Howdy, folks. My selection for this fortnight will be made, as usual, of lesser known artists up, and various times, ranging from approx. 1953 to early ’60s.
SHORTY LONG in 1961 was certainly no newcomer to music, as he had been cutting records on King in 1951, sharing a session with BOB NEWMAN. The latter in 1955 was reported as having joined Long’s Santa Fe Ranchers. Here Long offers the fast « Forget Her« , an hybrid song containing a slap-bass as well as banjo, mandolin and steel on the Smiling 2675 label. Long is billed here « Kentucky », no doubt his original state. Both Shorty Long and Bob Newman paired in 1955 as Dalton Boys for a solitary « Roll, Rattler, Roll » on the X label: next fortnight.
On a Evansville, IN Eunice 1007 label, DARRELL LEE offers an average Country-rocker/Rockabilly « Really Do You Care?« .
1958, TIM JOHNSON on the West Monroe label Leo (# 784) – which is actually a Starday custom issue – do come with the fine shuffler. A bit George Jones vocally, good fiddle and steel.
On Kasko 1643 (Santa Claus, IN) from 1965 RED LEWIS has a country-rocker « Yes, Indeed« (nice guitar, discreet steel) « I’ll Move along« .
The earliest track do come from Nashville in 1953. JOHNNY ROWLAND is a kind of mystery, although his voice seem very professionnal. He founds himself on Republic 7023 with the fine « Ohio Baby« .
Finally SONNY MILLER on the Boyd label, no doubt early ’60s. Good steel in « Lonesome Old Clock«
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.
Not 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.
Howdy folks! This time I managed to post 8 tunes, instead of the usual 6. I must say: the matter was significant with the « Move It On Over » story, a tune frequently covered over the years. I picked up 4 versions, ranging from 1947 to the ’60s. (suite…)
Hi there. First the state of Utah is not well known among Hillbilly lovers. Sole artist I know from this state is RILEY WALKER. I already posted in a past « fortnight’s favorites » his great « Uranium Miner’s Boogie » (Atomic label – 1951? 1955? Impossible to date this, as it is so crude and primitive). Here I’ve chosen a second offering from Walker, less impressive, although almost equally good, on Atomic (# 703) , the amusing « It’s A Little Late« . Solid backing from his band, the Rocking-R-Rangers.
Let’s get back to the mid-sixties and NORMAN SULLIVAN (With The Country Rhythm Boys) on th ROTO label (unknown location), and a fine rendition of the Johnny Cash’s classic « Folsom Prison », given a Country-rock treatment. Could mid-sixties.
Then, from a definitely not as known as he deserves – I’ve named SARG records, out of Luling, Texas. This label issued many a fine Hillbilly/Rockabilly/Rock’n’Roll. You name? DAVE ISBELL, Neal Merritt, Herby Shozel, Eddy Dugosh, The Moods, Chester McIntyre, just a few of artitts on the Sarg label between 1954 and 1964. I’ve chosen the great DAVE ISBELL‘s « Let’s Do It Up Brown » (45-109), which has nothing to do with the Memphis’ Bud Deckleman song of the same name. More on SARG records on the pipeline!
Completely unknown to me, this PAUL CARNES, who apparently cut the record at his own expense on the P.R.C. (penned by Paul R. Carnes) label. I cannot suspect any location, neither date: 1957-1958, I’d assume, for the fabulous « I’m A Mean Mean Daddy« . Very crude vocal, sparse backing. That’s HOW a true rural Hillbilly should be sung and played!
A little more light shed on the COUNTRY COUSINS (Denny Buck and Harold Weaver), who cut the B-side (A- unknown to me) for the very rare Country Records out of Oklahoma City, apparently only on 78rpm. Hence his rarity. This could be from 1955.
Finally, back to Rocking Blues for a change. The nickname « Sonny Boy » was adopted by two big figures in Blues, the first (prewar harmonica artist) was from Chicago, and died in 1948; the second (rn Rice Miller, hailed from Mississipi) came North in 1954 to cut for Chess as « Sonny Boy Williamson« . A third, far less known, without douby capitalizing on the popularity of the others, called himself only « Sonny Boy Williams« . He came from Florida, and cut in Nashville for the Duplex label, late ’50s, this little opus, « Alice Mae Blues« . It rocks!
As always, envoy the selections, as I did preparing this feature. Don’t forget to go to « Contact Me » section: some records/books I am selling could be of interest to you. Till then, bye-bye!
Howdy folks! Here are my ‘new’ favourite tunes of early this month. As usual I try to give you oddities to illustrate the music, although lacking of inspiration and enthusiasm this time!
Red and Lige, The TURNER BROTHERS, were a duet group from Tennessee. I don’t know if they were related to the more famous brothers, Zeke and Zeb (King and Bullet labels). They offer here a strong Country-boogie with « Honky Tonk Mama » on the Radio Artist label (the one which issued Jimmie Skinner first sides). Circa 1950.
PECK TOUCHTON, a native of Texas, had a solitary release on Sarg (« You’ve Changed Your Tune« ). He also recorded for Pappy Daily’s Starday label, without seeing any issue, following a mixing of label stickers during a car wreck! The whole story was told by Andrew Brown in his excellent site, Wired For Sound. See it here:
Touchton’s record, « Let Me Catch My Breath » was finally issued under the name of George Jones (Starday 160).
Out of Texas or West Louisiana, and at one time associated as a singer with Bill Nettles, DANNY DEDMON had records as early as 1947 on Imperial. Here is his « Hula Hula Woogie« , typical Texas Honky-tonk of the late Forties, with a touch of Western swing. The Rhythm Ramblers were actually Nettles’ band.
George McCormick (he had discs on M-G-M, for example, « Fifty-Fifty Honky Tonkin’ Tonight ») and Earl Aycock teamed as GEORGE & EARL in 1956, and had a string of Rockabilly releases on the Mercury label. I’ve chosen one of their most dynamic sides, « Done Gone« . Nashville musicians behind them. The duet folded shortly afterwards.
Out of Nashville came CLAY EAGER on the Republic label. Although he was a celebrity as D.J. in the St.Louis/St.Paul, MO, area, he had cut this fine « Bobbie Lou » in Nashville. We finish with the wild, rasping young ETTA JAMES on the West Coast. « Tough Lover » is backed by the ubiquitous Maxwell Davis.