plan boogie (TNT 1001) Download

There_s no use to go wrong (TNT 1002) Download

Cannonball (TNT 1004) Download

Warmed over love (TNT 1004) Download

Bicycle wreck (TNT 1009) Download


tnt 1001 food plan boogie retouché2TNT 1001 jacoby I gave my love a cherry détouréetnt 1004 cannonball détouréee
TNT 1009 jacoby doubtful heart détouréetnt 1002-2 theres no use détouréeThe national broadcast will not fall on deaf ears and will not be long until they receive Decca recording deal , and Columbia , the Brothers opting for the latter in early 1954:  a six-months contract against 2% with four options against 3% of royalties.

In the recording studio in Dallas , the Jacoby Brothers recorded 4 songs (Laredo , Kiss Me Once More, Who’Ye Primpin ‘Fer ? , And One Man’s Opinion) .

Strangely , producer Don Law told them his displeasure with the outcome of the issues, informing them that they would have to re-record all the songs because they had not been hired to lose money .

 Laredo (Columbia 21309) <a href=”http://www.bopping.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/columbia-21309-Jacoby-Brothers-Laredo-1953.mp3” target=”_blank”>Download

Kiss me once again (Columbia 21309) Download

Who ye primpin_ fer (Columbia 21359) Download

One man_s opinion (Columbia 21359) Download

4-21309b laredo


4-21359 who ye primpin fer


On March 29, 1955 they had their second Columbia session. After two songs Don Law told the brothers he was not happy.  An argument followed and the brothers walked out of the studio. The two recorded songs were not issued by Columbia. The harshness with which the brothers had treated its corresponding answer Gene ‘s hand that he told Jacoby Don Law that ” They had come to Dallas with his own money and with their own money could leave.”

The relationship between musicians and record breaking froze and finally end in 1955 when the daughter of 2 years old Gilbert ( Boy ) Jacoby dies, sinking into a deep depression that he will abandon the music dedicated to the regency of a construction company of his own creation until his death in 1992 at 66 years of age.

In contrast , his brother Gene militating continue in music in various bands in San Antonio and getting to spin like electric bassist Charlie Pride Band in Europe , never ceasing to compose and perform until his death in 1997 at age 65 old.

With the perspective that gives us the time , maybe if they had accepted the offer of Tex Ritter juicy his career would come to fruition, or if not so abruptly would have broken relations with Columbia Records … Anyway the quality is evident in his small recorded legacy for posterity.

bell 108 bicycle wreck détourée

a rare Australian issue!


Article taken fromcountry.lacoctelera.net”  blogsite (in Spanish). Label scans come from Allan Turner (TNT 78s + rare mp3) and Willem Agenant (Columbia 45s). Thanks a lot to them. Important addition from faithful visitor Drunken Hobo. Gene Jacoby sang “Duck tail  cat” with Dan Virva & the Flying “D” Ramblers in May 1956 on the Marathon label (# 5002) out of San Antonio. Larry Nolen, who got taught the rhythm guitar by Gene Jacoby, is categoric about it: Dan Virva stole the show to Jacoby. Indeed Larry Nolen had his own version on Starday later this year (“King of the duck tail cats”). Thanks Dean!

Dan Virva: (Gene Jacoby): Duck tail cat Download

Jacoby Brothers discography:                                                                                                                                                                                            marathon 5002 det

TNT studio, San Antonio, Texas, 1953

Gene Jacoby (vo, mandolin), Gilbert (vocal, mandolin), Larry Nolen (rh-g), others unknown.

TNT-1    Food plan boogie (Dave McEnery)                      TNT 1001, Cactus (Rockin’ Hillbilly) 1

TNT-2    There_s no use to go wrong (Gene Jacoby)               1002

TNT-3   I gave my love a cherry (unknown)                               1001


TNT-5  Cannonball (Dave McEnery)                                          1004

TNT-6  Doubtful heart (Gene Jacoby)                                       1009

TNT-7  Warmed over love (Carnes)                                           1004


TNT-9 ? Bicycle wreck  (Boy Jacoby/Scrivner)                     1009, Bell 108

Note1: Willem Agenant writes that the Jacoby Brothers cut in all 16 titles for TNT.

Note 2: Dave McEnery was actually Red River Dave, who had the T.V. show which the Brothers appeared on.

Dallas, Jim Beck Studio, July 29, 1954

same or similar

ZSP 32822 Laredo (E. Jacoby)                                    Columbia 21309

32823   Kiss me once again (E. Jacoby)                                      –

32823   Who ye primpin_ fer (B. Moore)                            21359

32824   One man_s opinion (E. Jacoby)                                   –


Dallas, Jim Beck Studio, March 29, 1955

same or similar

unknown title                                                             Columbia unissued

unknown title

San Antonio, May 1956

Dan Virva & the Flying “D” Ramblers. Gene Jacoby (vo), g, b. No audible d.

MR-5002- Duck tail cat (Jacoby/McEnery)    Marathon 5002, Buffalo Bop 55177 (Step out)

Note: According to Larry Nolen, Gene Jacoby did the vocal, not Dan Virva.

Note: all other issues are listed on RCS site under “Dan Virva”.

