This time, the artist, whom we know little of, will be presented mostly by his music and his compositions.
BILLY HUGHES, born Everett Ismael September 14, 1908 at Sallislaw, Oklahoma, settled in the 30s in California following the Okies’ exodus. From 1945, Billy Hughes & his Buccaroos engraved until 1959 a slew of very good hillbilly boppers, some of which became classics, such as « I’m tellin’ you, » « Tennessee Saturday Night » and « Take your hands off it (Birthday cake) ». Many artists took them over, to name a few : Ernest Tubb, Red Foley, Jack Guthrie, Johnny Tyler, Jess Willard, Cowboy Sam Nichols, Bud Hobbs or Skeet’s McDonald – even Tennessean old-timer Kirk McGee. Hughes’ music is usually relaxed, ‘lowdown’ with a Western swing touch, which is normal since Hughes frequented the best artists of the West coast. So he wrote dozens of songs, and hung up during the 60s. He had owned the Fargo label, active in 1946 in Los Angeles (Sam Nichols, Terry Fell, Johnny Tyler) and issued a strange « Atomic sermon » in 1953. He disappeared May 6, 1995 in Horatio, Arkansas.
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.
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)
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 »!
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!
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!