Howdy, folks ! This is the third fortnight’s favorites selection for 2017, and as usual many a not-so-known artist or recording.
I will focus on a steel guitarist from way up North, TINY MURPHY, originally from Kentucky. He cut with his Bar 69 Boys two discs on the Chicago blues label United, a fact not so uncommon for the era (early ’50s) when small specialized labels didn’t hesitate to « cross » the invisible barrier between Hillbilly and Rhythm’n’Blues. United (founded by a Lou Simpkins) had in its stable several well-known artists like Roosevelt Sykes, Robert Nighthawk or Tab Smith and Jimmy Forrest. Tiny Murphy would cut 4 sides late 1952 for them, whose 3 are here. Vocally same, as Murphy sings in a semi-spoken style, very usual at this time ; jazzy sounding for « It’s all your fault » (# 132) and « Nicotine fits ». The latter was a ‘cover’ of Ramblin’ Jimmie Dolan who had issued May 1952 his original version on Capitol 2244. Then an instrumental, « Hot steel » (# 136) is a fast showcase for Murphy, who evokes various steel guitar virtuosi of the era, without forgetting himself ! Enclosed is a rare French issue coupling « Nicotine fits boogie » and « Hot steel boogie« , much rarer than the original United U.S. counterpart..
Ramblin’ Jimmie Dolan « Nicotine fits »
« Hot steel »
We found Tiny Murphy later on the Ronel label (# 109) in the same style for « 42 », while the flipside « I just can’t imagine » is a bit crooning, with an accordion backing (1954). After this issue, the track goes cold. One more detail : Tiny Murphy was steel player for Dolph Hewitt at an unknown occasion.
« 42 »
In April 2016, there was a selection of TOMMY RIDDLE (« Rayford line » on the Staircase label, from 1961). Today there’s an earlier track cut in Portsmouth, VA, with his Melody Boys for the Cactus label (#108B) , « When you kiss me darling ». All is said with the mention on the label : « Vocal with Hillbilly swing ».
« When you kiss me darling »
Then a 1956 medium-paced Hillbilly bopper by BILL GUYTON & the Tennessee Playboys on the Pride label (# 3000) « I’ve got a little time for loving », location unknown. Fine piano and steel backing over a convincing vocal. Alas, the track is incomplete, cut @ 1’52 », taken from « HillbillyBoogie1 » Youtube chain.
Finally a Starday custom from New York on the Reed (# 802) label (not the Alabama one) : BILL LOOP and his Seneca Indian Boys and «My Foolish heart » has a rural sound and a nice vocal. Disc from September 1959.
« My foolish heart »