Note: 5002+ (B-side) has not Gene Jacoby in it.                                                                         –


Sid King and the Five Strings: Texas Hillbilly bop and Rockabilly (1953-1957)

Sid King, a ‘nom de disque‘ for Sid Erwin, was born in Denton, Texas (in the Dallas-Fort Worth area) on Octber 15, 1936. Around 1952, he formed a band in high school as an extension of his appearances on a local radio station, KDNT. « I brought Melvin Robinson [on steel guitar], Ken Massey [bass] and my brother Billy [lead guitar], and then Dave White joined us a year or so later on drums. » Shortly after the band came together, Sid made a few appearances as a solo act on the Big ‘D’ Jamboree in nearby Dallas, but eventually he decided to concentrate on working with his band. (more…)

FRANKIE MILLER, the “Blackland Farmer” (1951-1959)

Frankie Miller (a Tony Biggs feature – additions from bopping’s Editor)  MILLER-REDSUIT

Frank Miller Jr. was born on December 17th 1930, in Victoria, Texas and it wasn’t until his late teens that he began developing his musical talent on a Hank Williams style of Honky Tonk.  Although he was a talented athlete, music finally overcame any hankerings he had of following sport as a career.

His elder brother Norman taught him how to play guitar. Norman had recorded for the obscure FBC label, based in Rosenberg, Texas (the same label that Mitchell Torok cut his first sides for). The brothers formed a band and attained a contract with Radio KNAL.

After Hank Locklin had given him a great ‘newcomer’ spot on his popular radio show, Miller got to make some recordings with Bill McCall’s Gilt Edge label.  Before this Miller had given dubs to Macy Lela Henry’s Macy’s label in Houston, but Bill McCall came in first with a deal on his Gilt Edge label.

In mid 1951, along with his own band, The Drifting Texans, Miller recorded three sessions for Gilt Edge and on his second session his recording of ‘I’m Only Wishin’ almost earned him a contract with Decca, but due in part to his drafting in to the Korean war, the deal was never sealed.

Gilt Edge 5051


gilt-edge 5060 frank miller I'm only woshin'


After the war, Miller went to Columbia Records to begin a new contract and took with him a handful of songs he had written whilst in the army and at his first session he was assisted by Charlie Adams’ band, with the added help of Hank Thompson’s amazing steel guitarist, Lefty Nason.  ‘Hey! Where ‘Ya Goin?‘ was cut at this time and released soon after.  But after only two more sessions, Columbia dropped Miller in the wake of Rock & Roll.


Below: Rare 45rpm from the Ft. Worth Cowtown Hoedown stage and radio label (1957)    MILLER-COWTOWN


Don Law telegram inviting Miller to Grand Ole Opry



Below are three Starday issues from 1959-1960 and a rare U.K. issue of Starday material

MILLER-STARDAYStarday-457baby rocked 494MILLER-EP2


Frankie Miller promotional picture

During this time he became a regular on the Big D Jamboree and Ft. Worth’s Cowtown Hoedown.  Columbia dropped Miller some time in 1956, though he kept on writing and recording demos as he strove to remodel himself on a newer style of Country music.

Late in 1958 he signed to Starday and finally got that hit he so deserved. ‘Blackland Farmer’ backed with ‘True Blue’, became a huge hit on of all places, the pop charts, as a dance craze song!  The early 1960s saw Miller notch up several noteworthy recordings for Starday that included two albums.  In 1968 he released a single for the Stop label.

Australian EP below

Top MILLER-OZEPRank Of some of his

prominent Starday recordings.


Final single release from 1968. Recorded on September 13th, 1968 at Music City Recorders, 821 19th Ave. South, Nashville 3, TN – Frankie Miller (Jerry Shook [gt], Pete Drake [steel], Jack Drake [bass], Buddy Harman [drums], Charlie McCoy [harmonica]. Producer: Tommy Hill)  STOP

By the late 1968 Frankie Miller had become disillusioned with the music industry with it’s corruption and his countless miles on the musical road of gigs and sessions and after only a string of mild hits and constant letdowns, so after a release for the aptly named ‘Stop’ label, he retired from the music business.  He then began a career as a car dealer for Chrysler in San Antonio.

In 1999 he returned to the recording studio to record for Cowboy Capitol and in 2006 and 2008 he released a couple of albums for the Heart of Texas label.

2003 saw Frankie along with his guitarist Jimmy Eaves (the pair had recorded a gospel album for Pureco in 2001), came to England for a one off show at the ‘Rhythm Riot’. Miller amazed everyone with his fantastic vocal prowess, proving he can still cut the mustard. It’s a shame that the big labels back then didn’t see it.  Who knows what might have become of his career if Decca had picked up his contract after the Korean War and if Columbia had let him loose in the studio instead of manipulating his musical direction?

Note from bopping’s editor: it really proved an uneasy task of choosing Frankie Miller’s music for the podcasts, his being of constantly highest quality. Hence more than 20 songs from his beginnings in 1951 to later 1964 products. I’ve excluded two Hank Williams’ renditions (Baby, We’re Really In Love, and I’d Still Want You – although well sung, not bringing something new), but added 5 fine live tracks from Louisiana Hayride 1959-60 shows.starday 793 frankie miller She's my antibiotic (in white)

lp bf 15128

Bear Family LP 15128

cd bf 15009

Bear Family CD 15009

Frankie Miller Live Hayride front

Heart Of Texas CD 4127

Riley Crabtree, star of the Big “D” Jamboree (1949-1959)

RILEY CRABTREE     Riley Crabtree portrait

Riley was born on his parents’ farm in Mount Pleasant, Texas, in 1912 as the youngest of eight brothers and sisters. At age two, he contracted infantile paralysis (polyo), so he depended on crutches for the rest of his life. Perhaps this handicap forced him to make a career in country music. His bluesy voice is genuine and comes from the heart. The life he lived is reflected in his songs, as he had a lot in common with his idol Hank Williams.

mount pleasant